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Nobel Prize for Literature: Bob Dylan
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I like Bob’s H. Rider Haggard / Jack London side:

We came to the pyramids all embedded in ice
He said, there’s a body I’m tryin’ to find
If I carry it out it’ll bring a good price
‘Twas then that I knew what he had on his mind

The wind it was howlin’ and the snow was outrageous
We chopped through the night and we chopped through the dawn
When he died I was hopin’ that it wasn’t contagious
But I made up my mind that I had to go on

I broke into the tomb, but the casket was empty
There was no jewels, no nothin’, I felt I’d been had
When I saw that my partner was just bein’ friendly
When I took up his offer I must-a been mad

I picked up his body and I dragged him inside
Threw him down in the hole and I put back the cover
I said a quick prayer and I felt satisfied
Then I rode back to find Isis just to tell her I love her

I have various conflicting feelings about this award choice, but one of them is: national pride.

 
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  1. Are we sure his Nobel prize isn’t for most coke-covered face?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "Tangled Up in Blue" is Bob's Great American Novel song, reminiscent of 1920s-1940s American novelists like, say, Steinbeck, the kind who had worked at dozens of different jobs around the country.
  2. It’s in the fine Scandinavian tradition of awarding the Peace Prize to O. Exquisite wits, those Scandiwegians.

    • Agree: NickG
    • Replies: @pyrrhus
    The Nobel Prize committee has now relocated to Desolation Row.....
  3. Has to be one of Dylan’s best ever stanzas!

    See also, “I and I”, from roughly the same timeframe. (In the unusually level-headed, long article/interview of Leonard Cohen by David Remnick (friggin’ autocorrect just changed that to “David Redneck”!) in this week’s or last week’s New Yorker, Cohen had a lot to say about his and Dylan’s mutual high regard…and cited “I and I” as his favorite Dylan song. I think I concur. Glad also that I didn’t cancel my NYer subscription auto renewal, as I was about to last month, after getting particularly enraged by yet another of Remnick’s previous egregious contributions.

    Last time I saw Dylan live was when he played Saigon about six years ago. That’s when it became crystal clear that we had actually won the Second Indochina War.

    • Replies: @Joe Sweet
    Jacques Levy wrote "Isis".
  4. Bob Dylan is terrible.

    Bob Dylan is not a poet, he is not a musician, he is just horrible.

    One of the many bonuses that will accompany the decline of the Boomers is that we’ll stop hearing about Bob Dylan.

    • Agree: vinteuil
    • Replies: @guest
    You can call him a musician. I have heard listenable versions of his songs sung by other people.
    , @Olorin
    I agree, though in way far stronger terms than you stated it.

    But surely you must suspect that this sort of thing is being engineered so that we will never be free of this mediated constructed invented heavily mercantile Boomer culture. Ever.

    Bobby Zimmerman is a nothing elevated to a Something by the music industry run by his Tribesmen. This is what they do: take comic-book memes and turn them into religious phenomena.

    And that, at bottom, is the message that Oslo was directed to retail on behalf of its globalist culture-merchants.

  5. Personally, I thought Ta-Nashei Coates deserved the prize for his literary masterpiece which exposed “The War on Black Bodies.”

  6. The way things are going soon there won’t be any Scandinavians. National animal: the lemming.

  7. Seems pretty silly. While highly influential in the music world, he is, even at his best, only a so-so poet.

    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    "The man in me will do
    Almost any task
    And as for compensation
    There's little that he would ask"

    Doesn't really do much without the music, does it?

    "I long to see you in the morning light
    I long to reach for you in the night"

    Would sound pretty good if you were 16 and someone wrote it in your Valentine card.
  8. For better or worse, the poet of my generation. He was an incandescent genius, reaching out beyond himself, for about three years.

    • Replies: @Wyrd
    He was an incandescent genius, reaching out beyond himself, for about three years.

    I'm ahead of my time. Trouble is, I'm only about an hour and a half ahead.

    -George Carlin
  9. Ballad of a Thin Man and Idiot Wind seem apposite at the moment.

    • Replies: @Ripple Earthdevil
    So does The Times They Are A'Changing.
  10. Is Steve approving of the choice or disapproving?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I dunno. Most of the time the Nobel Literature Prize selection is just kind of baffling to an English speaker. Is this Urdu poet who won really better than that Slovenian novelist who was rumored to be the frontrunner? Beats me.

    In the American Jews category, is Dylan a better choice than the more traditional choice of Philip Roth? I dunno. It sounds fun to argue about, but I'm not a huge Dylan or Roth fan so I don't have a deep knowledge of either from which to offer an informed opinion. I like them both, but I haven't read Roth's most admired book, "American Pastoral," nor have I kept up with Dylan for decades. The last song I can remember by him is his pro-Israel "Neighborhood Bully" from the early 1980s. But I hear he's done a lot of good work since then.

    The question of expanding the boundaries of the Literature Prize is an interesting one. Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing? Or should the Prize be restricted to the less well compensated branches of literature?
    , @FactsAreImportant
    There is an interesting and unasked question underlying this discussion:

    What makes a great lyric great?

    Is a great lyric one that stands by itself as great poetry without the music? That can't be. A lyric, by definition is meant to be sung to music. It makes no sense to think of it standing alone.

    Lyrics, even very good lyrics, almost always sound childish standing alone. It is the music that takes very small sounds, words and ideas and blows them up into nuanced and great lyrics. Music can transform single syllables into great poetry.

    Conversely, lyrics that are very good on paper are almost always awful in a song because they are too convoluted and intricate.

    So, Dylan's "poetry" has to be evaluated in the context of the music it is set to.

    I dunno if Dylan's Nobel makes any more sense in this context, I'm just saying that this is the appropriate context.

  11. Anonymous [AKA "Mauve Avenger"] says:

    The topic of Bob’s politics is a meal unto itself, but now seems like a good time to observe that the supposed left-wing icon (a label he’s been expressly rejecting since, what? 1964?) is, in reality–well, more than a little iStevey:

    After the show, the Sarkozys wander backstage, anxious to meet Dylan. The French president is attired in a black turtleneck and jeans. In a single swooping motion, Sarkozy seizes Dylan’s hand, welcoming him to France. “It was like looking at my mirror image,” Dylan tells me later, about the encounter. “I can see why he’s the head of France. He’s genuine and warm and extremely likable. I asked Sarkozy, ‘Do you think the whole global thing is over?’ I knew they just had a big G-20 meeting and they maybe were discussing that. I didn’t think he’d tell me, but I asked him anyway.”

    . . .

    Yeah, I ask him, I said, “With all these bailouts and stimulus packages, all these bailouts throughout the country. I’m just wondering whether globalism is dead in the tracks? Ya know, is it over?” He doesn’t say yes, he didn’t say no.

    . . .

    I never thought the older America was weird in any way whatsoever. Where do people come up with that stuff? To call it that? What’s the old weird America? The depression? Or Teddy Roosevelt? What’s old and weird? Well, musically, no. Musically we play a form of American music and that’s not gonna go away. Whatever happens in the world won’t affect that whatsoever. But you know globalism is, I would think, about getting rid of boundaries, nationalities. You’re a part of one big world, no? It might take people awhile to get used to that. I don’t like the trend.

    http://www.rightwingbob.com/weblog/bob-dylan-meets-president-sarkozy-more-notes-on-the-2009-rolling-stone-interview/5047/

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Bob is very American.
  12. Having lived on God’s green earth well into my sixties, I’ve seen and heard enough to have lost all respect for the Nobel outfit and for all the other prize-awarding, blow-smoke-up-one-another’s-you-know-what bien pensant snobs who have utterly debased the coinage of such arts awards.

  13. @Luke Lea
    For better or worse, the poet of my generation. He was an incandescent genius, reaching out beyond himself, for about three years.

    He was an incandescent genius, reaching out beyond himself, for about three years.

    I’m ahead of my time. Trouble is, I’m only about an hour and a half ahead.

    -George Carlin

  14. @Opinionator
    Is Steve approving of the choice or disapproving?

    I dunno. Most of the time the Nobel Literature Prize selection is just kind of baffling to an English speaker. Is this Urdu poet who won really better than that Slovenian novelist who was rumored to be the frontrunner? Beats me.

    In the American Jews category, is Dylan a better choice than the more traditional choice of Philip Roth? I dunno. It sounds fun to argue about, but I’m not a huge Dylan or Roth fan so I don’t have a deep knowledge of either from which to offer an informed opinion. I like them both, but I haven’t read Roth’s most admired book, “American Pastoral,” nor have I kept up with Dylan for decades. The last song I can remember by him is his pro-Israel “Neighborhood Bully” from the early 1980s. But I hear he’s done a lot of good work since then.

    The question of expanding the boundaries of the Literature Prize is an interesting one. Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing? Or should the Prize be restricted to the less well compensated branches of literature?

    • Replies: @Blue
    Playwrights are eligible so why not screenwriters? TV is complicated since it's such a collaborative process; the name on the script is not necessarily who wrote it. But in principle I'd like to see it.

    Isn't art about making a connection with people? Most of the recent winners seem to be read only by academics and the like. But there seems to be snobbery from both sides. Who is a more important artist, Norman Rockwell or the guy who put a shark in a tank of formaldehyde? I can think of a number of Rockwell paintings that beautifully convey an emotion or idea. It's good art, but mostly ignored. Dylan has been important to people for a long time for the sentiments his songs convey. That makes it good art so I'm in favor of this prize.
    , @anony-mouse
    '... Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing...'

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dario_Fo
    , @guest
    Speaking of Philip Roth, what is with all the adaptations of his novels lately? I saw "Indignation" and liked it, or rather I really liked one scene, where he argued with the dean. The rest was mostly handjobs.

    I read some of "The Plot Against America," because I like Lindbergh and hate FDR. It was silly. There are only so many midcentury Jewish novelists I can hold in my heart, and I'm already a Bellow fanatic and have read multiple Malamuds. Not enough room leftover for Roth.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Who was the last credible, English language novelist winner, Naipaul?
    , @Mr. Anon
    "The question of expanding the boundaries of the Literature Prize is an interesting one. Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing?"

    How about Vince Gilligan for Breaking Bad?

    The Nobel Prize in literature has become a farce; awarding it to Dylan (or Larry David or Vince Gilligan) is no more ridiculous than giving it to the sort of people they customarily award it to nowadays.
  15. @Anonymous
    The topic of Bob's politics is a meal unto itself, but now seems like a good time to observe that the supposed left-wing icon (a label he's been expressly rejecting since, what? 1964?) is, in reality--well, more than a little iStevey:

    After the show, the Sarkozys wander backstage, anxious to meet Dylan. The French president is attired in a black turtleneck and jeans. In a single swooping motion, Sarkozy seizes Dylan’s hand, welcoming him to France. “It was like looking at my mirror image,” Dylan tells me later, about the encounter. “I can see why he’s the head of France. He’s genuine and warm and extremely likable. I asked Sarkozy, ‘Do you think the whole global thing is over?’ I knew they just had a big G-20 meeting and they maybe were discussing that. I didn’t think he’d tell me, but I asked him anyway.”
     
    . . .

    Yeah, I ask him, I said, “With all these bailouts and stimulus packages, all these bailouts throughout the country. I’m just wondering whether globalism is dead in the tracks? Ya know, is it over?” He doesn’t say yes, he didn’t say no.
     
    . . .

    I never thought the older America was weird in any way whatsoever. Where do people come up with that stuff? To call it that? What’s the old weird America? The depression? Or Teddy Roosevelt? What’s old and weird? Well, musically, no. Musically we play a form of American music and that’s not gonna go away. Whatever happens in the world won’t affect that whatsoever. But you know globalism is, I would think, about getting rid of boundaries, nationalities. You’re a part of one big world, no? It might take people awhile to get used to that. I don’t like the trend.
     
    http://www.rightwingbob.com/weblog/bob-dylan-meets-president-sarkozy-more-notes-on-the-2009-rolling-stone-interview/5047/

    Bob is very American.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    Dylan has been talking for 50 years about what cool cats rimbaud and Baudelaire were, but he loves American music as much as any one of those guys who collects thousands of 78s with jazz, blues, or western or country music before they became country/western. This is an award to folklorists, pasticheurs, anthologists, and those guys with late night radio shows where they talk about how much they love the music of their parents' day. One hopes, because one feels simpatico with them, that their wives are listening or at least supportive. Sinclair Lewis was a really good writer, by the way; Arrowsmith was his best (imagine a really really good episode of your favorite hospital drama), but I am one of those unusual people who care about what is true and not true: for example, I wondered why Franklin married Edith and discovered, after independent research, that she was slightly more attractive than Sandra Bullock in her early 20s. Abundant hair, thoughtful eyes, symmetric features, and probably (photographs of the time are uninformative) a wonderfully healthy complexion. Who knew?
    , @Malcolm X-Lax
    I agree. I'm as right wing as they come and I've been a huge Dylan fan for more than 3o years. There's something about him. His American-ness transcends all that 60s left-wing hippy bullshit. He had some brilliant mis-steps (Hurricane, for example, is a great song about a guilty man). And Isis, from the same album, is an all-time fave. Not just the words but the music and how he phrases the lyric just right and fills them with meaning and something real and visceral. Dylan's one of those guys, either you get him or your don't. There have been less deserving writers to get the Nobel. As for Bob's jewishness, he could serve as a lesson for his fellow jews in the media. American first, jewish somewhere after.
  16. The speed with which things are happening…it simply takes one’s breath away.

    Next year’s Nobel Prize for literature: Kanye West?

    • Replies: @Langley
    #Nobelsowhite
    , @Lurker

    Next year’s Nobel Prize for literature: Kanye West?
     
    Could be, assuming he's mastered paint-by-numbers and had time to get on to learning spelling.
  17. It’s laughable, of course, but less so than last year’s recipient (see A Karlin’s excellent piece on her).

    They’ve given it to many utter non-entities – the last Spanish winner’s main achievement IIRC was a dictionary of obscenities. So much so that the deserving winners, like Seamus Heaney, stand out.

  18. @Wyrd
    Are we sure his Nobel prize isn't for most coke-covered face?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwSZvHqf9qM

    “Tangled Up in Blue” is Bob’s Great American Novel song, reminiscent of 1920s-1940s American novelists like, say, Steinbeck, the kind who had worked at dozens of different jobs around the country.

    • Agree: ATX Hipster
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I got a ride to our 20th high school reunion with my friend the sportscaster. He picked out this verse to play on the drive there:

    So now I'm goin' back again
    I got to get to her somehow
    All the people we used to know
    They're an illusion to me now
    Some are mathematicians
    Some are carpenters' wives
    Don't know how it all got started
    I don't know what they're doin' with their lives
    But me, I'm still on the road
    Headin' for another joint
    We always did feel the same
    We just saw it from a different point
    Of view
    Tangled up in blue
  19. @Anonymous
    Seems pretty silly. While highly influential in the music world, he is, even at his best, only a so-so poet.

    “The man in me will do
    Almost any task
    And as for compensation
    There’s little that he would ask”

    Doesn’t really do much without the music, does it?

    “I long to see you in the morning light
    I long to reach for you in the night”

    Would sound pretty good if you were 16 and someone wrote it in your Valentine card.

    • Replies: @guest
    From Robert Frost, non-Nobel laureate:

    A Case for Jefferson

    Harrison loves my country too
    But wants it all made over new
    He's Freudian Viennese by night
    By day he's Marxian Muscovite
    It isn't because he's Russian Jew
    He's Puritan Yankee through and through
    He dotes on Saturday pork and beans
    But his mind is hardly out of his teens:
    With him the love of country means
    Blowing it all to smithereens
    And having it all made over new
  20. Anyone who regularly read View from the Right will doubtless remember Auster’s love for Bob Dylan, which I always found incomprehensible. Maybe it’s a generation gap thing.

    To me, Dylan’s just some guy with a funny voice who says bunch of meaningless nonsense in his songs. Seriously, what the hell’s a Quinn the Eskimo? I don’t see how the Nobel committee picked him from his peers as being especially worthy of praise.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer

    what’s the difference between Dylan and any other flower child poet?
     
    Ask all the other flower child poets.
    , @Pat Hannagan
  21. @Steve Sailer
    "Tangled Up in Blue" is Bob's Great American Novel song, reminiscent of 1920s-1940s American novelists like, say, Steinbeck, the kind who had worked at dozens of different jobs around the country.

    I got a ride to our 20th high school reunion with my friend the sportscaster. He picked out this verse to play on the drive there:

    So now I’m goin’ back again
    I got to get to her somehow
    All the people we used to know
    They’re an illusion to me now
    Some are mathematicians
    Some are carpenters’ wives
    Don’t know how it all got started
    I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives
    But me, I’m still on the road
    Headin’ for another joint
    We always did feel the same
    We just saw it from a different point
    Of view
    Tangled up in blue

    • Replies: @Wyrd
    Good song.

    Silly clown make-up.

    The 70s sucked when it came to visuals, mostly due to obligatory drug usage.

    Still, women were far more beautiful then than now. Oh, for a Linda Carter or a Cheryl Tiegs these days.

  22. @Daniel Williams
    Anyone who regularly read View from the Right will doubtless remember Auster's love for Bob Dylan, which I always found incomprehensible. Maybe it's a generation gap thing.

    To me, Dylan's just some guy with a funny voice who says bunch of meaningless nonsense in his songs. Seriously, what the hell's a Quinn the Eskimo? I don't see how the Nobel committee picked him from his peers as being especially worthy of praise.

    what’s the difference between Dylan and any other flower child poet?

    Ask all the other flower child poets.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Ask all the other flower child poets.
     
    Bob Dylan is to the other flower child poets as Jackson Pollock is to the other abstract expressionists. They just did it a lot better
    , @Steve Sailer
    Speaking of flower children poets,

    Here's Dylan and Donovan facing off in a hotel room in the mid-1960s with dueling songs from "Don't Look Back:"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc6HcA6kEJc

    Dylan is obviously the alpha male.

    But Donovan is pretty good, too.

    I listened to top 40 rock in roughly late 1969 through 1971. Donovan's current and recent best singles (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, etc.) were maybe better than Dylan's singles (e.g., "Lay Lady Lay").

    At that point, Dylan's great backing band, The Band, had gone off on their own:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EisXJSsULGM

    Meanwhile, various session players for Donovan, such as Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, had coalesced into their own band:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEGuHdKn0Lc

    So, I feel pretty good about how much I liked Donovan.
  23. The Nobel prize for Literature has made it very clearly from the beginning that it is not a serious prize. It has since been perfecting its unseriousness until reaching its probable apex with this year’s preposterousness.

  24. When this book by a neighbor of mine first came out, Dylan wrote a blurb for it:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doesn%27t_Anyone_Blush_Anymore%3F

  25. @vinteuil
    The speed with which things are happening...it simply takes one's breath away.

    Next year's Nobel Prize for literature: Kanye West?

    #Nobelsowhite

  26. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    Dylan over Andrew Dice Clay?…Are you kidding?….Andrew Dice Clay was a superior American Jewish Poet…..”Roses are red…violets are blue @^&%$#@….”

    • Replies: @guest
    Mr. Clay was on the shortlist for the Nobel Prize in cigarettesmanship.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    One of Jackie Martling's best lines, on the old Howard Stern show, was when he said of Dice, "You're the opposite of Joey Buttafuoco, a fake Italian in real leather".
  27. So now in addition to appointing themselves the arbiters of humanity’s greatest cultural output, the Swedes have the audacity to troll us? It sure seems like it.

  28. He lost me at the Super Bowl.

  29. @Steve Sailer
    I got a ride to our 20th high school reunion with my friend the sportscaster. He picked out this verse to play on the drive there:

    So now I'm goin' back again
    I got to get to her somehow
    All the people we used to know
    They're an illusion to me now
    Some are mathematicians
    Some are carpenters' wives
    Don't know how it all got started
    I don't know what they're doin' with their lives
    But me, I'm still on the road
    Headin' for another joint
    We always did feel the same
    We just saw it from a different point
    Of view
    Tangled up in blue

    Good song.

    Silly clown make-up.

    The 70s sucked when it came to visuals, mostly due to obligatory drug usage.

    Still, women were far more beautiful then than now. Oh, for a Linda Carter or a Cheryl Tiegs these days.

  30. The Nobel Literature Prize has been laughable for decades. Now it has exposed the Swedish Academy’s pathetic obsequiousness to American media non-entities. Comrade Suslov must be laughing ( wherever he is ) at this gross example of western decadence. I never thought I would agree with an old Soviet

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Then it occurred to me. This is the Nobel they couldn't give John Lennon. As you've mentioned elsewhere, Mr Steve, the supranational elites do love their Lennonism.
  31. Better Bob Dylan than Mick Jagger…..

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    "I can't get no Nobel action ....."

    Hard for me to believe that Steve's breast is swelling with patriotic pride over this, as he indicated elsewhere. I expect similar swelling when Ta Nehisi Coates, American, receives his first Nobel .... it is inevitable.

    Personally, I'm happy for Bob, he definitely wrote some anthems in the 1960's, And Hendrix' cover of "All Along the Watchtower" might be the greatest ever, and I don't want to be the turd in the punchbowl for my family and relatives who are so happy with this selection.

    But, seriously, I do feel the prize has been made ridiculous. And that's a pity.
    , @Anonymous
    It's Morrissey next year.
  32. @Steve Sailer
    I dunno. Most of the time the Nobel Literature Prize selection is just kind of baffling to an English speaker. Is this Urdu poet who won really better than that Slovenian novelist who was rumored to be the frontrunner? Beats me.

    In the American Jews category, is Dylan a better choice than the more traditional choice of Philip Roth? I dunno. It sounds fun to argue about, but I'm not a huge Dylan or Roth fan so I don't have a deep knowledge of either from which to offer an informed opinion. I like them both, but I haven't read Roth's most admired book, "American Pastoral," nor have I kept up with Dylan for decades. The last song I can remember by him is his pro-Israel "Neighborhood Bully" from the early 1980s. But I hear he's done a lot of good work since then.

    The question of expanding the boundaries of the Literature Prize is an interesting one. Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing? Or should the Prize be restricted to the less well compensated branches of literature?

    Playwrights are eligible so why not screenwriters? TV is complicated since it’s such a collaborative process; the name on the script is not necessarily who wrote it. But in principle I’d like to see it.

    Isn’t art about making a connection with people? Most of the recent winners seem to be read only by academics and the like. But there seems to be snobbery from both sides. Who is a more important artist, Norman Rockwell or the guy who put a shark in a tank of formaldehyde? I can think of a number of Rockwell paintings that beautifully convey an emotion or idea. It’s good art, but mostly ignored. Dylan has been important to people for a long time for the sentiments his songs convey. That makes it good art so I’m in favor of this prize.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Playwrights are eligible so why not screenwriters?
     
    Here's the Writers Guild of America West's list of 101 best screenplays.

    http://www.wga.org/writers-room/101-best-lists/101-greatest-screenplays/list

    Here's the top 20. This list is very conventional, but there is a lot to be said for a conventional list.

    1. CASABLANCA
    Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. Based on the play "Everybody Comes to Rick's" by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

    2. THE GODFATHER
    Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Based on the novel by Mario Puzo

    3. CHINATOWN
    Written by Robert Towne

    4. CITIZEN KANE
    Written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles

    5. ALL ABOUT EVE
    Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Based on "The Wisdom of Eve," a short story and radio play by Mary Orr

    6. ANNIE HALL
    Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

    7. SUNSET BLVD.
    Written by Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr.

    8. NETWORK
    Written by Paddy Chayefsky

    9. SOME LIKE IT HOT
    Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond. Based on "Fanfare of Love," a German film written by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan

    10. THE GODFATHER II
    Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo. Based on Mario Puzo's novel "The Godfather"

    11. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
    Written by William Goldman
    12. DR. STRANGELOVE
    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern. Based on novel "Red Alert" by Peter George
    13. THE GRADUATE
    Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Based on the novel by Charles Webb
    14. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
    Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. Based on the life and writings of Col. T.E. Lawrence
    15. THE APARTMENT
    Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
    16. PULP FICTION
    Written by Quentin Tarantino. Stories by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary
    17. TOOTSIE
    Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal. Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart
    18. ON THE WATERFRONT
    Screen Story and Screenplay by Budd Schulberg. Based on "Crime on the Waterfront" articles by Malcolm Johnson
    19. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    Screenplay by Horton Foote. Based on the novel by Harper Lee
    20. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
    Screenplay by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett & Frank Capra. Based on short story "The Greatest Gift" by Philip Van Doren Stern. Contributions to screenplay Michael Wilson and Jo Swerling
  33. Tangled Up In Blue has persistent cult following. WTF. Always hated it.

    Astonishing how people are attracted to his bloviating pieces instead of the pithy stuff.

  34. @Steve Sailer

    what’s the difference between Dylan and any other flower child poet?
     
    Ask all the other flower child poets.

    Ask all the other flower child poets.

    Bob Dylan is to the other flower child poets as Jackson Pollock is to the other abstract expressionists. They just did it a lot better

    • Replies: @guest
    Do you mean they marketed themselves better?
  35. My nomination for the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature.

    The lyrics are incredible!

  36. @Steve Sailer
    I dunno. Most of the time the Nobel Literature Prize selection is just kind of baffling to an English speaker. Is this Urdu poet who won really better than that Slovenian novelist who was rumored to be the frontrunner? Beats me.

    In the American Jews category, is Dylan a better choice than the more traditional choice of Philip Roth? I dunno. It sounds fun to argue about, but I'm not a huge Dylan or Roth fan so I don't have a deep knowledge of either from which to offer an informed opinion. I like them both, but I haven't read Roth's most admired book, "American Pastoral," nor have I kept up with Dylan for decades. The last song I can remember by him is his pro-Israel "Neighborhood Bully" from the early 1980s. But I hear he's done a lot of good work since then.

    The question of expanding the boundaries of the Literature Prize is an interesting one. Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing? Or should the Prize be restricted to the less well compensated branches of literature?

    ‘… Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing…’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dario_Fo

  37. Part of me wants to say this is ridiculous, and it is. But at least they’re awarding someone in touch with the public. Contemporary High Poetry is a joke, and written for no one. Can anyone remember when Joe Lunchbox used to read the stuff? Not since Robert Frost. Eggheads don’t, either, according to my anecdotal experience watching Jeopardy!

    Dylan is on the hipster end of the pop spectrum, and I would prefer they recognize something along the lines of Cole Porter. But that doesn’t exist anymore. At least they hey didn’t award some university subsidized navel-gazer, or a Poet of Color. (Though according to Matthew Yglesias Jews like Zimmerman will be lynched along with the rest.)

    I am a MN boy, but take little pride in this feat. I try and imagine my grandfather being told a native would win the Nobel Prize for literature. He’d probably be thinking along the lines of Sinclair Lewis or Scott Fitzgerald. But never this!

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I have various feelings about this award, but one of them is: national pride.
    , @stillCARealist
    I brought up the poet laureate for America, Juan Herrera, a few weeks ago. Has anyone bothered to go read his poetry? Here's a link to three of his poems.

    http://bombmagazine.org/article/2869/three-poems

    Really great stuff. You can see why he's so celebrated and awarded. I'll bet students all over LA Unified are memorizing his brilliant soul-offerings.
    , @jake
    Yeah, boy, there is a need to praise even more gays like Cole Porter.
  38. Several critics have acclaimed “Visions of Johanna” as one of Dylan’s highest achievements in writing, praising the allusiveness and subtlety of the language. Rolling Stone included “Visions of Johanna” on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 1999, Sir Andrew Motion, poet laureate of the UK, listed it as his candidate for the greatest song lyric ever written. Numerous artists have recorded cover versions of the song, including the Grateful Dead, Marianne Faithfull and Robyn Hitchcock.

    Is my Dylan favorite. Electric from the album. He probably butchers it on stage these days so I would not bother seeing him live. Neil Young would be better because he does his tunes the way they were recorded. Here is Neil Young doing Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower better than Dylan ever could.

    • Replies: @guest
    I hate Neil Young's voice but love his songs. Unlike Dylan I think he tries to sing well but can't. Or at least doesn't go out of his way to be annoying. Dylan I know could sing straight, but has this weird persona that he has to stick to for whatever reason.
    , @ATX Hipster
    +1 for both "Visions" and Neil Young's version of "All Along the Watchtower". Young did that song and "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" very well on the Dylan 3oth Anniversary Concert Celebration, which has a lot of good covers on it.
    , @Ganderson
    I love the Dead's version of Visions of Johanna.
  39. @guest
    Part of me wants to say this is ridiculous, and it is. But at least they're awarding someone in touch with the public. Contemporary High Poetry is a joke, and written for no one. Can anyone remember when Joe Lunchbox used to read the stuff? Not since Robert Frost. Eggheads don't, either, according to my anecdotal experience watching Jeopardy!

    Dylan is on the hipster end of the pop spectrum, and I would prefer they recognize something along the lines of Cole Porter. But that doesn't exist anymore. At least they hey didn't award some university subsidized navel-gazer, or a Poet of Color. (Though according to Matthew Yglesias Jews like Zimmerman will be lynched along with the rest.)

    I am a MN boy, but take little pride in this feat. I try and imagine my grandfather being told a native would win the Nobel Prize for literature. He'd probably be thinking along the lines of Sinclair Lewis or Scott Fitzgerald. But never this!

    I have various feelings about this award, but one of them is: national pride.

    • Replies: @guest
    By the way, I don't know if this was native pride or a means of connecting with the students on their level, but I went to college in MN and was assigned Dylan lyrics to study in English Literature. So there's some precedence for treating it as High Poetry. We didn't study any other rock music to my recollection.

    Of course, the professor was a Baby Boomer, and you can't trust those people in charge of anything.

  40. @Anonymous
    Bob Dylan is terrible.

    Bob Dylan is not a poet, he is not a musician, he is just horrible.

    One of the many bonuses that will accompany the decline of the Boomers is that we'll stop hearing about Bob Dylan.

    You can call him a musician. I have heard listenable versions of his songs sung by other people.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOzGPbn2tg
  41. @Verymuchalive
    The Nobel Literature Prize has been laughable for decades. Now it has exposed the Swedish Academy's pathetic obsequiousness to American media non-entities. Comrade Suslov must be laughing ( wherever he is ) at this gross example of western decadence. I never thought I would agree with an old Soviet

    Then it occurred to me. This is the Nobel they couldn’t give John Lennon. As you’ve mentioned elsewhere, Mr Steve, the supranational elites do love their Lennonism.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Perhaps, but it's hard to imagine Dylan composing "Imagine." Bob is ultra-American culturally.
  42. @guest
    You can call him a musician. I have heard listenable versions of his songs sung by other people.

    • Replies: @C. Van Carter
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdPAk2abXTg
    , @SPMoore8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0hTtsqiFCc
    , @Clyde
    The Byrd's made Mr Tambourine Man listenable and into a number one hit in 1965. Dylan's original acoustic is too crude for me.
    About The Byrd's version:

    Much of the track's arrangement and final mixdown was modeled after Brian Wilson's production work for the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby".
     
    , @Joe Sweet
    https://youtu.be/CBr1Fi_8p3k
    , @Joe Sweet
    https://youtu.be/38ASHqiVaaQ

    Great cover of another Dylan/Levy collaboration.
  43. @Verymuchalive
    Then it occurred to me. This is the Nobel they couldn't give John Lennon. As you've mentioned elsewhere, Mr Steve, the supranational elites do love their Lennonism.

    Perhaps, but it’s hard to imagine Dylan composing “Imagine.” Bob is ultra-American culturally.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Perhaps, but it’s hard to imagine Dylan composing “Imagine.” Bob is ultra-American culturally.
     
    That's one of the more interesting things about Bob Dylan. Unlike the current generation of Leftists, he was deeply immersed in all things American. You could imagine putting him in the same attic with Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, ....
    , @Verymuchalive
    Very true, Mr S. I've always found his popularity outside N America odd. Indeed, he's not very popular in large parts of Europe, but is with Swedish Academicians. Ole Ole !
    , @ATX Hipster
    He started out his career by taking a stage name that didn't sound Jewish and casting himself in the image of Woody Guthrie. He related to Guthrie's nationalist/populist leftism rather than Lennon's strain, which was at its core about hatred for Western Civilization.

    Part of the reason he was called a traitor when he went electric was because his lyrics went from being explicitly activist anthems to cryptic streams of consciousness. I've seen a quote where he was talking about how much other people had projected their politics onto him and he was actually kind of ambivalent about a lot of it.

  44. @Steve Sailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOzGPbn2tg

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    It's not a real song until Shatner has covered it.
  45. Looking at the bright side, at least they didn’t give the award to Leonard Cohen!

