1. Perversely inclined to disagree or to do the opposite of what is expected or desired
Bob Dylan recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature but this is “a man who hasn’t written any literature,” (Stanley, 2016). Stanley goes on to ask “why popularise a prize which isn’t elected but chosen by the knowledgeable on the basis of achievement?”
In asking this question, Stanley negates the knowledge of everybody involved in the decision and promotes himself as a better decision maker. Stanley then goes on to insult the vast majority of his readers by stating, “Ah, but this is where we are in cultural terms. Distinction is gone; discrimination is a dirty word. Egality is in. Emotion is in. Nothing matters unless it sells. But anyone celebrating the death of quality – anyone imagining that the elimination of elitism leads inexorably to justice – should be very wary of what they wish for. A culture that gives Bob Dylan a literature prize is a culture that nominates Donald Trump for president. It is a culture uninterested in qualifications and concerned only with satisfying raw emotional need. There is pandering on the Left and pandering on the Right. It becomes very hard to engage on the basis of reason because reason is discriminatory. It requires thought and effort not only to use it but to understand it. Much, much easier to go with your gut. It’s not a huge leap from saying “Dylan because I like him” to “Trump because I feel like him.” It’s all lowbrow.”
To imply, as Stanley does, that Dylan receiving an award is the equal of nominating Donald Trump for president, should be an affront to anyone who values their logical faculties. These two men (well, one man and an un-categorized species of pond life) are at polar ends of the sphere and to suggest they are in any way similar, does Dylan an enormous disservice. It also suggests Stanley is disengaged.
“…discrimination is a dirty word.”
– Try telling that to Black Lives Matter campaigners.
– Try telling that to someone considered to old for a job.
– Try telling that to the pregnant woman whom, while on maternity leave has her job changed and cannot return to paid employment.
– Try telling that to an individual transitioning.
– Try telling that to someone of any ethnic group.
– Try telling that to someone from a religious community – constantly depicted as villans.
Discrimination is only a dirty word for those who refuse to engage with life. For people who prefer think everything is rosy and functions only in the way they visualise. I’m a 30 something, childless, white woman and in a lot of the debates, invisible.
“Egality is in.” Stanley might like to think this is happening but you don’t need to go far to see that this is incredibly far from true. One example, which instantly springs to mind is the UK Bedroom Tax. Second is the struggle for people on minimum wage to be paid at a higher hourly rate. Third is the exorbitant rental and property rates in London.Forth is the treatment of NHS junior doctors. I could go on and there are so many more examples I haven’t mentioned or even thought of at this moment.
“Emotion is in.” I will concede this as truth.
I am emotional.
– I’m emotional because I see people being treated unfairly by governments.
– I’m emotional because I see children being killed in Syria.
– I’m emotional because instead of acting humanely towards refugees, there are people who would rather see them drown in the Mediterranean and treated like vermin. Yes. I’m looking at you, Katie Hopkins.
– I’m emotional because life is so increasingly media saturated that there is hardly an occurrence you don’t know about seconds after it happens.
Companies like Twitter might be bringing people together over common interests but it is also driving people apart. Facebook isn’t exempt from this. Anonymous keyboard warriors writing nasty comments about rape and murder simply because they can. I think this should make people emotional.
A culture that gives Bob Dylan a literature prize is a culture that nominates Donald Trump for president, is a non-sequitur – it conflates two very separate arguments and proposes them as equal. They’re really, really not.
Take a moment and think about whether you can even imagine these two men in the same room. I can but I can’t see it as a festive or comfortable occasion.
A line like ; Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth is a perfect summation of Trump.
I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you
Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you.
Firstly, Trump could never be so elegant. Second, Dylan’s words show a man who is engaged with his world. He is clearly watching everything going on around him.
So no, Mr Stanley, I don’t think this is “lowbrow”. I think this an elegant, pacifist reaction to all the shit dumped on the average person who simply wants to live a good life without the constant interference of mean minded individuals who want to line their pockets with money. Dylan might not fit the model of literature but he does let his work speak for itself.