Any idiot can get a knighthood. Gary Barlow’s spent the last month ensuring a sword round the ears in the not too distant future. It just requires some charity work and basic toadying. But you have to be really fricking special to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honour an American can receive. And you know who is that special? Bob Dylan. That’s who. And he didn’t even take his shades off.
Also getting medals at the ceremony, smiling nervously and waving at their dad holding a camcorder, were novelist Toni Morrison, astronaut John Glenn, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Israeli President Shimon Peres and Jan Karski, Polish underground officer who reported on the Nazi Holocaust.
Several musician have received the honour before Bob. But no shit ones. We’re talking the A-list of the A-list.
Dylan didn’t say anything, obviously. But Obama gave a nice speech, saying:
"By the time he was 23, Bob’s voice, with its weight, its unique, gravelly power was redefining not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel. Today, everybody from Bruce Springsteen to U2 owes Bob a debt of gratitude. There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music."
Wish he hadn’t mentioned U2. Bono feeds off presidential namechecks, like a mosquito on a cow.
Here he is getting his prize. We like the arm pat at the end.