    Just curious, do they play Hurricane unexpurgated on the air these days?:

    “To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum
    And to the black folks he was just a crazy n*gger.
    No one doubted that he pulled the trigger. “

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Probably not. Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" is being regularly played omitting the entire stanza that mentions the "little faggot". Don't think they would make an exception for Dylan.
  46. @Steve Sailer
    I dunno. Most of the time the Nobel Literature Prize selection is just kind of baffling to an English speaker. Is this Urdu poet who won really better than that Slovenian novelist who was rumored to be the frontrunner? Beats me.

    In the American Jews category, is Dylan a better choice than the more traditional choice of Philip Roth? I dunno. It sounds fun to argue about, but I'm not a huge Dylan or Roth fan so I don't have a deep knowledge of either from which to offer an informed opinion. I like them both, but I haven't read Roth's most admired book, "American Pastoral," nor have I kept up with Dylan for decades. The last song I can remember by him is his pro-Israel "Neighborhood Bully" from the early 1980s. But I hear he's done a lot of good work since then.

    The question of expanding the boundaries of the Literature Prize is an interesting one. Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing? Or should the Prize be restricted to the less well compensated branches of literature?

    Speaking of Philip Roth, what is with all the adaptations of his novels lately? I saw “Indignation” and liked it, or rather I really liked one scene, where he argued with the dean. The rest was mostly handjobs.

    I read some of “The Plot Against America,” because I like Lindbergh and hate FDR. It was silly. There are only so many midcentury Jewish novelists I can hold in my heart, and I’m already a Bellow fanatic and have read multiple Malamuds. Not enough room leftover for Roth.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Of Roth's recent stuff, I read The Human Stain, which was quite good, better than the movie, and the Human Animal (???) which was pretty dire. The early "Portnoy's Complaint" is hilarious and highly informative.

    He had an odd shaped career with early success, followed by a pretty bad spell during what should have been his prime, followed by an impressive old age. In contrast, Updike's career looks like a literary athlete's: with a peak in his late 40s followed by decline.

  47. I think the Nobel committee ignored Dylan’s Christmas album.

  48. More seriously: I don’t really want to hassle BobDylan for winning the Nobel. However, I have to admit, I think it’s ridiculous and a slap in the face of people who spend their entire lives writing prose and poetry, only to be upstaged by a mediocre poet and musician who nevertheless wrote a number of wonderful songs about 50 years ago.

    Someone responded to my mockery in the other thread, so I will respond to some of those comments here:

    1. The idea that Dylan is a “thinker” is absurd.

    2. The idea that Dylan’s rhymes about the Rosenbergs carries any historical or juridical weight is also absurd.

    3. While we are on the subject of Dylan’s legal, historical, and moral gravitas, this is the same guy who wrote a song defending Rubin Carter, who, at minimum, was twice convicted of murder (but later released), and George Jackson, who was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of a judge, the permanent crippling of a DA, and the deaths of several prison guards. This is why I was only half-kidding when I said in the other thread that the Nobel committee compromised on Dylan because they couldn’t make of their minds on whether to give it to Claudia Rankine (Ms. Microaggression) or T. Genius Coates.

    4. Putting Dylan on the level of Montaigne, Melville, Shakespeare, etc. is an utter debasement of literature. However, it’s almost pointless to say it, since Dylan fans will not be able to understand the difference.

    5. I am amazed that anyone would think a couplet like this:

    “Man has invented his doom/
    first step was touching the moon.”

    is in any way deep, pregnant, or meaningful.

    I have known some novelists and poets in my time, they work very hard at their craft and they know what they are saying, and they are much more sophisticated than any 3-5 minute pop song. Maybe they aren’t Nobel worthy, either, but this award is definitely a finger in the eye.

    For all, that, enjoy your prize, Bob!

    • Replies: @guest
    I think this was the Nobel Committee's version of clickbait. They need some way to engage the public after utterly debasing themselves with the likes of Obama, Gore, and Arafat.
    , @San Franciscan non-monk
    I read somewhere Dylan later learned more about the case and retracted his lryics.
    , @David
    I think it's odd that you can demonstrate no familiarity with the man's work, but you know just what it's worth.

    Honestly, I love Dylan and it makes no difference to me what awards or fans he wins. But I agree that his winning is a decline for the prize. I think of Montaigne being awarded the once coveted Order of St Michel, of which he said, "I was not raised up to it but it was lowered down to me."

    By the way, it's a line, not a couplet. I didn't present it as particularly pregnant beyond saying it contained two images that belong together not normally put together. I know you'll say you saw it all the whole time, but I have my doubts that you noticed that the doom man has invented was nuclear war and the vehicles that launched the space race were developed first to move war-heads. Most people don't associate the two. But if you think the line could be improved to express same thought, the world waits for your genius.

    I like this Auden once quoted by Dylan, "Sir, I'll admit your general rule that every poet is a fool but you yourself may serve to show it that every fool is not a poet."

    , @Joe Sweet
    Maybe I'm splitting hairs but Jaques Levy wrote "Hurricane".
  49. @Clyde

    Several critics have acclaimed "Visions of Johanna" as one of Dylan's highest achievements in writing, praising the allusiveness and subtlety of the language. Rolling Stone included "Visions of Johanna" on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 1999, Sir Andrew Motion, poet laureate of the UK, listed it as his candidate for the greatest song lyric ever written. Numerous artists have recorded cover versions of the song, including the Grateful Dead, Marianne Faithfull and Robyn Hitchcock.
     
    Is my Dylan favorite. Electric from the album. He probably butchers it on stage these days so I would not bother seeing him live. Neil Young would be better because he does his tunes the way they were recorded. Here is Neil Young doing Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower better than Dylan ever could.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCVjDFR5xtg

    I hate Neil Young’s voice but love his songs. Unlike Dylan I think he tries to sing well but can’t. Or at least doesn’t go out of his way to be annoying. Dylan I know could sing straight, but has this weird persona that he has to stick to for whatever reason.

  50. @Steve Sailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOzGPbn2tg

  51. I have various conflicting feelings about this award, but one of them is: national pride.

    What a monster! You probably hate women and have fond thoughts of Russia.

  52. If there can be a Sir Rod, why can’t there be a Nobel Bob.

  53. I will admit that I don’t follow current literature that closely, but:

    Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, John Barth, Chuck Palahniuk, all seem to have been more dynamic and incidentally actual writers who could have gotten a nod.

    • Replies: @guest
    McCarthy is pretentious and mock high-falutin', with sentence fragments literally about horses pooping. But he is an actual writer, and relatively popular. Honoring Dylan must be to him like failing your doctoral thesis and having to sit there while a 5th grader gets an honorary degree for the doggerel she dedicated to her cat.
    , @syonredux

    I will admit that I don’t follow current literature that closely, but:

    Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, John Barth, Chuck Palahniuk, all seem to have been more dynamic and incidentally actual writers who could have gotten a nod
     
    .

    The Nobel Academy could have picked either Henry James or Mark Twain as the first American laureate. But they decided to go with Sinclair Lewis instead....
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Pynchon's Bleeding Edge is worth a read.
  54. @SPMoore8
    More seriously: I don't really want to hassle BobDylan for winning the Nobel. However, I have to admit, I think it's ridiculous and a slap in the face of people who spend their entire lives writing prose and poetry, only to be upstaged by a mediocre poet and musician who nevertheless wrote a number of wonderful songs about 50 years ago.

    Someone responded to my mockery in the other thread, so I will respond to some of those comments here:

    1. The idea that Dylan is a "thinker" is absurd.

    2. The idea that Dylan's rhymes about the Rosenbergs carries any historical or juridical weight is also absurd.

    3. While we are on the subject of Dylan's legal, historical, and moral gravitas, this is the same guy who wrote a song defending Rubin Carter, who, at minimum, was twice convicted of murder (but later released), and George Jackson, who was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of a judge, the permanent crippling of a DA, and the deaths of several prison guards. This is why I was only half-kidding when I said in the other thread that the Nobel committee compromised on Dylan because they couldn't make of their minds on whether to give it to Claudia Rankine (Ms. Microaggression) or T. Genius Coates.

    4. Putting Dylan on the level of Montaigne, Melville, Shakespeare, etc. is an utter debasement of literature. However, it's almost pointless to say it, since Dylan fans will not be able to understand the difference.

    5. I am amazed that anyone would think a couplet like this:

    “Man has invented his doom/
    first step was touching the moon.”

    is in any way deep, pregnant, or meaningful.

    I have known some novelists and poets in my time, they work very hard at their craft and they know what they are saying, and they are much more sophisticated than any 3-5 minute pop song. Maybe they aren't Nobel worthy, either, but this award is definitely a finger in the eye.

    For all, that, enjoy your prize, Bob!

    I think this was the Nobel Committee’s version of clickbait. They need some way to engage the public after utterly debasing themselves with the likes of Obama, Gore, and Arafat.

  55. @guest
    Speaking of Philip Roth, what is with all the adaptations of his novels lately? I saw "Indignation" and liked it, or rather I really liked one scene, where he argued with the dean. The rest was mostly handjobs.

    I read some of "The Plot Against America," because I like Lindbergh and hate FDR. It was silly. There are only so many midcentury Jewish novelists I can hold in my heart, and I'm already a Bellow fanatic and have read multiple Malamuds. Not enough room leftover for Roth.

    Of Roth’s recent stuff, I read The Human Stain, which was quite good, better than the movie, and the Human Animal (???) which was pretty dire. The early “Portnoy’s Complaint” is hilarious and highly informative.

    He had an odd shaped career with early success, followed by a pretty bad spell during what should have been his prime, followed by an impressive old age. In contrast, Updike’s career looks like a literary athlete’s: with a peak in his late 40s followed by decline.

    • Replies: @guest
    I've read three Updikes, all of them Rabbits. The first was great, the second I almost gave up on, and the third was okay. I'm not very familiar with him outside of that, though I did see the movie "Witches of Eastwick."
    , @stillCARealist
    Portnoy's Complaint sounds execrable from the reviews on Amazon. What was so informative about it? Maybe it was what inspired all those awful Woody Allen movies.
  56. @Steve Sailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOzGPbn2tg

    The Byrd’s made Mr Tambourine Man listenable and into a number one hit in 1965. Dylan’s original acoustic is too crude for me.
    About The Byrd’s version:

    Much of the track’s arrangement and final mixdown was modeled after Brian Wilson’s production work for the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby”.

  57. @SPMoore8
    I will admit that I don't follow current literature that closely, but:

    Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, John Barth, Chuck Palahniuk, all seem to have been more dynamic and incidentally actual writers who could have gotten a nod.

    McCarthy is pretentious and mock high-falutin’, with sentence fragments literally about horses pooping. But he is an actual writer, and relatively popular. Honoring Dylan must be to him like failing your doctoral thesis and having to sit there while a 5th grader gets an honorary degree for the doggerel she dedicated to her cat.

    • Replies: @ATX Hipster
    I tried to read Blood Meridian and couldn't even finish it. Punctuation exists for a reason. There's a sentence that goes something like "He took the tortilla and put beans on the tortilla and rolled up the tortilla and ate the tortilla and the tortilla tasted good." Just bad writing dressed up in pretension. I always like Hemingway's style though, so maybe I just don't get the appeal of run-ons.

    McCarthy desperately wants to be thought of as A Thinker. There was a Rolling Stone piece from 2007 about his association with the Santa Fe Institute, but I don't think there's anything to indicate he actually has anything to contribute to chaos theory or anything else studied there.
  58. @syonredux
    Better Bob Dylan than Mick Jagger.....

    “I can’t get no Nobel action …..”

    Hard for me to believe that Steve’s breast is swelling with patriotic pride over this, as he indicated elsewhere. I expect similar swelling when Ta Nehisi Coates, American, receives his first Nobel …. it is inevitable.

    Personally, I’m happy for Bob, he definitely wrote some anthems in the 1960’s, And Hendrix’ cover of “All Along the Watchtower” might be the greatest ever, and I don’t want to be the turd in the punchbowl for my family and relatives who are so happy with this selection.

    But, seriously, I do feel the prize has been made ridiculous. And that’s a pity.

    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    "But, seriously, I do feel the prize has been made ridiculous. And that’s a pity."

    I felt that in 2004, when Elfriede Jellinek won.
    , @Malcolm X-Lax
    I'm reminded of Hemingway's observation in his Nobel acceptance speech that no one who receives the Prize can accept it with anything other than humility when considering some of the authors who were eligible but passed over (e.g. Tolstoy, Twain). Contrast with Toni Morrison's exception speech: What took you so long?

    At least that's my memory of it.
  59. @Daniel Williams
    Anyone who regularly read View from the Right will doubtless remember Auster's love for Bob Dylan, which I always found incomprehensible. Maybe it's a generation gap thing.

    To me, Dylan's just some guy with a funny voice who says bunch of meaningless nonsense in his songs. Seriously, what the hell's a Quinn the Eskimo? I don't see how the Nobel committee picked him from his peers as being especially worthy of praise.

  60. No wonder as it is coming from a country that banned the words immigrant or dark skinned to avoid possible offence. Where boys receive female toys and girls receive male toys. Where they refuse to prosecute Muslim rapists for fear of being branded an “Islamophobic”.
    And now they discovered a Jew that is a country music singer? They surely have to celebrate that no matter how untalented he is.

  61. Roth writes about American Jews. There’s nothing transcendent about his work. If I were an American Jew, I would probably think he’s a god. But his work is provincial at its heart. To his credit, at least his novels are somewhat readable, unlike the overrated Bellow and the inane Mailer. If anyone deserved a prize from that era, it was Updike.

    Dylan, while Jewish, is American first, and more universal in general. You don’t need to understand Jews or Judiasm or Jews in America, yada yada, to understand “Blowin’ in the Wind”.

    Fun list of ‘alternate winners’ by Ted Gioia here: http://www.tedgioia.com/NobelPrizeAlt.html

    • Replies: @Percy Gryce
    Gioia had two of my picks on his list: Tolkien and Graham Greene. I would have added Evelyn Waugh and Shusaku Endo.

    Note that all four were Catholic converts. That's a sure way not to get a Nobel in literature: join the Church of Rome. The last convert to win was Sigrid Undset in 1928.
  62. @Steve Sailer
    Of Roth's recent stuff, I read The Human Stain, which was quite good, better than the movie, and the Human Animal (???) which was pretty dire. The early "Portnoy's Complaint" is hilarious and highly informative.

    He had an odd shaped career with early success, followed by a pretty bad spell during what should have been his prime, followed by an impressive old age. In contrast, Updike's career looks like a literary athlete's: with a peak in his late 40s followed by decline.

    I’ve read three Updikes, all of them Rabbits. The first was great, the second I almost gave up on, and the third was okay. I’m not very familiar with him outside of that, though I did see the movie “Witches of Eastwick.”

    • Replies: @syonredux
    Bech: A Book is quite good (it's Updike having a little fun satirizing his Jewish rivals). I'd also recommend reading The Coup, but keep a dictionary handy.
  63. I’m cool with it, but would have preferred Pynchon. Or, you know, Tom Wolfe – a better writer and better observer of humanity, especially Americans, than John Steinbeck.

  64. @War for Blair Mountain
    Dylan over Andrew Dice Clay?...Are you kidding?....Andrew Dice Clay was a superior American Jewish Poet....."Roses are red...violets are blue @^&%$#@...."

    Mr. Clay was on the shortlist for the Nobel Prize in cigarettesmanship.

  65. It’s a good idea. Moving beyond the book. Books are … sort of obsolete.

  66. @SPMoore8
    I will admit that I don't follow current literature that closely, but:

    Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, John Barth, Chuck Palahniuk, all seem to have been more dynamic and incidentally actual writers who could have gotten a nod.

    I will admit that I don’t follow current literature that closely, but:

    Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, John Barth, Chuck Palahniuk, all seem to have been more dynamic and incidentally actual writers who could have gotten a nod

    .

    The Nobel Academy could have picked either Henry James or Mark Twain as the first American laureate. But they decided to go with Sinclair Lewis instead….

    • Replies: @guest
    Another MN boy!

    I avoided Lewis for a while because he's one of those writers, I guessed, it is unnecessary to read because they have already sufficiently bled into the culture. You get them with your cereal in the morning as a kid, as much as when they're assigned to you in high school. Plus, I tire of the anti-suburban bias of high culture.

    Then I bothered reading "Kingsblood Royal," and liked it. So I backtracked to "Babbitt" and "Main Street,"and they weren't as condescending as I predicted.

    Henry James is basically a foreigner. Mark Twain would've been perfect, but you could do much worse than Lewis. He was actually popular, and not middle- to lowbrow like Bob Dylan.

  67. forty four years ago I would have been SO happy.

  68. @Steve Sailer
    Perhaps, but it's hard to imagine Dylan composing "Imagine." Bob is ultra-American culturally.

    Perhaps, but it’s hard to imagine Dylan composing “Imagine.” Bob is ultra-American culturally.

    That’s one of the more interesting things about Bob Dylan. Unlike the current generation of Leftists, he was deeply immersed in all things American. You could imagine putting him in the same attic with Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, ….

  69. Steve, Dylan co-wrote those lyrics with Jacques Levy: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis_(song)

    One of my favorite Dylan numbers. Not typical, though. He was rarely that concrete back then. His “renaissance” since the late 90s has been more concrete, lyrically, stuff like “Floater (Too Much to Ask)”, “Po’ Boy”, “Trying to Get to Heaven”. Some really fine stuff. There’s nothing on YouTube but a few official videos, sadly. “Not Dark Yet” is good:

    “Duquesne Whistle” is another:

    That’s another collaboration, with Robert Hunter.

    “Thunder on the Mountain:

    If you just can’t stand the guy, none of those will change your mind.

    The Nobel is silly. What a joke.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Is there any chance that Dylan's old age renaissance as a songwriter might be related to having a secret collaborator?

    I have no evidence for this, but it wouldn't necessarily seem like a bad strategy for Bob.

  70. @Steve Sailer
    I dunno. Most of the time the Nobel Literature Prize selection is just kind of baffling to an English speaker. Is this Urdu poet who won really better than that Slovenian novelist who was rumored to be the frontrunner? Beats me.

    In the American Jews category, is Dylan a better choice than the more traditional choice of Philip Roth? I dunno. It sounds fun to argue about, but I'm not a huge Dylan or Roth fan so I don't have a deep knowledge of either from which to offer an informed opinion. I like them both, but I haven't read Roth's most admired book, "American Pastoral," nor have I kept up with Dylan for decades. The last song I can remember by him is his pro-Israel "Neighborhood Bully" from the early 1980s. But I hear he's done a lot of good work since then.

    The question of expanding the boundaries of the Literature Prize is an interesting one. Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing? Or should the Prize be restricted to the less well compensated branches of literature?

    Who was the last credible, English language novelist winner, Naipaul?

  71. @syonredux

    I will admit that I don’t follow current literature that closely, but:

    Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, John Barth, Chuck Palahniuk, all seem to have been more dynamic and incidentally actual writers who could have gotten a nod
     
    .

    The Nobel Academy could have picked either Henry James or Mark Twain as the first American laureate. But they decided to go with Sinclair Lewis instead....

    Another MN boy!

    I avoided Lewis for a while because he’s one of those writers, I guessed, it is unnecessary to read because they have already sufficiently bled into the culture. You get them with your cereal in the morning as a kid, as much as when they’re assigned to you in high school. Plus, I tire of the anti-suburban bias of high culture.

    Then I bothered reading “Kingsblood Royal,” and liked it. So I backtracked to “Babbitt” and “Main Street,”and they weren’t as condescending as I predicted.

    Henry James is basically a foreigner. Mark Twain would’ve been perfect, but you could do much worse than Lewis. He was actually popular, and not middle- to lowbrow like Bob Dylan.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    guest - interesting comment, but Henry James loved American women (one of his three great last novels is devoted to an American woman, one he fell in love with in his youth and wrote about in his 60s - albeit one who lived overseas - The Wings of the Dove). Another great novel - Portrait of a Lady - revolves around a loveable American, not European , woman, and out of his 150 or so best-known works (short stories, novels, essays) about 50 are set in an America nicer than any America most of us will ever know. He was in one sense basically a foreigner (liked to live in England) but he was still very American.
    , @syonredux

    Then I bothered reading “Kingsblood Royal,” and liked it. So I backtracked to “Babbitt” and “Main Street,”and they weren’t as condescending as I predicted.
     
    Lewis was a perfectly fine writer; it's just a bit odd that the Academy picked him over James and Twain.....

    Henry James is basically a foreigner.
     
    Not really. His greatest novels are all about Americans: Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians, The Ambassadors , The Wings of the Dove, etc. Plus, Hawthorne was the single greatest influence on his work.
  72. @Steve Sailer
    Perhaps, but it's hard to imagine Dylan composing "Imagine." Bob is ultra-American culturally.

    Very true, Mr S. I’ve always found his popularity outside N America odd. Indeed, he’s not very popular in large parts of Europe, but is with Swedish Academicians. Ole Ole !

  73. @War for Blair Mountain
    Dylan over Andrew Dice Clay?...Are you kidding?....Andrew Dice Clay was a superior American Jewish Poet....."Roses are red...violets are blue @^&%$#@...."

    One of Jackie Martling’s best lines, on the old Howard Stern show, was when he said of Dice, “You’re the opposite of Joey Buttafuoco, a fake Italian in real leather”.

    • Replies: @War for Blair Mountain
    Pinsen



    Joey Butt-of-jokes.....The Jews have Lipshit...z....The Italians have Butt-a----fuc---o
    , @ScarletNumber
    Always nice to see a Jackie the Jokeman reference.
  74. @Steve Sailer
    Bob is very American.

    Dylan has been talking for 50 years about what cool cats rimbaud and Baudelaire were, but he loves American music as much as any one of those guys who collects thousands of 78s with jazz, blues, or western or country music before they became country/western. This is an award to folklorists, pasticheurs, anthologists, and those guys with late night radio shows where they talk about how much they love the music of their parents’ day. One hopes, because one feels simpatico with them, that their wives are listening or at least supportive. Sinclair Lewis was a really good writer, by the way; Arrowsmith was his best (imagine a really really good episode of your favorite hospital drama), but I am one of those unusual people who care about what is true and not true: for example, I wondered why Franklin married Edith and discovered, after independent research, that she was slightly more attractive than Sandra Bullock in her early 20s. Abundant hair, thoughtful eyes, symmetric features, and probably (photographs of the time are uninformative) a wonderfully healthy complexion. Who knew?

    • Replies: @guest
    There's a disconnect in my mind between the kind of music beloved of the folk movement on one hand and actual folk music on the other. Because all folk, really, is old pop music. I have to believe it was more palatable than whatever Dylan's doing.

    Not to get into an argument about authenticity, because I don't care. Folkies can listen to whatever they want. I just don't like them borrowing the mantle of Americana. That should go to stuff like "You Are My Sunshine," not "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35."
    , @syonredux

    Sinclair Lewis was a really good writer, by the way; Arrowsmith was his best (imagine a really really good episode of your favorite hospital drama),
     
    He was good, but not in the same league as James and Twain
  75. @Hanoi Paris Hilton
    Has to be one of Dylan's best ever stanzas!

    See also, "I and I", from roughly the same timeframe. (In the unusually level-headed, long article/interview of Leonard Cohen by David Remnick (friggin' autocorrect just changed that to "David Redneck"!) in this week's or last week's New Yorker, Cohen had a lot to say about his and Dylan's mutual high regard...and cited "I and I" as his favorite Dylan song. I think I concur. Glad also that I didn't cancel my NYer subscription auto renewal, as I was about to last month, after getting particularly enraged by yet another of Remnick's previous egregious contributions.

    Last time I saw Dylan live was when he played Saigon about six years ago. That's when it became crystal clear that we had actually won the Second Indochina War.

    Jacques Levy wrote “Isis”.

    • Replies: @Hanoi Paris Hilton
    That's true. Thanks for taking note of that. But Dylan sang it.

    And I think Sam Shepard wrote several of Dylan's other best songs.
  76. @Steve Sailer
    I have various feelings about this award, but one of them is: national pride.

    By the way, I don’t know if this was native pride or a means of connecting with the students on their level, but I went to college in MN and was assigned Dylan lyrics to study in English Literature. So there’s some precedence for treating it as High Poetry. We didn’t study any other rock music to my recollection.

    Of course, the professor was a Baby Boomer, and you can’t trust those people in charge of anything.

  77. His Christian stuff from the late 70s is underappreciated. Good time to be rediscovered.

  78. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    I’m expecting the esteemed Professor Irwin Corey to give an introduction to Bob at the Nobel Ceremony and then handing Bob his Nobel Prize Medal…

  79. @vinteuil
    The speed with which things are happening...it simply takes one's breath away.

    Next year's Nobel Prize for literature: Kanye West?

    Next year’s Nobel Prize for literature: Kanye West?

    Could be, assuming he’s mastered paint-by-numbers and had time to get on to learning spelling.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
    ...all is changed, that high horse riderless,
    Though mounted in that saddle Homer rode
    Where the swan drifts upon a darkening flood...
  80. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    One of Jackie Martling's best lines, on the old Howard Stern show, was when he said of Dice, "You're the opposite of Joey Buttafuoco, a fake Italian in real leather".

    Pinsen

    Joey Butt-of-jokes…..The Jews have Lipshit…z….The Italians have Butt-a—-fuc—o

  81. @Anonymous Nephew
    "The man in me will do
    Almost any task
    And as for compensation
    There's little that he would ask"

    Doesn't really do much without the music, does it?

    "I long to see you in the morning light
    I long to reach for you in the night"

    Would sound pretty good if you were 16 and someone wrote it in your Valentine card.

    From Robert Frost, non-Nobel laureate:

    A Case for Jefferson

    Harrison loves my country too
    But wants it all made over new
    He’s Freudian Viennese by night
    By day he’s Marxian Muscovite
    It isn’t because he’s Russian Jew
    He’s Puritan Yankee through and through
    He dotes on Saturday pork and beans
    But his mind is hardly out of his teens:
    With him the love of country means
    Blowing it all to smithereens
    And having it all made over new

  82. @syonredux

    Ask all the other flower child poets.
     
    Bob Dylan is to the other flower child poets as Jackson Pollock is to the other abstract expressionists. They just did it a lot better

    Do you mean they marketed themselves better?

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Do you mean they marketed themselves better?
     
    No, I mean that Pollock and Dylan were artistically superior to their rivals.Take Pollock; I don't really care for his work (To my mind, Hopper is the great American painter of the 20th century), but he was clearly better at abstract expressionism than anyone else.
  83. Next American to win:
    Robert Crumb
    Now THAT would raise eyebrows! And hackles!

    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    How about Gilbert Shelton of Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (fame) ?
    , @Kylie
    "Next American to win:
    Robert Crumb
    Now THAT would raise eyebrows! And hackles!"

    Dylan winning a Nobel is absurd and I find Steve's feeling of national pride in that astonishing.

    I'd be fine with Crumb winning a Nobel prize. I'd even feel national pride, or something close to it.

    I think this Crumb cartoon is as moving as "The Magnificent Ambersons" (the novel). It's a true American work of art. Crumb says more about America in fifty-one seconds than Dylan has said in the last fifty-one years.

    https://youtu.be/3ym5n-ZZWUs

  84. @Wilbur Hassenfus
    Steve, Dylan co-wrote those lyrics with Jacques Levy: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis_(song)

    One of my favorite Dylan numbers. Not typical, though. He was rarely that concrete back then. His "renaissance" since the late 90s has been more concrete, lyrically, stuff like "Floater (Too Much to Ask)", "Po' Boy", "Trying to Get to Heaven". Some really fine stuff. There's nothing on YouTube but a few official videos, sadly. "Not Dark Yet" is good: https://youtu.be/RZgBhyU4IvQ

    "Duquesne Whistle" is another: https://youtu.be/mns9VeRguys

    That's another collaboration, with Robert Hunter.

    "Thunder on the Mountain: https://youtu.be/0RPkJeziNyI


    If you just can't stand the guy, none of those will change your mind.

    The Nobel is silly. What a joke.

    Is there any chance that Dylan’s old age renaissance as a songwriter might be related to having a secret collaborator?

    I have no evidence for this, but it wouldn’t necessarily seem like a bad strategy for Bob.

    • Replies: @David
    He experimented with co-writers, Sam Shepard for example, as a way to continue his productivity, but he found kicking the Johnny Walker Red a more effective technique.

    Actually, if you accept that the perceive length of time halves when one's age doubles, you can integrate f(t)=1/t to find the relative perceived lifetime contained in any given time span.

    Depending on when you start your integration, you'll find that half your percieved life time is over around age 16. And You'll find that Dylan's production of original material almost perfectly corresponds to a maturing adult's perception of elapsed time.

    From age 21 to 31, he released one album of original material every 0.875 years. Using the above assumptions, you could have projected one album of original material each 1.3, 1.7, 2.1, and 2.5 years for the next four decades respectively, vs actual of 1.3, 1.4, 2 and 3.

    , @James Kabala
    Does Henry Timrod count?
    , @Wilbur Hassenfus
    I don't think he'd keep it a secret. I think he'd throw it right in his worshippers' silly faces.

    My (totally uninformed) guess is he tossed out his creative process and tried something new that turned out to work for him. Or maybe he just got old and mellow enough to quit trying to be original.

    It does seem like he quit trying to write in his own voice. He steals chunks of lyrics from old blues songs and so on. I get the sense that everything he writes now is set in the 1950s or earlier, maybe much earlier. "Pretend you're a somebody else and write like them" is a classic creative Houdini move when you're in a dead end.

    XTC did their best material that way:

    https://youtu.be/S0D9JyoccOo

    All idle speculation of course.
  85. Maybe he got it for honesty.

    Rock and roll legend, Bob Dylan, acknowledged in a recent interview that he has perpetuated an elaborate hoax on the public for more than fifty years. “I can’t sing, half of the time I don’t even say real words, I just mumble, and my lyrics make no sense.”

    http://www.theglobaledition.com/bob-dylan-acknowledges-50-year-long-hoax-my-lyrics-dont-make-sense/

    Dylan, often referred to as a “poetic genius”, claims he never knew what people were talking about. How profound is ‘don’t want to be a bum, you better chew gum. The pump don’t work ‘cause the vandals stole the handles’?” I just made up simple rhymes. Any child could have done what I did.”

    • Replies: @War for Blair Mountain
    utu



    Dylan worship reminds of the scene in Monty Python's "Life of Brian" where the mob was very desperate to annoint a new Messiah..Monty Python news:Terry Jones is losing the capacity to speak and understand language.
  86. @guest
    Another MN boy!

    I avoided Lewis for a while because he's one of those writers, I guessed, it is unnecessary to read because they have already sufficiently bled into the culture. You get them with your cereal in the morning as a kid, as much as when they're assigned to you in high school. Plus, I tire of the anti-suburban bias of high culture.

    Then I bothered reading "Kingsblood Royal," and liked it. So I backtracked to "Babbitt" and "Main Street,"and they weren't as condescending as I predicted.

    Henry James is basically a foreigner. Mark Twain would've been perfect, but you could do much worse than Lewis. He was actually popular, and not middle- to lowbrow like Bob Dylan.

    guest – interesting comment, but Henry James loved American women (one of his three great last novels is devoted to an American woman, one he fell in love with in his youth and wrote about in his 60s – albeit one who lived overseas – The Wings of the Dove). Another great novel – Portrait of a Lady – revolves around a loveable American, not European , woman, and out of his 150 or so best-known works (short stories, novels, essays) about 50 are set in an America nicer than any America most of us will ever know. He was in one sense basically a foreigner (liked to live in England) but he was still very American.

    • Replies: @guest
    Since we count transplanted foreigners like Einstein as Americans, though we probably shouldn't, I can allow England to claim James and T.S. Eliot, for instance. Upper-class Yankees are cultural transatlantics, anyway, which weighs more against James in my mind. But you're right, he did write about American subjects. He didn't go full European.

    I favor "The Bostonians."
    , @Kylie
    Three of Henry James' s great villainesses are also American: Kate Croy, Serena Merle and Charlotte Stant.

    The Jamesian woman I find most frightening is the redoubtable American lady, Mrs. Rimmle, from the short story "Europe".
  87. @SPMoore8
    More seriously: I don't really want to hassle BobDylan for winning the Nobel. However, I have to admit, I think it's ridiculous and a slap in the face of people who spend their entire lives writing prose and poetry, only to be upstaged by a mediocre poet and musician who nevertheless wrote a number of wonderful songs about 50 years ago.

