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Thread: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

  1. #1
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    Default Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    As the "2016 Speculation" is closed, I would like to share some thoughts.

    First of all, our speculations were a lot of fun, and I´ve got to read some authors for the first time, thanks to you - Oz, Erdrich, Marias and Krasnahorkai. Like last year with Aira and Tavares, that became favorites of mine, I will be reading a lot of Erdrich from now on.

    I also re-read many others I already knew - DeLillo, Un, Kadaré, etc.

    Next year I wouldn´t mind too much with Ladbrokes, at least not since the beginning, because it seems only at the very end is that something important happens - in the days before the announcement. This year we had:

    Quote Originally Posted by pinkunicorn
    Odds changes on the final morning:

    Bob Dylan 51 -> 17
    And it seems the SA will be giving at facebook some hints just before the announcement. Last year we had a post about women laureates, and this year we had quite a few:

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez
    The Dylan prospect is getting momentum... the last 3 posts at facebook from the Nobel are:

    Tagore... a poet in English language.
    Toni Morrison: of course the black culture was determinant in Dylan's work.
    Steinbeck... another American... great influence to Dylan... his greatest song, Desolation Row, was inspired in Steinbeck's Cannery Row...

    The clues say it all.
    I was half joking at the time, but on the other hand I didn´t even knew Tagore was also a lyricist. With this information, it was quite evident the prize was going to Dylan.

    Maybe they will start doing this every year.

    Anyway, it was nice, thanks to all of you who shared your opinions!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    Speculation was fun as always. The problem was the laureate and his stubborn supporters.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    his stubborn supporters
    Yes, especially the ones who compared pop-songs to epic poems from ancient Greece. Drove me up the wall. I think they KNOW they're wrong, hence the insecurity, so they get feisty and combative. Like, Calm down people, take a chill pill.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    Two other posters have raised complaints about the offensive and condescending posting of you two.

    Don't be a coward to go talking about a poster in thread he is not present and then be ironic about those posters not letting it go. It is you and Daniel who are here, bringing the matter alive again with any incapacity of debate in the original thread.

    Do you want to talk about pop-songs and epic poems, open a thread. Then I may compare both, after all, it is only comparing we can discover the differences and relative strengths of two things. I know what the word mean and just like it is scary to imagine an academic and teacher still working with the notion of high and lower culture, i find scary someone who is in the academy and mock the idea of comparing different objects, no matter how distant they are.

    Just do not do your best effort "Moderators" to hijack a thread.

    Anyways, I am sorry Vasquez.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    I rarely post, but I'm a (very) long term visitor to this forum (since years before I cared to create a profile to post).

    I've always enjoyed the Nobel speculation and wrap-up threads. This year's has been particularly... eventful. And acrimonious.

    And I have to say, I'm just really disheartened to see an admin and a moderator (people whose opinions I usually have the highest respect for) bitching about other forum members on a separate thread from the main one where the spirited debate is taking place. It's unseemly, rude, and not even on topic with the thread.

    No wonder I see people from this forum popping up on others of the same interest.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    I’m also not a poster (anymore), but still a follower of this forum. The Nobel Prize speculation thread is the most interesting and vivid discussion of the year. Unfortunately, one of the moderators has subtly and unsubtly made clear that you’re not welcome if you only participate during the “speculation season”.

    Now his Nobel Prize has been stolen from him by a practitioner of the low culture, whose semi-clever lyrics only at its very peak come somewhat close to real poetry (oh my god, I couldn’t stop laughing). His reaction is to shoo away those who support the decision of the Swedish Academy.

    But JCamilo and a few others, don’t take it all too personal. Be a bit more empathic: it is not a small thing being betrayed by a commission of Swedes who you always considered your gurus, your leaders of the enlightened elite where you feel so much at home. He’s become an orphan; he now must find his own route on the narrow path towards elucidation.

    I was tempted several times to post on the Nobel Prize thread. But I felt I was unworthy because I am a great fan of Dylan. And I consider the lyrics of My Back Pages, Love Minus Zero, Desolation Row, Every Grain of Sand, Idiot Wind, When the Ship Comes in, Jokerman, Gates of Eden (and I could go on forever) literature. I consider that high quality poetry and in my opinion Bob Dylan fully deserves the Nobel Prize. Ok, I’ll stop swearing.

    I continue to read the forum, and perhaps I’ll start posting again on the recently finished books thread. A few months ago I picked up reading again after almost 4 years in which I hardly touched any novel. I hope the moderator will come to his senses after the biggest shock has subsided so that he can go back to feeding this forum with his normally interesting, informative and useful contributions.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    I must agree with peter_d, nagisa and JCamilo.

