Pamela Moberg

Nobel Prize to be announced 13 October

65 posts in this topic

5 hours ago, kfw said:

i doubt the Committee would be put off of rock stars because one of the most famously private and mysterious didn't show up. In any case, his gracious, if not exactly intellectually ambitious, acceptance speech is here.

 

 

 

I'm not entirely convinced that the source of his conduct is all that mysterious, but let's hope that it serves as a reminder to the Committee that it made a category error to be avoided in future.

 

"Pearl Buck." Now that's just mean, Bob.

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8 hours ago, dirac said:

"Pearl Buck." Now that's just mean, Bob.

 

Coming from a critic today it might have been. Not coming from a reader of a certain age. 

 

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I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it

 

LOL. A coupla weeks, I guess.

 

Drew, I agree. 

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3 hours ago, kfw said:

 

Coming from a critic today it might have been. Not coming from a reader of a certain age. 

 

 

A lot of readers of a certain age raised eyebrows at that prize, I understand. I may have been giving him too much credit, but I don't think so. If it was a bit of a needle, it was rather funny.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, dirac said:

 

A lot of readers of a certain age raised eyebrows at that prize, I understand. I may have been giving him too much credit, but I don't think so. If it was a bit of a needle, it was rather funny.

 

 

 

Would have been funny, yes, but it's one in a list of writers whose stock has not fallen, and whose work he says he himself been reading and absorbing. 

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I'd say one of a list of writers of unarguable quality and canonic status. (Kipling's "stock" has gone up and down and up a bit over time.)

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16 minutes ago, dirac said:

 

I'd say one of a list of writers of unarguable quality and canonic status. (Kipling's "stock" has gone up and down and up a bit over time.)

 

Yes, that's better put.

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Like almost all awards, the Nobel says as much about the moment the award is given as it does about the historical importance of the honoree.

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Bob Dylan finally accepts Nobel prize in literature at private ceremony in Stockholm

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/apr/02/bob-dylan-finally-accepts-nobel-prize-in-literature-at-private-ceremony-in-stockholm

 

I doubt he cares about the prize money, but if he completed his "lecture" requirement, the money could be donated to whatever cause Dylan wished to support (if indeed there is one). But he's not a man of the Establishment, even after years of "success".

Coincidentally, I have of late been reading some early New Yorker articles, and interviews with Dylan (such as the controversial Nat Hentoff interview on behalf of Playboy magazine). Dylan's behavior actually makes perfect sense when compared to his past remarks and behavior - for better or worse, he hasn't changed all that much.

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1 hour ago, Quiggin said:

 

And was he intentionally making a dig at the academics? Will we ever know?

 

Borrowing phrases that are of interest goes on all the time in Literature and songwriting (folk music especially is fond of recounting what's topical in the language of the people who are involved), but I tend to agree that it's important to give credit where credit is obviously due. Ezra Pound's Cantos are full of both translated quotes and direct references to other writings, and some of these are explicitly credited (in Pound's 'unique' way of incorporating the author/referent into the poem), but other's are a mystery (thus the need for books like, A Guide to the Cantos of Ezra Pound). The constant interweaving of quotes, bits of song, bits of dry history, and Pound's own musings are the point of the Cantos. And Eliot's The Wasteland (edited by Pound) was constructed with a great many "found" phrases and reworkings of lines from the Bible to Shakespeare, Milton, Verlaine, and on and on. The interweaving of all these elements was again, the point of it all. And Eliot was hoping that readers would be interested enough to dig deeper. I see Dylan doing much the same thing in so many of his songs - like it or not.

 

Somehow, there remains this notion that any artwork that doesn't pretend (and it's always pretend) to be wholly original and seemingly beholden to nothing else in the universe, is secondary or just not very good. The Wasteland isn't very good because Eliot 'didn't make it all up himself'. But then again, he did make IT up - The Wasteland poem -  and it is what it is. And just what is it? Well that's what we all get to talk about.