    Someone responded to my mockery in the other thread, so I will respond to some of those comments here:

    1. The idea that Dylan is a "thinker" is absurd.

    2. The idea that Dylan's rhymes about the Rosenbergs carries any historical or juridical weight is also absurd.

    3. While we are on the subject of Dylan's legal, historical, and moral gravitas, this is the same guy who wrote a song defending Rubin Carter, who, at minimum, was twice convicted of murder (but later released), and George Jackson, who was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of a judge, the permanent crippling of a DA, and the deaths of several prison guards. This is why I was only half-kidding when I said in the other thread that the Nobel committee compromised on Dylan because they couldn't make of their minds on whether to give it to Claudia Rankine (Ms. Microaggression) or T. Genius Coates.

    4. Putting Dylan on the level of Montaigne, Melville, Shakespeare, etc. is an utter debasement of literature. However, it's almost pointless to say it, since Dylan fans will not be able to understand the difference.

    5. I am amazed that anyone would think a couplet like this:

    “Man has invented his doom/
    first step was touching the moon.”

    is in any way deep, pregnant, or meaningful.

    I have known some novelists and poets in my time, they work very hard at their craft and they know what they are saying, and they are much more sophisticated than any 3-5 minute pop song. Maybe they aren't Nobel worthy, either, but this award is definitely a finger in the eye.

    For all, that, enjoy your prize, Bob!

    I read somewhere Dylan later learned more about the case and retracted his lryics.

  88. @SPMoore8
    More seriously: I don't really want to hassle BobDylan for winning the Nobel. However, I have to admit, I think it's ridiculous and a slap in the face of people who spend their entire lives writing prose and poetry, only to be upstaged by a mediocre poet and musician who nevertheless wrote a number of wonderful songs about 50 years ago.

    Someone responded to my mockery in the other thread, so I will respond to some of those comments here:

    1. The idea that Dylan is a "thinker" is absurd.

    2. The idea that Dylan's rhymes about the Rosenbergs carries any historical or juridical weight is also absurd.

    3. While we are on the subject of Dylan's legal, historical, and moral gravitas, this is the same guy who wrote a song defending Rubin Carter, who, at minimum, was twice convicted of murder (but later released), and George Jackson, who was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of a judge, the permanent crippling of a DA, and the deaths of several prison guards. This is why I was only half-kidding when I said in the other thread that the Nobel committee compromised on Dylan because they couldn't make of their minds on whether to give it to Claudia Rankine (Ms. Microaggression) or T. Genius Coates.

    4. Putting Dylan on the level of Montaigne, Melville, Shakespeare, etc. is an utter debasement of literature. However, it's almost pointless to say it, since Dylan fans will not be able to understand the difference.

    5. I am amazed that anyone would think a couplet like this:

    “Man has invented his doom/
    first step was touching the moon.”

    is in any way deep, pregnant, or meaningful.

    I have known some novelists and poets in my time, they work very hard at their craft and they know what they are saying, and they are much more sophisticated than any 3-5 minute pop song. Maybe they aren't Nobel worthy, either, but this award is definitely a finger in the eye.

    For all, that, enjoy your prize, Bob!

    I think it’s odd that you can demonstrate no familiarity with the man’s work, but you know just what it’s worth.

    Honestly, I love Dylan and it makes no difference to me what awards or fans he wins. But I agree that his winning is a decline for the prize. I think of Montaigne being awarded the once coveted Order of St Michel, of which he said, “I was not raised up to it but it was lowered down to me.”

    By the way, it’s a line, not a couplet. I didn’t present it as particularly pregnant beyond saying it contained two images that belong together not normally put together. I know you’ll say you saw it all the whole time, but I have my doubts that you noticed that the doom man has invented was nuclear war and the vehicles that launched the space race were developed first to move war-heads. Most people don’t associate the two. But if you think the line could be improved to express same thought, the world waits for your genius.

    I like this Auden once quoted by Dylan, “Sir, I’ll admit your general rule that every poet is a fool but you yourself may serve to show it that every fool is not a poet.”

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    I don't want to disabuse anyone of their likes or loves. Aesthetics is a person to person thing, after all.

    Nevertheless, the Nobel still has a certain cultural resonance so I am obliged, as a dissenter, to register my dissent somewhere. I tried to third-person it so you wouldn't take it too strong.

    I am not unhappy that he won, I really stopped caring about Nobels a long time ago. Ditto Academy Awards, and so on. But the selection, and the justifications for it, strike me as a bit absurd.

    Nevertheless he wrote some nice songs and I can still enjoy those and their covers. Let's leave it at that.
  89. @Steve Sailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOzGPbn2tg

  90. I’ll take Jim Morrison as a better poet than zimmerDylan, any day of the week.
    Let’s swim to the moon…

    • Agree: Pat Hannagan, Anon 2
    • Replies: @guest
    From "Love Street:"

    She has robes and she has monkeys
    Lazy diamond studded flunkies
    She has wisdom and knows what to do
    She has me and she has you

    Oliver Stone made it seem meaningful.

    You can dance to it better than Dylan, at least.

    , @guest
    Jim Morrison is synonymous with adolescent pretentiousness. The high school poetry publication on Malcom in the Middle was called "The Crystal Ship," if I recall correctly.

    He couldn't sing, either. I wish I could erase him from every Doors recording. Him reciting his own poetry, though, that's priceless

    , @Pat Hannagan
    The greatest song ever written by an American:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmpAIQyKogs


    "The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)"

    I wanna tell you 'bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
    Comes out of the Virginia swamps
    Cool and slow with plenty of precision
    With a back beat narrow and hard to master

    Some call it heavenly in its brilliance
    Others, mean and rueful of the Western dream
    I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft
    We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping
    This is the land where the Pharaoh died

    The Negroes in the forest brightly feathered
    They are saying, "Forget the night.
    Live with us in forests of azure.
    Out here on the perimeter there are no stars
    Out here we is stoned – immaculate."

    Listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the heartache
    I'll tell you 'bout the heartache and the loss of God
    I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
    The meager food for souls forgot
    I'll tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul

    I'll tell you this
    No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn

    I'll tell you 'bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
    Soft-driven, slow and mad, like some new language

    Now, listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the Texas
    I'll tell you 'bout the Texas Radio
    I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
    Wandering the Western dream
    Tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul

    I'll tell you this
    No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn

    All our White boys should be made to transcribe this each day on top of their page like AMDG (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam) was instilled in us by the Nuns at school.

    , @Pat Hannagan
    David Lee Roth wrote superlative lyrics compared to Zimmerman.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdETAFYTQMA

    "Yet, as you know, and as atheists don't, Nietzsche/Morrison weren't celebrating the death of God, rather they were lamenting it.

    They knew something had been lost to us, and *that* something may have been the thing that made us 'us'."

  91. @middle aged vet
    Dylan has been talking for 50 years about what cool cats rimbaud and Baudelaire were, but he loves American music as much as any one of those guys who collects thousands of 78s with jazz, blues, or western or country music before they became country/western. This is an award to folklorists, pasticheurs, anthologists, and those guys with late night radio shows where they talk about how much they love the music of their parents' day. One hopes, because one feels simpatico with them, that their wives are listening or at least supportive. Sinclair Lewis was a really good writer, by the way; Arrowsmith was his best (imagine a really really good episode of your favorite hospital drama), but I am one of those unusual people who care about what is true and not true: for example, I wondered why Franklin married Edith and discovered, after independent research, that she was slightly more attractive than Sandra Bullock in her early 20s. Abundant hair, thoughtful eyes, symmetric features, and probably (photographs of the time are uninformative) a wonderfully healthy complexion. Who knew?

    There’s a disconnect in my mind between the kind of music beloved of the folk movement on one hand and actual folk music on the other. Because all folk, really, is old pop music. I have to believe it was more palatable than whatever Dylan’s doing.

    Not to get into an argument about authenticity, because I don’t care. Folkies can listen to whatever they want. I just don’t like them borrowing the mantle of Americana. That should go to stuff like “You Are My Sunshine,” not “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35.”

  92. @SPMoore8
    More seriously: I don't really want to hassle BobDylan for winning the Nobel. However, I have to admit, I think it's ridiculous and a slap in the face of people who spend their entire lives writing prose and poetry, only to be upstaged by a mediocre poet and musician who nevertheless wrote a number of wonderful songs about 50 years ago.

    Someone responded to my mockery in the other thread, so I will respond to some of those comments here:

    1. The idea that Dylan is a "thinker" is absurd.

    2. The idea that Dylan's rhymes about the Rosenbergs carries any historical or juridical weight is also absurd.

    3. While we are on the subject of Dylan's legal, historical, and moral gravitas, this is the same guy who wrote a song defending Rubin Carter, who, at minimum, was twice convicted of murder (but later released), and George Jackson, who was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of a judge, the permanent crippling of a DA, and the deaths of several prison guards. This is why I was only half-kidding when I said in the other thread that the Nobel committee compromised on Dylan because they couldn't make of their minds on whether to give it to Claudia Rankine (Ms. Microaggression) or T. Genius Coates.

    4. Putting Dylan on the level of Montaigne, Melville, Shakespeare, etc. is an utter debasement of literature. However, it's almost pointless to say it, since Dylan fans will not be able to understand the difference.

    5. I am amazed that anyone would think a couplet like this:

    “Man has invented his doom/
    first step was touching the moon.”

    is in any way deep, pregnant, or meaningful.

    I have known some novelists and poets in my time, they work very hard at their craft and they know what they are saying, and they are much more sophisticated than any 3-5 minute pop song. Maybe they aren't Nobel worthy, either, but this award is definitely a finger in the eye.

    For all, that, enjoy your prize, Bob!

    Maybe I’m splitting hairs but Jaques Levy wrote “Hurricane”.

  93. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:
    @utu
    Maybe he got it for honesty.

    Rock and roll legend, Bob Dylan, acknowledged in a recent interview that he has perpetuated an elaborate hoax on the public for more than fifty years. “I can’t sing, half of the time I don’t even say real words, I just mumble, and my lyrics make no sense.”

    http://www.theglobaledition.com/bob-dylan-acknowledges-50-year-long-hoax-my-lyrics-dont-make-sense/

    Dylan, often referred to as a “poetic genius”, claims he never knew what people were talking about. How profound is ‘don’t want to be a bum, you better chew gum. The pump don’t work ‘cause the vandals stole the handles’?” I just made up simple rhymes. Any child could have done what I did.”

    utu

    Dylan worship reminds of the scene in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” where the mob was very desperate to annoint a new Messiah..Monty Python news:Terry Jones is losing the capacity to speak and understand language.

  94. @guest
    Do you mean they marketed themselves better?

    Do you mean they marketed themselves better?

    No, I mean that Pollock and Dylan were artistically superior to their rivals.Take Pollock; I don’t really care for his work (To my mind, Hopper is the great American painter of the 20th century), but he was clearly better at abstract expressionism than anyone else.

    • Replies: @guest
    I don't know how it's possible to be better or worse at Abstract Expressionism.

    I like Hopper, too, though not his people, whose faces I find hideous. His cityscapes, landscapes, and architectural paintings are breathtaking
  95. @Steve Sailer
    Perhaps, but it's hard to imagine Dylan composing "Imagine." Bob is ultra-American culturally.

    He started out his career by taking a stage name that didn’t sound Jewish and casting himself in the image of Woody Guthrie. He related to Guthrie’s nationalist/populist leftism rather than Lennon’s strain, which was at its core about hatred for Western Civilization.

    Part of the reason he was called a traitor when he went electric was because his lyrics went from being explicitly activist anthems to cryptic streams of consciousness. I’ve seen a quote where he was talking about how much other people had projected their politics onto him and he was actually kind of ambivalent about a lot of it.

  96. Speaking of the “singing version of Isis” , I guess that not so common Nordic-Orientalism shtick had been peyoteed,(The Guardian claims it was brainstormed ) under the influence of Jacques Levy of the ‘Oh! Calcutta!’ fame, who was apparently a co-author of the lyrics.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2004/nov/26/guardianobituaries.artsobituaries

  97. Bob Dylan’s music is mostly boring, slow and arrhythmic. His lyrics are incomprehensible and often painfully cliche.

    Why not just complete the circle of travesty and give it to Justin Bieber?

    This is why we cannot have civilization anymore. The Baby Boomers have given it away and are trying to destroy its memory.

  98. @middle aged vet
    Dylan has been talking for 50 years about what cool cats rimbaud and Baudelaire were, but he loves American music as much as any one of those guys who collects thousands of 78s with jazz, blues, or western or country music before they became country/western. This is an award to folklorists, pasticheurs, anthologists, and those guys with late night radio shows where they talk about how much they love the music of their parents' day. One hopes, because one feels simpatico with them, that their wives are listening or at least supportive. Sinclair Lewis was a really good writer, by the way; Arrowsmith was his best (imagine a really really good episode of your favorite hospital drama), but I am one of those unusual people who care about what is true and not true: for example, I wondered why Franklin married Edith and discovered, after independent research, that she was slightly more attractive than Sandra Bullock in her early 20s. Abundant hair, thoughtful eyes, symmetric features, and probably (photographs of the time are uninformative) a wonderfully healthy complexion. Who knew?

    Sinclair Lewis was a really good writer, by the way; Arrowsmith was his best (imagine a really really good episode of your favorite hospital drama),

    He was good, but not in the same league as James and Twain

  99. Show biz is strange. At some point Bob metamorphosed from a Greenwich Village novelty act (appearing alongside Tiny Tim), to God, at which point he had the good grace to retire to Saugherties and allow the process to unfold.

    I like some Dylan songs very much, and other songs not so much. But the ones I like, have a sharp and peculiar resonance. Personal favorite: Byrds cover of Tambourine Man. That song to me IS the 1960s, for better & worse. Second: Love Minus Zero. “She’s knows there’s no success like failure, and that failure’s no success at all.”

    Always thought it was great that his high school GF was named Marvel Echo Star Helstrom. Is that a great name, or what?

  100. @middle aged vet
    guest - interesting comment, but Henry James loved American women (one of his three great last novels is devoted to an American woman, one he fell in love with in his youth and wrote about in his 60s - albeit one who lived overseas - The Wings of the Dove). Another great novel - Portrait of a Lady - revolves around a loveable American, not European , woman, and out of his 150 or so best-known works (short stories, novels, essays) about 50 are set in an America nicer than any America most of us will ever know. He was in one sense basically a foreigner (liked to live in England) but he was still very American.

    Since we count transplanted foreigners like Einstein as Americans, though we probably shouldn’t, I can allow England to claim James and T.S. Eliot, for instance. Upper-class Yankees are cultural transatlantics, anyway, which weighs more against James in my mind. But you’re right, he did write about American subjects. He didn’t go full European.

    I favor “The Bostonians.”

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    Einstein, genius though he might have been, was not American. Neither was Nabokov, his wife, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Werner von Braun, Billy Wilder, or Bob Hope. Well, maybe Bob Hope; he flew a lot of scary flights on unreliable planes to support the American war efforts of his middle-aged and elderly years. Eliot and James were very American, it is not their fault that they could not find beautiful young American women to marry before they expatriated themselves. They wrote more interesting things about the United States than almost anybody else, so they get a pass.
    , @syonredux

    Since we count transplanted foreigners like Einstein as Americans,
     
    Only silly people count Einstein as an American in anything but a legal sense.Steve once offered a pretty good rule-of-thumb definition: An American is someone who was here for his high school years. So, Albert Michelson is a Yank, but not the other Albert.

    I can allow England to claim James and T.S. Eliot, for instance.
     
    Eliot worked quite hard at being a Brit, but even he couldn't escape the Mississippi, the " strong brown god" that ruled his childhood. Best to think of him as a British-American hybrid.

    Upper-class Yankees are cultural transatlantics, anyway, which weighs more against James in my mind.
     
    Subtract them (Hawthorne, Longfellow, Lowell, Dickinson, Thoreau, Emerson, William James, Benjamin Franklin, Parkman, Charles William Eliot, etc), and there's scarcely any American culture left....
  101. @syonredux

    Do you mean they marketed themselves better?
     
    No, I mean that Pollock and Dylan were artistically superior to their rivals.Take Pollock; I don't really care for his work (To my mind, Hopper is the great American painter of the 20th century), but he was clearly better at abstract expressionism than anyone else.

    I don’t know how it’s possible to be better or worse at Abstract Expressionism.

    I like Hopper, too, though not his people, whose faces I find hideous. His cityscapes, landscapes, and architectural paintings are breathtaking

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
    Looked up Edward Hopper. Hmmmm.... Not into after-sex paintings, but I like the couple in the diner.

    Jackson Pollock, OMG, no. My mangled, desiccated, weed-infested lawn is more artistic.
  102. @guest
    Another MN boy!

    I avoided Lewis for a while because he's one of those writers, I guessed, it is unnecessary to read because they have already sufficiently bled into the culture. You get them with your cereal in the morning as a kid, as much as when they're assigned to you in high school. Plus, I tire of the anti-suburban bias of high culture.

    Then I bothered reading "Kingsblood Royal," and liked it. So I backtracked to "Babbitt" and "Main Street,"and they weren't as condescending as I predicted.

    Henry James is basically a foreigner. Mark Twain would've been perfect, but you could do much worse than Lewis. He was actually popular, and not middle- to lowbrow like Bob Dylan.

    Then I bothered reading “Kingsblood Royal,” and liked it. So I backtracked to “Babbitt” and “Main Street,”and they weren’t as condescending as I predicted.

    Lewis was a perfectly fine writer; it’s just a bit odd that the Academy picked him over James and Twain…..

    Henry James is basically a foreigner.

    Not really. His greatest novels are all about Americans: Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians, The Ambassadors , The Wings of the Dove, etc. Plus, Hawthorne was the single greatest influence on his work.

  103. @Steve Sailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyOzGPbn2tg

    Great cover of another Dylan/Levy collaboration.

  104. Agreed, Sinclair Lewis, talented as he was was nowhere close to the league of James and Twain – I wish I knew how James and Twain got so talented…that would make a good movie or a good rock album, wouldn’t it? (Sinclair Lewis himself would have agreed too, by the way, he was one of those artists who is likeably humble…). By the way, if anyone reading this thinks Twain is overrated, read what he wrote about animals – he was like the Dog Whisperer of his day…I guess Missouri five generations ago was a good place to learn to be true friends with innocent animals …

  105. @guest
    I've read three Updikes, all of them Rabbits. The first was great, the second I almost gave up on, and the third was okay. I'm not very familiar with him outside of that, though I did see the movie "Witches of Eastwick."

    Bech: A Book is quite good (it’s Updike having a little fun satirizing his Jewish rivals). I’d also recommend reading The Coup, but keep a dictionary handy.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    The Coup is one of the best books I read this decade. Enjoyed it much more than the first Rabbit book (the only rabbit book I read).
  106. @Clyde

    Several critics have acclaimed "Visions of Johanna" as one of Dylan's highest achievements in writing, praising the allusiveness and subtlety of the language. Rolling Stone included "Visions of Johanna" on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 1999, Sir Andrew Motion, poet laureate of the UK, listed it as his candidate for the greatest song lyric ever written. Numerous artists have recorded cover versions of the song, including the Grateful Dead, Marianne Faithfull and Robyn Hitchcock.
     
    Is my Dylan favorite. Electric from the album. He probably butchers it on stage these days so I would not bother seeing him live. Neil Young would be better because he does his tunes the way they were recorded. Here is Neil Young doing Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower better than Dylan ever could.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCVjDFR5xtg

    +1 for both “Visions” and Neil Young’s version of “All Along the Watchtower”. Young did that song and “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” very well on the Dylan 3oth Anniversary Concert Celebration, which has a lot of good covers on it.

    • Replies: @Clyde
    Neil Young has turned into such a silly lefty it's painful but I still like the way he used to do it. It, being all his tunes. I like most of what he did 20 years ago and before. Yeah I know he did Watchtower at the Dylan 3oth Anniversary Concert Celebration but this version is better. Done here with Bruce Springteen (I like nothing by him). Max Weinberg is slamming the drums here!
    Performance is from a 2004 John Kerry get out the vote rally...what can I say but gotta do the best with what's still around.
  107. @David
    I think it's odd that you can demonstrate no familiarity with the man's work, but you know just what it's worth.

    Honestly, I love Dylan and it makes no difference to me what awards or fans he wins. But I agree that his winning is a decline for the prize. I think of Montaigne being awarded the once coveted Order of St Michel, of which he said, "I was not raised up to it but it was lowered down to me."

    By the way, it's a line, not a couplet. I didn't present it as particularly pregnant beyond saying it contained two images that belong together not normally put together. I know you'll say you saw it all the whole time, but I have my doubts that you noticed that the doom man has invented was nuclear war and the vehicles that launched the space race were developed first to move war-heads. Most people don't associate the two. But if you think the line could be improved to express same thought, the world waits for your genius.

    I like this Auden once quoted by Dylan, "Sir, I'll admit your general rule that every poet is a fool but you yourself may serve to show it that every fool is not a poet."

    I don’t want to disabuse anyone of their likes or loves. Aesthetics is a person to person thing, after all.

    Nevertheless, the Nobel still has a certain cultural resonance so I am obliged, as a dissenter, to register my dissent somewhere. I tried to third-person it so you wouldn’t take it too strong.

    I am not unhappy that he won, I really stopped caring about Nobels a long time ago. Ditto Academy Awards, and so on. But the selection, and the justifications for it, strike me as a bit absurd.

    Nevertheless he wrote some nice songs and I can still enjoy those and their covers. Let’s leave it at that.

    • Replies: @FactsAreImportant

    I am obliged, as a dissenter, to register my dissent somewhere
     
    [Monty Python Voice On]

    Of course, sir, that would be the third door on the right, just past the loo. The Office of Dissent Registry don't you know. They'll be there til four unless there's an extraordinary outbreak of dissent in the park requiring immediate on-site dissent registry.

    Very good then, off you go!

    [Monty Python Voice Off]

  108. The Nobel Prize has ceased the mean anything for quite awhile now. I mean, Yasser Arafat? Henry Kissinger? Barack Obama? If I had been a Nobel laureate myself and had not already returned my prize when any of these luminaries received theirs, I would now be sending it back upon hearing the news that Bob Dylan has now been inducted into the club. I don’t have any particular hatred for Bob Dylan, but let’s face the facts here—this is ridiculous.

    I simply cannot entertain the notion that Bob Dylan’s accomplishments in life are worthy to be ranked beside those of Erwin Schrodinger or the Curies, or even Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. It seems people have largely forgotten that there once was a pretty magnificent Western civilization that cultivated real works of genius in every field. Bob Dylan is nowhere close to being food for the spirit in the sense that great artistic or intellectual works are. This is an objective fact that I won’t bother trying to argue or explain, because those who disagree with me will never get it.

  109. @guest
    Part of me wants to say this is ridiculous, and it is. But at least they're awarding someone in touch with the public. Contemporary High Poetry is a joke, and written for no one. Can anyone remember when Joe Lunchbox used to read the stuff? Not since Robert Frost. Eggheads don't, either, according to my anecdotal experience watching Jeopardy!

    Dylan is on the hipster end of the pop spectrum, and I would prefer they recognize something along the lines of Cole Porter. But that doesn't exist anymore. At least they hey didn't award some university subsidized navel-gazer, or a Poet of Color. (Though according to Matthew Yglesias Jews like Zimmerman will be lynched along with the rest.)

    I am a MN boy, but take little pride in this feat. I try and imagine my grandfather being told a native would win the Nobel Prize for literature. He'd probably be thinking along the lines of Sinclair Lewis or Scott Fitzgerald. But never this!

    I brought up the poet laureate for America, Juan Herrera, a few weeks ago. Has anyone bothered to go read his poetry? Here’s a link to three of his poems.

    http://bombmagazine.org/article/2869/three-poems

    Really great stuff. You can see why he’s so celebrated and awarded. I’ll bet students all over LA Unified are memorizing his brilliant soul-offerings.

  110. Fact Check: DYLAN IS OVERATED.

    Today I was mesmerized by the masterpiece of young poet Stephen Miller whose fresh, yet traditional style, although had created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition, will not make it to November issue of the New Yorker.

    I would like to share it with all Sailer’s poetry-corner aficionados:

    The Last Rally in October

    I

    This is a struggle for
    the survival of our nation

    This election will determine
    whether we are a free nation

    Or whether we have only
    the illusion of Democracy

    But are in fact controlled
    by a small handful

    Of global special interests
    rigging the system

    II

    This is not just conspiracy
    but reality, and you and I
    know it

    The establishment
    and their media enablers
    wield control

    Over this nation
    through means
    that are well known

    Anyone who
    challenges their control
    is deemed

    A sexist, a racist,
    a xenophobe
    and morally deformed

    They will
    attack
    you

    They will
    slander
    you

    They will seek
    to destroy your
    career and reputation

    And they
    will lie, lie,
    and lie even more

    DONALD J. TRUMP

    October 13. 2016. West Palm Beach, Florida

    • Agree: slumber_j
  111. @Steve Sailer
    Is there any chance that Dylan's old age renaissance as a songwriter might be related to having a secret collaborator?

    I have no evidence for this, but it wouldn't necessarily seem like a bad strategy for Bob.

    He experimented with co-writers, Sam Shepard for example, as a way to continue his productivity, but he found kicking the Johnny Walker Red a more effective technique.

    Actually, if you accept that the perceive length of time halves when one’s age doubles, you can integrate f(t)=1/t to find the relative perceived lifetime contained in any given time span.

    Depending on when you start your integration, you’ll find that half your percieved life time is over around age 16. And You’ll find that Dylan’s production of original material almost perfectly corresponds to a maturing adult’s perception of elapsed time.

    From age 21 to 31, he released one album of original material every 0.875 years. Using the above assumptions, you could have projected one album of original material each 1.3, 1.7, 2.1, and 2.5 years for the next four decades respectively, vs actual of 1.3, 1.4, 2 and 3.

  112. @guest
    I don't know how it's possible to be better or worse at Abstract Expressionism.

    I like Hopper, too, though not his people, whose faces I find hideous. His cityscapes, landscapes, and architectural paintings are breathtaking

    Looked up Edward Hopper. Hmmmm…. Not into after-sex paintings, but I like the couple in the diner.

    Jackson Pollock, OMG, no. My mangled, desiccated, weed-infested lawn is more artistic.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    I've always admired Hopper's ability to capture urban life. Cf things like Office in a Small City


    http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/488730
  113. @Opinionator
    Is Steve approving of the choice or disapproving?

    There is an interesting and unasked question underlying this discussion:

    What makes a great lyric great?

    Is a great lyric one that stands by itself as great poetry without the music? That can’t be. A lyric, by definition is meant to be sung to music. It makes no sense to think of it standing alone.

    Lyrics, even very good lyrics, almost always sound childish standing alone. It is the music that takes very small sounds, words and ideas and blows them up into nuanced and great lyrics. Music can transform single syllables into great poetry.

    Conversely, lyrics that are very good on paper are almost always awful in a song because they are too convoluted and intricate.

    So, Dylan’s “poetry” has to be evaluated in the context of the music it is set to.

    I dunno if Dylan’s Nobel makes any more sense in this context, I’m just saying that this is the appropriate context.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Cole Porter's lyrics read well enough on the page, but sung to the music by Sinatra ...
    , @guest
    Of course it makes sense to think of it standing alone. Crack open Palgrave's Golden Treasury, if you don't believe me. I have no idea what tunes go with the songs, but they're catchy nonetheless. We love Ancient Greek tragedy despite the fact that we have little to no idea how it was actually performed, or what their music sounded like.

    It would be nice to have the complete package, as intended by the author. But it's not necessary. There's a long tradition in lyric poetry of considering the words on their own.
    , @guest
    "lyrics that are very good on paper are almost always awful in a song because they are too convoluted and intricate"

    You are either very limited in your experience of lyric poetry, or else you're narrowing yourself to rock music, maybe. As Steve says, Cole Porter is very clever while being infectiously singable.

    There are infinite older examples, and I don't need to Wordsworth. You can find intelligent enough lyrics in low fare like "The Wanton Seed."
    , @SPMoore8
    Well, that's a standard question about words and music that is very old, Richard Strauss (with Clemens Krauss) wrote an opera on the theme, Capriccio, and the over-riding problem was: which is more important, the words, or the music? (It was set as a woman who had to choose between two suitors: she couldn't make up her mind.)

    It seems that the Swedes had in mind the words and the music, and when the words are set just right to a melody it can be pretty awesome, as we all know.

    But great lyric poetry is something else, because a lot of it was not meant to be set to music, rather, it was meant to be music by being read aloud, and in that case you are combining words and music in the actual sounds of the words themselves.

    I think most lyrics meant to be sung that I can think of in the 20th Century are pretty pale without the musical accompaniment. In those kinds of cases, the music exposes what are often weak and trite lyrics. On the other hand the word play you get with people like Cole Porter or Stephen Sondheim can still be gotten off just a page.
  114. @guest
    Since we count transplanted foreigners like Einstein as Americans, though we probably shouldn't, I can allow England to claim James and T.S. Eliot, for instance. Upper-class Yankees are cultural transatlantics, anyway, which weighs more against James in my mind. But you're right, he did write about American subjects. He didn't go full European.

    I favor "The Bostonians."

    Einstein, genius though he might have been, was not American. Neither was Nabokov, his wife, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Werner von Braun, Billy Wilder, or Bob Hope. Well, maybe Bob Hope; he flew a lot of scary flights on unreliable planes to support the American war efforts of his middle-aged and elderly years. Eliot and James were very American, it is not their fault that they could not find beautiful young American women to marry before they expatriated themselves. They wrote more interesting things about the United States than almost anybody else, so they get a pass.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Einstein, genius though he might have been, was not American. Neither was Nabokov, his wife, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Werner von Braun, Billy Wilder, or Bob Hope.
     
    Bob Hope's definitely a Yank.


    Nabokov is a singularity, a trilingual Russian who lived the bulk of his life outside Russia and did his best work (Lolita , Ada, Pale Fire, etc) in English.
  115. I never got Dylan. Must be a Boomer thing. He sings through his nose and sounds like the late Don Drysdale as a singer. Now, Joey Ramone, or Mick Jagger, or Marvin Gaye, or James Brown. THOSE were singers.

    But a singer for the Nobel? Why not Frederick Forsythe? The great, much missed Donald E. Westlake? Eric Ambler? They wrote books that were actually fun to read; and if the nominees have to still be living, well Forsythe is still alive.

  116. @Heisenberg
    I'll take Jim Morrison as a better poet than zimmerDylan, any day of the week.
    Let's swim to the moon...

    From “Love Street:”

    She has robes and she has monkeys
    Lazy diamond studded flunkies
    She has wisdom and knows what to do
    She has me and she has you

    Oliver Stone made it seem meaningful.

    You can dance to it better than Dylan, at least.

  117. @guest
    Since we count transplanted foreigners like Einstein as Americans, though we probably shouldn't, I can allow England to claim James and T.S. Eliot, for instance. Upper-class Yankees are cultural transatlantics, anyway, which weighs more against James in my mind. But you're right, he did write about American subjects. He didn't go full European.

    I favor "The Bostonians."

    Since we count transplanted foreigners like Einstein as Americans,

    Only silly people count Einstein as an American in anything but a legal sense.Steve once offered a pretty good rule-of-thumb definition: An American is someone who was here for his high school years. So, Albert Michelson is a Yank, but not the other Albert.

    I can allow England to claim James and T.S. Eliot, for instance.

    Eliot worked quite hard at being a Brit, but even he couldn’t escape the Mississippi, the ” strong brown god” that ruled his childhood. Best to think of him as a British-American hybrid.

    Upper-class Yankees are cultural transatlantics, anyway, which weighs more against James in my mind.

    Subtract them (Hawthorne, Longfellow, Lowell, Dickinson, Thoreau, Emerson, William James, Benjamin Franklin, Parkman, Charles William Eliot, etc), and there’s scarcely any American culture left….

    • Replies: @guest
    I see your point. I've always maintained myself that America is culturally English, with Celtic, Dutch, German, etc. around the edges. But there's English-derived Americanism, then there are Anglo-Americans. There are Anglo-Americans, and then there are High Yankees like the James brothers. There are High Yankees, and then there are Yankees who actually go overseas and become British subjects.

    That was my point. You have one thing on top of the other with Henry. He wasn't just any old American who went to Europe. He was pre-Europed, in a sense. He wasn't just a Europe-y American. He was a Yankee who became an actual Englishman.

  118. @guest
    McCarthy is pretentious and mock high-falutin', with sentence fragments literally about horses pooping. But he is an actual writer, and relatively popular. Honoring Dylan must be to him like failing your doctoral thesis and having to sit there while a 5th grader gets an honorary degree for the doggerel she dedicated to her cat.

