Positively Blorth Street

Earlier today, the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Robert Allen Zimmerman, a folk singer who performs under the name Bob Dylan. The Swedish Academy cited Dylan for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” and compared his work to the ancient poems of Homer and Sappho. For many, the conferral comes as a surprise, since Dylan is a musician who hasn’t released a meaningful piece of art since 1975. (He also sucks live.) But for those possessed of the knowledge that these awards are primarily drivers of market interest, both for the prize and the recipient, it makes a glum kind of sense. Alfred Nobel was a weapons manufacturer who built his fortune on destruction and bloodshed, and founded his award in a last desperate attempt to rationalize a lifetime of unethical actions. Why should the prize that bears his name hold itself to a higher standard? And who could possibly be more deserving of a war profiteer’s prize than the man who wrote “Masters of War“?