Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize Is Boomers’ Latest Attempt To Cram The Entire World Up Their Asses
Every generation has a defining experience, something between a fate and a quest. There is probably a Greek word for it. In the Jazz Age, everyone got so drunk that they decided to let women vote and then the women voted to outlaw booze. The Greatest Generation battled through the depression and then courageously resisted the axis forces to the bitter end. We Gen X’ers… I dunno, whatever.
Boomers, having been raised as the cherished fruit of the greatest generations long struggle, saw themselves as very special. And they did some OK stuff, like support the civil rights movement. But mostly, their purpose has been to shove the entire world up their ass.
Every generation likes the music and entertainment that came out when they were naive and horny. You put away your toys. You graduate from catchy, repetitive songs about talking animals, or cleaning up your room, to catchy repetitive songs about penises going in vaginas or how parents and teachers are dumb. The latter songs are more complex, and emphasize innovation that coincides with a period of discovery in our lives, which is linked to the belief that we are the first ones to figure it all out. Surely, if some stoner who is roughly our age comes up with a new guitar tone, we can improvise a total overhaul of civilization.
But while I believe that punk rock died the day I finished college, and my grandparents died believing Bing Crosby was the greatest entertainer of the 20th century, they did not have the hubris to elevate him to the status of Mozart, as boomers did the boring Beatles. I still get a charge out of lyrics from The Dead Kennedys. And I guess my lame-stream contemporaries feel the same way about The Gin Blossoms or whatever. But I would never demand that they win the Nobel Prize for literature.
That takes a boomer.
I’ll grant that much of this boomer foolishness has spilled over into following generations. With Rolling Stone magazine and shit like that, they invented the idea that 45 year-olds should write articles about the “importance” of an album made by 33 year-olds acting like 22 year-olds to impress 17 year-olds. And the idea stuck. Today, people very well into adulthood not only actively and enthusiastically listen to, say, Beyonce, but, according to the internet, regard her as a political oracle. And we have taken to calling singers and bass players and DJs “artists,” as though we were all obsequious industry scumbags, trying to flatter them so that they didn’t notice we were taking an extra point on their new release.
But as bad as it’s gotten, boomers had to show us they are the kings perversely mating celebrity worship and self-aggrandizement. Before they left, they had to cram the whole ball of wax right up their ass.
I like some of Dylan’s lyrics like Masters of War. It was only recently that I learned how many hits he penned for other artists, like The Bengals’ Manic Monday. My point is not that he was untalented. My point is that he was a pop star. Also, all reports are that he is a huge asshole. Not that it matters, but you can’t even be happy for him.
While the Nobel Prize is not a charity, literature is highly subjective and we can assume that scores or hundreds of writers have bodies of work that merit consideration. One function of the prize is to draw global attention to a deserving artist* and also give them a decent chunk of change. Again, I understand it is not an award for an up and comer, but for a writer of tremendous accomplishment. Still, most of those writers are unknown to most of the population, and many are broke. So, maybe as a tiebreaker, the award shouldn’t go to one of the most famous people alive who possesses sultanic wealth from charging yuppies $1800 to see him half ass it in person.
But no tie breaker is needed. We already created the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame to jizz in our own eyes as we heap fatuous accolades upon the people who came up with cool riffs and new hair styles back when we had hope for our own lives, rather than clinging to resentment of the young. Literature prizes are for people who write books we will pretend to have heard of after the winner is named. To quote a great work of literature, keep em separated.
Boomers seem to be the first generation of Americans to be so indifferent to what they leave behind. The idea used to be, you wanted your kids to have it better than you. Boomers blow their kids inheritance on lavish fourth weddings. They fiercely protested war when they might fight in it, and have supported every war since. They decided they’d rather lose with Hillary, who so represents their spirit, than win with the guy who cares what the future holds. Now they have handed a favorite pop singer the Nobel prize in literature as a way of declaring that no higher artistic expression exists than the crap they listened to sitting on bean bags and trying to seem deep. It is an attempt to snuff out that which is better than they are. I think they might nuke us all rather than finally step aside.