    I tried to read Blood Meridian and couldn’t even finish it. Punctuation exists for a reason. There’s a sentence that goes something like “He took the tortilla and put beans on the tortilla and rolled up the tortilla and ate the tortilla and the tortilla tasted good.” Just bad writing dressed up in pretension. I always like Hemingway’s style though, so maybe I just don’t get the appeal of run-ons.

    McCarthy desperately wants to be thought of as A Thinker. There was a Rolling Stone piece from 2007 about his association with the Santa Fe Institute, but I don’t think there’s anything to indicate he actually has anything to contribute to chaos theory or anything else studied there.

    • Replies: @guest
    University English professors exist to tell you why such sentences are brilliant, despite your common sense reaction. I think that very sentence was an example in the fun, little book "A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose." Critics will give you a rationalization for each and every "tortilla" in it, either because they're charlatans or because they've gone made.
  119. @Steve Sailer
    Of Roth's recent stuff, I read The Human Stain, which was quite good, better than the movie, and the Human Animal (???) which was pretty dire. The early "Portnoy's Complaint" is hilarious and highly informative.

    He had an odd shaped career with early success, followed by a pretty bad spell during what should have been his prime, followed by an impressive old age. In contrast, Updike's career looks like a literary athlete's: with a peak in his late 40s followed by decline.

    Portnoy’s Complaint sounds execrable from the reviews on Amazon. What was so informative about it? Maybe it was what inspired all those awful Woody Allen movies.

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    Portnoy's Complaint is very informative about masturbation: it was one of those go-to books for boys in that era, like Terry Southern's Candy, to find out about the facts of life and not to feel guilty about it. (Although I preferred Flash and Filigree.)
    , @utu
    "He's a fine writer, but I wouldn't want to shake hands with him." (Jacqueline Susann)
  120. @Heisenberg
    I'll take Jim Morrison as a better poet than zimmerDylan, any day of the week.
    Let's swim to the moon...

    Jim Morrison is synonymous with adolescent pretentiousness. The high school poetry publication on Malcom in the Middle was called “The Crystal Ship,” if I recall correctly.

    He couldn’t sing, either. I wish I could erase him from every Doors recording. Him reciting his own poetry, though, that’s priceless

    • Agree: ATX Hipster
    • Replies: @Dennis Dale
    The voice was all puffed up affectation and the lyrics puffed up pretense. "Indians in the highway"! Oh f--- off!
  121. @FactsAreImportant
    There is an interesting and unasked question underlying this discussion:

    What makes a great lyric great?

    Is a great lyric one that stands by itself as great poetry without the music? That can't be. A lyric, by definition is meant to be sung to music. It makes no sense to think of it standing alone.

    Lyrics, even very good lyrics, almost always sound childish standing alone. It is the music that takes very small sounds, words and ideas and blows them up into nuanced and great lyrics. Music can transform single syllables into great poetry.

    Conversely, lyrics that are very good on paper are almost always awful in a song because they are too convoluted and intricate.

    So, Dylan's "poetry" has to be evaluated in the context of the music it is set to.

    I dunno if Dylan's Nobel makes any more sense in this context, I'm just saying that this is the appropriate context.

    Cole Porter’s lyrics read well enough on the page, but sung to the music by Sinatra …

    • Replies: @guest
    From "Anything Goes:"

    The world has gone mad today
    And good's bad today
    And black's white today
    And day's night today
    And that gent today
    You gave a cent today
    Once had several chateaux

    When folks who still ride in jitneys
    Find out Vanderbilts and Whitneys
    Lack baby clothes
    Anything goes

    It sings even better.
  122. @syonredux

    Since we count transplanted foreigners like Einstein as Americans,
     
    Only silly people count Einstein as an American in anything but a legal sense.Steve once offered a pretty good rule-of-thumb definition: An American is someone who was here for his high school years. So, Albert Michelson is a Yank, but not the other Albert.

    I can allow England to claim James and T.S. Eliot, for instance.
     
    Eliot worked quite hard at being a Brit, but even he couldn't escape the Mississippi, the " strong brown god" that ruled his childhood. Best to think of him as a British-American hybrid.

    Upper-class Yankees are cultural transatlantics, anyway, which weighs more against James in my mind.
     
    Subtract them (Hawthorne, Longfellow, Lowell, Dickinson, Thoreau, Emerson, William James, Benjamin Franklin, Parkman, Charles William Eliot, etc), and there's scarcely any American culture left....

    I see your point. I’ve always maintained myself that America is culturally English, with Celtic, Dutch, German, etc. around the edges. But there’s English-derived Americanism, then there are Anglo-Americans. There are Anglo-Americans, and then there are High Yankees like the James brothers. There are High Yankees, and then there are Yankees who actually go overseas and become British subjects.

    That was my point. You have one thing on top of the other with Henry. He wasn’t just any old American who went to Europe. He was pre-Europed, in a sense. He wasn’t just a Europe-y American. He was a Yankee who became an actual Englishman.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    That was my point. You have one thing on top of the other with Henry. He wasn’t just any old American who went to Europe. He was pre-Europed, in a sense. He wasn’t just a Europe-y American. He was a Yankee who became an actual Englishman.
     
    Again, no. Henry James always retained his "Americanness." Cf how he constantly went back to American themes and characters in his work. And even his becoming a British subject in the final year of his life was largely a matter of showing solidarity with Britain in her struggle with Germany.
  123. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    Greenwhich Village folk scene back in the day, the Clancy Brothers were Rock Stars…a non-entity named Robert Zimmeran used to follow The Clancy Brothers around wherever they played in New York. Robert Zimmerman constantly pestered these Celebrity Irish Lads with questions after their performances. Liam Clancy called Robert Zimmerman a “God Dam pest!!!!….like a knat” he wanted to swat…

    Moving forward in time…a few years back…..Big Bob did his tour warmup in secret at the old structurally unsafe IMAC(Mr. and Mrs. Derbyshire’s neck of the woods). A few weeks after Bob did his warmup at the Old IMAC during Rashashanna(Jews correct me on the spelling)….,a 175 pound mass of old plaster fell from the ceiling onto the stage missing the head of one of the local teenagers who worked at the old IMAC….missed his head by a few inches…..

    • Replies: @syonredux
    The Coen bros Inside Llewyn Davis offers an interesting portrait of the NY folk scene in the early '60s. Oscar Isaac was quite good as a folk-singer who never makes it:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHdXOGGnSaA
  124. @stillCARealist
    Portnoy's Complaint sounds execrable from the reviews on Amazon. What was so informative about it? Maybe it was what inspired all those awful Woody Allen movies.

    Portnoy’s Complaint is very informative about masturbation: it was one of those go-to books for boys in that era, like Terry Southern’s Candy, to find out about the facts of life and not to feel guilty about it. (Although I preferred Flash and Filigree.)

  125. @FactsAreImportant
    There is an interesting and unasked question underlying this discussion:

    What makes a great lyric great?

    Is a great lyric one that stands by itself as great poetry without the music? That can't be. A lyric, by definition is meant to be sung to music. It makes no sense to think of it standing alone.

    Lyrics, even very good lyrics, almost always sound childish standing alone. It is the music that takes very small sounds, words and ideas and blows them up into nuanced and great lyrics. Music can transform single syllables into great poetry.

    Conversely, lyrics that are very good on paper are almost always awful in a song because they are too convoluted and intricate.

    So, Dylan's "poetry" has to be evaluated in the context of the music it is set to.

    I dunno if Dylan's Nobel makes any more sense in this context, I'm just saying that this is the appropriate context.

    Of course it makes sense to think of it standing alone. Crack open Palgrave’s Golden Treasury, if you don’t believe me. I have no idea what tunes go with the songs, but they’re catchy nonetheless. We love Ancient Greek tragedy despite the fact that we have little to no idea how it was actually performed, or what their music sounded like.

    It would be nice to have the complete package, as intended by the author. But it’s not necessary. There’s a long tradition in lyric poetry of considering the words on their own.

    • Replies: @FactsAreImportant
    Good points.

    But, while some lyrics may hold up on their own, other lyrics, dopey on the page, can be made great by the music. The interplay of the two can make something much more than the sum of the two by themselves.

    Some of the my favorite lyrics are quite simple, but create wonderful little explosions of images when stretched out and set to music.

    Or I could be a dufus in over my head. You obviously know more than I do, and what I thought was an insightful insight has probably been hashed out many times before.
    , @PiltdownMan

    Crack open Palgrave’s Golden Treasury, if you don’t believe me.
     
    I will, very carefully. I inherited a copy from my dad, which he acquired as a high school textbook circa 1932 and, well, treasured.

    What poetry textbooks do high school students use these days? Do they even read the British poets? Or do their horizons extend no further than Maya Angelou?
  126. @middle aged vet
    Einstein, genius though he might have been, was not American. Neither was Nabokov, his wife, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Werner von Braun, Billy Wilder, or Bob Hope. Well, maybe Bob Hope; he flew a lot of scary flights on unreliable planes to support the American war efforts of his middle-aged and elderly years. Eliot and James were very American, it is not their fault that they could not find beautiful young American women to marry before they expatriated themselves. They wrote more interesting things about the United States than almost anybody else, so they get a pass.

    Einstein, genius though he might have been, was not American. Neither was Nabokov, his wife, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Werner von Braun, Billy Wilder, or Bob Hope.

    Bob Hope’s definitely a Yank.

    Nabokov is a singularity, a trilingual Russian who lived the bulk of his life outside Russia and did his best work (Lolita , Ada, Pale Fire, etc) in English.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    As for Hope - Yes, definitely, he had the right to call himself a Yank: but is it not easier for us, who do not have to worry about the little guy trying to steal our dates, to say nice things about him than it would have been for our American-born forebears? Nabokov's work in Pale Fire was inspired by Americans like Frost and Yvor Winters (on whom John Shade was in part based), but his wife was what he most cared about in the world, and she was the wife of the son of the last Attorney General of the Russia of the Czars in the twentieth century, and his son, who was what he cared most about in the world after his wife (more or less, I am no psychologist), was, although completely American, rather eccentric, in a gifted way that may or may not have been quite American. So maybe Nabokov would agree that the most important things he cared about were not the sort of things Americans care about. Nothing wrong with that, of course... Nabokov's best work, in my opinion, was his poetry, then his non-romantic short stories (Bunin's romantic short stories are just achingly better, whether we want them to be or not). When writing about men and women (as he did in Ada, Pale Fire, and other works), the bright little formerly absurdly rich fellow was not on his strongest ground, I think everyone would agree with that. I am happy he found a woman to put up with him - God only knows how good a writer Emily Dickinson would have been had she found a man to put up with her - but we all have our limits. Non omnes omnia possum, after all...
    , @Peter Akuleyev
    Nabokov arguably did his best work in Russian, in terms of style and emotional investment - Invitation to an Execution, The Gift, etc. - Pale Fire and Lolita are in some ways more interesting works, since later Nabokov, writing in English, was more playful and "clever" in many ways, but The Gift is no worse than his third best novel, including all his English language production.
  127. @stillCARealist
    Looked up Edward Hopper. Hmmmm.... Not into after-sex paintings, but I like the couple in the diner.

    Jackson Pollock, OMG, no. My mangled, desiccated, weed-infested lawn is more artistic.

    I’ve always admired Hopper’s ability to capture urban life. Cf things like Office in a Small City

    http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/488730

  128. @FactsAreImportant
    There is an interesting and unasked question underlying this discussion:

    What makes a great lyric great?

    Is a great lyric one that stands by itself as great poetry without the music? That can't be. A lyric, by definition is meant to be sung to music. It makes no sense to think of it standing alone.

    Lyrics, even very good lyrics, almost always sound childish standing alone. It is the music that takes very small sounds, words and ideas and blows them up into nuanced and great lyrics. Music can transform single syllables into great poetry.

    Conversely, lyrics that are very good on paper are almost always awful in a song because they are too convoluted and intricate.

    So, Dylan's "poetry" has to be evaluated in the context of the music it is set to.

    I dunno if Dylan's Nobel makes any more sense in this context, I'm just saying that this is the appropriate context.

    “lyrics that are very good on paper are almost always awful in a song because they are too convoluted and intricate”

    You are either very limited in your experience of lyric poetry, or else you’re narrowing yourself to rock music, maybe. As Steve says, Cole Porter is very clever while being infectiously singable.

    There are infinite older examples, and I don’t need to Wordsworth. You can find intelligent enough lyrics in low fare like “The Wanton Seed.”

    • Replies: @FactsAreImportant
    I find Cole Porter lyrics quite simple on paper. Nice little things, but not great.

    I'm thinking more of Shakespeare.

    [Now watch, there are probably hundreds of wonderful songs written for Shakespeare sonnets that I don't know about.]

    Interesting aside: the lyrics Shakespeare actually wrote are much simpler than his great poetry.

    Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;
    Men were deceivers ever;
    One foot in sea and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never;
    Then sigh not so,
    But let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny;
    Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into. Hey nonny, nonny.
     
    [Now watch ...]
  129. @BB753
    Looking at the bright side, at least they didn't give the award to Leonard Cohen!

    Just curious, do they play Hurricane unexpurgated on the air these days?:

    "To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum
    And to the black folks he was just a crazy n*gger.
    No one doubted that he pulled the trigger. "

    Probably not. Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” is being regularly played omitting the entire stanza that mentions the “little faggot”. Don’t think they would make an exception for Dylan.

  130. @ATX Hipster
    I tried to read Blood Meridian and couldn't even finish it. Punctuation exists for a reason. There's a sentence that goes something like "He took the tortilla and put beans on the tortilla and rolled up the tortilla and ate the tortilla and the tortilla tasted good." Just bad writing dressed up in pretension. I always like Hemingway's style though, so maybe I just don't get the appeal of run-ons.

    McCarthy desperately wants to be thought of as A Thinker. There was a Rolling Stone piece from 2007 about his association with the Santa Fe Institute, but I don't think there's anything to indicate he actually has anything to contribute to chaos theory or anything else studied there.

    University English professors exist to tell you why such sentences are brilliant, despite your common sense reaction. I think that very sentence was an example in the fun, little book “A Reader’s Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose.” Critics will give you a rationalization for each and every “tortilla” in it, either because they’re charlatans or because they’ve gone made.

    • Replies: @ATX Hipster
    I'll have to check that book out. Thanks for the tip.
  131. @SPMoore8
    I don't want to disabuse anyone of their likes or loves. Aesthetics is a person to person thing, after all.

    Nevertheless, the Nobel still has a certain cultural resonance so I am obliged, as a dissenter, to register my dissent somewhere. I tried to third-person it so you wouldn't take it too strong.

    I am not unhappy that he won, I really stopped caring about Nobels a long time ago. Ditto Academy Awards, and so on. But the selection, and the justifications for it, strike me as a bit absurd.

    Nevertheless he wrote some nice songs and I can still enjoy those and their covers. Let's leave it at that.

    I am obliged, as a dissenter, to register my dissent somewhere

    [Monty Python Voice On]

    Of course, sir, that would be the third door on the right, just past the loo. The Office of Dissent Registry don’t you know. They’ll be there til four unless there’s an extraordinary outbreak of dissent in the park requiring immediate on-site dissent registry.

    Very good then, off you go!

    [Monty Python Voice Off]

  132. @guest
    Jim Morrison is synonymous with adolescent pretentiousness. The high school poetry publication on Malcom in the Middle was called "The Crystal Ship," if I recall correctly.

    He couldn't sing, either. I wish I could erase him from every Doors recording. Him reciting his own poetry, though, that's priceless

    The voice was all puffed up affectation and the lyrics puffed up pretense. “Indians in the highway”! Oh f— off!

  133. @guest
    I see your point. I've always maintained myself that America is culturally English, with Celtic, Dutch, German, etc. around the edges. But there's English-derived Americanism, then there are Anglo-Americans. There are Anglo-Americans, and then there are High Yankees like the James brothers. There are High Yankees, and then there are Yankees who actually go overseas and become British subjects.

    That was my point. You have one thing on top of the other with Henry. He wasn't just any old American who went to Europe. He was pre-Europed, in a sense. He wasn't just a Europe-y American. He was a Yankee who became an actual Englishman.

    That was my point. You have one thing on top of the other with Henry. He wasn’t just any old American who went to Europe. He was pre-Europed, in a sense. He wasn’t just a Europe-y American. He was a Yankee who became an actual Englishman.

    Again, no. Henry James always retained his “Americanness.” Cf how he constantly went back to American themes and characters in his work. And even his becoming a British subject in the final year of his life was largely a matter of showing solidarity with Britain in her struggle with Germany.

  134. @guest
    Of course it makes sense to think of it standing alone. Crack open Palgrave's Golden Treasury, if you don't believe me. I have no idea what tunes go with the songs, but they're catchy nonetheless. We love Ancient Greek tragedy despite the fact that we have little to no idea how it was actually performed, or what their music sounded like.

    It would be nice to have the complete package, as intended by the author. But it's not necessary. There's a long tradition in lyric poetry of considering the words on their own.

    Good points.

    But, while some lyrics may hold up on their own, other lyrics, dopey on the page, can be made great by the music. The interplay of the two can make something much more than the sum of the two by themselves.

    Some of the my favorite lyrics are quite simple, but create wonderful little explosions of images when stretched out and set to music.

    Or I could be a dufus in over my head. You obviously know more than I do, and what I thought was an insightful insight has probably been hashed out many times before.

    • Replies: @guest
    You're not a doofus. The words versus music debate is as old as the hills, and probably will never be resolved. Generally speaking, lyrics written for music aren't as good as poetry written for the sake of poetry.
    , @stillCARealist
    Try quoting some Beatles lyrics without humming the tunes.

    It's been a hard days night
    And I been working like a dog
    It's been a hard days night
    I should be sleeping like a log.


    My teenagers like to quote this to my boomer husband as a way to make fun of his teen music.
  135. @War for Blair Mountain
    Greenwhich Village folk scene back in the day, the Clancy Brothers were Rock Stars...a non-entity named Robert Zimmeran used to follow The Clancy Brothers around wherever they played in New York. Robert Zimmerman constantly pestered these Celebrity Irish Lads with questions after their performances. Liam Clancy called Robert Zimmerman a "God Dam pest!!!!....like a knat" he wanted to swat...


    Moving forward in time...a few years back.....Big Bob did his tour warmup in secret at the old structurally unsafe IMAC(Mr. and Mrs. Derbyshire's neck of the woods). A few weeks after Bob did his warmup at the Old IMAC during Rashashanna(Jews correct me on the spelling)....,a 175 pound mass of old plaster fell from the ceiling onto the stage missing the head of one of the local teenagers who worked at the old IMAC....missed his head by a few inches.....

    The Coen bros Inside Llewyn Davis offers an interesting portrait of the NY folk scene in the early ’60s. Oscar Isaac was quite good as a folk-singer who never makes it:

    • Replies: @guest
    I struggled through the Mumfordy, serious folkish music in that movie, but I flipped for the novelty space song, "Please, Mr. Kennedy," which I think the movie was making fun of. But it was catchy.

    I was puzzled by the ending, which I think was just about fame passing by and being in the right place at the right time. But they tried to give it some sort of mysterious power. Perhaps they, a pair of MN Jews, have a sort of religious awe in the presence of Young Dylan that I, a MN normie, don't. Or maybe they're just 60s folk fanatics while I like some of it but can take or leave Dylan.
    , @War for Blair Mountain
    syontedux


    The ending of the 'Wonderers" was interesting. Right after the Baldies signed up for a USMC cannon fodder stint in Vietnam the movie ends with the sound of a young Bob Dylan singing the "The times are a changing".


    The "Wonderers" was a much better movie than the "Lords of Flatbush"..
  136. @stillCARealist
    Portnoy's Complaint sounds execrable from the reviews on Amazon. What was so informative about it? Maybe it was what inspired all those awful Woody Allen movies.

    “He’s a fine writer, but I wouldn’t want to shake hands with him.” (Jacqueline Susann)

  137. @Steve Sailer
    Cole Porter's lyrics read well enough on the page, but sung to the music by Sinatra ...

    From “Anything Goes:”

    The world has gone mad today
    And good’s bad today
    And black’s white today
    And day’s night today
    And that gent today
    You gave a cent today
    Once had several chateaux

    When folks who still ride in jitneys
    Find out Vanderbilts and Whitneys
    Lack baby clothes
    Anything goes

    It sings even better.

  138. @guest
    "lyrics that are very good on paper are almost always awful in a song because they are too convoluted and intricate"

    You are either very limited in your experience of lyric poetry, or else you're narrowing yourself to rock music, maybe. As Steve says, Cole Porter is very clever while being infectiously singable.

    There are infinite older examples, and I don't need to Wordsworth. You can find intelligent enough lyrics in low fare like "The Wanton Seed."

    I find Cole Porter lyrics quite simple on paper. Nice little things, but not great.

    I’m thinking more of Shakespeare.

    [Now watch, there are probably hundreds of wonderful songs written for Shakespeare sonnets that I don’t know about.]

    Interesting aside: the lyrics Shakespeare actually wrote are much simpler than his great poetry.

    Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;
    Men were deceivers ever;
    One foot in sea and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never;
    Then sigh not so,
    But let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny;
    Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into. Hey nonny, nonny.

    [Now watch …]

    • Replies: @guest
    There are lots and lots of songs in Shakespeare's plays, though we don't hear them much because Renaissance music isn't in style, unless you're an "early music" buff. I don't know how good they are, but the words seem singable enough to me.

    I really liked Nino Rota's music for the song "What Is a Youth?" in Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. But I don't imagine those lyrics were Shakespeare's.
    , @guest
    I like this one, from As You Like It:

    Under the greenwood tree
    Who loves to lie with me
    And turn his merry note
    Unto the sweet bird's throat
    Come hither, come hither, come hither
    Here shall he see
    No enemy
    But winter and rough weather

    etc.
  139. @guest
    Part of me wants to say this is ridiculous, and it is. But at least they're awarding someone in touch with the public. Contemporary High Poetry is a joke, and written for no one. Can anyone remember when Joe Lunchbox used to read the stuff? Not since Robert Frost. Eggheads don't, either, according to my anecdotal experience watching Jeopardy!

    Dylan is on the hipster end of the pop spectrum, and I would prefer they recognize something along the lines of Cole Porter. But that doesn't exist anymore. At least they hey didn't award some university subsidized navel-gazer, or a Poet of Color. (Though according to Matthew Yglesias Jews like Zimmerman will be lynched along with the rest.)

    I am a MN boy, but take little pride in this feat. I try and imagine my grandfather being told a native would win the Nobel Prize for literature. He'd probably be thinking along the lines of Sinclair Lewis or Scott Fitzgerald. But never this!

    Yeah, boy, there is a need to praise even more gays like Cole Porter.

    • Replies: @guest
    He was a homo from an era when they pandered to mass audiences, which is how it oughtta be. But if you don't like him, replace him with any straight white male you prefer from the American songbook.
    , @syonredux

    Yeah, boy, there is a need to praise even more gays like Cole Porter.
     
    I'm always willing to praise Gays like Cole Porter; it's Gays like Michel Foucault that I can't stand.
  140. @Steve Sailer
    Is there any chance that Dylan's old age renaissance as a songwriter might be related to having a secret collaborator?

    I have no evidence for this, but it wouldn't necessarily seem like a bad strategy for Bob.

    Does Henry Timrod count?

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Does Henry Timrod count?
     
    Lifting lines from the poet laureate of the Confederacy.....Talk about being un-PC!

    And further sign of Dylan's intense connection to old America.....
  141. @syonredux
    The Coen bros Inside Llewyn Davis offers an interesting portrait of the NY folk scene in the early '60s. Oscar Isaac was quite good as a folk-singer who never makes it:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHdXOGGnSaA

    I struggled through the Mumfordy, serious folkish music in that movie, but I flipped for the novelty space song, “Please, Mr. Kennedy,” which I think the movie was making fun of. But it was catchy.

    I was puzzled by the ending, which I think was just about fame passing by and being in the right place at the right time. But they tried to give it some sort of mysterious power. Perhaps they, a pair of MN Jews, have a sort of religious awe in the presence of Young Dylan that I, a MN normie, don’t. Or maybe they’re just 60s folk fanatics while I like some of it but can take or leave Dylan.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    I struggled through the Mumfordy, serious folkish music in that movie, but I flipped for the novelty space song, “Please, Mr. Kennedy,” which I think the movie was making fun of. But it was catchy.
     
    That's my favorite scene in the film. The Coens managed to give us a song that was simultaneously stupid but also insanely catchy:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Aq4a7g_wdU
    , @syonredux

    I was puzzled by the ending, which I think was just about fame passing by and being in the right place at the right time.
     
    That's my take on it. A key theme in the film is how Davis is stuck in a kind of Möbius strip of failure.
  142. @FactsAreImportant
    There is an interesting and unasked question underlying this discussion:

    What makes a great lyric great?

    Is a great lyric one that stands by itself as great poetry without the music? That can't be. A lyric, by definition is meant to be sung to music. It makes no sense to think of it standing alone.

    Lyrics, even very good lyrics, almost always sound childish standing alone. It is the music that takes very small sounds, words and ideas and blows them up into nuanced and great lyrics. Music can transform single syllables into great poetry.

    Conversely, lyrics that are very good on paper are almost always awful in a song because they are too convoluted and intricate.

    So, Dylan's "poetry" has to be evaluated in the context of the music it is set to.

    I dunno if Dylan's Nobel makes any more sense in this context, I'm just saying that this is the appropriate context.

    Well, that’s a standard question about words and music that is very old, Richard Strauss (with Clemens Krauss) wrote an opera on the theme, Capriccio, and the over-riding problem was: which is more important, the words, or the music? (It was set as a woman who had to choose between two suitors: she couldn’t make up her mind.)

    It seems that the Swedes had in mind the words and the music, and when the words are set just right to a melody it can be pretty awesome, as we all know.

    But great lyric poetry is something else, because a lot of it was not meant to be set to music, rather, it was meant to be music by being read aloud, and in that case you are combining words and music in the actual sounds of the words themselves.

    I think most lyrics meant to be sung that I can think of in the 20th Century are pretty pale without the musical accompaniment. In those kinds of cases, the music exposes what are often weak and trite lyrics. On the other hand the word play you get with people like Cole Porter or Stephen Sondheim can still be gotten off just a page.

  143. @jake
    Yeah, boy, there is a need to praise even more gays like Cole Porter.

    He was a homo from an era when they pandered to mass audiences, which is how it oughtta be. But if you don’t like him, replace him with any straight white male you prefer from the American songbook.

  144. @guest
    University English professors exist to tell you why such sentences are brilliant, despite your common sense reaction. I think that very sentence was an example in the fun, little book "A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose." Critics will give you a rationalization for each and every "tortilla" in it, either because they're charlatans or because they've gone made.

    I’ll have to check that book out. Thanks for the tip.

  145. @Steve Sailer
    Is there any chance that Dylan's old age renaissance as a songwriter might be related to having a secret collaborator?

    I have no evidence for this, but it wouldn't necessarily seem like a bad strategy for Bob.

    I don’t think he’d keep it a secret. I think he’d throw it right in his worshippers’ silly faces.

    My (totally uninformed) guess is he tossed out his creative process and tried something new that turned out to work for him. Or maybe he just got old and mellow enough to quit trying to be original.

    It does seem like he quit trying to write in his own voice. He steals chunks of lyrics from old blues songs and so on. I get the sense that everything he writes now is set in the 1950s or earlier, maybe much earlier. “Pretend you’re a somebody else and write like them” is a classic creative Houdini move when you’re in a dead end.

    XTC did their best material that way:

    All idle speculation of course.

  146. @guest
    I struggled through the Mumfordy, serious folkish music in that movie, but I flipped for the novelty space song, "Please, Mr. Kennedy," which I think the movie was making fun of. But it was catchy.

    I was puzzled by the ending, which I think was just about fame passing by and being in the right place at the right time. But they tried to give it some sort of mysterious power. Perhaps they, a pair of MN Jews, have a sort of religious awe in the presence of Young Dylan that I, a MN normie, don't. Or maybe they're just 60s folk fanatics while I like some of it but can take or leave Dylan.

    I struggled through the Mumfordy, serious folkish music in that movie, but I flipped for the novelty space song, “Please, Mr. Kennedy,” which I think the movie was making fun of. But it was catchy.

    That’s my favorite scene in the film. The Coens managed to give us a song that was simultaneously stupid but also insanely catchy:

  147. I guess this means that Bob Dylan is the first Nobel Laureate to appear in a TV advertisement for lingerie.

  148. @chucho
    Roth writes about American Jews. There's nothing transcendent about his work. If I were an American Jew, I would probably think he's a god. But his work is provincial at its heart. To his credit, at least his novels are somewhat readable, unlike the overrated Bellow and the inane Mailer. If anyone deserved a prize from that era, it was Updike.

    Dylan, while Jewish, is American first, and more universal in general. You don't need to understand Jews or Judiasm or Jews in America, yada yada, to understand "Blowin' in the Wind".

    Fun list of 'alternate winners' by Ted Gioia here: http://www.tedgioia.com/NobelPrizeAlt.html

    Gioia had two of my picks on his list: Tolkien and Graham Greene. I would have added Evelyn Waugh and Shusaku Endo.

    Note that all four were Catholic converts. That’s a sure way not to get a Nobel in literature: join the Church of Rome. The last convert to win was Sigrid Undset in 1928.

    • Replies: @guest
    Waugh is probably my favorite novelist, and I enjoy Tolkien and Greene, or at least the one book I've read by each (if Lord of the Rings counts as one book). But I haven't read Endo, and don't know much about him.

    I was raised Catholic, incidentally. We never sat around bitching about being discriminated against (beyond the martyrs), to my recollection. Maybe if we did the Swedes would give us more Nobels.

    Come to think of it, Sweden is chockfull of Lutherans, and both Dylan and I were religious minorities in Lutheran-tastic MN. But he's more welcome than I would be, had I any talent, fame, or accomplishments.

  149. @guest
    I struggled through the Mumfordy, serious folkish music in that movie, but I flipped for the novelty space song, "Please, Mr. Kennedy," which I think the movie was making fun of. But it was catchy.

    I was puzzled by the ending, which I think was just about fame passing by and being in the right place at the right time. But they tried to give it some sort of mysterious power. Perhaps they, a pair of MN Jews, have a sort of religious awe in the presence of Young Dylan that I, a MN normie, don't. Or maybe they're just 60s folk fanatics while I like some of it but can take or leave Dylan.

    I was puzzled by the ending, which I think was just about fame passing by and being in the right place at the right time.

    That’s my take on it. A key theme in the film is how Davis is stuck in a kind of Möbius strip of failure.

  150. @C. Van Carter
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdPAk2abXTg

    It’s not a real song until Shatner has covered it.

  151. @jake
    Yeah, boy, there is a need to praise even more gays like Cole Porter.

    Yeah, boy, there is a need to praise even more gays like Cole Porter.

    I’m always willing to praise Gays like Cole Porter; it’s Gays like Michel Foucault that I can’t stand.

  152. @FactsAreImportant
    I find Cole Porter lyrics quite simple on paper. Nice little things, but not great.

    I'm thinking more of Shakespeare.

    [Now watch, there are probably hundreds of wonderful songs written for Shakespeare sonnets that I don't know about.]

    Interesting aside: the lyrics Shakespeare actually wrote are much simpler than his great poetry.

    Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;
    Men were deceivers ever;
    One foot in sea and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never;
    Then sigh not so,
    But let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny;
    Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into. Hey nonny, nonny.
     
    [Now watch ...]

    There are lots and lots of songs in Shakespeare’s plays, though we don’t hear them much because Renaissance music isn’t in style, unless you’re an “early music” buff. I don’t know how good they are, but the words seem singable enough to me.

    I really liked Nino Rota’s music for the song “What Is a Youth?” in Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. But I don’t imagine those lyrics were Shakespeare’s.

  153. @Steve Sailer
    I dunno. Most of the time the Nobel Literature Prize selection is just kind of baffling to an English speaker. Is this Urdu poet who won really better than that Slovenian novelist who was rumored to be the frontrunner? Beats me.

    In the American Jews category, is Dylan a better choice than the more traditional choice of Philip Roth? I dunno. It sounds fun to argue about, but I'm not a huge Dylan or Roth fan so I don't have a deep knowledge of either from which to offer an informed opinion. I like them both, but I haven't read Roth's most admired book, "American Pastoral," nor have I kept up with Dylan for decades. The last song I can remember by him is his pro-Israel "Neighborhood Bully" from the early 1980s. But I hear he's done a lot of good work since then.

    The question of expanding the boundaries of the Literature Prize is an interesting one. Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing? Or should the Prize be restricted to the less well compensated branches of literature?

    “The question of expanding the boundaries of the Literature Prize is an interesting one. Should, say, Larry David be eligible for sitcom writing?”

    How about Vince Gilligan for Breaking Bad?