    Liam and Daniel, nobody needs a chill pill more than you. And your arguments against Dylan were not way better than the ones defending him - in fact, it´s the opposite. Unless you are not reading, nobody who defended Dylan was so shallow as you are in your criticism. There are some very good posts from JCamilo, and from some other users too. But your minds are set - they were even before the prize was given.

    I understand the angryness as your pet writers didn´t win, but whatever - mine didn´t win too. But more than that - a paradigm was broken and you are suffering too much because of it.

    There a dozens writers, a hundred writers that I (and other users) want to talk about, but how it will be from now on? I want to criticize, let´s say, Krasnahorkai, ah, but Vazquez likes Dylan. He thinks the Nobel comitee and that crazy woman are right. So, let´s ignore him. Me (or anybody else) creates a forum about a topic that has some relation with the Nobel, like this one, and it will be - ah, but those stupid Swedish people who thinks etc.

    Every time one of you will start reading a book of poetry, it will be - "ah, this is real poetry".

    Next year the first post on "2017 Speculation" will be - "after the SA went completely crazy... giving the prize to a pop artist..."... and in every other post Liam and Daniel will remember - "let´s hope it is not like last year", "this year it will go to creator of emoticons", "maybe Lady Gaga this year?" etc.

    Will it be that way? Is it worth it? Are you f* nuts?

    If you keep on sabotaging the forum, losing members (something that was already happening, in fact), and acting as if you are living in a bloody island where the world is only YOUR world and nobody else´s, you will be the true losers (what in fact you already are, because you are acting exactly like that - as losers).

    LET. IT. BE. Learn to live with that.

    Dylan won - it could have been any other writer (or artist, whatever) you don´t like. Because of that, you loose all sense, all reason, it´s just offences, stupid posts, blaming the SA that just some weeks ago you used to respect a lot, and care about. Then you go post about other prizes - suddenly you care - and what we discover - that in this other prize Dylan was also nominated and could have won. Then - silence. Let´s go back to just offending everybody that likes Dylan.

    "Let´s be bitter.'

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    Glad you're back peter_d. Wish more old members would start posting again.

    As for the 2016 Speculations I agree that they were fun, and I'm sure the same will also be true for the 2017 speculations.

    Since the Nobel speculations seem to be so enjoyable for most of us, what about breaking the tradition and making the 2017 speculations earlier than usual (by that I mean this year), and then locking the thread about the 2016 Nobel? This way, people who want to continue discussing about Dylan and his literary merits can use his thread in the Writers section, while the others who are not happy with him being awarded can already move on to next year's Nobel. The personal attacks are starting to get old and seeing Dylan's supporters and haters clash isn't as fun as it used to be two weeks ago...

    Maybe one of you could be this forum's Sarah Danius and make the thread for us? This way he can make sure the first post is free from dark humor or Dylan references.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    Quote Originally Posted by peter_d View Post

    But JCamilo and a few others, don’t take it all too personal. Be a bit more empathic: it is not a small thing being betrayed by a commission of Swedes who you always considered your gurus, your leaders of the enlightened elite where you feel so much at home. He’s become an orphan; he now must find his own route on the narrow path towards elucidation.
    You do know it was JCamilo himself who told us not to question the award because the SA had already declaimed it; thus, we had to accept their sagacious decision? Yes?

    Most of you are proving Liam’s and Daniel’s points. It appears if you’re a fan of Dylan, you’re mortally offended should someone take umbrage with this award. Almost every laureate discussed, whether she be from the past six years, or a laureate from forty years ago, has been criticized by someone (or some people) on this forum, but there’s never been this amount of venomous caroming. If you’re the one who still has a problem with others questioning Dylan being the laureate, then it would follow that you’re the one who has a low self-esteem in your own literary judgment. Liam making light-hearted jokes is not tantamount to him denigrating an institution, idea, crede, or philosophy. But if you actually, I mean really, actually, go back and read through the thread, whenever someone made one comment, even an innocuous one, about Dylan being the laureate, JCamilo went hysterical, labeled the person a loser (or a basement dweller), questioned his knowledge of literary history, and for what? A small comment? If you’re reacting that poorly, then it shows your insecurity with the decision. I’m shocked so many people are coming out of the woodworks to defend this miscarriage of both proper debating and common etiquette. Peter, your post itself shows the aggressiveness and contempt so evident by his fans.

