Don’t Look Back, D.A. Pennebaker’s classic cinema verité documentary on Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England, gives viewers a lot of insight into Dylan in the “angry young man” phase of his career. Chief among these insights is that, while rapt audiences receive Dylan’s music as the near-sacred words of a political prophet, ol’ Bobby Z. doesn’t take himself very seriously at all. He comes across as a contrarian, honestly, as in this clip telling a journalist that “I don’t write [my songs] for any reason. There’s no great message”:
So we probably shouldn’t be too surprised that, now that the Nobel Prize committee has invoked the wrath of literature grad students worldwide by awarding Bob Dylan this year’s Literature prize, Dylan still doesn’t seem to care about accolades. In fact, as Pitchfork reports, he can’t even be bothered to personally answer or acknowledge the Nobel committee’s emails or phone calls about the award. Committee Permanent Secretary Sara Danius isn’t worried about it, though, telling Swedish state radio, “I have called and sent emails to his closest collaborator and received very friendly replies. For now, that is certainly enough.”
The committee requires the pleasure of Dylan’s reply so they can confirm whether he’ll attend the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, where winners are presented with their Nobel Medals and Nobel Diplomas by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Dylan’s not too big on authority figures in general, and kings in particular, so whether he’ll actually show up is a matter of legitimate debate, particularly as long as he keeps ignoring the committee’s correspondence. Regardless, Danius says the prize is his, whether he comes to Sweden to claim it or not. “If he doesn’t want to come, he won’t come. It will be a big party in any case and the honor belongs to him,” she says. Perhaps Soy Bomb could accept the award in his stead?