    The Nobel Prize in literature has become a farce; awarding it to Dylan (or Larry David or Vince Gilligan) is no more ridiculous than giving it to the sort of people they customarily award it to nowadays.

  154. @syonredux

    Einstein, genius though he might have been, was not American. Neither was Nabokov, his wife, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Werner von Braun, Billy Wilder, or Bob Hope.
     
    Bob Hope's definitely a Yank.


    Nabokov is a singularity, a trilingual Russian who lived the bulk of his life outside Russia and did his best work (Lolita , Ada, Pale Fire, etc) in English.

    As for Hope – Yes, definitely, he had the right to call himself a Yank: but is it not easier for us, who do not have to worry about the little guy trying to steal our dates, to say nice things about him than it would have been for our American-born forebears? Nabokov’s work in Pale Fire was inspired by Americans like Frost and Yvor Winters (on whom John Shade was in part based), but his wife was what he most cared about in the world, and she was the wife of the son of the last Attorney General of the Russia of the Czars in the twentieth century, and his son, who was what he cared most about in the world after his wife (more or less, I am no psychologist), was, although completely American, rather eccentric, in a gifted way that may or may not have been quite American. So maybe Nabokov would agree that the most important things he cared about were not the sort of things Americans care about. Nothing wrong with that, of course… Nabokov’s best work, in my opinion, was his poetry, then his non-romantic short stories (Bunin’s romantic short stories are just achingly better, whether we want them to be or not). When writing about men and women (as he did in Ada, Pale Fire, and other works), the bright little formerly absurdly rich fellow was not on his strongest ground, I think everyone would agree with that. I am happy he found a woman to put up with him – God only knows how good a writer Emily Dickinson would have been had she found a man to put up with her – but we all have our limits. Non omnes omnia possum, after all…

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Even though Nabokov didn't drive, and was chauffeured everywhere by Vera, he's one of the great describers of driving around the American landscape.
    , @syonredux

    When writing about men and women (as he did in Ada, Pale Fire, and other works), the bright little formerly absurdly rich fellow was not on his strongest ground,
     
    Perhaps it's personal/professional bias creeping in (my academic field is English lit), but I adore Pale Fire.
  155. @James Kabala
    Does Henry Timrod count?

    Does Henry Timrod count?

    Lifting lines from the poet laureate of the Confederacy…..Talk about being un-PC!

    And further sign of Dylan’s intense connection to old America…..

  156. @Percy Gryce
    Gioia had two of my picks on his list: Tolkien and Graham Greene. I would have added Evelyn Waugh and Shusaku Endo.

    Note that all four were Catholic converts. That's a sure way not to get a Nobel in literature: join the Church of Rome. The last convert to win was Sigrid Undset in 1928.

    Waugh is probably my favorite novelist, and I enjoy Tolkien and Greene, or at least the one book I’ve read by each (if Lord of the Rings counts as one book). But I haven’t read Endo, and don’t know much about him.

    I was raised Catholic, incidentally. We never sat around bitching about being discriminated against (beyond the martyrs), to my recollection. Maybe if we did the Swedes would give us more Nobels.

    Come to think of it, Sweden is chockfull of Lutherans, and both Dylan and I were religious minorities in Lutheran-tastic MN. But he’s more welcome than I would be, had I any talent, fame, or accomplishments.

  157. These days Dylan’s music means something only to white men of a certain age. Still, his lyrics are no worse than some of the doggerel extruded by other laureates.

  158. @guest
    Of course it makes sense to think of it standing alone. Crack open Palgrave's Golden Treasury, if you don't believe me. I have no idea what tunes go with the songs, but they're catchy nonetheless. We love Ancient Greek tragedy despite the fact that we have little to no idea how it was actually performed, or what their music sounded like.

    It would be nice to have the complete package, as intended by the author. But it's not necessary. There's a long tradition in lyric poetry of considering the words on their own.

    Crack open Palgrave’s Golden Treasury, if you don’t believe me.

    I will, very carefully. I inherited a copy from my dad, which he acquired as a high school textbook circa 1932 and, well, treasured.

    What poetry textbooks do high school students use these days? Do they even read the British poets? Or do their horizons extend no further than Maya Angelou?

  159. @Joe Sweet
    Jacques Levy wrote "Isis".

    That’s true. Thanks for taking note of that. But Dylan sang it.

    And I think Sam Shepard wrote several of Dylan’s other best songs.

  160. @FactsAreImportant
    Good points.

    But, while some lyrics may hold up on their own, other lyrics, dopey on the page, can be made great by the music. The interplay of the two can make something much more than the sum of the two by themselves.

    Some of the my favorite lyrics are quite simple, but create wonderful little explosions of images when stretched out and set to music.

    Or I could be a dufus in over my head. You obviously know more than I do, and what I thought was an insightful insight has probably been hashed out many times before.

    You’re not a doofus. The words versus music debate is as old as the hills, and probably will never be resolved. Generally speaking, lyrics written for music aren’t as good as poetry written for the sake of poetry.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That was Lorenzo da Ponte's great contribution as librettist to Mozart's operas: You're the boss, Wolfie! I'll fit my words to whatever you want the music to be.
  161. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:
    @syonredux
    The Coen bros Inside Llewyn Davis offers an interesting portrait of the NY folk scene in the early '60s. Oscar Isaac was quite good as a folk-singer who never makes it:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHdXOGGnSaA

    syontedux

    The ending of the ‘Wonderers” was interesting. Right after the Baldies signed up for a USMC cannon fodder stint in Vietnam the movie ends with the sound of a young Bob Dylan singing the “The times are a changing”.

    The “Wonderers” was a much better movie than the “Lords of Flatbush”..

  162. @FactsAreImportant
    I find Cole Porter lyrics quite simple on paper. Nice little things, but not great.

    I'm thinking more of Shakespeare.

    [Now watch, there are probably hundreds of wonderful songs written for Shakespeare sonnets that I don't know about.]

    Interesting aside: the lyrics Shakespeare actually wrote are much simpler than his great poetry.

    Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;
    Men were deceivers ever;
    One foot in sea and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never;
    Then sigh not so,
    But let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny;
    Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into. Hey nonny, nonny.
     
    [Now watch ...]

    I like this one, from As You Like It:

    Under the greenwood tree
    Who loves to lie with me
    And turn his merry note
    Unto the sweet bird’s throat
    Come hither, come hither, come hither
    Here shall he see
    No enemy
    But winter and rough weather

    etc.

  163. @guest
    You're not a doofus. The words versus music debate is as old as the hills, and probably will never be resolved. Generally speaking, lyrics written for music aren't as good as poetry written for the sake of poetry.

    That was Lorenzo da Ponte’s great contribution as librettist to Mozart’s operas: You’re the boss, Wolfie! I’ll fit my words to whatever you want the music to be.

  164. Filed under :” How to Lose Friends, Alienate People & Say Goodbye to Nobel Prize”

    By Ezra Weston Loomis Pound

    Canto XLV

    With Usura

    With usura hath no man a house of good stone
    each block cut smooth and well fitting
    that design might cover their face,
    with usura
    hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall
    harpes et luz
    or where virgin receiveth message
    and halo projects from incision,
    with usura
    seeth no man Gonzaga his heirs and his concubines
    no picture is made to endure nor to live with
    but it is made to sell and sell quickly
    with usura, sin against nature,
    is thy bread ever more of stale rags
    is thy bread dry as paper,
    with no mountain wheat, no strong flour
    with usura the line grows thick
    with usura is no clear demarcation
    and no man can find site for his dwelling.
    Stonecutter is kept from his tone
    weaver is kept from his loom

    WITH USURA
    wool comes not to market
    sheep bringeth no gain with usura
    Usura is a murrain, usura
    blunteth the needle in the maid’s hand
    and stoppeth the spinner’s cunning. Pietro Lombardo
    came not by usura
    Duccio came not by usura
    nor Pier della Francesca; Zuan Bellin’ not by usura
    nor was ‘La Calunnia’ painted.
    Came not by usura Angelico; came not Ambrogio Praedis,
    Came no church of cut stone signed: Adamo me fecit.
    Not by usura St. Trophime
    Not by usura Saint Hilaire,
    Usura rusteth the chisel
    It rusteth the craft and the craftsman
    It gnaweth the thread in the loom
    None learneth to weave gold in her pattern;
    Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered
    Emerald findeth no Memling
    Usura slayeth the child in the womb
    It stayeth the young man’s courting
    It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
    between the young bride and her bridegroom

    CONTRA NATURAM
    They have brought whores for Eleusis
    Corpses are set to banquet
    at behest of usura.

  165. @Dave Pinsen
    One of Jackie Martling's best lines, on the old Howard Stern show, was when he said of Dice, "You're the opposite of Joey Buttafuoco, a fake Italian in real leather".

    Always nice to see a Jackie the Jokeman reference.

  166. @middle aged vet
    As for Hope - Yes, definitely, he had the right to call himself a Yank: but is it not easier for us, who do not have to worry about the little guy trying to steal our dates, to say nice things about him than it would have been for our American-born forebears? Nabokov's work in Pale Fire was inspired by Americans like Frost and Yvor Winters (on whom John Shade was in part based), but his wife was what he most cared about in the world, and she was the wife of the son of the last Attorney General of the Russia of the Czars in the twentieth century, and his son, who was what he cared most about in the world after his wife (more or less, I am no psychologist), was, although completely American, rather eccentric, in a gifted way that may or may not have been quite American. So maybe Nabokov would agree that the most important things he cared about were not the sort of things Americans care about. Nothing wrong with that, of course... Nabokov's best work, in my opinion, was his poetry, then his non-romantic short stories (Bunin's romantic short stories are just achingly better, whether we want them to be or not). When writing about men and women (as he did in Ada, Pale Fire, and other works), the bright little formerly absurdly rich fellow was not on his strongest ground, I think everyone would agree with that. I am happy he found a woman to put up with him - God only knows how good a writer Emily Dickinson would have been had she found a man to put up with her - but we all have our limits. Non omnes omnia possum, after all...

    Even though Nabokov didn’t drive, and was chauffeured everywhere by Vera, he’s one of the great describers of driving around the American landscape.

  167. Tom Stoppard might’ve been an interesting choice. But anyway, it’s all sort of a crapshoot, depending on the whims of the judges, and what they ate for breakfast that morning. At least we’ve all heard of Dylan.

  168. I have to say that yhe Nobel was fully deserved, but I only want to argue about it with people who own at least 2/3 of Bob’s albums. In his depth and inexhaustibility he surpasses all other songwriters (in English, which is all I’m qualified to opine on), and is the only living artist who will bear comparison with Twain or Shakespeare.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    A good test question here: Can you name five Bob Dylan songs not written in the 60s and 70s?

    If no, probably best not to vituperatively denounce this Nobel Prize.
    , @Pat Shuff
    https://scontent-sjc2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/12493534_1741386396090165_8395626728141134798_o.jpg

    https://scontent-sjc2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/12496413_1741386242756847_5348440590115733483_o.jpg

    http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-2015/bob-dylan-aarp-the-magazine-full-interview.1.html

    , @Kylie
    This is just pitiful.
  169. I guess the Nobel crowd suddenly realised that there wasn’t an American or Red Sea Pedestrian among this year’s crop of Nobel recipients and someone said “Quick can anyone name an American Jewish writer ? “

    • Replies: @syonredux

    I guess the Nobel crowd suddenly realised that there wasn’t an American or Red Sea Pedestrian among this year’s crop of Nobel recipients and someone said “Quick can anyone name an American Jewish writer ? “
     
    John Michael Kosterlitz is Jewish (2016, physics).So is Oliver Simon D'Arcy Hart (2016, economics).

    Incidentally, 2016 was a good year for the British:

    physics:All three winners are Brits

    Chemistry: 1 (of three)

    economics : 1 (of two)
  170. @middle aged vet
    As for Hope - Yes, definitely, he had the right to call himself a Yank: but is it not easier for us, who do not have to worry about the little guy trying to steal our dates, to say nice things about him than it would have been for our American-born forebears? Nabokov's work in Pale Fire was inspired by Americans like Frost and Yvor Winters (on whom John Shade was in part based), but his wife was what he most cared about in the world, and she was the wife of the son of the last Attorney General of the Russia of the Czars in the twentieth century, and his son, who was what he cared most about in the world after his wife (more or less, I am no psychologist), was, although completely American, rather eccentric, in a gifted way that may or may not have been quite American. So maybe Nabokov would agree that the most important things he cared about were not the sort of things Americans care about. Nothing wrong with that, of course... Nabokov's best work, in my opinion, was his poetry, then his non-romantic short stories (Bunin's romantic short stories are just achingly better, whether we want them to be or not). When writing about men and women (as he did in Ada, Pale Fire, and other works), the bright little formerly absurdly rich fellow was not on his strongest ground, I think everyone would agree with that. I am happy he found a woman to put up with him - God only knows how good a writer Emily Dickinson would have been had she found a man to put up with her - but we all have our limits. Non omnes omnia possum, after all...

    When writing about men and women (as he did in Ada, Pale Fire, and other works), the bright little formerly absurdly rich fellow was not on his strongest ground,

    Perhaps it’s personal/professional bias creeping in (my academic field is English lit), but I adore Pale Fire.

    • Replies: @guest
    Pale Fire is the sort of thing I usually despise: radical innovation in form. Just tell your story, damnit! And I don't much care for the poem. But there is a good story in there. I wish someone would publish an edited version.
  171. @sb
    I guess the Nobel crowd suddenly realised that there wasn't an American or Red Sea Pedestrian among this year's crop of Nobel recipients and someone said "Quick can anyone name an American Jewish writer ? "

    I guess the Nobel crowd suddenly realised that there wasn’t an American or Red Sea Pedestrian among this year’s crop of Nobel recipients and someone said “Quick can anyone name an American Jewish writer ? “

    John Michael Kosterlitz is Jewish (2016, physics).So is Oliver Simon D’Arcy Hart (2016, economics).

    Incidentally, 2016 was a good year for the British:

    physics:All three winners are Brits

    Chemistry: 1 (of three)

    economics : 1 (of two)

    • Replies: @sb
    My apologies .Didn't do my homework
    I momentarily forgot that non Americans and non Israelis could be Jewish ( well being a non American surely that's an understandable mistake ? )
    No excuses -that Economics guy's name should have been a dead giveaway
  172. @G Pinfold
    Ballad of a Thin Man and Idiot Wind seem apposite at the moment.

    So does The Times They Are A’Changing.

  173. @syonredux

    When writing about men and women (as he did in Ada, Pale Fire, and other works), the bright little formerly absurdly rich fellow was not on his strongest ground,
     
    Perhaps it's personal/professional bias creeping in (my academic field is English lit), but I adore Pale Fire.

    Pale Fire is the sort of thing I usually despise: radical innovation in form. Just tell your story, damnit! And I don’t much care for the poem. But there is a good story in there. I wish someone would publish an edited version.

  174. Anonymous [AKA "PJC"] says:
    @Polymath
    I have to say that yhe Nobel was fully deserved, but I only want to argue about it with people who own at least 2/3 of Bob's albums. In his depth and inexhaustibility he surpasses all other songwriters (in English, which is all I'm qualified to opine on), and is the only living artist who will bear comparison with Twain or Shakespeare.

    A good test question here: Can you name five Bob Dylan songs not written in the 60s and 70s?

    If no, probably best not to vituperatively denounce this Nobel Prize.

  175. @syonredux

    I guess the Nobel crowd suddenly realised that there wasn’t an American or Red Sea Pedestrian among this year’s crop of Nobel recipients and someone said “Quick can anyone name an American Jewish writer ? “
     
    John Michael Kosterlitz is Jewish (2016, physics).So is Oliver Simon D'Arcy Hart (2016, economics).

    Incidentally, 2016 was a good year for the British:

    physics:All three winners are Brits

    Chemistry: 1 (of three)

    economics : 1 (of two)

    My apologies .Didn’t do my homework
    I momentarily forgot that non Americans and non Israelis could be Jewish ( well being a non American surely that’s an understandable mistake ? )
    No excuses -that Economics guy’s name should have been a dead giveaway

  176. @A Name or Simple Pseudonymic Handle
    Next American to win:
    Robert Crumb
    Now THAT would raise eyebrows! And hackles!

    How about Gilbert Shelton of Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (fame) ?

    • Replies: @Discard
    The phrase, "Drink Tree Frog Beer and You'll Have Lots of Girlfriends" is worthy of a Nobel on its own.
  177. Bob Dylan can write fine music and lyrics too but he can’t sing, let’s face it! Also, no stage presence.
    The great Van Morrison can do all those things, and is a better lyrics writer than Dylan. So why did they give the Nobel price to Robert Zimmerman? Politics likely.

  178. There are only two Dylan songs I actually like: “I Want You” and “Not Dark Yet,” the former for its very catchy tune and the latter for its genuine feeling and lyricism. I guess I’m not that outraged about him receiving a Nobel Prize. He was, after all, very influential in his day and he enjoys great esteem from a lot of people.

    But if he’s going to win one, can we give Kris Kristofferson the prize next year? He’s liable to pass soon and he’s clearly better than Bob Dylan.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I spent last weekend in a Kristoffersen daze.
  179. @middle aged vet
    guest - interesting comment, but Henry James loved American women (one of his three great last novels is devoted to an American woman, one he fell in love with in his youth and wrote about in his 60s - albeit one who lived overseas - The Wings of the Dove). Another great novel - Portrait of a Lady - revolves around a loveable American, not European , woman, and out of his 150 or so best-known works (short stories, novels, essays) about 50 are set in an America nicer than any America most of us will ever know. He was in one sense basically a foreigner (liked to live in England) but he was still very American.

    Three of Henry James’ s great villainesses are also American: Kate Croy, Serena Merle and Charlotte Stant.

    The Jamesian woman I find most frightening is the redoubtable American lady, Mrs. Rimmle, from the short story “Europe”.

    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    ... and that canny old bird in Afterwards .
  180. @syonredux

    Einstein, genius though he might have been, was not American. Neither was Nabokov, his wife, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Werner von Braun, Billy Wilder, or Bob Hope.
     
    Bob Hope's definitely a Yank.


    Nabokov is a singularity, a trilingual Russian who lived the bulk of his life outside Russia and did his best work (Lolita , Ada, Pale Fire, etc) in English.

    Nabokov arguably did his best work in Russian, in terms of style and emotional investment – Invitation to an Execution, The Gift, etc. – Pale Fire and Lolita are in some ways more interesting works, since later Nabokov, writing in English, was more playful and “clever” in many ways, but The Gift is no worse than his third best novel, including all his English language production.

  181. @Heisenberg
    I'll take Jim Morrison as a better poet than zimmerDylan, any day of the week.
    Let's swim to the moon...

    The greatest song ever written by an American:

    “The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)”

    I wanna tell you ’bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
    Comes out of the Virginia swamps
    Cool and slow with plenty of precision
    With a back beat narrow and hard to master

    Some call it heavenly in its brilliance
    Others, mean and rueful of the Western dream
    I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft
    We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping
    This is the land where the Pharaoh died

    The Negroes in the forest brightly feathered
    They are saying, “Forget the night.
    Live with us in forests of azure.
    Out here on the perimeter there are no stars
    Out here we is stoned – immaculate.”

    Listen to this, and I’ll tell you ’bout the heartache
    I’ll tell you ’bout the heartache and the loss of God
    I’ll tell you ’bout the hopeless night
    The meager food for souls forgot
    I’ll tell you ’bout the maiden with wrought iron soul

    I’ll tell you this
    No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn

    I’ll tell you ’bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
    Soft-driven, slow and mad, like some new language

    Now, listen to this, and I’ll tell you ’bout the Texas
    I’ll tell you ’bout the Texas Radio
    I’ll tell you ’bout the hopeless night
    Wandering the Western dream
    Tell you ’bout the maiden with wrought iron soul

    I’ll tell you this
    No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn

    All our White boys should be made to transcribe this each day on top of their page like AMDG (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam) was instilled in us by the Nuns at school.

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    One of the greatest songs to have never been remixed or covered:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbpRlqqzSD4

    So many quotes, so much fun.

    When I was back there in seminary school
    There was a person there
    Who put forth the proposition
    That you can petition the Lord with prayer
    Petition the lord with prayer
    Petition the lord with prayer
    You cannot petition the lord with prayer!

    ...

    This is the best part of the trip
    This is the trip, the best part
    I really like
    What'd he say?
    Yeah!
    Yeah, right!
    Pretty good, huh
    Huh!
    Yeah, I'm proud to be a part of this number


    ...


    Successful hills are here to stay
    Everything must be this way
    Gentle streets where people play
    Welcome to the Soft Parade

    All our lives we sweat and save
    Building for a shallow grave
    Must be something else we say
    Somehow to defend this place
    Everything must be this way
    Everything must be this way, yeah


    ...


    A cobra on my left
    Leopard on my right, yeah


    ...

    Out of sight!
    The lights are getting brighter
    The radio is moaning
    Calling to the dogs
    There are still a few animals
    Left out in the yard
    But it's getting harder
    To describe sailors
    To the underfed

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftknR1gf9qw

  182. @Pat Hannagan
    The greatest song ever written by an American:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmpAIQyKogs


    "The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)"

    I wanna tell you 'bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
    Comes out of the Virginia swamps
    Cool and slow with plenty of precision
    With a back beat narrow and hard to master

    Some call it heavenly in its brilliance
    Others, mean and rueful of the Western dream
    I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft
    We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping
    This is the land where the Pharaoh died

    The Negroes in the forest brightly feathered
    They are saying, "Forget the night.
    Live with us in forests of azure.
    Out here on the perimeter there are no stars
    Out here we is stoned – immaculate."

    Listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the heartache
    I'll tell you 'bout the heartache and the loss of God
    I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
    The meager food for souls forgot
    I'll tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul

    I'll tell you this
    No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn

    I'll tell you 'bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
    Soft-driven, slow and mad, like some new language

    Now, listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the Texas
    I'll tell you 'bout the Texas Radio
    I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
    Wandering the Western dream
    Tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul

    I'll tell you this
    No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn

    All our White boys should be made to transcribe this each day on top of their page like AMDG (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam) was instilled in us by the Nuns at school.

    One of the greatest songs to have never been remixed or covered:

    So many quotes, so much fun.

    When I was back there in seminary school
    There was a person there
    Who put forth the proposition
    That you can petition the Lord with prayer
    Petition the lord with prayer
    Petition the lord with prayer
    You cannot petition the lord with prayer!

    This is the best part of the trip
    This is the trip, the best part
    I really like
    What’d he say?
    Yeah!
    Yeah, right!
    Pretty good, huh
    Huh!
    Yeah, I’m proud to be a part of this number

    Successful hills are here to stay
    Everything must be this way
    Gentle streets where people play
    Welcome to the Soft Parade

    All our lives we sweat and save
    Building for a shallow grave
    Must be something else we say
    Somehow to defend this place
    Everything must be this way
    Everything must be this way, yeah

    A cobra on my left
    Leopard on my right, yeah

    Out of sight!
    The lights are getting brighter
    The radio is moaning
    Calling to the dogs
    There are still a few animals
    Left out in the yard
    But it’s getting harder
    To describe sailors
    To the underfed

  183. @Kylie
    Three of Henry James' s great villainesses are also American: Kate Croy, Serena Merle and Charlotte Stant.

    The Jamesian woman I find most frightening is the redoubtable American lady, Mrs. Rimmle, from the short story "Europe".

    … and that canny old bird in Afterwards .

    • Replies: @Kylie
    "… and that canny old bird in Afterwards ."

    You got me there. I can't recall any story, "Afterwards" by James. Though his work is full of canny old birds.

    Could you possibly be thinking of Mary Boyne in Edith Wharton's "Afterward"?
  184. @A Name or Simple Pseudonymic Handle
    Next American to win:
    Robert Crumb
    Now THAT would raise eyebrows! And hackles!

    “Next American to win:
    Robert Crumb
    Now THAT would raise eyebrows! And hackles!”

    Dylan winning a Nobel is absurd and I find Steve’s feeling of national pride in that astonishing.

    I’d be fine with Crumb winning a Nobel prize. I’d even feel national pride, or something close to it.

    I think this Crumb cartoon is as moving as “The Magnificent Ambersons” (the novel). It’s a true American work of art. Crumb says more about America in fifty-one seconds than Dylan has said in the last fifty-one years.

  185. @Anonymous Nephew
    How about Gilbert Shelton of Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (fame) ?

    The phrase, “Drink Tree Frog Beer and You’ll Have Lots of Girlfriends” is worthy of a Nobel on its own.

  186. @Heisenberg
    I'll take Jim Morrison as a better poet than zimmerDylan, any day of the week.
    Let's swim to the moon...

    David Lee Roth wrote superlative lyrics compared to Zimmerman.

    “Yet, as you know, and as atheists don’t, Nietzsche/Morrison weren’t celebrating the death of God, rather they were lamenting it.

    They knew something had been lost to us, and *that* something may have been the thing that made us ‘us’.”

    • Replies: @guest
    Hello!
    Hey, you!
    Who said that?
  187. Music is one of those things that defies awards.

    Modern music is getting Whiter every day and is all the better for it, inspiring.

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    Heh, I thought this was some new band but is in fact an old band from the club scene of the 1990s.

    Their early performances were inspired by ambient and electronic artists of the 1970s and 1980s, most notably Brian Eno and Kraftwerk. Because of their trippy sound, the Orb developed a cult following among clubbers "coming down" from drug-induced highs.

    Lol, I just can't get that song out of my head and am going to have to buy the album.

    "Little Fluffy Clouds" makes extensive use of clips from an interview with Rickie Lee Jones in which she recalls picturesque images of her childhood.

    Amazing. Was wondering who that adenoidal bird was, love her voice.

    English have great musical sensibility that seems to have found its place in the world with drug induced club music. It's like classical music in that you can have it on and it not only doesn't interrupt the work flow of configuring some solution but in fact aids one's composure and thought processes. Creative music that induces creativity. I'm in awe of how people like this can hear a snippet of something and produce a whole new world from it.

    The club scene does have its pitfalls though:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9is5gJORl4

    Tyres is a lot like me actually. Wish someone would put up the full clip of that where Tyre's continues with a massive rant.

  188. Anonymous [AKA "Double-decker bus"] says:
    @syonredux
    Better Bob Dylan than Mick Jagger.....

    It’s Morrissey next year.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    12 hours to the first denunciations of Dylan's white privilege ...
  189. @Blue
    Playwrights are eligible so why not screenwriters? TV is complicated since it's such a collaborative process; the name on the script is not necessarily who wrote it. But in principle I'd like to see it.

    Isn't art about making a connection with people? Most of the recent winners seem to be read only by academics and the like. But there seems to be snobbery from both sides. Who is a more important artist, Norman Rockwell or the guy who put a shark in a tank of formaldehyde? I can think of a number of Rockwell paintings that beautifully convey an emotion or idea. It's good art, but mostly ignored. Dylan has been important to people for a long time for the sentiments his songs convey. That makes it good art so I'm in favor of this prize.

    Playwrights are eligible so why not screenwriters?

    Here’s the Writers Guild of America West’s list of 101 best screenplays.

    http://www.wga.org/writers-room/101-best-lists/101-greatest-screenplays/list

    Here’s the top 20. This list is very conventional, but there is a lot to be said for a conventional list.

    1. CASABLANCA
    Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. Based on the play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

    2. THE GODFATHER
    Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Based on the novel by Mario Puzo

    3. CHINATOWN
    Written by Robert Towne

    4. CITIZEN KANE
    Written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles

    5. ALL ABOUT EVE
    Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Based on “The Wisdom of Eve,” a short story and radio play by Mary Orr

    6. ANNIE HALL
    Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

    7. SUNSET BLVD.
    Written by Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr.

    8. NETWORK
    Written by Paddy Chayefsky

    9. SOME LIKE IT HOT
    Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond. Based on “Fanfare of Love,” a German film written by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan

    10. THE GODFATHER II
    Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo. Based on Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather”

    11. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
    Written by William Goldman
    12. DR. STRANGELOVE
    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern. Based on novel “Red Alert” by Peter George
    13. THE GRADUATE
    Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Based on the novel by Charles Webb
    14. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
    Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. Based on the life and writings of Col. T.E. Lawrence
    15. THE APARTMENT
    Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
    16. PULP FICTION
    Written by Quentin Tarantino. Stories by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary
    17. TOOTSIE
    Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal. Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart
    18. ON THE WATERFRONT
    Screen Story and Screenplay by Budd Schulberg. Based on “Crime on the Waterfront” articles by Malcolm Johnson
    19. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    Screenplay by Horton Foote. Based on the novel by Harper Lee
    20. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
    Screenplay by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett & Frank Capra. Based on short story “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern. Contributions to screenplay Michael Wilson and Jo Swerling

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Looking at the WGA-W's list of top screenplays, it's hard to say that there's some overlooked screenwriter who has been consistently whose genius needs to be recognized by the Nobel Prize.

    Robert Towne and William Goldman and so forth are great guys, but they've made millions of dollars and have had a blast doing it.

    In general, movies aren't really a writer's art form. Really good writers tend to move up to director and eventually stop writing. Oliver Stone, say, started out as a screenwriter, winning the Oscar for 1980, then moved up to directing by 1986. The demands of developing a personality conducive to ordering hundreds of people around on set are not conducive to continuing as a writer.
    , @Pat Hannagan
    Must have:

    The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

    Harvey

    Apocalypse Now

    Blade Runner

    Queimada

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYm6QXWl1cI

    Breaker Morant

    Zulu Dawn

    Henry V (Kenneth Branagh)

    Zentropa

    Der Himmel über Berlin

    (and everything by David Lynch except Dune)

    , @WhatEvvs
    "1. CASABLANCA
    Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. Based on the play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison"

    The Epsteins are the grandfather and grand-uncle of baseball exec Theo Epstein. I think Theo is now too old to be referred to as a wunderkind.
  190. @Steve Sailer

    Playwrights are eligible so why not screenwriters?
     
    Here's the Writers Guild of America West's list of 101 best screenplays.

    http://www.wga.org/writers-room/101-best-lists/101-greatest-screenplays/list

    Here's the top 20. This list is very conventional, but there is a lot to be said for a conventional list.

    1. CASABLANCA
    Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. Based on the play "Everybody Comes to Rick's" by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

    2. THE GODFATHER
    Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Based on the novel by Mario Puzo

    3. CHINATOWN
    Written by Robert Towne

    4. CITIZEN KANE
    Written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles

    5. ALL ABOUT EVE
    Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Based on "The Wisdom of Eve," a short story and radio play by Mary Orr

    6. ANNIE HALL
    Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

    7. SUNSET BLVD.
    Written by Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr.

    8. NETWORK
    Written by Paddy Chayefsky

    9. SOME LIKE IT HOT
    Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond. Based on "Fanfare of Love," a German film written by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan

    10. THE GODFATHER II
    Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo. Based on Mario Puzo's novel "The Godfather"

    11. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
    Written by William Goldman
    12. DR. STRANGELOVE
    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern. Based on novel "Red Alert" by Peter George
    13. THE GRADUATE
    Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Based on the novel by Charles Webb
    14. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
    Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. Based on the life and writings of Col. T.E. Lawrence
    15. THE APARTMENT
    Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
    16. PULP FICTION
    Written by Quentin Tarantino. Stories by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary
    17. TOOTSIE
    Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal. Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart
    18. ON THE WATERFRONT
    Screen Story and Screenplay by Budd Schulberg. Based on "Crime on the Waterfront" articles by Malcolm Johnson
    19. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    Screenplay by Horton Foote. Based on the novel by Harper Lee
    20. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
    Screenplay by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett & Frank Capra. Based on short story "The Greatest Gift" by Philip Van Doren Stern. Contributions to screenplay Michael Wilson and Jo Swerling

    Looking at the WGA-W’s list of top screenplays, it’s hard to say that there’s some overlooked screenwriter who has been consistently whose genius needs to be recognized by the Nobel Prize.

    Robert Towne and William Goldman and so forth are great guys, but they’ve made millions of dollars and have had a blast doing it.

    In general, movies aren’t really a writer’s art form. Really good writers tend to move up to director and eventually stop writing. Oliver Stone, say, started out as a screenwriter, winning the Oscar for 1980, then moved up to directing by 1986. The demands of developing a personality conducive to ordering hundreds of people around on set are not conducive to continuing as a writer.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    In general, the demands of being a rock star aren't conducive to being a good writer either.

    Dylan has somewhat overcome that problem by not being a very good rock star. I only saw him once, in 1986 when he used Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers as his opening act / supporting band. This seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, but the problem was that Dylan, while he's a historic genius and all that, is not really much of a rock star, while Petty is no genius but he's one helluva rock and roll frontman.