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Quote pherank: "Somehow, there remains this notion that any artwork that doesn't pretend (and it's always pretend) to be wholly original and seemingly beholden to nothing else in the universe, is secondary or just not very good."

 

I agree. 

This goes on all the time in (especially modern/contemporary "zeitgenössisches") dance all the time, and sometimes those who feel they were the "first" get annoyed and sue. 

 I think that much of art through the history of mankind has "borrowed" heavily from other works; and that is fine. To me, anyway, art is distilled experiences, put in a way which makes it possible for someone else to experience something in, perhaps, a slightly different way. (without immediately shutting the door and shouting...) 

 

-d-

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It depends on what the artist does with the "found" pieces. Beethoven constructs a brilliant set of answers – in different keys and tempos – to a waltz in the "Diabelli Variations" and maybe not so brilliant with "God Save the Queen". John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Johnny Griffin take bits of pop songs and make intricate msucial ribbons out of them. Picasso "steals" and "destructs" but completely combusts his sources. 

 

Pastiche in general doesn't seem to age well – the conceptual cracks begin to show. The "Appropriation" art of the 8o's (Sherrie Levine signing Walker Evans photos) – originally called "Scavenger Art" – looks pretty flat these days. In poetry T. S. Eliot seems to have become eclipsed by the wholly original Wallace Stevens.  And in the end Schoenberg is more rewarding to listen to than Stravinsky.

 

Joni Mitchell's comment on Dylan – a little like Mary McCarthy's on Lillian Hellman – is interesting in that she is a colleague of Bob Dylan's and knows the field from inside. She says, “His name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception.” Jonah Lehrer making up Dylan quotes, which might not be original in the first place, makes an rather amusing circle.

 

 

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In poetry T. S. Eliot seems to have become eclipsed by the wholly original Wallace Stevens. 

 

I don’t know that I would go that far. Eliot has fallen out of fashion, but his work was far from pastiche. The Waste Land is accompanied by a set of notes and the use of fragmented quotations is a choice – he tells us so in case it wasn’t clear  (“These fragments I have shored against my ruins.”)

 

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“His name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception.”

 

I can see how Mitchell would feel that way – directness and authenticity are important to her, and they are qualities that were a big part of the singer-songwriter ethos.  She may have him dead to rights , but....there is nothing necessarily wrong with a performer inventing himself. He’s not under any special obligation to show us his “real self.”

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It depends on what the artist does with the "found" pieces.

 

 

Correct. Eliot doesn’t sound like anyone but Eliot.

 

 I’m not unduly bothered that borrowed stuff shows up in Dylan’s lyrics, but by this point he has been accused convincingly of plagiarism in a number of different forms. This is only the most recent and embarrassing. It’s too bad because Dylan is an original in his own way, even if this award was, as I said upthread, a category error.

 

Words spoken in defense:

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Cultural critic David Yaffe, a Syracuse University professor of humanities who teaches a class on singer-songwriters including Dylan, doesn’t see this alleged plagiarizing as detracting from the value of the lecture.

 

“I was very moved by his speech and I’m not any less moved knowing this. I don’t find myself feeling like a dupe,” he said in an interview on Tuesday. “He’s on the road all the time. He just turned 76. You could see him wanting to take a few shortcuts. I don’t think it makes him any less Bob Dylan.”

 

 

Sure doesn't. I’d like to see how the good professor reacts if a student of his decides to follow Dylan’s lordly example and crib from SparkNotes for a paper. Of course, his students aren't on the road all the time.

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3 hours ago, dirac said:

Sure doesn't. I’d like to see how the good professor reacts if a student of his decides to follow Dylan’s lordly example and crib from SparkNotes for a paper. Of course, his students aren't on the road all the time.

 

The rules are different for academics, to be sure. I'm mildly interested to know if Dylan was very purposefully poking fun at "book reports" and literary lectures. But only mildly so.  ;)

 

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