October 22, 2016 at 03:28PM on Facebook
Contest culture demands gratitude and humility. Any brooking of this norm will be interpreted as unforgivable arrogance. But in fact it is the awarders who are arrogant, full of their self-importance as the ultimate literary gate-keepers despite a very mixed record of picking writers whose works survive the test of time. Their surprise at Dylan’s (lack of) reaction suggests that they didn’t actually know the singer very well at all. And though I tend to agree with Teju Cole’s six-word assessment of the choice (“I like it. Literature is large.”) I don’t think it’s as commendably radical a choice as Dario Fo, because by choosing a singer-songwriter and loner, they didn’t really call into question the creaking Romantic ideal of the writer as lone, uniquely inspired creator. To me as a poet, the most inspiring thing about popular music is the way that bands collaborate to create songs.
Bob Dylan criticised as ‘impolite and arrogant’ by Nobel academy member