    Dylan was pretty anti-charismatic in concert in 1986, while Petty was his usual excellent value for the money.

    Now that I think about it, Dylan was most similar to Van Morrison, whom I saw in 1979 with Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe opening for him. Van was also a sort of black hole of charisma as a live performer, but, holy cow, does he have a lot of great songs. Here's his greatest hits album

    "Bright Side of the Road" – 3:45
    "Gloria" – 2:37
    "Moondance" – 4:31
    "Baby, Please Don't Go" (Big Joe Williams) – 3:03
    "Have I Told You Lately" – 4:18
    "Brown Eyed Girl" – 3:03 - The mono single edit
    "Sweet Thing" – 4:22
    "Warm Love" – 3:21
    "Wonderful Remark" – 3:58
    "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)" – 2:57
    "Full Force Gale" – 3:12
    "And It Stoned Me" – 4:30
    "Here Comes the Night" (Bert Berns) – 2:46
    "Domino" – 3:08
    "Did Ye Get Healed?" – 4:06
    "Wild Night" – 3:31
    "Cleaning Windows" – 4:42
    "Whenever God Shines His Light" (duet with Cliff Richard) – 4:54
    "Queen of the Slipstream" – 4:53
    "Dweller on the Threshold" (Morrison, Hugh Murphy) – 4:47

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ech6pZoBJ4

    Dylan is four years older than Morrison, so I guess he's more original. But Morrison's Joycean Celtic folk rock (e.g., Led Zep: rock historians have been arguing for years over whether or not Jimmy Page played on Van's garage rock classic "Gloria") may have been roughly as influential as Dylan's songs.
    , @Blue
    You're right about the consistency of screenwriters and since the Nobel is about a body of work it puts them at a disadvantage. Screenwriting is hard.

    But if there was an award for single works, rather than authors, I'd say that there are several scripts on the WGA list deserving of a prize, at least by the standards of the Nobel, which has to give an award every year.
  191. Three or four decades ago, it would have been heresy to rank Citizen Kane at anything other than #1. Such was the dogma surrounding it. Times change.

    Personally, I would have bracketed the Godfather movies together, and made room for one more screenplay by Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons.

    IMHO.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Robert Bolt's screenplay for Lawrence of Arabia is a reasonably faithful adaptation of Lawrence's memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom, with certain inventions. For example, Lawrence claims to have saved a man's life in the desert and then had to execute a man to hold his coalition together, but Bolt makes them the same man.
  192. @Steve Sailer

    Playwrights are eligible so why not screenwriters?
     
    Here's the Writers Guild of America West's list of 101 best screenplays.

    http://www.wga.org/writers-room/101-best-lists/101-greatest-screenplays/list

    Here's the top 20. This list is very conventional, but there is a lot to be said for a conventional list.

    1. CASABLANCA
    Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. Based on the play "Everybody Comes to Rick's" by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

    2. THE GODFATHER
    Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Based on the novel by Mario Puzo

    3. CHINATOWN
    Written by Robert Towne

    4. CITIZEN KANE
    Written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles

    5. ALL ABOUT EVE
    Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Based on "The Wisdom of Eve," a short story and radio play by Mary Orr

    6. ANNIE HALL
    Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

    7. SUNSET BLVD.
    Written by Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr.

    8. NETWORK
    Written by Paddy Chayefsky

    9. SOME LIKE IT HOT
    Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond. Based on "Fanfare of Love," a German film written by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan

    10. THE GODFATHER II
    Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo. Based on Mario Puzo's novel "The Godfather"

    11. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
    Written by William Goldman
    12. DR. STRANGELOVE
    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern. Based on novel "Red Alert" by Peter George
    13. THE GRADUATE
    Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Based on the novel by Charles Webb
    14. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
    Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. Based on the life and writings of Col. T.E. Lawrence
    15. THE APARTMENT
    Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
    16. PULP FICTION
    Written by Quentin Tarantino. Stories by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary
    17. TOOTSIE
    Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal. Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart
    18. ON THE WATERFRONT
    Screen Story and Screenplay by Budd Schulberg. Based on "Crime on the Waterfront" articles by Malcolm Johnson
    19. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    Screenplay by Horton Foote. Based on the novel by Harper Lee
    20. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
    Screenplay by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett & Frank Capra. Based on short story "The Greatest Gift" by Philip Van Doren Stern. Contributions to screenplay Michael Wilson and Jo Swerling

    Must have:

    The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

    Harvey

    Apocalypse Now

    Blade Runner

    Queimada

    Breaker Morant

    Zulu Dawn

    Henry V (Kenneth Branagh)

    Zentropa

    Der Himmel über Berlin

    (and everything by David Lynch except Dune)

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    Zulu could be replaced with Bridge over River Kwai.

    The list you listed of Writers Guild of America West is rubbish. Just writers wanking each other.

    Movies are not about writing but directing (you may have said that).

    In general, movies aren’t really a writer’s art form. Really good writers tend to move up to director and eventually stop writing.

    I am amazed that Lynch is not hailed by Yanks as a living god. Like they never hailed Poe there's something very perverse about America that it doesn't appreciate their best artists and simply go for glitz combined with flashy, verbose, emptiness.

    , @Steve Sailer
    The problem with recognizing screenplays, such as Henry V, is that many of the best are adaptations. For example, John Huston had his secretary buy two copies of the Maltese Falcon book and then paste the alternating pages onto paper. He then crossed out inessential parts and had her type up the rest.

    So who gets the Nobel?

  193. @Pat Hannagan
    Must have:

    The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

    Harvey

    Apocalypse Now

    Blade Runner

    Queimada

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYm6QXWl1cI

    Breaker Morant

    Zulu Dawn

    Henry V (Kenneth Branagh)

    Zentropa

    Der Himmel über Berlin

    (and everything by David Lynch except Dune)

    Zulu could be replaced with Bridge over River Kwai.

    The list you listed of Writers Guild of America West is rubbish. Just writers wanking each other.

    Movies are not about writing but directing (you may have said that).

    In general, movies aren’t really a writer’s art form. Really good writers tend to move up to director and eventually stop writing.

    I am amazed that Lynch is not hailed by Yanks as a living god. Like they never hailed Poe there’s something very perverse about America that it doesn’t appreciate their best artists and simply go for glitz combined with flashy, verbose, emptiness.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yeah, David Lynch is an American genius.
  194. @Steve Sailer
    Looking at the WGA-W's list of top screenplays, it's hard to say that there's some overlooked screenwriter who has been consistently whose genius needs to be recognized by the Nobel Prize.

    Robert Towne and William Goldman and so forth are great guys, but they've made millions of dollars and have had a blast doing it.

    In general, movies aren't really a writer's art form. Really good writers tend to move up to director and eventually stop writing. Oliver Stone, say, started out as a screenwriter, winning the Oscar for 1980, then moved up to directing by 1986. The demands of developing a personality conducive to ordering hundreds of people around on set are not conducive to continuing as a writer.

    In general, the demands of being a rock star aren’t conducive to being a good writer either.

    Dylan has somewhat overcome that problem by not being a very good rock star. I only saw him once, in 1986 when he used Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers as his opening act / supporting band. This seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, but the problem was that Dylan, while he’s a historic genius and all that, is not really much of a rock star, while Petty is no genius but he’s one helluva rock and roll frontman.

    Dylan was pretty anti-charismatic in concert in 1986, while Petty was his usual excellent value for the money.

    Now that I think about it, Dylan was most similar to Van Morrison, whom I saw in 1979 with Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe opening for him. Van was also a sort of black hole of charisma as a live performer, but, holy cow, does he have a lot of great songs. Here’s his greatest hits album

    “Bright Side of the Road” – 3:45
    “Gloria” – 2:37
    “Moondance” – 4:31
    “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (Big Joe Williams) – 3:03
    “Have I Told You Lately” – 4:18
    “Brown Eyed Girl” – 3:03 – The mono single edit
    “Sweet Thing” – 4:22
    “Warm Love” – 3:21
    “Wonderful Remark” – 3:58
    “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)” – 2:57
    “Full Force Gale” – 3:12
    “And It Stoned Me” – 4:30
    “Here Comes the Night” (Bert Berns) – 2:46
    “Domino” – 3:08
    “Did Ye Get Healed?” – 4:06
    “Wild Night” – 3:31
    “Cleaning Windows” – 4:42
    “Whenever God Shines His Light” (duet with Cliff Richard) – 4:54
    “Queen of the Slipstream” – 4:53
    “Dweller on the Threshold” (Morrison, Hugh Murphy) – 4:47

    Dylan is four years older than Morrison, so I guess he’s more original. But Morrison’s Joycean Celtic folk rock (e.g., Led Zep: rock historians have been arguing for years over whether or not Jimmy Page played on Van’s garage rock classic “Gloria”) may have been roughly as influential as Dylan’s songs.

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    Dylan is one of those artists you're forced to admire, like your year 11 arts teacher shoving some dead British poet in Wilfred Owen down your throat when you need to hear Brendan Behan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdB5N4meH9g

    Pretty much mandated curriculum these days due to victors of our lost decades shoving their icons down our throats.

    You can't judge Dylan anymore because he comes loaded with so much tribal amity and enmity. Van Morrison on the other hand hasn't been shoved down anyone's throats and can be judged on his merits.

    , @BB753
    His album "Astral Weeks" is pure poetry. And Van Morrison is quite a powerful singer unlike Dylan. Dylan should have played in a band, as you point out, he's better at song-writing and playing rhythm guitar in the back.
    , @The preferred nomenclature is...
    Petty is a Rock'n'roll genius. You think Van Morrison has a catalogue, have you looked at Petty's. Have you see Bogdonavich's docu on Petty?

    I have seen many a show when bands were at their peak (just one example, but this is very representative: New Year's eve 1991 at the San Francisco Cow Palace: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers). Anyways, Tom Petty's performance of Breakdown in 1981 in OKC still stands out as the greatest single performance I've ever seen. For God's sake this was a weekday performance in Oklahoma in the midst of a grinding tour to support the Hard Promises album (the follow up to Damn the Torpedoes record) and he gave it all because that is what he does.
  195. Very good point about Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. It makes posting a link to this song necessary.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Van Morrison's cover of Dylan's "Baby Blue" sounds a lot like Donovan's single "Season of the Witch" with Jimmy Page on guitar.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm3yKy1hL1M
    , @Pat Hannagan
    Beck's Jack-Ass samples Van Morrison's guitar:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HMhfdfxR98

    Pretty amazing that you can trace Dylan through to Van Morrison through to Beck and each one is fairly unrecognisable from the other, each beautiful in their own right. Though I reckon the latter two are far far superior to the former genesis of them both.
  196. @PiltdownMan
    Three or four decades ago, it would have been heresy to rank Citizen Kane at anything other than #1. Such was the dogma surrounding it. Times change.

    Personally, I would have bracketed the Godfather movies together, and made room for one more screenplay by Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons.

    IMHO.

    Robert Bolt’s screenplay for Lawrence of Arabia is a reasonably faithful adaptation of Lawrence’s memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom, with certain inventions. For example, Lawrence claims to have saved a man’s life in the desert and then had to execute a man to hold his coalition together, but Bolt makes them the same man.

  197. Generally speaking, lyrics written for music aren’t as good as poetry written for the sake of poetry.

    That’s what I was trying to get at. How is Dylan to be judged? Why did he win the Nobel?

    The Nobel people seem to say he won for his lyrics on a standalone basis. They said he won for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

    But, taking Dylan’s lyrics, divorced from the music and the larger social context seems silly, which is driving most of this debate.

    But, if they gave him the Nobel for writing songs, then you open up the competition to all musical compositions with words and that opens a whole new can of silly. Then, he should be compared to Mozart and Cole Porter.

    This whole thing highlights how weak current culture is. As poetry or as music, Dylan’s output is pretty weak compared to the giants in each field. But all those giants are long dead and not eligible for the Nobel. Previous generations had Keats and Mozart. We have Dylan.

    Maybe it is best to just admit that the Nobel has a big political component, and that Dylan won for his political/cultural impact. Then the Nobel award makes sense.

    • Replies: @Blue
    "That’s what I was trying to get at. How is Dylan to be judged? Why did he win the Nobel?
    The Nobel people seem to say he won for his lyrics on a standalone basis. They said he won for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
    But, if they gave him the Nobel for writing songs, then you open up the competition to all musical compositions with words and that opens a whole new can of silly. Then, he should be compared to Mozart and Cole Porter."


    I see it as an award for lyrics in the context of a song. Haiku's can't be judged by the standards of longer-form poetry since they're working under a different constraint; they have their own measures of quality. You need to compare Dylan's lyrics to other song lyrics (and lets face it, Dylan's music isn't great, so to the extent that the song's matter, they matter because of the lyrics).

    Is Dylan the best in that context? So much of that is taste - I find Cole Porter boring, but I can see why other's wouldn't. But in addition to the quality of the lyrics on their own, I think that Dylan changed the way people thought of song lyrics as a thing and that's significant enough to get a prize.

  198. @Steve Sailer
    In general, the demands of being a rock star aren't conducive to being a good writer either.

    Dylan has somewhat overcome that problem by not being a very good rock star. I only saw him once, in 1986 when he used Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers as his opening act / supporting band. This seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, but the problem was that Dylan, while he's a historic genius and all that, is not really much of a rock star, while Petty is no genius but he's one helluva rock and roll frontman.

    Dylan was pretty anti-charismatic in concert in 1986, while Petty was his usual excellent value for the money.

    Now that I think about it, Dylan was most similar to Van Morrison, whom I saw in 1979 with Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe opening for him. Van was also a sort of black hole of charisma as a live performer, but, holy cow, does he have a lot of great songs. Here's his greatest hits album

    "Bright Side of the Road" – 3:45
    "Gloria" – 2:37
    "Moondance" – 4:31
    "Baby, Please Don't Go" (Big Joe Williams) – 3:03
    "Have I Told You Lately" – 4:18
    "Brown Eyed Girl" – 3:03 - The mono single edit
    "Sweet Thing" – 4:22
    "Warm Love" – 3:21
    "Wonderful Remark" – 3:58
    "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)" – 2:57
    "Full Force Gale" – 3:12
    "And It Stoned Me" – 4:30
    "Here Comes the Night" (Bert Berns) – 2:46
    "Domino" – 3:08
    "Did Ye Get Healed?" – 4:06
    "Wild Night" – 3:31
    "Cleaning Windows" – 4:42
    "Whenever God Shines His Light" (duet with Cliff Richard) – 4:54
    "Queen of the Slipstream" – 4:53
    "Dweller on the Threshold" (Morrison, Hugh Murphy) – 4:47

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ech6pZoBJ4

    Dylan is four years older than Morrison, so I guess he's more original. But Morrison's Joycean Celtic folk rock (e.g., Led Zep: rock historians have been arguing for years over whether or not Jimmy Page played on Van's garage rock classic "Gloria") may have been roughly as influential as Dylan's songs.

    Dylan is one of those artists you’re forced to admire, like your year 11 arts teacher shoving some dead British poet in Wilfred Owen down your throat when you need to hear Brendan Behan.

    Pretty much mandated curriculum these days due to victors of our lost decades shoving their icons down our throats.

    You can’t judge Dylan anymore because he comes loaded with so much tribal amity and enmity. Van Morrison on the other hand hasn’t been shoved down anyone’s throats and can be judged on his merits.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Van Morrison and Bob Dylan in 1979 were pretty similar. Van had joined the Jehovas Witnesses ("Down at the Kingdom Hall") and Bob had become a Born Again Christian ("You've Got to Serve Someone").
  199. @Steve Sailer
    In general, the demands of being a rock star aren't conducive to being a good writer either.

    Dylan has somewhat overcome that problem by not being a very good rock star. I only saw him once, in 1986 when he used Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers as his opening act / supporting band. This seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, but the problem was that Dylan, while he's a historic genius and all that, is not really much of a rock star, while Petty is no genius but he's one helluva rock and roll frontman.

    Dylan was pretty anti-charismatic in concert in 1986, while Petty was his usual excellent value for the money.

    Now that I think about it, Dylan was most similar to Van Morrison, whom I saw in 1979 with Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe opening for him. Van was also a sort of black hole of charisma as a live performer, but, holy cow, does he have a lot of great songs. Here's his greatest hits album

    "Bright Side of the Road" – 3:45
    "Gloria" – 2:37
    "Moondance" – 4:31
    "Baby, Please Don't Go" (Big Joe Williams) – 3:03
    "Have I Told You Lately" – 4:18
    "Brown Eyed Girl" – 3:03 - The mono single edit
    "Sweet Thing" – 4:22
    "Warm Love" – 3:21
    "Wonderful Remark" – 3:58
    "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)" – 2:57
    "Full Force Gale" – 3:12
    "And It Stoned Me" – 4:30
    "Here Comes the Night" (Bert Berns) – 2:46
    "Domino" – 3:08
    "Did Ye Get Healed?" – 4:06
    "Wild Night" – 3:31
    "Cleaning Windows" – 4:42
    "Whenever God Shines His Light" (duet with Cliff Richard) – 4:54
    "Queen of the Slipstream" – 4:53
    "Dweller on the Threshold" (Morrison, Hugh Murphy) – 4:47

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ech6pZoBJ4

    Dylan is four years older than Morrison, so I guess he's more original. But Morrison's Joycean Celtic folk rock (e.g., Led Zep: rock historians have been arguing for years over whether or not Jimmy Page played on Van's garage rock classic "Gloria") may have been roughly as influential as Dylan's songs.

    His album “Astral Weeks” is pure poetry. And Van Morrison is quite a powerful singer unlike Dylan. Dylan should have played in a band, as you point out, he’s better at song-writing and playing rhythm guitar in the back.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    How about if Dylan had lured Elvis away from Colonel Parker around 1964 with Elvis singing and Bob writing the songs?
  200. @Polymath
    I have to say that yhe Nobel was fully deserved, but I only want to argue about it with people who own at least 2/3 of Bob's albums. In his depth and inexhaustibility he surpasses all other songwriters (in English, which is all I'm qualified to opine on), and is the only living artist who will bear comparison with Twain or Shakespeare.
  201. @Steve Sailer

    what’s the difference between Dylan and any other flower child poet?
     
    Ask all the other flower child poets.

    Speaking of flower children poets,

    Here’s Dylan and Donovan facing off in a hotel room in the mid-1960s with dueling songs from “Don’t Look Back:”

    Dylan is obviously the alpha male.

    But Donovan is pretty good, too.

    I listened to top 40 rock in roughly late 1969 through 1971. Donovan’s current and recent best singles (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, etc.) were maybe better than Dylan’s singles (e.g., “Lay Lady Lay”).

    At that point, Dylan’s great backing band, The Band, had gone off on their own:

    Meanwhile, various session players for Donovan, such as Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, had coalesced into their own band:

    So, I feel pretty good about how much I liked Donovan.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    On the other hand, Donovan started later and burned out far earlier than Dylan, so Dylan is clearly the greater artist.
    , @Pat Hannagan
    Thank you for bringing John Bonham to our attention. I don't care what Gospel singing lovers think, or Blind Willie Johnson world-music fans make out, John Bonham made this song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1Dhz90oJXo

    Along with Jimmy Page.

    Led Zeppelin is a much derided band due to the inbred self-hatred of this age. Yet, future archaeologists will no doubt find them up there with the best of Hitler, Edgar A. Poe, Chesterton, and maybe even Tacitus thrown in.
    , @syonredux

    I listened to top 40 rock in roughly late 1969 through 1971. Donovan’s current and recent best singles (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, etc.) were maybe better than Dylan’s singles (e.g., “Lay Lady Lay”).
     
    Fincher made brilliant use of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" in Zodiac:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub6wGZu5Xng
    , @Malcolm X-Lax
    That version of It's All Over Now, Baby Blue is classic. I've watched that scene dozens of times over the years. You can almost read Donovan's mind. Salieri to Dylan's Mozart. Some interesting commentary through on the Blue-Ray. Bob Nuewirth and DA Pennebaker.
  202. @Steve Sailer
    Speaking of flower children poets,

    Here's Dylan and Donovan facing off in a hotel room in the mid-1960s with dueling songs from "Don't Look Back:"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc6HcA6kEJc

    Dylan is obviously the alpha male.

    But Donovan is pretty good, too.

    I listened to top 40 rock in roughly late 1969 through 1971. Donovan's current and recent best singles (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, etc.) were maybe better than Dylan's singles (e.g., "Lay Lady Lay").

    At that point, Dylan's great backing band, The Band, had gone off on their own:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EisXJSsULGM

    Meanwhile, various session players for Donovan, such as Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, had coalesced into their own band:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEGuHdKn0Lc

    So, I feel pretty good about how much I liked Donovan.

    On the other hand, Donovan started later and burned out far earlier than Dylan, so Dylan is clearly the greater artist.

  203. @BB753
    His album "Astral Weeks" is pure poetry. And Van Morrison is quite a powerful singer unlike Dylan. Dylan should have played in a band, as you point out, he's better at song-writing and playing rhythm guitar in the back.

    How about if Dylan had lured Elvis away from Colonel Parker around 1964 with Elvis singing and Bob writing the songs?

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    How about if Dylan had lured Elvis away from Colonel Parker around 1964 with Elvis singing and Bob writing the songs?
     
    Elvis should have been lured away by someone, anyone, in the late 1950s, the very second that that predatory Dutch charlatan shoved a movie studio contract in front of Elvis.
    , @BB753
    It would have been a good move for Elvis but a bad one for Dylan. I'm not a fan of Elvis Presley's sugary and phony vocals anyway.
    No, my idea is Dylan should have continued to develop the Band, his supporting act, as a real band, and leave the vocals to Helm, Robertson or Danko.
  204. @Pat Hannagan
    Dylan is one of those artists you're forced to admire, like your year 11 arts teacher shoving some dead British poet in Wilfred Owen down your throat when you need to hear Brendan Behan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdB5N4meH9g

    Pretty much mandated curriculum these days due to victors of our lost decades shoving their icons down our throats.

    You can't judge Dylan anymore because he comes loaded with so much tribal amity and enmity. Van Morrison on the other hand hasn't been shoved down anyone's throats and can be judged on his merits.

    Van Morrison and Bob Dylan in 1979 were pretty similar. Van had joined the Jehovas Witnesses (“Down at the Kingdom Hall”) and Bob had become a Born Again Christian (“You’ve Got to Serve Someone”).

  205. @Pat Hannagan
    Zulu could be replaced with Bridge over River Kwai.

    The list you listed of Writers Guild of America West is rubbish. Just writers wanking each other.

    Movies are not about writing but directing (you may have said that).

    In general, movies aren’t really a writer’s art form. Really good writers tend to move up to director and eventually stop writing.

    I am amazed that Lynch is not hailed by Yanks as a living god. Like they never hailed Poe there's something very perverse about America that it doesn't appreciate their best artists and simply go for glitz combined with flashy, verbose, emptiness.

    Yeah, David Lynch is an American genius.

    • Agree: Kylie
    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    Is this sarcasm?

    I am genuine:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZowK0NAvig

    Lynch is a great man. He always has "a man from another place" in his movies.

  206. At least Dylan’s poem has meter and rhyme
    (Which, decades ago, critics thought was a crime)
    From free-verse, these days, now the pendulum sways-
    A trend that in gen’ral, the poets should praise.

    This isn’t to say that that there’s anything wrong
    With un-metrical verse; such critique is too strong.
    But most normal men can’t compose with such freeness-
    To write decent free-verse requires a genius.

    With rhyme and with stresses, us half-witted slobs
    Can draft silly ditties (in comments on blogs).
    Our dogg’rel ain’t pretty, but gets the job done.
    You can tell that it’s poetry- try it, it’s fun!

  207. @Pat Hannagan
    Must have:

    The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

    Harvey

    Apocalypse Now

    Blade Runner

    Queimada

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYm6QXWl1cI

    Breaker Morant

    Zulu Dawn

    Henry V (Kenneth Branagh)

    Zentropa

    Der Himmel über Berlin

    (and everything by David Lynch except Dune)

    The problem with recognizing screenplays, such as Henry V, is that many of the best are adaptations. For example, John Huston had his secretary buy two copies of the Maltese Falcon book and then paste the alternating pages onto paper. He then crossed out inessential parts and had her type up the rest.

    So who gets the Nobel?

    • Replies: @syonredux

    The problem with recognizing screenplays, such as Henry V, is that many of the best are adaptations. For example, John Huston had his secretary buy two copies of the Maltese Falcon book and then paste the alternating pages onto paper. He then crossed out inessential parts and had her type up the rest.

    So who gets the Nobel?
     
    RE: The Maltese Falcon,

    Always thought that Huston deserved a lot of credit for just be being the guy who figured out that the novel was the screenplay.....
  208. @Anonymous
    It's Morrissey next year.

    12 hours to the first denunciations of Dylan’s white privilege …

    • LOL: PiltdownMan
  209. @Amasius
    There are only two Dylan songs I actually like: "I Want You" and "Not Dark Yet," the former for its very catchy tune and the latter for its genuine feeling and lyricism. I guess I'm not that outraged about him receiving a Nobel Prize. He was, after all, very influential in his day and he enjoys great esteem from a lot of people.

    But if he's going to win one, can we give Kris Kristofferson the prize next year? He's liable to pass soon and he's clearly better than Bob Dylan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOCcPKvlgQg

    I spent last weekend in a Kristoffersen daze.

  210. @Steve Sailer
    Speaking of flower children poets,

    Here's Dylan and Donovan facing off in a hotel room in the mid-1960s with dueling songs from "Don't Look Back:"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc6HcA6kEJc

    Dylan is obviously the alpha male.

    But Donovan is pretty good, too.

    I listened to top 40 rock in roughly late 1969 through 1971. Donovan's current and recent best singles (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, etc.) were maybe better than Dylan's singles (e.g., "Lay Lady Lay").

    At that point, Dylan's great backing band, The Band, had gone off on their own:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EisXJSsULGM

    Meanwhile, various session players for Donovan, such as Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, had coalesced into their own band:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEGuHdKn0Lc

    So, I feel pretty good about how much I liked Donovan.

    Thank you for bringing John Bonham to our attention. I don’t care what Gospel singing lovers think, or Blind Willie Johnson world-music fans make out, John Bonham made this song:

    Along with Jimmy Page.

    Led Zeppelin is a much derided band due to the inbred self-hatred of this age. Yet, future archaeologists will no doubt find them up there with the best of Hitler, Edgar A. Poe, Chesterton, and maybe even Tacitus thrown in.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    I have the complete works of only two rock bands: Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

    They are the two that will last. Amazing amount of talent there.
  211. @PiltdownMan
    Very good point about Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. It makes posting a link to this song necessary.

    https://youtu.be/jgQsH8vMkbQ

    Van Morrison’s cover of Dylan’s “Baby Blue” sounds a lot like Donovan’s single “Season of the Witch” with Jimmy Page on guitar.

  212. 1969 to 1971 was one of Dylan’s down periods, his second after the motorcyle crash and hiatus of 1966 followed by the very good John Wesley Harding.

    Nashville Skyline, being country and featuring a Dylan with a curious (for Dylan) mellow voice, was very different and in today’s parlance, pretty “meh” to most of Dylan’s fans back then.

    1970 saw Self-Portrait, a double album on which I bitterly regretted having my precious allowance money on, having picked it in the record store over, well, Led Zep I and II. Come to think of it, I still regret it. Decades later, I learned that Greil Marcus opened his review of Dylan’s Self-Portrait with memorable words “What is this shit?”

    Dylan made it easy for others to do better than him in those years, which, of course, were an extraordinary time for all rock music, not just folk-rock .

  213. @dearieme
    It's in the fine Scandinavian tradition of awarding the Peace Prize to O. Exquisite wits, those Scandiwegians.

    The Nobel Prize committee has now relocated to Desolation Row…..

  214. @Steve Sailer
    Yeah, David Lynch is an American genius.

    Is this sarcasm?

    I am genuine:

    Lynch is a great man. He always has “a man from another place” in his movies.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Is this sarcasm?
     
    No.

    David Lynch is an American Genius.

    He's also kind of not quite right in the head, but that's okay.

  215. @Pat Hannagan
    Is this sarcasm?

    I am genuine:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZowK0NAvig

    Lynch is a great man. He always has "a man from another place" in his movies.

    Is this sarcasm?

    No.

    David Lynch is an American Genius.

    He’s also kind of not quite right in the head, but that’s okay.

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    Excellent (sorry, I am mostly on the defensive). Lynch is the greatest American artist produced since Poe, or Runyon (who has grown out of favour but will live on due to his genuine reflection of life).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPQRu4iOMeQ

    Harry Dean Stanton is also a much underrated American. Whatever I see him in, especially this, I see myself.

    "See...I've already gone places...I just want to stay where I am.."

  216. Dylan’s best poem/lyric is “My Back Pages”.
    Magnificent Byrds version.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Byrds: Dylan's "My Back Pages."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h80l4XIPJC4

  217. @pepperinmono
    Dylan's best poem/lyric is "My Back Pages".
    Magnificent Byrds version.

    Byrds: Dylan’s “My Back Pages.”

  218. @Steve Sailer

    Is this sarcasm?
     
    No.

    David Lynch is an American Genius.

    He's also kind of not quite right in the head, but that's okay.

    Excellent (sorry, I am mostly on the defensive). Lynch is the greatest American artist produced since Poe, or Runyon (who has grown out of favour but will live on due to his genuine reflection of life).

    Harry Dean Stanton is also a much underrated American. Whatever I see him in, especially this, I see myself.

    “See…I’ve already gone places…I just want to stay where I am..”

    • Replies: @Kylie
    "Lynch is the greatest American artist produced since Poe, or Runyon..."

    No. Since John Ford.
  219. : Dylan is just a VERY GOOD Jewish business man; has been since the beginning.

  220. @Steve Sailer
    How about if Dylan had lured Elvis away from Colonel Parker around 1964 with Elvis singing and Bob writing the songs?

    How about if Dylan had lured Elvis away from Colonel Parker around 1964 with Elvis singing and Bob writing the songs?

    Elvis should have been lured away by someone, anyone, in the late 1950s, the very second that that predatory Dutch charlatan shoved a movie studio contract in front of Elvis.

    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    Elvis should have been lured away by someone, anyone, in the late 1950s, the very second that that predatory Dutch charlatan shoved a movie studio contract in front of Elvis.

    A lot of people tried. Hard.


    Elvis was too decent, too grateful, too loyal for his own good.

    On a certain level he knew Parker was a mountebank, a clown, a grifter and an untalented one at that. But, Parker had taken him from poor kid to millionaire "overnight" and Elvis was loyal.

    Parker said fart, Elvis farted. Parker said shit, Elvis took a shit.

    Parker decided Elvis should go in the Army. As an ordinary draftee. Army dumb enough to go along. (Frank Sinatra was smart enough to get Tommy Sands, Nancy's husband, in the USAF Reserve.) The Army could have used Elvis a hundred times better as a band or Special Services reservist-literally anything would have been better than having him in the infantry, where his presence caused a mob to gather.

    Parker made Elvis a movie star. But only in Elvis movies-dedicated 'vehicles' for Elvis to be, well, Elvis, pretty much. Had Elvis had to compete for regular roles, he might, like Frank Sinatra, have developed into a decent actor. Instead, he made Elvis movies-a few of which were watchable, one or two even fairly good, but most a steaming pile of cinematic dog excrement, unwatchable today.

    Even James Darren's "The Lively Set" is more watchable than Elvis' "bad" movies (which is more than half of them.)

    Of course, the real villains in this whole stories were the American consumers that would pay money for this dreck. Without that, the whole thing would have collapsed, and Elvis would have retired to moderate affluence. Poverty is something Elvis could have handled. Wealth is what kills them. Even so, he wouldn't have been poor. He'd have lived like Frankie Avalon or Frankie Valli or one of those guys.
  221. @Steve Sailer
    In general, the demands of being a rock star aren't conducive to being a good writer either.

    Dylan has somewhat overcome that problem by not being a very good rock star. I only saw him once, in 1986 when he used Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers as his opening act / supporting band. This seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, but the problem was that Dylan, while he's a historic genius and all that, is not really much of a rock star, while Petty is no genius but he's one helluva rock and roll frontman.

    Dylan was pretty anti-charismatic in concert in 1986, while Petty was his usual excellent value for the money.

