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King Bob Approximately

Mikhail Horowitz
December 7, 2016
by Mikhail Horowitz IN THE DAYS following the bestowal of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the 147th phase of Bob Dylan’s career really began to take off. Two weeks after the Swedish proclamation, Michelin Guide announced that it was awarding the singer-songwriter three stars. True, by tradition, the stars are awarded to restaurants, as opposed to individuals, especially individuals who have no known skill in the culinary arts, and whose only reference to food in their enormous lyrical output is to “brown rice, seaweed, and a dirty hot dog,” but the Guide decided to make an exception in Dylan’s case. On the heels of that announcement was one from Cooperstown, New York, which declared that, in a special emergency meeting of the Veterans Committee, Dylan had been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Although many pundits noted that the honoree had never played in the Major Leagues, and in fact had never participated in a ball game of any kind, the committee stood by its selection. “True, Mr. Dylan has never worn a Major League uniform, or anything with cleats,” the committee stated, “but it is also true that he has never taken steroids to enhance his songwriting abilities, or gambled on concerts, or deliberately spiked any of his bass players.” The fact that one of his least memorable songs was written about a fellow Hall of Famer, Catfish Hunter, was allegedly instrumental in swaying the vote. More honors quickly accrued. The Mafia anointed the one-time Woodstock minstrel as capo di tutti capi, or “boss of all bosses” (which some took as a hard slap to the face of Mr. Springsteen). Dylan’s paean to Joey Gallo and his admonition that “to live outside the law, you must be honest” were both cited in the mob’s press release, signed by representatives of all five big families. A day later, in Israel, Yad Vashem declared Mr. Dylan to be one of the Righteous among Nations, even though he missed the Holocaust by a few years. And in January, in his last official act as President of the United States, Mr. Obama is presenting Mr. Dylan with the Congressional Medal of Honor, even though the prospective awardee has never served in the Armed Forces. None of these, however, compare with the latest feather in Mr. Dylan’s Stetson. Still reeling from Brexit, the United Kingdom, in a desperate attempt to get something right, last week convened a special session of Parliament, at which both the House of Commons and the House of Lords overwhelmingly voted to crown Bob Dylan as King of England. Characteristically, Mr. Dylan had no comment. But he will assume the throne directly following the ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland, at which he will receive his unprecedented twenty-seven Olympic gold medals. Mikhail Horowitz, our contributing writer, is a performance artist and poet, the creator of Big League Poets (City Lights, 1978), and two CDs and a DVD with Gilles Malkine: Live, Jive & Over 45 (2000), Poor, On Tour, & Over 54 (2007), and Too Small to Fail (2011).