Bob Dylan and the Légion d’Honneur Award

The Cinch Review

Bob Dylan Legion d'honneurThis is exceedingly déjà-vu pour moi, but I can’t quite resist responding to a current news story related to Bob Dylan.

Dylan apparently has been in the running to receive France’s highest honor, the “Légion d’honneur,” but according to news outlet France 24 his nomination has run into some trouble due to the discovery by the leader of the relevant committee that Dylan has a history of “drug-taking” and “anti-war protesting.” Actually, for this story France 24 references what it describes as a French satirical newspaper named Le Canard Enchainé, so that gives one some reason to wonder about the veracity of the “controversy.”

In case it is a real controversy, however, it’s worth pointing out that perhaps a fair look at the record would indicate that Dylan likely doesn’t merit disqualification on either count. As far as drug-taking goes, no reasonable person would doubt that Bob Dylan has encountered and used drugs of one kind or another, especially in the swinging sixties, but the fact remains that he has never been arrested or charged, let alone convicted, for even the most trivial kind of drug possession. So although we may be quite certain he has done it, it remains hearsay, legally speaking. And further, he has never been in the habit of talking about drugs or promoting the idea of taking them.

Interestingly, (Sir) Paul McCartney has apparently already received the named award; he, by contrast, has drug infractions on his record, and is pretty much a public booster for marijuana and its related forms.

As for the anti-war protesting: while I’m not sure why this would even be a disqualification in and of itself, the article in question takes it as given that Dylan actually did a lot of that kind of thing. Continue reading “Bob Dylan and the Légion d’Honneur Award”