This may be my most political essay (and quite possibly my only) to date. I am not well versed in the literary world and ill equipped to defend my writing other than this is the perspective I have. My confessions are such: I am a country kid of 60. Cities make me nervous, a fact that made Laurie laugh. Being from a town of 150 people is certainly different from most. The biggest controversy I remember growing up was who broke Nina’s Christmas lights. Because I was ‘of an age’ I was presumed guilty as were all the kids in my town that age I suppose. I had no idea what they were even talking about. So while I am officially a baby boomer, I grew up totally unaware of the 60’s turmoil and angst of the generation.
This is my naïve thought on Dylan. I am not a fan of his music unless it is performed by somebody else. I’m decidedly NOT a groupie of anybody! Let’s take a look at what he did and when he did it. He wrote politically motivated music and poetry in folk song type modes that went against the government at a time when it was career suicide to do so. The Warren Commission had recently attacked the movie industry and the FBI was attacking the music industry the same way. Greenwich Village and the writers and musicians were being systematically silenced and blackballed by the recording industry out of fear of communist influence. I believe that “The Sounds of Silence” by Paul Simon indirectly brings issue to the silence of the American public when the artists 1st amendment rights were being violated. Dylan kept writing. His voice changed an entire generation and peacefully brought values that we lost in this country back to being vocalized by the people.
So a freedom fighter, with a stance against war and the atrocities committed by an emerging world power, changed the way the world thought about issues. His prose is not the best or flowery. His delivery was off key and the music was so-so, but it was noticed and it took hold and started a nation and the world questioning our leaders and trying to make the world a better place. Does that qualify him for a Nobel Prize? Who changed the world more with their pen?