Focus Friday: A musician wins the Nobel Prize in Literature
Bob Dylan joined an elite group after winning this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature.
Dylan is one of the greatest musicians of all time, and not just due to his catchy songs. He showed how music could be an art and painted every brush stroke to perfection with his lyrics.
Not everyone is happy that Dylan claimed this prestigious award. Many people are confused as to how a musician can be in the same company as T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The opinion desk discuss what we think about the decision to give Dylan the award. Did he deserve it? What does this say about the award and its future recipients?
Assistant opinion editor Thom Dwyer
Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature is valid in every way. If one was to examine his lyrics without the music, they would still have deep literary merit to them. Consider “Hurricane”, where Dylan describes the racial profiling and unfair trial that led to prison time for boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.
It is one of many beautifully written songs from Dylan and, therefore, a literary masterpiece.
This does not open up the door to anyone being eligible for a Nobel Prize in Literature. Dylan wrote many songs that covered topics from social issues to his own love interests and feelings about others.
Unless musical artists can replicate Dylan’s ability to write complex lyrics that tell stories along with incredible themes and social commentary, they should not be eligible for this award.
Senior staff columnist Caprice Carter
Bob Dylan deserved the Nobel Prize in Literature as a legend in the music community whose songs resonated with people. Songwriting is technically writing, yet he did use it in a different medium.
However, I can see both sides of the argument.
I would be incredibly confused if it became a regular occurrence to award this prize to musicians. As someone who enjoys writing and has read a vast amount of material from writers, I know of a lot of people who also deserve this award.
I don’t expect Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift will be getting a Nobel Prize in Literature anytime soon. For that, I think we can all breathe a little easier.
Opinion columnist Frank Campos
Bob Dylan deserves all the awards. He actually has most of them already, and, yes, the Nobel Prize in Literature is one he should have been awarded a long time ago.
Dylan had so much influence in his prime and on through his legend status. He became the voice of the ’60s and helped so many people voice their protest, frustrations and movements.
It wasn’t just his music and his personality — the man’s greatness stemmed from the lyrics he wrote and the culture that followed him.
According to the Nobel Prize website, the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Since he did this and so much more, questioning his eligibility for the award is silly.
Take this moment to look Dylan up and see just how he influenced so many with his music. I recommend you start with “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
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