Times they are a-changing

I used to have a high opinion of the Nobel prize. That was before the scandals and criticism. Occasionally, I’d raise an eyebrow, but yesterday’s announcements certainly beat it all.

Even with all the criticism each year, I continued to think the Nobel prizes were a noble idea. By now you may be sniggering. Admitted: at times I am quite simple, naive, idealistic, too trusting.

But where Nobel Prizes are concerned, it was all over after yesterday’s announcement.

Bob Dylan?
Bob Dylan?!
Bob Dylan!!
What the f-word next?

Well – definitely not Donald Trump. He merely enhances the American language with explicits on Twitter. Anybody for Justin Bieber? At least, he’s got plenty groupies. On the other hand, like the Trumps he may not be that much into writing his own texts or composing his own tunes.

What about Madonna? How about awarding her the Nobel prize for Literature? After all, some claim she did something for the feminist movement. She also changed underwear into upper-wear. She is certainly one of those female performers who proof Trump is out of touch, when he claims women over 35 should check out.

As for influence and issues: didn’t she mention something about living in a materialistic world, religion, sex, whatever, whenever? Can’t say I remember any of her lines, rhymes, phrases which are now also undoubtedly part of the world’s cultural heritage. But then, I am not trying to and do not remember much from Dylan’s songs either. Nevertheless, I bet she was and is still more influential than Bob Dylan – till some befuddles awarded him the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Why was Leonard Cohen not awarded this prize? Are Cohen’s texts and songs less influential, less impressive, less critical, less lyrical, less poetic than Dylan’s? Are they not part of American English and many other variations of the English languages? Are Leonard Cohen’s songs not reinterpreted, recorded, performed by other artists – unlike many a Dylan one?

What about female performers who write and perform their own song texts? No, I am not thinking of Adele. I wonder about the female singers and song writers who like Dylan, started their careers as protest-song writers. There are already far too many male Nobel Prize winners.

Even better: what about awarding the Nobel prize for Literature to someone who is not just enhancing the American English language. Someone who is not American, not European, not from the West? What about awarding the prize to someone who is in jail, or perhaps even dead, because he or she wrote poetry or books which qualify just as well as Dylan’s? Though not in English. Are there no such geniuses left?

As someone rightly remarked yesterday: James Joyce and so many others who wrote quality world literature were never awarded this Nobel Prize! And then they award it to Bob Dylan?!

The Nobel befuddles already lost my respect earlier this year. They did not award the Peace Prize to the group of ordinary, decent folks wearing white helmets who dig out bomb victims with bare hands. Many of the White Helmets got and get killed while helping other human beings. No, instead the fuddies awarded the Peace Prize to a president whose own people rejected his deal with a group of “guerrillas” who’ve been terrorising the country for decades. No peace, no deal – but hey: the guy got a prize!

Apparently, the White Helmets risking their lives on a daily basis were deemed a too political cause to be awarded. The same apparently also applied to the brave Yazidi women. Plenty people had hoped Pari Ibrahim and Yazidi women like her, would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Perhaps even jointly with the White Helmets.

No – sorry: the world knows what goes on in Syria and elsewhere, including all the ethnic cleansing and war crimes but …  The Nobel idiots and the world prefer to turn a blind eye and forget all about ethnic cleansings and war crimes. That’s all too political, you see.

When Dario Fo, who died yesterday, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, there were questions asked. At least his plays continue to be performed worldwide and have a relation to literature. Now “Knock on Heaven’s door”, “Like a rolling stone, “Mr Tambourin Man” are on a par with the works of Solzhenitsyn, Camus, Sartre, Tagore, Romain Rolland, Anatole France, Yeats, Thomas Mann, Pirandello, Bertrand Russell, Churchill, Pablo Neruda, Márquez, Wole Soyinka, Naguib Mafouz – to name a few previous laureates. If this was not so insulting, one would die laughing!

Times are certainly changing. High time the Nobel Prize judges and juries who are so myopic, they award what used to be a prestigious prize for world literature to Bob Dylan, are sent packing.

As Mounir Samuel quite rightly mentioned on a Belgian TV station yesterday: the Nobel Prize for Literature is NOT some local North American prize. As Mounir Samuel quite rightly put forward: surely there must be authors in India, China, Africa, Arabia, South America, anywhere in the world, whose non-American-English works – even in American English translations – may be far greater, more moving, more influential, more poetic, more lyrical, more important to world cultural heritage, than Bob Dylan’s?

Awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature 2016  to Bob Dylan is not just an insult to previous laureates. It was a ridiculous decision underpinned by laughable arguments.

List of Nobel Prize for Literature laureates

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