    Now that I think about it, Dylan was most similar to Van Morrison, whom I saw in 1979 with Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe opening for him. Van was also a sort of black hole of charisma as a live performer, but, holy cow, does he have a lot of great songs. Here's his greatest hits album

    "Bright Side of the Road" – 3:45
    "Gloria" – 2:37
    "Moondance" – 4:31
    "Baby, Please Don't Go" (Big Joe Williams) – 3:03
    "Have I Told You Lately" – 4:18
    "Brown Eyed Girl" – 3:03 - The mono single edit
    "Sweet Thing" – 4:22
    "Warm Love" – 3:21
    "Wonderful Remark" – 3:58
    "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)" – 2:57
    "Full Force Gale" – 3:12
    "And It Stoned Me" – 4:30
    "Here Comes the Night" (Bert Berns) – 2:46
    "Domino" – 3:08
    "Did Ye Get Healed?" – 4:06
    "Wild Night" – 3:31
    "Cleaning Windows" – 4:42
    "Whenever God Shines His Light" (duet with Cliff Richard) – 4:54
    "Queen of the Slipstream" – 4:53
    "Dweller on the Threshold" (Morrison, Hugh Murphy) – 4:47

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ech6pZoBJ4

    Dylan is four years older than Morrison, so I guess he's more original. But Morrison's Joycean Celtic folk rock (e.g., Led Zep: rock historians have been arguing for years over whether or not Jimmy Page played on Van's garage rock classic "Gloria") may have been roughly as influential as Dylan's songs.

    Petty is a Rock’n’roll genius. You think Van Morrison has a catalogue, have you looked at Petty’s. Have you see Bogdonavich’s docu on Petty?

    I have seen many a show when bands were at their peak (just one example, but this is very representative: New Year’s eve 1991 at the San Francisco Cow Palace: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers). Anyways, Tom Petty’s performance of Breakdown in 1981 in OKC still stands out as the greatest single performance I’ve ever seen. For God’s sake this was a weekday performance in Oklahoma in the midst of a grinding tour to support the Hard Promises album (the follow up to Damn the Torpedoes record) and he gave it all because that is what he does.

  222. @fitzGetty
    ... and that canny old bird in Afterwards .

    “… and that canny old bird in Afterwards .”

    You got me there. I can’t recall any story, “Afterwards” by James. Though his work is full of canny old birds.

    Could you possibly be thinking of Mary Boyne in Edith Wharton’s “Afterward”?

  223. @FactsAreImportant
    Good points.

    But, while some lyrics may hold up on their own, other lyrics, dopey on the page, can be made great by the music. The interplay of the two can make something much more than the sum of the two by themselves.

    Some of the my favorite lyrics are quite simple, but create wonderful little explosions of images when stretched out and set to music.

    Or I could be a dufus in over my head. You obviously know more than I do, and what I thought was an insightful insight has probably been hashed out many times before.

    Try quoting some Beatles lyrics without humming the tunes.

    It’s been a hard days night
    And I been working like a dog
    It’s been a hard days night
    I should be sleeping like a log.

    My teenagers like to quote this to my boomer husband as a way to make fun of his teen music.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    "Try quoting some Beatles lyrics without humming the tunes."

    "Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice
    In the church where a wedding has been
    Lives in a dream
    Waits at the window, wearing the face
    That she keeps in a jar by the door
    Who is it for

    All the lonely people
    Where do they all come from?
    All the lonely people
    Where do they all belong?"

    , @guest
    Since I spoke earlier of my distaste for the anti-suburban bias of high culture, "Penny Lane" is a fine antidote (though I'm not sure whether it's sarcastic):

    Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
    A four of fish and finger pies
    In summer, meanwhile back...

    Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
    The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
    And though she feels as if she's in a play
    She is anyway

  224. @Clyde

    Several critics have acclaimed "Visions of Johanna" as one of Dylan's highest achievements in writing, praising the allusiveness and subtlety of the language. Rolling Stone included "Visions of Johanna" on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 1999, Sir Andrew Motion, poet laureate of the UK, listed it as his candidate for the greatest song lyric ever written. Numerous artists have recorded cover versions of the song, including the Grateful Dead, Marianne Faithfull and Robyn Hitchcock.
     
    Is my Dylan favorite. Electric from the album. He probably butchers it on stage these days so I would not bother seeing him live. Neil Young would be better because he does his tunes the way they were recorded. Here is Neil Young doing Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower better than Dylan ever could.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCVjDFR5xtg

    I love the Dead’s version of Visions of Johanna.

  225. My iTunes collection is fairly extensive (>2000 albums), and I’m always looking for ways to expand it. It’s pretty eclectic with The Free Design, Carpenters, Laura Nyro,and the Tallis Scholars along with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and the Dickies. Yup, the Byrds and Don0van are in there. A lot of French, Irish, English and Cajun traditional music along with Blue Grass, six versions of Paul Hindemith’s Das Marienleben, the Fleury Playbook, and the complete keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. Pretty much all the female pop and opera singers of the 30s, 40s and 50s. No Rolling Stones — I just can’t find anything by them I like enough to put into the musical narrative of my life, but I have noticed that Jay Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” is a silly ripoff of the Stones “Some Girls.”

    I go back to YouTube from time to time to find something by Dylan and Van Morrison I might like to collect because of their historical significance, but I just can’t dig them. Something about their harmonies or lack of counterpoint leaves me flat (Dylan’s “Mighty Quinn” and the “The Times They are A Changin” are variations of the same boring stock tune), but perhaps they both deserve a Nobel prize for their lyrics. Maybe Dylan was just a beat poet who used a guitar and harmonica as props to get noticed

  226. @Pat Hannagan
    David Lee Roth wrote superlative lyrics compared to Zimmerman.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdETAFYTQMA

    "Yet, as you know, and as atheists don't, Nietzsche/Morrison weren't celebrating the death of God, rather they were lamenting it.

    They knew something had been lost to us, and *that* something may have been the thing that made us 'us'."

    Hello!
    Hey, you!
    Who said that?

  227. @Steve Sailer
    Speaking of flower children poets,

    Here's Dylan and Donovan facing off in a hotel room in the mid-1960s with dueling songs from "Don't Look Back:"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc6HcA6kEJc

    Dylan is obviously the alpha male.

    But Donovan is pretty good, too.

    I listened to top 40 rock in roughly late 1969 through 1971. Donovan's current and recent best singles (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, etc.) were maybe better than Dylan's singles (e.g., "Lay Lady Lay").

    At that point, Dylan's great backing band, The Band, had gone off on their own:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EisXJSsULGM

    Meanwhile, various session players for Donovan, such as Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, had coalesced into their own band:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEGuHdKn0Lc

    So, I feel pretty good about how much I liked Donovan.

    I listened to top 40 rock in roughly late 1969 through 1971. Donovan’s current and recent best singles (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, etc.) were maybe better than Dylan’s singles (e.g., “Lay Lady Lay”).

    Fincher made brilliant use of “Hurdy Gurdy Man” in Zodiac:

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    Fincher not only made excellent use of that tune (and several other tunes from the era) in Zodiac, but he also slipped Donovan's daughter into a minor role (woman who gets a flat tire in the middle of the night).

    I know Donovan was a "thing" as far back as 1965 at the latest. This was about the time Dylan went electric, and enraged the traditional folkie crowd. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Donovan and Dylan were involved in "borrowing" in the 1960's (Simon and Garfunkel were also floating around England in those days.)

    Donovan's big singles were bigger than Dylan's for sure, at least in terms of the teen market. He was also better looking, and had a smoother voice. You forgot "Mellow Yellow." Donovan was also psychedelic before psychedelia went off the charts in '66-'67.
  228. @syonredux

    I listened to top 40 rock in roughly late 1969 through 1971. Donovan’s current and recent best singles (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, etc.) were maybe better than Dylan’s singles (e.g., “Lay Lady Lay”).
     
    Fincher made brilliant use of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" in Zodiac:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub6wGZu5Xng

    Fincher not only made excellent use of that tune (and several other tunes from the era) in Zodiac, but he also slipped Donovan’s daughter into a minor role (woman who gets a flat tire in the middle of the night).

    I know Donovan was a “thing” as far back as 1965 at the latest. This was about the time Dylan went electric, and enraged the traditional folkie crowd. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Donovan and Dylan were involved in “borrowing” in the 1960’s (Simon and Garfunkel were also floating around England in those days.)

    Donovan’s big singles were bigger than Dylan’s for sure, at least in terms of the teen market. He was also better looking, and had a smoother voice. You forgot “Mellow Yellow.” Donovan was also psychedelic before psychedelia went off the charts in ’66-’67.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Fincher not only made excellent use of that tune (and several other tunes from the era) in Zodiac, but he also slipped Donovan’s daughter into a minor role (woman who gets a flat tire in the middle of the night).

     

    Ione Skye. Quite cute in her Say Anything prime.
  229. @Pat Hannagan
    Excellent (sorry, I am mostly on the defensive). Lynch is the greatest American artist produced since Poe, or Runyon (who has grown out of favour but will live on due to his genuine reflection of life).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPQRu4iOMeQ

    Harry Dean Stanton is also a much underrated American. Whatever I see him in, especially this, I see myself.

    "See...I've already gone places...I just want to stay where I am.."

    “Lynch is the greatest American artist produced since Poe, or Runyon…”

    No. Since John Ford.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    I'm really looking forward to Lynch's new Twin Peaks series:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_Peaks_(2017_TV_series)

    The Lynch-directed episodes of the original were simply outstanding.
  230. @Polymath
    I have to say that yhe Nobel was fully deserved, but I only want to argue about it with people who own at least 2/3 of Bob's albums. In his depth and inexhaustibility he surpasses all other songwriters (in English, which is all I'm qualified to opine on), and is the only living artist who will bear comparison with Twain or Shakespeare.

    This is just pitiful.

    • Agree: SPMoore8
  231. @Steve Sailer
    Bob is very American.

    I agree. I’m as right wing as they come and I’ve been a huge Dylan fan for more than 3o years. There’s something about him. His American-ness transcends all that 60s left-wing hippy bullshit. He had some brilliant mis-steps (Hurricane, for example, is a great song about a guilty man). And Isis, from the same album, is an all-time fave. Not just the words but the music and how he phrases the lyric just right and fills them with meaning and something real and visceral. Dylan’s one of those guys, either you get him or your don’t. There have been less deserving writers to get the Nobel. As for Bob’s jewishness, he could serve as a lesson for his fellow jews in the media. American first, jewish somewhere after.

  232. @Pat Hannagan
    Thank you for bringing John Bonham to our attention. I don't care what Gospel singing lovers think, or Blind Willie Johnson world-music fans make out, John Bonham made this song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1Dhz90oJXo

    Along with Jimmy Page.

    Led Zeppelin is a much derided band due to the inbred self-hatred of this age. Yet, future archaeologists will no doubt find them up there with the best of Hitler, Edgar A. Poe, Chesterton, and maybe even Tacitus thrown in.

    I have the complete works of only two rock bands: Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

    They are the two that will last. Amazing amount of talent there.

  233. @Steve Sailer
    Speaking of flower children poets,

    Here's Dylan and Donovan facing off in a hotel room in the mid-1960s with dueling songs from "Don't Look Back:"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc6HcA6kEJc

    Dylan is obviously the alpha male.

    But Donovan is pretty good, too.

    I listened to top 40 rock in roughly late 1969 through 1971. Donovan's current and recent best singles (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, etc.) were maybe better than Dylan's singles (e.g., "Lay Lady Lay").

    At that point, Dylan's great backing band, The Band, had gone off on their own:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EisXJSsULGM

    Meanwhile, various session players for Donovan, such as Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, had coalesced into their own band:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEGuHdKn0Lc

    So, I feel pretty good about how much I liked Donovan.

    That version of It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue is classic. I’ve watched that scene dozens of times over the years. You can almost read Donovan’s mind. Salieri to Dylan’s Mozart. Some interesting commentary through on the Blue-Ray. Bob Nuewirth and DA Pennebaker.

  234. @SPMoore8
    Fincher not only made excellent use of that tune (and several other tunes from the era) in Zodiac, but he also slipped Donovan's daughter into a minor role (woman who gets a flat tire in the middle of the night).

    I know Donovan was a "thing" as far back as 1965 at the latest. This was about the time Dylan went electric, and enraged the traditional folkie crowd. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Donovan and Dylan were involved in "borrowing" in the 1960's (Simon and Garfunkel were also floating around England in those days.)

    Donovan's big singles were bigger than Dylan's for sure, at least in terms of the teen market. He was also better looking, and had a smoother voice. You forgot "Mellow Yellow." Donovan was also psychedelic before psychedelia went off the charts in '66-'67.

    Fincher not only made excellent use of that tune (and several other tunes from the era) in Zodiac, but he also slipped Donovan’s daughter into a minor role (woman who gets a flat tire in the middle of the night).

    Ione Skye. Quite cute in her Say Anything prime.

  235. @ATX Hipster
    +1 for both "Visions" and Neil Young's version of "All Along the Watchtower". Young did that song and "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" very well on the Dylan 3oth Anniversary Concert Celebration, which has a lot of good covers on it.

    Neil Young has turned into such a silly lefty it’s painful but I still like the way he used to do it. It, being all his tunes. I like most of what he did 20 years ago and before. Yeah I know he did Watchtower at the Dylan 3oth Anniversary Concert Celebration but this version is better. Done here with Bruce Springteen (I like nothing by him). Max Weinberg is slamming the drums here!
    Performance is from a 2004 John Kerry get out the vote rally…what can I say but gotta do the best with what’s still around.

    • Replies: @ATX Hipster
    Yeah his politics are awful, and he's embarrassing himself with the Pono nonsense, too. But his personal/business life aside, I've always thought Tonight's the Night is as good as Blood On the Tracks or Blonde on Blonde.
  236. @Kylie
    "Lynch is the greatest American artist produced since Poe, or Runyon..."

    No. Since John Ford.

    I’m really looking forward to Lynch’s new Twin Peaks series:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_Peaks_(2017_TV_series)

    The Lynch-directed episodes of the original were simply outstanding.

    • Agree: Kylie
    • Replies: @ATX Hipster
    I hadn't heard about this but I'm excited now. A mini-series probably would have been a better format for the original.
  237. @Steve Sailer
    The problem with recognizing screenplays, such as Henry V, is that many of the best are adaptations. For example, John Huston had his secretary buy two copies of the Maltese Falcon book and then paste the alternating pages onto paper. He then crossed out inessential parts and had her type up the rest.

    So who gets the Nobel?

    The problem with recognizing screenplays, such as Henry V, is that many of the best are adaptations. For example, John Huston had his secretary buy two copies of the Maltese Falcon book and then paste the alternating pages onto paper. He then crossed out inessential parts and had her type up the rest.

    So who gets the Nobel?

    RE: The Maltese Falcon,

    Always thought that Huston deserved a lot of credit for just be being the guy who figured out that the novel was the screenplay…..

    • Replies: @Kylie
    Huston tightened up the novel quite a bit. True, he didn't have to add anything to the novel. But he did edit out a lot (e.g., Gutman's daughter).

    I think the movie is better than the novel. But that's okay. Red Harvest makes up for everything--even Hammett's relationship with Hellacious.

    Well, almost everything.
  238. “Well, my shoes, they come from Singapore
    My flashlight’s from Taiwan
    My tablecloth’s from Malaysia
    My belt buckle’s from the Amazon
    You know, this shirt I wear comes from the Philippines
    And the car I drive is a Chevrolet
    It was put together down in Argentina
    By a guy making thirty cents a day

    Well, it’s sundown on the union
    And what’s made in the USA
    Sure was a good idea
    ‘Til greed got in the way”

    Bob has a thing for Chevrolet.

  239. @Steve Sailer
    How about if Dylan had lured Elvis away from Colonel Parker around 1964 with Elvis singing and Bob writing the songs?

    It would have been a good move for Elvis but a bad one for Dylan. I’m not a fan of Elvis Presley’s sugary and phony vocals anyway.
    No, my idea is Dylan should have continued to develop the Band, his supporting act, as a real band, and leave the vocals to Helm, Robertson or Danko.

  240. @syonredux

    The problem with recognizing screenplays, such as Henry V, is that many of the best are adaptations. For example, John Huston had his secretary buy two copies of the Maltese Falcon book and then paste the alternating pages onto paper. He then crossed out inessential parts and had her type up the rest.

    So who gets the Nobel?
     
    RE: The Maltese Falcon,

    Always thought that Huston deserved a lot of credit for just be being the guy who figured out that the novel was the screenplay.....

    Huston tightened up the novel quite a bit. True, he didn’t have to add anything to the novel. But he did edit out a lot (e.g., Gutman’s daughter).

    I think the movie is better than the novel. But that’s okay. Red Harvest makes up for everything–even Hammett’s relationship with Hellacious.

    Well, almost everything.

  241. @Lurker

    Next year’s Nobel Prize for literature: Kanye West?
     
    Could be, assuming he's mastered paint-by-numbers and had time to get on to learning spelling.

    …all is changed, that high horse riderless,
    Though mounted in that saddle Homer rode
    Where the swan drifts upon a darkening flood…

  242. @PiltdownMan
    Very good point about Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. It makes posting a link to this song necessary.

    https://youtu.be/jgQsH8vMkbQ

    Beck’s Jack-Ass samples Van Morrison’s guitar:

    Pretty amazing that you can trace Dylan through to Van Morrison through to Beck and each one is fairly unrecognisable from the other, each beautiful in their own right. Though I reckon the latter two are far far superior to the former genesis of them both.

    • Replies: @The preferred nomenclature is...
    Saw Beck at Slim's in San Francisco in 1994, great show.
  243. @Steve Sailer
    Looking at the WGA-W's list of top screenplays, it's hard to say that there's some overlooked screenwriter who has been consistently whose genius needs to be recognized by the Nobel Prize.

    Robert Towne and William Goldman and so forth are great guys, but they've made millions of dollars and have had a blast doing it.

    In general, movies aren't really a writer's art form. Really good writers tend to move up to director and eventually stop writing. Oliver Stone, say, started out as a screenwriter, winning the Oscar for 1980, then moved up to directing by 1986. The demands of developing a personality conducive to ordering hundreds of people around on set are not conducive to continuing as a writer.

    You’re right about the consistency of screenwriters and since the Nobel is about a body of work it puts them at a disadvantage. Screenwriting is hard.

    But if there was an award for single works, rather than authors, I’d say that there are several scripts on the WGA list deserving of a prize, at least by the standards of the Nobel, which has to give an award every year.

  244. @Pat Hannagan
    Music is one of those things that defies awards.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHixChYgGRI

    Modern music is getting Whiter every day and is all the better for it, inspiring.

    Heh, I thought this was some new band but is in fact an old band from the club scene of the 1990s.

    Their early performances were inspired by ambient and electronic artists of the 1970s and 1980s, most notably Brian Eno and Kraftwerk. Because of their trippy sound, the Orb developed a cult following among clubbers “coming down” from drug-induced highs.

    Lol, I just can’t get that song out of my head and am going to have to buy the album.

    “Little Fluffy Clouds” makes extensive use of clips from an interview with Rickie Lee Jones in which she recalls picturesque images of her childhood.

    Amazing. Was wondering who that adenoidal bird was, love her voice.

    English have great musical sensibility that seems to have found its place in the world with drug induced club music. It’s like classical music in that you can have it on and it not only doesn’t interrupt the work flow of configuring some solution but in fact aids one’s composure and thought processes. Creative music that induces creativity. I’m in awe of how people like this can hear a snippet of something and produce a whole new world from it.

    The club scene does have its pitfalls though:

    Tyres is a lot like me actually. Wish someone would put up the full clip of that where Tyre’s continues with a massive rant.

  245. Steve, thanks very much for this thread and last night. Had a wonderful time and learned a lot.

  246. @FactsAreImportant

    Generally speaking, lyrics written for music aren’t as good as poetry written for the sake of poetry.
     
    That's what I was trying to get at. How is Dylan to be judged? Why did he win the Nobel?

    The Nobel people seem to say he won for his lyrics on a standalone basis. They said he won for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

    But, taking Dylan's lyrics, divorced from the music and the larger social context seems silly, which is driving most of this debate.

    But, if they gave him the Nobel for writing songs, then you open up the competition to all musical compositions with words and that opens a whole new can of silly. Then, he should be compared to Mozart and Cole Porter.

    This whole thing highlights how weak current culture is. As poetry or as music, Dylan's output is pretty weak compared to the giants in each field. But all those giants are long dead and not eligible for the Nobel. Previous generations had Keats and Mozart. We have Dylan.

    Maybe it is best to just admit that the Nobel has a big political component, and that Dylan won for his political/cultural impact. Then the Nobel award makes sense.

    “That’s what I was trying to get at. How is Dylan to be judged? Why did he win the Nobel?
    The Nobel people seem to say he won for his lyrics on a standalone basis. They said he won for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
    But, if they gave him the Nobel for writing songs, then you open up the competition to all musical compositions with words and that opens a whole new can of silly. Then, he should be compared to Mozart and Cole Porter.”

    I see it as an award for lyrics in the context of a song. Haiku’s can’t be judged by the standards of longer-form poetry since they’re working under a different constraint; they have their own measures of quality. You need to compare Dylan’s lyrics to other song lyrics (and lets face it, Dylan’s music isn’t great, so to the extent that the song’s matter, they matter because of the lyrics).

    Is Dylan the best in that context? So much of that is taste – I find Cole Porter boring, but I can see why other’s wouldn’t. But in addition to the quality of the lyrics on their own, I think that Dylan changed the way people thought of song lyrics as a thing and that’s significant enough to get a prize.

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    I think people are over-thinking this in a big way.

    I think the Academy for reasons unknown decided to give the award to Dylan, but in the phrasing above, I think they meant the word and music of the songs.

    I don't think you can say that Dylan revolutionized song lyrics because, in the first place, there were many songs before him that incorporated odd and contemporary reference heavy lyrics, and second, because song and lyrics encompasses the entire musical tradition, which is rich and deep with songs that burst the limits of popular song (e.g., the "Soliloquy" from "Carousel"), and third, because behind both of those is a long art song tradition, and operatic tradition, that used both original libretti and existing poems for the lyrics covering every imaginable topic.

    Having said that much, I think they just liked Dylan and decided not to give it to some obscure author of poetry in some obscure language. Fine, whatever.

    My problem is two fold. First, it tends to scant people who have generated a large body of poetry or literature, which, by their nature, will be capable to developing far more intense imagery and thought trajectories than those found in any popular or quasi-popular song (in this respect I am not even addressing the criticism that much of Dylan's lyrics are banal, trite, ill-informed, and just plain stupid.) It seems to me that those other writers are the ones to be lauded, if only to encourage the others. An award like this has to be tremendously dillusioning.

    The second problem is, if we extol the value of Dylan's song lyrics, I can think of a number of lyricists from the '60's who were equally socially conscious, politically engaged, and who generally wrote better settings for their lyrics. So what now, a floodtide of awards to '60's songwriters?

    But then again, I went back and looked at the list of the 116 or so Nobel Literature laureates. I would say about half of them I have never read and I doubt if I ever will. And even among those I read -- e.g., Romain Rolland -- it's a safe bet that the style of many of them is not, and never was, meant to make them "classics." There's definitely something of a whim involved in these awards, the problem, as I see it, is that this award has helped devalue both literature and poetry as art forms.

    -- Yet: Someone pointed out that nobody reads books anymore, so who cares. They might be right.
    , @guest
    That's what earns a Nobel prize? Not the oeuvre of Robert Frost, for instance, but getting stoners to read liner notes?

    Dylan definitely isn't responsible for making song lyrics a thing. Maybe in rock music, I wouldn't know. But you're right about the lyrics being what make his songs matter, artistically at least. There were a lot of other, probably more important, reasons his music "mattered." Most of them having to do with fashion.
  247. @syonredux
    Bech: A Book is quite good (it's Updike having a little fun satirizing his Jewish rivals). I'd also recommend reading The Coup, but keep a dictionary handy.

    The Coup is one of the best books I read this decade. Enjoyed it much more than the first Rabbit book (the only rabbit book I read).

  248. @SPMoore8
    I will admit that I don't follow current literature that closely, but:

    Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, John Barth, Chuck Palahniuk, all seem to have been more dynamic and incidentally actual writers who could have gotten a nod.

    Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge is worth a read.

  249. @Blue
    "That’s what I was trying to get at. How is Dylan to be judged? Why did he win the Nobel?
    The Nobel people seem to say he won for his lyrics on a standalone basis. They said he won for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
    But, if they gave him the Nobel for writing songs, then you open up the competition to all musical compositions with words and that opens a whole new can of silly. Then, he should be compared to Mozart and Cole Porter."


    I see it as an award for lyrics in the context of a song. Haiku's can't be judged by the standards of longer-form poetry since they're working under a different constraint; they have their own measures of quality. You need to compare Dylan's lyrics to other song lyrics (and lets face it, Dylan's music isn't great, so to the extent that the song's matter, they matter because of the lyrics).

    Is Dylan the best in that context? So much of that is taste - I find Cole Porter boring, but I can see why other's wouldn't. But in addition to the quality of the lyrics on their own, I think that Dylan changed the way people thought of song lyrics as a thing and that's significant enough to get a prize.

    I think people are over-thinking this in a big way.

    I think the Academy for reasons unknown decided to give the award to Dylan, but in the phrasing above, I think they meant the word and music of the songs.

    I don’t think you can say that Dylan revolutionized song lyrics because, in the first place, there were many songs before him that incorporated odd and contemporary reference heavy lyrics, and second, because song and lyrics encompasses the entire musical tradition, which is rich and deep with songs that burst the limits of popular song (e.g., the “Soliloquy” from “Carousel”), and third, because behind both of those is a long art song tradition, and operatic tradition, that used both original libretti and existing poems for the lyrics covering every imaginable topic.

    Having said that much, I think they just liked Dylan and decided not to give it to some obscure author of poetry in some obscure language. Fine, whatever.

    My problem is two fold. First, it tends to scant people who have generated a large body of poetry or literature, which, by their nature, will be capable to developing far more intense imagery and thought trajectories than those found in any popular or quasi-popular song (in this respect I am not even addressing the criticism that much of Dylan’s lyrics are banal, trite, ill-informed, and just plain stupid.) It seems to me that those other writers are the ones to be lauded, if only to encourage the others. An award like this has to be tremendously dillusioning.

    The second problem is, if we extol the value of Dylan’s song lyrics, I can think of a number of lyricists from the ’60’s who were equally socially conscious, politically engaged, and who generally wrote better settings for their lyrics. So what now, a floodtide of awards to ’60’s songwriters?

    But then again, I went back and looked at the list of the 116 or so Nobel Literature laureates. I would say about half of them I have never read and I doubt if I ever will. And even among those I read — e.g., Romain Rolland — it’s a safe bet that the style of many of them is not, and never was, meant to make them “classics.” There’s definitely something of a whim involved in these awards, the problem, as I see it, is that this award has helped devalue both literature and poetry as art forms.

    — Yet: Someone pointed out that nobody reads books anymore, so who cares. They might be right.

    • Replies: @guest
    "e.g. the 'Soliloquy' from 'Carousel'"

    Despite all the talk you'll hear surrounding Dylan and the American Songbook, people aren't think of Rogers and Hammerstein. They're thinking of popular/folk tradition in the abstract, and concretely their imagination goes back a generation at most. They're not thinking Jerome Kern, Cole Porter (though we brought him up here), Ira Gershwin, and so on. They're thinking of the 60s, and only folk, blues, country, jazz, ragtime, minstrelsy, or whatever as it was expressed in that era.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    I ordered Elias Canetti's giant memoir from Amazon a couple of years ago, and gave up out of boredom 150 pages in.
  250. @Blue
    "That’s what I was trying to get at. How is Dylan to be judged? Why did he win the Nobel?
    The Nobel people seem to say he won for his lyrics on a standalone basis. They said he won for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
    But, if they gave him the Nobel for writing songs, then you open up the competition to all musical compositions with words and that opens a whole new can of silly. Then, he should be compared to Mozart and Cole Porter."


    I see it as an award for lyrics in the context of a song. Haiku's can't be judged by the standards of longer-form poetry since they're working under a different constraint; they have their own measures of quality. You need to compare Dylan's lyrics to other song lyrics (and lets face it, Dylan's music isn't great, so to the extent that the song's matter, they matter because of the lyrics).

    Is Dylan the best in that context? So much of that is taste - I find Cole Porter boring, but I can see why other's wouldn't. But in addition to the quality of the lyrics on their own, I think that Dylan changed the way people thought of song lyrics as a thing and that's significant enough to get a prize.

    That’s what earns a Nobel prize? Not the oeuvre of Robert Frost, for instance, but getting stoners to read liner notes?

    Dylan definitely isn’t responsible for making song lyrics a thing. Maybe in rock music, I wouldn’t know. But you’re right about the lyrics being what make his songs matter, artistically at least. There were a lot of other, probably more important, reasons his music “mattered.” Most of them having to do with fashion.

    • Replies: @Blue
    "That’s what earns a Nobel prize? Not the oeuvre of Robert Frost, for instance, but getting stoners to read liner notes?"


    FWIW, I think Frost deserves it too. One of the comments here had a link to an alternative list of Literature Nobels. Some were kind of goofy but it had a lot of great authors that deserved an award but didn't get one.

    I'm probably a radical on this. For me, literature is about telling stories, and how we tell stories changes over time. The Nobel came out when novels were the way that people wrote serious stories and poetry was still important. Now, poetry is almost dead as a popular art form. The most common stories now are adventure stories involving earning experience points and leveling up. I don't think there's been a great work of art yet, but it's coming. So maybe a prize for Gary Gygax ? :)
  251. Something that just occurred to me. I have never heard a convincing Dylan cover by a woman, and that emphatically includes his former flame Joan Baez. Only good covers done by men. Rod Stewart did a haunting cover of Love Minus Zero, for example, and The Byrds drilled to the essence of Tambourine Man – there are many others.

    But all that sweet, plaintive Judy Collins/Joan Baez warbling – it’s lovely, but it ain’t Dylan. The man may have been a middle class Jewish store owner’s son, but he had the tough soul of an outlaw. I mean, his dad did own a hardware store, not bras and girdles.

    • Replies: @Anon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmLaysHObcU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z2JYa1q83U

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVk9yvWKJYM

    , @Malcolm X-Lax
    Baez's versions of Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands and Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word are quite moving, I think.
  252. @SPMoore8
    "I can't get no Nobel action ....."

    Hard for me to believe that Steve's breast is swelling with patriotic pride over this, as he indicated elsewhere. I expect similar swelling when Ta Nehisi Coates, American, receives his first Nobel .... it is inevitable.

    Personally, I'm happy for Bob, he definitely wrote some anthems in the 1960's, And Hendrix' cover of "All Along the Watchtower" might be the greatest ever, and I don't want to be the turd in the punchbowl for my family and relatives who are so happy with this selection.

    But, seriously, I do feel the prize has been made ridiculous. And that's a pity.

    “But, seriously, I do feel the prize has been made ridiculous. And that’s a pity.”

    I felt that in 2004, when Elfriede Jellinek won.

    • Replies: @Spmoore8
    Right, one reason I can't complain too much for authors is due to the blatantly political 1992 award for "I Rigoberta Menchu", which was a blatant posthumous middle finger to Columbus. And then it emerged later that she didn't even write the "autobiography."
  253. @Steve Sailer

    Playwrights are eligible so why not screenwriters?
     
    Here's the Writers Guild of America West's list of 101 best screenplays.

    http://www.wga.org/writers-room/101-best-lists/101-greatest-screenplays/list

    Here's the top 20. This list is very conventional, but there is a lot to be said for a conventional list.

    1. CASABLANCA
    Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. Based on the play "Everybody Comes to Rick's" by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

    2. THE GODFATHER
    Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Based on the novel by Mario Puzo

    3. CHINATOWN
    Written by Robert Towne

    4. CITIZEN KANE
    Written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles

    5. ALL ABOUT EVE
    Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Based on "The Wisdom of Eve," a short story and radio play by Mary Orr

    6. ANNIE HALL
    Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

    7. SUNSET BLVD.
    Written by Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr.

    8. NETWORK
    Written by Paddy Chayefsky

    9. SOME LIKE IT HOT
    Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond. Based on "Fanfare of Love," a German film written by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan

    10. THE GODFATHER II
    Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo. Based on Mario Puzo's novel "The Godfather"

    11. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
    Written by William Goldman
    12. DR. STRANGELOVE
    Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern. Based on novel "Red Alert" by Peter George
    13. THE GRADUATE
    Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Based on the novel by Charles Webb
    14. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
    Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. Based on the life and writings of Col. T.E. Lawrence
    15. THE APARTMENT
    Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
    16. PULP FICTION
    Written by Quentin Tarantino. Stories by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary
    17. TOOTSIE
    Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal. Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart
    18. ON THE WATERFRONT
    Screen Story and Screenplay by Budd Schulberg. Based on "Crime on the Waterfront" articles by Malcolm Johnson
    19. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    Screenplay by Horton Foote. Based on the novel by Harper Lee
    20. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
    Screenplay by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett & Frank Capra. Based on short story "The Greatest Gift" by Philip Van Doren Stern. Contributions to screenplay Michael Wilson and Jo Swerling

    “1. CASABLANCA
    Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. Based on the play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison”

    The Epsteins are the grandfather and grand-uncle of baseball exec Theo Epstein. I think Theo is now too old to be referred to as a wunderkind.

