Monday, October 24, 2016

Nobel Prize Winner: Bob Dylan?

First the Nobel prize folks give Bob Dylan an award, now the committee is upset that the iconic troubadour won't return their calls.

Well I think the Nobel folks shouldn't be to upset, I have been trying to get a hold of Bob Dylan for 20 years and he still hasn't gotten back to me....

The Nobel news got me curious about Bob Dylan trading cards which led me to this interesting find.

Bob Dylan (Topps 1963 / 2003 design)

Here in Philadelphia there is a venerable shed called the Mann Music center which hosts a summer concert series. The last couple of years the Mann has commissioned illustrator Alex Fine to design baseball card inspired artwork for their shows. 

The above card of Bob Dylan bears a resemblance to 2003 Topps right down to the Baseball field in the lower corner. However the Mann card has the icon in the lower right rather than lower left. I do like that Fine used the Phillies Red White Blue color scheme, and chose the liberty bell as a logo. The red background running the full width of the card is from 1963 Topps as is presenting the Surname in larger font then the first name.

The many acts for which Mann cards have been created include Robert Plant, Phish, the Monkees, John Fogerty, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Ray LaMontagne, Norah Jones, Steely Dan, Bare Naked Ladies, Weird Al Yankovic, Faith No More and several others.

The Nobel Prize
I am no experts on the fine arts, and know significantly less about literature than I do about how Baseball-Ref calculates WAR. Regardless I did find it odd that Dylan was given the honor.

The Nobel's I am most familiar with are Peace and the Science oriented ones which I have always assumed were given to folks connected to contemporary events and solving problems of the present era.

Near as I could tell Dylan's recent catalog was not any more significant than any recent era - and definitely not as significant as say his 60s output.

However I did some digging. Turns out I know very few Nobel-Lit winners.  It appears the Nobel Lit is a bit of a lifetime achievement award.  The most recent winner that I had heard of was Alice Munro (2013). There are several other winners over the last few decades who I knew by name but not by product: Doris Lessing (2007), Harold Pinter (2005), Toni Morrison (1993), Saul Bellow (1976), Pablo Neruda (1971).  You have to go clear back to 1962 to find someone who wrote something that I actually read, John Steinbeck - and the book I read was NOT "The Grapes of Wrath" - It was "the Pearl" which I read over 30 years ago in either High or Middle School. The selection was solely based on the fact that it was the shortest book on the reading list we were given.

Sources and Links 
Vittles Pop
In Search of Lost Cards
Alex Fine
Nobel Prize
The Mann Center


Hackenbush said...

That's cool. Controversial choice for sure. At least he's American and accessible (his work anyway). To the Nobel committee, "Don't think twice, it's alright."

BaseSetCalling said...

I'm headed to Philly for Christmas, I might try hunting around card / comic / record stores to see if anyone specializes in these. Awesome little music + baseball card mash-up.

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