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The Times They Are A-Changing, Nobel Prize Style


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It’s nearly a week since Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature. He still has not responded. And writers and critics are still prophesizing with their pens, criticizing what they cannot understand. In actuality, I don’t think anyone understands what is going on. I mean, how many roads must a man walk down, before he wins the Nobel Prize?

It’s true that Bob Dylan’s words has played an important role in many people’s lives. If one have been to his concerts, one can see a diversity of people who come from all ages and all around the world. Even today, people race on to his concerts, not to be dazzled by his performances, but to hear the man sing the words that has impacted their lives.

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Dylan has won every award he could possibly win. And now he has even won an award many people thought he couldn’t. Maybe Nobel decided that, since he has put himself on the list of multiple honors and awards, maybe they should give him one too.

A friend of mine just got back from New York, and she didn’t know how big of a deal he was in the literature world until she went to the bookstores in New York. There were aisles dedicated to him, and him alone.

I’m a great fan of Bob Dylan. I wouldn’t have dabbled into poetry if it wasn’t for him. But I did feel skeptical to him receiving the award.

So I did a little digging of my own about the Nobel Prize in Literature. They have been known to celebrate authors, poets, lyricists, playwrights, every kind of writer except a songwriter. And most of them are not very well known, not at Dylan’s level at least.

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A lot of people have considered Bob Dylan as the great American poet. And Nobel just made it official. For years now, professors and teachers have used his lyrics as materials in universities, which play a huge part in the decision, as most of the Nobel Nominators come from institutions such as these.

I never knew who the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy was before this, and now I know who she is, how she looks like and how she sounds like, as the video of her announcing the winner was shown in multiple news article.

An interview by freelance journalist Sven Hugo Persson with Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy

Thinking about it, I’ve never paid much attention to Nobel and who is awarded the prizes, unless it was a person familiar to me. And now I’ve actually gone to the website and find the factors of how they operate and how a winner is decided – from who the nominators are and who makes the final decision – and also the list of previous winners of the Noble Prize in Literature.

And in Alfred Nobel’s will, it was stated that the Prize goes to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.” He also added that one part of the Prize goes “to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”

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He has created outstanding work, no doubt about that. But after looking at the long list of winners, giving Dylan the award doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t go align with the people they have celebrated throughout the years. But the arguments go on.

Bob Dylan is definitely reaping from the announcement. According to The Associated Press, Bob Dylan’s musical library experienced a 512 percent increase of streaming on Spotify. Even his books were given a boost, as two of his books jumped to the top 300 best-seller list. And after 24-hours of the announcement, it was out of stock.

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It’s been one week since the announcement and Bob Dylan has been the centre of media attention. But he’s not the only one who’s been the centre of attention. Nobel shares the spotlight together with him.

As genuine as the Noble has been in giving the literature award to Bob Dylan, they are receiving a lot of airtime, probably even the most in recent years. People are debating about it, in the media and outside the media. Some saying he deserves it, some saying he doesn’t. Every article that talks about Bob Dylan, also talks about Nobel. And some articles don’t even include Bob Dylan.

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Inadvertently, in a world where relevance is hard to receive, Nobel has got the attention of the world, especially those who dabble in literature and are fans of Bob Dylan. They have broaden the possibility of contenders for the prize in literature.

But how far will they go? Will other songwriters stand a chance to win? Will comic book writers like Allan Moore and Stan Lee too stand a chance to win the award in the future? The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.

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