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Bob Dylan, Bill Murray and Henry Kissinger: When honorees don’t want their prize
On Sunday night, the ever-elusive Bill Murray is expected to take the sta

ge at the Kennedy Center and accept the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, an award he actively avoided receiving. Last week he told The Washington Post’s Geoff Edgers, “I really thought if I don’t answer the phone for awhile, maybe they’ll just move on to someone else.” They didn’t. They called and called, and then had other people call, and eventually, Murray gave in. This month, the same tactic was used by the Swedish Academy, who is responsible for awarding the Nobel prizes. Bob Dylan won the prize for Literature. The Academy called his manager. The press called his representatives. Dylan has yet to say a word. “One can say that it is impolite and arrogant. He is who he is,” one of the Academy members told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter this week. When the prize is bestowed on Dec. 10, it appears there’s a good chance Dylan won’t show up. So will he still get to become the first musician to receive the Nobel for literature? If the Academy follows the precedent set by the many award-giving institutions that have been snubbed throughout history, the answer is yes. In the world of prestigious prizes, the honor is yours whether you like it or not. Pick any well-known award, and there’s a good chance its chosen winners haven’t all deigned to make themselves available for the ceremony. For some, the snub is a statement. When Marlon Brando won an Academy Award for “The Godfather,” he boycotted the ceremony and sent a Native American actress named Sacheen Littlefeather in his place. She took the stage, waved away the award and told the audience that Brando couldn’t accept the award because of the treatment of American Indians by the film industry. Others seem to have little interest in the theatrics that usually surround award acceptance. Katharine Hepburn won four Oscars, but never showed up to claim them. “As for me, prizes are nothing,” she once said. “My prize is my work.” Woody Allen

won’t show up to the Oscars, either. His biographer Eric Lax told NPR that’s because Allen, like his character in “Annie Hall,” quotes Sigmund Freud: “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” Some famous snubbers give no reasoning. Maggie Smith has been nominated for nine Emmys, and has won four times. She’s never showed up. When this year’s Emmy host Jimmy Kimmel announced another Smith win this year, he said, “Maggie, if you want this, it will be in the lost and found.” The 81 -year-old Smith responded via a PBS Twitter account: “If Mr. Kimmel could please direct me to the lost and found office I will try and be on the next flight.” The world of Nobel prizes is far less star-studded than that of entertainment awards, but it’s hardly free of cold shoulders. The most notable came in 1973, when the Peace Prize was awarded to Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho and then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who negotiated a cease-fire agreement meant to bring about an end to the Vietnam War. But the conflict was two years away from ending. Awarding Tho and Kissinger the prize was so controversial, two members of the Nobel selection committee resigned in protest. Vietnam’s Tho refused it outright. Kissinger didn’t show at the ceremony, and tried to return the medal. But not once in the Nobel committee’s 115-year history has it allowed a prize to be revoked or returned. Once it’s awarded, it’s awarded for life. In the case of Dylan, this history hasn’t stopped naysayers from calling for a do -over. While Dylan has showed up to accept awards in the past — including the Presidential Medal of Freedom — now, he seems to have no interest. Why give a prize to someone who doesn’t want it? His fans see his indifference as a charming characteristic of his mysterious persona. His critics hold it up as just another reason why a man so prominent shouldn’t have been chosen in the first place. “Bob Dylan now has a chance to do something truly great for literature: reject the Nobel Prize for Literature,” poet Amy King expressed to PEN America, a writers association. “He can take a stand and declare that fame and ease of consumption should not play a role in determining merit when it comes to focusing the public eye on one writer’s books.” Dylan certainly could try to reject the prize. But first, he’d have to acknowledge that he won it. (779字)

一个人要赢得人们的尊敬,绝不是靠权威、靠装潢、靠强迫就能得到的。 靠强迫得来的尊敬不叫尊敬,那是畏惧。畏惧只能一时,不会长久。让世人永远 尊敬的,只有伟大的建树和人格的魅力。 在北京大学百年校庆的时候, 从全世界各地来了许多在各自的领域里都已经 卓有建树的北大校友。 其中有一天的中午, 他们中的一部分人相约了一起去看望 他们的师长,著名的北大三老季羡林先生、张中行先生、金克木先生。三老的住 所地处北大一隅,距离大家的聚会地有一段路程。开始的时候,大家还是有说有 笑的,要去看多年未见的师长了,师长们还健朗吗?但当接近师长们的住所了, 所有这些尽管都已经在各自的领域蜚声中外的学者,都不由自主地放轻了脚步, 停止了谈笑。 他们相互交换着眼光: 师长们是否正在午睡?我们不要惊扰了师长 的午睡啊。他们选派了一个人先去敲门,探听消息,其余的校友们都在较远的地 方屏息静气地等待着。去的人回来了,师长们知道学生们要来,正等待着呢。校 友们立刻孩子般地蜂拥而进到师长们的住所里, 师长们的家里立刻像当年他们在 校求学时一样地热闹起来了。 在莫斯科不远的图拉附近, 有一个庄园叫亚斯纳亚。 在庄园里一条不起眼的 土路旁边,有一个稍稍隆出地面的小丘。这个小丘周围除了茂密的参天大树,没 有其他任何明显的标志, 只在不远的地方插着一块很普通的小木牌。 小木牌上刻 着两行字:请你把脚步放轻些,不要惊扰正在长眠的托尔斯泰! 就是这样一个极普通的小木牌,就是这样一个普通得不能再普通的小土丘, 每一天都吸引着仰慕这位大文豪的人来到这里, 静静地站在土丘前, 献上一束野 花,表达自己由衷的崇敬。所有来到这里的人,都轻轻地从小土丘前走过,仿佛 真的担心惊醒了沉睡中的托尔斯泰。 奥地利文学家茨威格在旅俄期间去拜访托尔斯泰的墓地, 为这样一个文学大 师有这样一块普通的坟墓而震惊,写出了那篇著名的文章《世间最美的坟墓》, 对朴素的墓地下同样朴素的灵魂作了由衷的赞美。 黑格尔同样是世界文化领域里顶天立地的人物, 但他的墓地同样普通。 在德 国柏林的一个极不起眼的公墓里, 在杂乱拥挤的一个个坟墓中间, 静静地躺着伟

大的黑格尔和他的夫人。他的坟墓是18号,只是众多公墓中的普通一个,与他 周围那些不计其数的普通平民坟墓没有任何区别。 每一天来拜访黑格尔的人都很多, 大家都费了很多周折才找到, 但当站在这 个普通的墓前,每一个人的精神和灵魂无疑又都经历了一次洗礼和升华。 对于一个伟大的灵魂来说,树碑立传等等的用以传扬后世的方式都是多余 的。不论存在的形式多么普通和简易,都丝毫无损于他的伟大和光辉。(1047 字)

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