I’ve just read Bob Dylan’s letter of acceptance to the Nobel Committee. Having done so and giving it one more modicum of thought, I find myself hovering over the Nobel deliberations.
“Bob Dylan?” one incredulous member of the Nobel Committee, a blond and balding, pear-shaped man said. “Why, he’s nothing but an itinerant folk singer.”
Two others smothered chortles, turning their amusement into coughs.
“Not so,” said the chairperson, “his writing is highly regarded. That’s why we’re here to consider him.”
A short, frail woman of perhaps forty, who looked twenty years older, sneered and said, “Highly regarded. Where? Besides that infernal list…what’s it called?” An aide bent and whispered. “Yes, said the frail member, “that’s right, the top forty.”
Groans around the table. It was hard to discern whether these guttural utterances were in sympathy with the frail member, or perhaps bemoaning her measured vitriol.
“Perhaps an example or two will explain better than I could ever manage,” said the chairperson.” She straightened a stack of paper, thumbed through them until she found the appropriate sheet. “Let me direct your attention to a lyric segment from a song named ‘A Simple Twist of Fate.'”
Shuffling, as the members searched out the page.
The chairperson looked over her glasses until satisfied that each held the proper page. “Please follow along as I recite the second verse.”
They walked along by the old canal
A little confused, I remember well
And stopped into a strange hotel
With a neon burnin’ bright
He felt the heat of the night
Hit him like a freight train
Moving with a simple twist of fate
“Awkward,” said a lanky man from the Swedish border. “That’s all I can say.”
“Yes!” the frail woman said. “It hardly qualifies as secondary school pap, now does it? I mean, just look at the last two lines. They have as little to do with one another as do China and New York City.”
Then this from a dapper, youngish man: “Actually China and New York have a lot in common. First consider population density-”
“Oh, shut up,” said the frail member.
“Please!” said the chairperson. “Let’s be mature, shall we? All right. Now. Dylan has made a career of speaking for and about the world’s disenfranchised, the poor, the weak.”
“Well,” said the lanky member, “I must simply ask this: Must we consider homespun lyrics about a night in a cathouse?”
The chairperson leaned back in her chair, a victorious expression beamed toward the lanky member. “And how do you know it’s about a cathouse? The term is nowhere in use in the song’s lyrics.”
A hum of approval scattered about the room’s oval mahogany table.
~ To Be Continued ~
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