  254. @SPMoore8
    I think people are over-thinking this in a big way.

    I think the Academy for reasons unknown decided to give the award to Dylan, but in the phrasing above, I think they meant the word and music of the songs.

    I don't think you can say that Dylan revolutionized song lyrics because, in the first place, there were many songs before him that incorporated odd and contemporary reference heavy lyrics, and second, because song and lyrics encompasses the entire musical tradition, which is rich and deep with songs that burst the limits of popular song (e.g., the "Soliloquy" from "Carousel"), and third, because behind both of those is a long art song tradition, and operatic tradition, that used both original libretti and existing poems for the lyrics covering every imaginable topic.

    Having said that much, I think they just liked Dylan and decided not to give it to some obscure author of poetry in some obscure language. Fine, whatever.

    My problem is two fold. First, it tends to scant people who have generated a large body of poetry or literature, which, by their nature, will be capable to developing far more intense imagery and thought trajectories than those found in any popular or quasi-popular song (in this respect I am not even addressing the criticism that much of Dylan's lyrics are banal, trite, ill-informed, and just plain stupid.) It seems to me that those other writers are the ones to be lauded, if only to encourage the others. An award like this has to be tremendously dillusioning.

    The second problem is, if we extol the value of Dylan's song lyrics, I can think of a number of lyricists from the '60's who were equally socially conscious, politically engaged, and who generally wrote better settings for their lyrics. So what now, a floodtide of awards to '60's songwriters?

    But then again, I went back and looked at the list of the 116 or so Nobel Literature laureates. I would say about half of them I have never read and I doubt if I ever will. And even among those I read -- e.g., Romain Rolland -- it's a safe bet that the style of many of them is not, and never was, meant to make them "classics." There's definitely something of a whim involved in these awards, the problem, as I see it, is that this award has helped devalue both literature and poetry as art forms.

    -- Yet: Someone pointed out that nobody reads books anymore, so who cares. They might be right.

    “e.g. the ‘Soliloquy’ from ‘Carousel’”

    Despite all the talk you’ll hear surrounding Dylan and the American Songbook, people aren’t think of Rogers and Hammerstein. They’re thinking of popular/folk tradition in the abstract, and concretely their imagination goes back a generation at most. They’re not thinking Jerome Kern, Cole Porter (though we brought him up here), Ira Gershwin, and so on. They’re thinking of the 60s, and only folk, blues, country, jazz, ragtime, minstrelsy, or whatever as it was expressed in that era.

    • Agree: SPMoore8
  255. I don’t read novels often but if Dylan had not existed and the years had gone by and in 2006 some kid from Chicagoland or the U.P. had published a novel that basically read like Dylan’s autobiography with an appendix of his forty or so best song lyrics – without the music – I would have said (never having heard a Dylan song, in this alternative universe), here is a guy almost as good as Runyon or Sinclair Lewis or even, on his frequent bad days, Hemingway, and maybe in 10 years or so the Swedish girls on the Nobel Team will give him a prize because they want to meet him and giggle at whatever he says next. I would have been right! People (not me, to tell the truth, but people in general) really really underestimate how fun it is to hang out with someone three or four standard deviations above the average on the scale that measures pure simple ability to deploy squadrons of words. Not saying I am impressed with the guy – he likes himself too much, has rarely, with an exception here or there, stood up for the good things of this world, and clearly does not understand the uses he has been put to, even after all these years – but people often underestimate how fun it is just to simply listen to someone that smart, even if they are ignorant about oh so much. Also this is the Moldy Fig award Amis or Larkin should have gotten for their jazz writings (note to Derbyshire – got would have been wrong there).

  256. @stillCARealist
    Try quoting some Beatles lyrics without humming the tunes.

    It's been a hard days night
    And I been working like a dog
    It's been a hard days night
    I should be sleeping like a log.


    My teenagers like to quote this to my boomer husband as a way to make fun of his teen music.

    “Try quoting some Beatles lyrics without humming the tunes.”

    “Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice
    In the church where a wedding has been
    Lives in a dream
    Waits at the window, wearing the face
    That she keeps in a jar by the door
    Who is it for

    All the lonely people
    Where do they all come from?
    All the lonely people
    Where do they all belong?”

    • Replies: @guest
    From the same album, a good summation of a middle-aged woman getting sick of her beta husband:

    From "For No One"

    You want her, you need her
    And yet you don't believe her when she says her love is dead
    You think she needs you
    She goes out, you stay home
    She says that long ago she knew someone, but now he's gone
    She doesn't need him

    And in her eyes you see nothing
    No sign of love behind the tears
    Cried for no one
    A love that should have lasted years

  257. @Kylie
    "Try quoting some Beatles lyrics without humming the tunes."

    "Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice
    In the church where a wedding has been
    Lives in a dream
    Waits at the window, wearing the face
    That she keeps in a jar by the door
    Who is it for

    All the lonely people
    Where do they all come from?
    All the lonely people
    Where do they all belong?"

    From the same album, a good summation of a middle-aged woman getting sick of her beta husband:

    From “For No One”

    You want her, you need her
    And yet you don’t believe her when she says her love is dead
    You think she needs you
    She goes out, you stay home
    She says that long ago she knew someone, but now he’s gone
    She doesn’t need him

    And in her eyes you see nothing
    No sign of love behind the tears
    Cried for no one
    A love that should have lasted years

  258. @stillCARealist
    Try quoting some Beatles lyrics without humming the tunes.

    It's been a hard days night
    And I been working like a dog
    It's been a hard days night
    I should be sleeping like a log.


    My teenagers like to quote this to my boomer husband as a way to make fun of his teen music.

    Since I spoke earlier of my distaste for the anti-suburban bias of high culture, “Penny Lane” is a fine antidote (though I’m not sure whether it’s sarcastic):

    Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
    A four of fish and finger pies
    In summer, meanwhile back…

    Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
    The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
    And though she feels as if she’s in a play
    She is anyway

  259. @SPMoore8
    I think people are over-thinking this in a big way.

    I think the Academy for reasons unknown decided to give the award to Dylan, but in the phrasing above, I think they meant the word and music of the songs.

    I don't think you can say that Dylan revolutionized song lyrics because, in the first place, there were many songs before him that incorporated odd and contemporary reference heavy lyrics, and second, because song and lyrics encompasses the entire musical tradition, which is rich and deep with songs that burst the limits of popular song (e.g., the "Soliloquy" from "Carousel"), and third, because behind both of those is a long art song tradition, and operatic tradition, that used both original libretti and existing poems for the lyrics covering every imaginable topic.

    Having said that much, I think they just liked Dylan and decided not to give it to some obscure author of poetry in some obscure language. Fine, whatever.

    My problem is two fold. First, it tends to scant people who have generated a large body of poetry or literature, which, by their nature, will be capable to developing far more intense imagery and thought trajectories than those found in any popular or quasi-popular song (in this respect I am not even addressing the criticism that much of Dylan's lyrics are banal, trite, ill-informed, and just plain stupid.) It seems to me that those other writers are the ones to be lauded, if only to encourage the others. An award like this has to be tremendously dillusioning.

    The second problem is, if we extol the value of Dylan's song lyrics, I can think of a number of lyricists from the '60's who were equally socially conscious, politically engaged, and who generally wrote better settings for their lyrics. So what now, a floodtide of awards to '60's songwriters?

    But then again, I went back and looked at the list of the 116 or so Nobel Literature laureates. I would say about half of them I have never read and I doubt if I ever will. And even among those I read -- e.g., Romain Rolland -- it's a safe bet that the style of many of them is not, and never was, meant to make them "classics." There's definitely something of a whim involved in these awards, the problem, as I see it, is that this award has helped devalue both literature and poetry as art forms.

    -- Yet: Someone pointed out that nobody reads books anymore, so who cares. They might be right.

    I ordered Elias Canetti’s giant memoir from Amazon a couple of years ago, and gave up out of boredom 150 pages in.

  260. @Pat Hannagan
    Beck's Jack-Ass samples Van Morrison's guitar:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HMhfdfxR98

    Pretty amazing that you can trace Dylan through to Van Morrison through to Beck and each one is fairly unrecognisable from the other, each beautiful in their own right. Though I reckon the latter two are far far superior to the former genesis of them both.

    Saw Beck at Slim’s in San Francisco in 1994, great show.

  261. Some of the commentary here has reminded me of a topic we used to discuss when we were young ( in Australia ):-

    If you were only allowed to have either American literature and/or music OR British literature and/or music which would you choose ?

    For the record while most people would much prefer the US as a place to live ( of the two choices ) most opted for British literature and music

    • Replies: @guest
    As far as literature is concerned, it's not a fair contest considering Britain has a multi-century head start, and by the time U.S. literature came into its own Western Civilization was well on its way to decadence.

    Music, same thing for the classical side. On the popular side, the English music people care about is basically American, so you don't really have to choose.

  262. @sb
    Some of the commentary here has reminded me of a topic we used to discuss when we were young ( in Australia ):-

    If you were only allowed to have either American literature and/or music OR British literature and/or music which would you choose ?

    For the record while most people would much prefer the US as a place to live ( of the two choices ) most opted for British literature and music

    As far as literature is concerned, it’s not a fair contest considering Britain has a multi-century head start, and by the time U.S. literature came into its own Western Civilization was well on its way to decadence.

    Music, same thing for the classical side. On the popular side, the English music people care about is basically American, so you don’t really have to choose.

  263. Dylan’s Nobel prize simply shows that no one cares about Literature anymore. If in 1952 Cole Porter had been given the Nobel Prize in Literature instead of Hemingway, every college and HS teacher in the USA would’ve been screaming in protest.

    Today the “guardians of Literature” say nothing. Or maybe they are horrified but no one cares.

  264. @Clyde
    Neil Young has turned into such a silly lefty it's painful but I still like the way he used to do it. It, being all his tunes. I like most of what he did 20 years ago and before. Yeah I know he did Watchtower at the Dylan 3oth Anniversary Concert Celebration but this version is better. Done here with Bruce Springteen (I like nothing by him). Max Weinberg is slamming the drums here!
    Performance is from a 2004 John Kerry get out the vote rally...what can I say but gotta do the best with what's still around.

    Yeah his politics are awful, and he’s embarrassing himself with the Pono nonsense, too. But his personal/business life aside, I’ve always thought Tonight’s the Night is as good as Blood On the Tracks or Blonde on Blonde.

  265. @syonredux
    I'm really looking forward to Lynch's new Twin Peaks series:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_Peaks_(2017_TV_series)

    The Lynch-directed episodes of the original were simply outstanding.

    I hadn’t heard about this but I’m excited now. A mini-series probably would have been a better format for the original.

  266. @WhatEvvs
    Something that just occurred to me. I have never heard a convincing Dylan cover by a woman, and that emphatically includes his former flame Joan Baez. Only good covers done by men. Rod Stewart did a haunting cover of Love Minus Zero, for example, and The Byrds drilled to the essence of Tambourine Man - there are many others.

    But all that sweet, plaintive Judy Collins/Joan Baez warbling - it's lovely, but it ain't Dylan. The man may have been a middle class Jewish store owner's son, but he had the tough soul of an outlaw. I mean, his dad did own a hardware store, not bras and girdles.

  267. Next year is going to be a strong competition for the Nobel between Kanye West and Taylor Swift.

  268. @guest
    That's what earns a Nobel prize? Not the oeuvre of Robert Frost, for instance, but getting stoners to read liner notes?

    Dylan definitely isn't responsible for making song lyrics a thing. Maybe in rock music, I wouldn't know. But you're right about the lyrics being what make his songs matter, artistically at least. There were a lot of other, probably more important, reasons his music "mattered." Most of them having to do with fashion.

    “That’s what earns a Nobel prize? Not the oeuvre of Robert Frost, for instance, but getting stoners to read liner notes?”

    FWIW, I think Frost deserves it too. One of the comments here had a link to an alternative list of Literature Nobels. Some were kind of goofy but it had a lot of great authors that deserved an award but didn’t get one.

    I’m probably a radical on this. For me, literature is about telling stories, and how we tell stories changes over time. The Nobel came out when novels were the way that people wrote serious stories and poetry was still important. Now, poetry is almost dead as a popular art form. The most common stories now are adventure stories involving earning experience points and leveling up. I don’t think there’s been a great work of art yet, but it’s coming. So maybe a prize for Gary Gygax ? 🙂

    • Replies: @guest
    There isn't any reason to believe there ever will be a War and Peace of video games. How we tell stories changes, you're right. Sometimes it gets worse.

    I don't like facile historicizing, but epic poetry fell out of favor in what you might call the Bourgeois Age. Which was bad if you like epic poetry, but there was compensation in the rise (or rediscovery) of the novel. As we either emerge from or go deeper into the Bourgeois Age--not sure which--we merge with the Short Attention Span Age (also known as the Information Age), and the novel dies. Is there any reason to think that new forms will rise, of comparable literary quality? No.

  269. This raises the obvious question: “How would have pre-20th century lyric poets fared under the Nobel?” I can think of plenty of highly regarded figures who are required reading who have less lyrical invention than Dylan but are accorded plenty of respect, ranging from Verlaine to Thomas Wyatt to the Troubador poets (I do like Verlaine and Wyatt, BTW). Or how about comparing Dylan’s surrealist/symbolist Highway 61-Blonde on Blonde era? It’s easy to snark on what may have been teenybopperish attempts at Rimbaud, but hell, Rimbaud himself was a teenybopper. Compare the actual lyrics. Is his stuff better than Dylan’s? I know French literature fairly well. There’s all those Dada/Surrealist guys you’re supposed to admire if you’re a literature major: Tristan Tzara, Andre Breton, Eluard. They didn’t win Nobels, but they’re part of the academic canon. Is their stuff truly better than Dylan’s best?

    Whether you like him or not, I can think of thirty or more modern poets off the top of my head who are safely in academia who Dylan easily surpasses.

    And I’ll agree with Steve, Dylan is relentlessly American. Name some popular songwriters over the last half century whose work is so American in scope as his. Only Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash come to my mind.

    • Replies: @guest
    You hit on precisely why I'm of two minds about this award. Because much of what passes for High Culture is so bad, and the academic and critical gatekeepers so wrong, it is refreshing to turn to stuff that's at least in touch with regular folks. Though Dylan fans are pretentious, I don't find the music itself overly pretentious. He's on the hipster end of the pop spectrum, which isn't my end. But he can be fun, which is more than I can say for the umpteenth failed sequel to the Flowers of Evil.

    I rate commercial jingles far above the modernistic cacophony favored by the culturati. Modern poetry is in some aspects just as bad, in others better. But the overall feeling I get from reading it is boredom. Lord, they are awful, awful bores.

  270. @WhatEvvs
    "But, seriously, I do feel the prize has been made ridiculous. And that’s a pity."

    I felt that in 2004, when Elfriede Jellinek won.

    Right, one reason I can’t complain too much for authors is due to the blatantly political 1992 award for “I Rigoberta Menchu”, which was a blatant posthumous middle finger to Columbus. And then it emerged later that she didn’t even write the “autobiography.”

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Not to mention that much of it was flatly untrue.
  271. @WhatEvvs
    Something that just occurred to me. I have never heard a convincing Dylan cover by a woman, and that emphatically includes his former flame Joan Baez. Only good covers done by men. Rod Stewart did a haunting cover of Love Minus Zero, for example, and The Byrds drilled to the essence of Tambourine Man - there are many others.

    But all that sweet, plaintive Judy Collins/Joan Baez warbling - it's lovely, but it ain't Dylan. The man may have been a middle class Jewish store owner's son, but he had the tough soul of an outlaw. I mean, his dad did own a hardware store, not bras and girdles.

    Baez’s versions of Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands and Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word are quite moving, I think.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    This song by John Baez is simply beautiful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGMHSbcd_qI
    , @Former Darfur
    Joan Baez, politics aside, is one of the great female pop singers of her generation.
  272. @yaqub the mad scientist
    This raises the obvious question: "How would have pre-20th century lyric poets fared under the Nobel?" I can think of plenty of highly regarded figures who are required reading who have less lyrical invention than Dylan but are accorded plenty of respect, ranging from Verlaine to Thomas Wyatt to the Troubador poets (I do like Verlaine and Wyatt, BTW). Or how about comparing Dylan's surrealist/symbolist Highway 61-Blonde on Blonde era? It's easy to snark on what may have been teenybopperish attempts at Rimbaud, but hell, Rimbaud himself was a teenybopper. Compare the actual lyrics. Is his stuff better than Dylan's? I know French literature fairly well. There's all those Dada/Surrealist guys you're supposed to admire if you're a literature major: Tristan Tzara, Andre Breton, Eluard. They didn't win Nobels, but they're part of the academic canon. Is their stuff truly better than Dylan's best?

    Whether you like him or not, I can think of thirty or more modern poets off the top of my head who are safely in academia who Dylan easily surpasses.

    And I'll agree with Steve, Dylan is relentlessly American. Name some popular songwriters over the last half century whose work is so American in scope as his. Only Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash come to my mind.

    You hit on precisely why I’m of two minds about this award. Because much of what passes for High Culture is so bad, and the academic and critical gatekeepers so wrong, it is refreshing to turn to stuff that’s at least in touch with regular folks. Though Dylan fans are pretentious, I don’t find the music itself overly pretentious. He’s on the hipster end of the pop spectrum, which isn’t my end. But he can be fun, which is more than I can say for the umpteenth failed sequel to the Flowers of Evil.

    I rate commercial jingles far above the modernistic cacophony favored by the culturati. Modern poetry is in some aspects just as bad, in others better. But the overall feeling I get from reading it is boredom. Lord, they are awful, awful bores.

  273. @Blue
    "That’s what earns a Nobel prize? Not the oeuvre of Robert Frost, for instance, but getting stoners to read liner notes?"


    FWIW, I think Frost deserves it too. One of the comments here had a link to an alternative list of Literature Nobels. Some were kind of goofy but it had a lot of great authors that deserved an award but didn't get one.

    I'm probably a radical on this. For me, literature is about telling stories, and how we tell stories changes over time. The Nobel came out when novels were the way that people wrote serious stories and poetry was still important. Now, poetry is almost dead as a popular art form. The most common stories now are adventure stories involving earning experience points and leveling up. I don't think there's been a great work of art yet, but it's coming. So maybe a prize for Gary Gygax ? :)

    There isn’t any reason to believe there ever will be a War and Peace of video games. How we tell stories changes, you’re right. Sometimes it gets worse.

    I don’t like facile historicizing, but epic poetry fell out of favor in what you might call the Bourgeois Age. Which was bad if you like epic poetry, but there was compensation in the rise (or rediscovery) of the novel. As we either emerge from or go deeper into the Bourgeois Age–not sure which–we merge with the Short Attention Span Age (also known as the Information Age), and the novel dies. Is there any reason to think that new forms will rise, of comparable literary quality? No.

  274. @Anonymous
    Bob Dylan is terrible.

    Bob Dylan is not a poet, he is not a musician, he is just horrible.

    One of the many bonuses that will accompany the decline of the Boomers is that we'll stop hearing about Bob Dylan.

    I agree, though in way far stronger terms than you stated it.

    But surely you must suspect that this sort of thing is being engineered so that we will never be free of this mediated constructed invented heavily mercantile Boomer culture. Ever.

    Bobby Zimmerman is a nothing elevated to a Something by the music industry run by his Tribesmen. This is what they do: take comic-book memes and turn them into religious phenomena.

    And that, at bottom, is the message that Oslo was directed to retail on behalf of its globalist culture-merchants.

  275. @SPMoore8
    "I can't get no Nobel action ....."

    Hard for me to believe that Steve's breast is swelling with patriotic pride over this, as he indicated elsewhere. I expect similar swelling when Ta Nehisi Coates, American, receives his first Nobel .... it is inevitable.

    Personally, I'm happy for Bob, he definitely wrote some anthems in the 1960's, And Hendrix' cover of "All Along the Watchtower" might be the greatest ever, and I don't want to be the turd in the punchbowl for my family and relatives who are so happy with this selection.

    But, seriously, I do feel the prize has been made ridiculous. And that's a pity.

    I’m reminded of Hemingway’s observation in his Nobel acceptance speech that no one who receives the Prize can accept it with anything other than humility when considering some of the authors who were eligible but passed over (e.g. Tolstoy, Twain). Contrast with Toni Morrison’s exception speech: What took you so long?

    At least that’s my memory of it.

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    Yes, I looked up some Nobel speeches and the one of Hemingway, as well as Faulkner, were humble and to the point, whereas the Toni Morrison speech was a half an hour long and contained enough gaseous conceits to launch more than one Hindenberg.

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1954/hemingway-speech.html

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-speech.html

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1993/morrison-lecture.html
  276. @Spmoore8
    Right, one reason I can't complain too much for authors is due to the blatantly political 1992 award for "I Rigoberta Menchu", which was a blatant posthumous middle finger to Columbus. And then it emerged later that she didn't even write the "autobiography."

    Not to mention that much of it was flatly untrue.

  277. @Malcolm X-Lax
    Baez's versions of Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands and Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word are quite moving, I think.

    This song by John Baez is simply beautiful:

    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    I was never a fan of Joan Baez, despite her excellent vocal instrument. To me she always pulverized the song....But, it's all a matter of taste. I do think she was and is spectacularly beautiful.

    John Baez is a notable mathematician, I hear. :) I think he's a paternal cousin.

    Let's hope TNR is as good at picking Presidential candidates as it is Nobel Laureates:

    https://newrepublic.com/article/137496/will-win-2016-nobel-prize-literature

    "Not Bob Dylan."

    LOL.

  278. @Jim Don Bob
    This song by John Baez is simply beautiful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGMHSbcd_qI

    I was never a fan of Joan Baez, despite her excellent vocal instrument. To me she always pulverized the song….But, it’s all a matter of taste. I do think she was and is spectacularly beautiful.

    John Baez is a notable mathematician, I hear. 🙂 I think he’s a paternal cousin.

    Let’s hope TNR is as good at picking Presidential candidates as it is Nobel Laureates:

    https://newrepublic.com/article/137496/will-win-2016-nobel-prize-literature

    “Not Bob Dylan.”

    LOL.

  279. @Malcolm X-Lax
    Baez's versions of Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands and Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word are quite moving, I think.

    Joan Baez, politics aside, is one of the great female pop singers of her generation.

  280. He Belongs to Us: The Relevance of Lawrence Auster to Traditionalists

    Auster?

    He died for us brah. He showed us the way to Traditionalism, he wanted all of us to be Traditional.

    That extra strength you feel when you thought you couldn’t lift anymore? Auster is spotting you. That flash of inspiration you get that provides a blog comment that will derail a thread? That’s Auster hasbara trolling you via his muse. That urge you get to play Dylan, dance and shiksas be mirin’? That’s Auster showing you the way. That sexy mofo you see in the mirror wearing a fedora? That’s not Auster, that’s you bro… but Auster is right behind you, and he’s smiling: he’s proud of you, he’s proud of your Tradition. Don’t worry brah, Auster has your back. And he wants you to become Traditional.

    And one day we will join him in The Great Synagogue in the Sky. But not yet, not yet.

    RIP Rebbe.

    (btw, the whole thing was sung by a White woman. True. Look it up.)

  281. @PiltdownMan

    How about if Dylan had lured Elvis away from Colonel Parker around 1964 with Elvis singing and Bob writing the songs?
     
    Elvis should have been lured away by someone, anyone, in the late 1950s, the very second that that predatory Dutch charlatan shoved a movie studio contract in front of Elvis.

    Elvis should have been lured away by someone, anyone, in the late 1950s, the very second that that predatory Dutch charlatan shoved a movie studio contract in front of Elvis.

    A lot of people tried. Hard.

    Elvis was too decent, too grateful, too loyal for his own good.

    On a certain level he knew Parker was a mountebank, a clown, a grifter and an untalented one at that. But, Parker had taken him from poor kid to millionaire “overnight” and Elvis was loyal.

    Parker said fart, Elvis farted. Parker said shit, Elvis took a shit.

    Parker decided Elvis should go in the Army. As an ordinary draftee. Army dumb enough to go along. (Frank Sinatra was smart enough to get Tommy Sands, Nancy’s husband, in the USAF Reserve.) The Army could have used Elvis a hundred times better as a band or Special Services reservist-literally anything would have been better than having him in the infantry, where his presence caused a mob to gather.

    Parker made Elvis a movie star. But only in Elvis movies-dedicated ‘vehicles’ for Elvis to be, well, Elvis, pretty much. Had Elvis had to compete for regular roles, he might, like Frank Sinatra, have developed into a decent actor. Instead, he made Elvis movies-a few of which were watchable, one or two even fairly good, but most a steaming pile of cinematic dog excrement, unwatchable today.

    Even James Darren’s “The Lively Set” is more watchable than Elvis’ “bad” movies (which is more than half of them.)

    Of course, the real villains in this whole stories were the American consumers that would pay money for this dreck. Without that, the whole thing would have collapsed, and Elvis would have retired to moderate affluence. Poverty is something Elvis could have handled. Wealth is what kills them. Even so, he wouldn’t have been poor. He’d have lived like Frankie Avalon or Frankie Valli or one of those guys.

  282. The absurdity of this award is that no one listens to music for lyrics.

    People listen to music for emotional reinvigoration, reinforcement and most of all release. What are they releasing themselves of? Life.

    Lyrics are secondary at best.

    No one watches movies for lyrical content either. They watch to transport themselves from this moment in time to a place in space out of time.

    Best thing I ever heard from Woody Allen was about purple rose of cairo and how when he was a boy he would go to cinema and be removed from life at the screen, maybe valentino rossi, can’t remember specifics, but his reality became secondary to the drama displayed on screen and he was transported.

    Music is sound that transforms itself into emotion.

    Lyrics are reinforcement of aural content.

    I know people who have fallen in love to a shared sound.

    We are not that far removed from animals but there is something about us that makes it so much more complex, profound and hard to define.

    Allan Bloom was close, closer than anyone else has got.

    Some things keep repeating.

    In Oz Spring you will hear the whip bird. The male sends out this long whoosh through the air and…if the female answers..is closed off into a whoosh whip, hence whip bird bird. Sounds exactly like a stock whip.

    Music is our mating dance and more so our soul expressing itself, which sounds twadry and lite, but shared songs are what unites us. Ever seen men go to war and go into a rhythmical recitation of shared values?

    Music is sound that transforms itself into emotion.

    Lyrics are reinforcement of aural content.

    Need to express this better. Emotion that transforms into sound? Maybe better.Ueah I think that’s it. We are mostly emotion.

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    It's the sound. Without any lyric whatsoever people will transpose their own thoughts with feelings into a musical piece.

    And I shouldn't say people are releasing themselves, that's incorrect, they are also reinforcing whatever it was they felt.

    Do any other animals deliberately go out of their way to make music self-consciously?

  283. @Pat Hannagan
    The absurdity of this award is that no one listens to music for lyrics.

    People listen to music for emotional reinvigoration, reinforcement and most of all release. What are they releasing themselves of? Life.

    Lyrics are secondary at best.

    No one watches movies for lyrical content either. They watch to transport themselves from this moment in time to a place in space out of time.

    Best thing I ever heard from Woody Allen was about purple rose of cairo and how when he was a boy he would go to cinema and be removed from life at the screen, maybe valentino rossi, can't remember specifics, but his reality became secondary to the drama displayed on screen and he was transported.

    Music is sound that transforms itself into emotion.

    Lyrics are reinforcement of aural content.

    I know people who have fallen in love to a shared sound.

    We are not that far removed from animals but there is something about us that makes it so much more complex, profound and hard to define.

    Allan Bloom was close, closer than anyone else has got.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXU5Rxc3vBQ

    Some things keep repeating.

    In Oz Spring you will hear the whip bird. The male sends out this long whoosh through the air and...if the female answers..is closed off into a whoosh whip, hence whip bird bird. Sounds exactly like a stock whip.

    Music is our mating dance and more so our soul expressing itself, which sounds twadry and lite, but shared songs are what unites us. Ever seen men go to war and go into a rhythmical recitation of shared values?

    Music is sound that transforms itself into emotion.

    Lyrics are reinforcement of aural content.

    Need to express this better. Emotion that transforms into sound? Maybe better.Ueah I think that's it. We are mostly emotion.

    It’s the sound. Without any lyric whatsoever people will transpose their own thoughts with feelings into a musical piece.

    And I shouldn’t say people are releasing themselves, that’s incorrect, they are also reinforcing whatever it was they felt.

    Do any other animals deliberately go out of their way to make music self-consciously?

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    Music is emotion that transforms itself into sound.

    Yes, I think that is it.

    It's too bad songs you like have to end.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNKTUYo39SI

  284. @Pat Hannagan
    It's the sound. Without any lyric whatsoever people will transpose their own thoughts with feelings into a musical piece.

    And I shouldn't say people are releasing themselves, that's incorrect, they are also reinforcing whatever it was they felt.

    Do any other animals deliberately go out of their way to make music self-consciously?

    Music is emotion that transforms itself into sound.

    Yes, I think that is it.

    It’s too bad songs you like have to end.

  285. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Some birds behave like human musicians”, ScienceDaily, October 6, 2016:

    “…The tuneful behavior of some songbirds parallels that of human musicians…

    …”Since pied butcherbird songs share so many commonalities with human music,” Taylor writes, “this species could possibly revolutionize the way we think about the core values of music.”

    In the past, claims that musical principles are integral to birdsong were largely met with skepticism and dismissed as wishful thinking. However, the extensive statistical and objective analysis of the new paper demonstrates that the more complex a bird’s repertoire, the better he or she is at singing in time, rhythmically interacting with other birds much more skillfully than those who know fewer songs…

    …butcherbirds “balance their performance to keep it in a sweet spot between boredom and confusion.”…

    suggests that such musical virtuosity may signify more than just the evolution of a way for birds to establish territorial dominance and facilitate mating. It may also provide evidence that musical ability in birds was a precursor to the evolution of the many dimensions of musical ability in humans.

  286. There have long been two jokes about the Lit. Prize in Sweden: if regular people had their way, Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking and shelves more of beloved children’s books) would have gotten it, and if the weed loving 1968 commie hippies had their way, Bob Dylan would get it. Well, halfway there, I guess.

    The award process unofficially seems to be that a long list of a couple of hundred prospects is assembled; from this, a short list of say ten. The final choice is then down to the eighteen life time members of the Royal Swedish Academy, mostly professors and authors. It seems in practice to be strongly influenced by the permanent Secretary; in Current Year the recently elected Sara Danius, an author born in 1962. I thought the recent-ish reign of Horace Engdahl (the good sort of lit critic) yielded a pretty good crop, Peter Englund (historian with a folksy touch) a respectable one but a bit weaker. Danius appears to have started with a pratfall out of the gate.

    However, I’m a bit concerned about another aspect, which is that the winner unofficially has to turn up on the shortlist a few times before getting the nod. If that was the case for Dylan, it indicates a deeper rot than just embarrassment from momentary foolishness and a newbie secretary.

    So the choice of Dylan was a bit of a disastrous joke at the expense of the Lit Prize, in my opinion, but I suppose it can also conspiratorily be interpreted as a sign to Roth (also American Jew) that he’s never, ever going to get it. Or at least not for a decade or so. As some have surely noted, the award tends to rotate a bit across the continents. Stay healthy, Phil.

    Pynchon, while worthy IMO, is never getting the award either. After the shenanigans of winners declining the award or making fun of it, they unofficially vet for this. Jelinek still was a disappointing borderline case. Pynchon has demonstrated his willingness to make jokes out of awards, so he will have to stay home. He can’t really mind.

    Finally, don’t confuse the Lit Prize with the Peace Prize. The latter is awarded by (sigh) Norwegians.

  287. @Malcolm X-Lax
    I'm reminded of Hemingway's observation in his Nobel acceptance speech that no one who receives the Prize can accept it with anything other than humility when considering some of the authors who were eligible but passed over (e.g. Tolstoy, Twain). Contrast with Toni Morrison's exception speech: What took you so long?

    At least that's my memory of it.

    Yes, I looked up some Nobel speeches and the one of Hemingway, as well as Faulkner, were humble and to the point, whereas the Toni Morrison speech was a half an hour long and contained enough gaseous conceits to launch more than one Hindenberg.

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1954/hemingway-speech.html

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-speech.html

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1993/morrison-lecture.html

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