Academic Jen Webb objects to the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize going to Bob Dylan:

When Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg gushes that “He is probably the greatest living poet”, I can only say that Mr Wastberg should not be let anywhere near a literature prize.

And – taking my own place on the team for the Negative – if it must go to a songwriter, why Dylan? Did he need the money more than, say, Patti Smith or Joni Mitchell or Aretha Franklin? Has he not had enough public attention?

Webb, “Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice, and Director of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research in the Faculty of Arts and Design”, University of Canberra, obviously didn’t conduct the necessary research: Aretha Franklin is a fantastic talent but hasn’t written any songs of note.

Attached to Webb’s piece is a comment from the internet’s former top blogger and celebrated linguist Christopher Sheil:


Less a credit to an artist who has possibly done more to reflect and shape the consciousnesses of his era than a bid for relevance by the Swedish Academy.

I trust Bob will condescend to accept.

Sheil is an authority on both condescension and bids for relevance.

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