Malaysiakini
OPINIONS

Nobel and Nobble Prizes

Dean Johns

Published
Modified 14 Oct 2016, 10:06 pm

The awarding of a richly-deserved Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan has shocked and dismayed some of the non-musical writing fraternity around the world.

Though it is hard to think of any other writer in recent times whose work has so poetically and powerfully, let alone so memorably and enjoyably, inspired and encouraged the causes of peace, love, freedom and justice.

In fact there was a time when those of us who grew up with early Dylan classics as ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’’ were so naive as to believe that they were compelling enough to help us literally change the world.

We were completely kidding ourselves, of course, as subsequent events have all-too-clearly revealed. But the spirit of the sentiments that Dylan expressed lives on, and continues to give us heart and hope.

Thus by extension his anthems remain anathema to the war-mongers, whore-mongers and just plain mongrels who still misrule so many countries and rob and miserably mislead their citizens.

So I see Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize as not just a fitting reward for him personally, and for the common people everywhere, but also as a poke in the eye for the members and accomplices of every rotten ruling regime on the planet, from China and Russia to Syria and Zimbabwe.

And, of course, along with almost countless others, Malaysia, for whose Islamic-supremacist and viciously anti-Semitic Umno/BN regime the Swedish Academy’s honouring of Bob Dylan must be an especially bitter pill to swallow, as Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman of Jewish parents.

Then there’s the jealousy factor. Dylan has been actually given his Prize, whereas the members and cronies of Umno/BN have to allegedly buy their awards and titles either by selling their souls in the service of royalty or the regime, or else by handing-over wads of hard cash.

But of course they’ll try and ignore Dylan’s achievement, or else try and diminish or outright dismiss it among themselves with such typically self-serving sentiments as “Dylan may well be an icon, but Umno/BN is a far bigger ‘I con’,” or “he might have more gold albums than us, but we’ve got far more actual gold”.

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