    Also, why are you all threatening to quit the board if Liam and Daniel don't "change?" Are you trying to stage an intervention of their literary tastes by leveraging your memberships, even though you don't post? How incredible for you to even conjure up such risible threats.
    Last edited by Ater, Lividus, Ruber, & V; 01-Nov-2016 at 18:54.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    Quote Originally Posted by peter_d View Post
    I’m also not a poster (anymore), but still a follower of this forum.
    Glad to see you back Peter. I really hope you stay this time and contribute again to the forum. Surely your posts have been missed as well as other users who left. Not all of them because of the opinion of Liam and myself, but go figure.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    Kadare, good idea to move on from the debates about Dylan. It will not bring supporters of whichever side closer to the other. But I don’t know if there should be a discussion about 2017’s laureate yet, because what will be there left to talk about in August and September?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ater, Lividus, Ruber, & V View Post
    It appears if you’re a fan of Dylan, you’re mortally offended should someone take umbrage with this award.
    Ok, I'll give you that. Bob Dylan was my absolute hero during my teen-age and student years. Together with my fellow-'dylanologists' as we called ourselves, we studied his lyrics and exegete his songs as if they were religious texts. During those long, long nights we would smoke the same cigarettes as Dylan and zip from our Springbanks whiskey that cost a fortune, but we didn't care about it being expensive because we had read that it was what Bob used to drink. During these slow-reading sessions we felt that Dylan's words had deep meaning and that they were incredibly applicable to our own lives. So, Dylan and his songs are very close to my heart and were part of my 'coming of age' as it would be called in literary jargon. That is why I do feel offended indeed. Not because someone takes umbrage with this award, but because someone keeps making all kinds of insulting statements and nonsensical comparisons about Dylan and calling his supporters "the problem" and stubborn. That's why I wrote that post. Out of irritation built up for three weeks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ater, Lividus, Ruber, & V View Post
    If you’re the one who still has a problem with others questioning Dylan being the laureate, then it would follow that you’re the one who has a low self-esteem in your own literary judgment.
    I don’t have a problem with people questioning Dylan being the laureate. As you said, there is always criticism about whoever is announced by the Academy. Fine. As explained above, I have a problem with people making nonsensical, empty and often untrue statements about the winner, thereby trying to proof that he does not deserve prize. If they would write a post referring to a Dylan song and indicating why that is poor, semi-clever stuff, I would be happy to go into a fair debate. Attempts to get into Dylan’s poetry were neglected.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ater, Lividus, Ruber, & V View Post
    Liam making light-hearted jokes is not tantamount to him denigrating an institution, idea, crede, or philosophy.
    I have not said anything about Liam. I do disagree with him on this matter, but I can appreciate the humor that comes with his cynical comments most of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ater, Lividus, Ruber, & V View Post
    But if you actually, I mean really, actually, go back and read through the thread, whenever someone made one comment, even an innocuous one, about Dylan being the laureate, JCamilo went hysterical, labeled the person a loser (or a basement dweller), questioned his knowledge of literary history, and for what? A small comment?
    Interestingly enough, this shows that how one looks at a comment is strongly influenced by wether one agrees with the content or not and on which side one is. You’re right, if I go back and read through his comments, they are not all that nice. But it never really bothered me much because I agreed with a lot of what he said about the laureate and the prize and the commission and all of that. Now, if you go back and try to read Daniel’s posts as impartially as you can, I hope you are honest enough to agree with me that those are ‘not all that nice’ either.

    Daniel, apologies for the personal attack. I believe the 400+ posts that I wrote until a couple years back show that I am not so short-tempered as it looks now. But if you’re bashing Dylan, you bashing me. Sorry for that.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    Quote Originally Posted by peter_d View Post
    Daniel, apologies for the personal attack. I believe the 400+ posts that I wrote until a couple years back show that I am not so short-tempered as it looks now. But if you’re bashing Dylan, you bashing me. Sorry for that.
    I do not take attacks personally, even when they are completely directed to myself. Not everybody has to like or agree what I write, think or post and that's OK. I also hope the words I use, sometimes ironical, sometimes raw and direct does not affect directly to the other person, but I see that's not the case.

    We all have teenage idols. I, myself grew up loving lyrics by Morrissey or Noel Gallagher; I love their lyrics and admire their music, but if you bash them I don't take it personal; you just don't like it and that's fine. If we cannot criticize a writer or a singer just because someone here loves him or will get offended, then this discussion or anything happening at the forum doesn't make sense.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    My intention wasn't to bring everyone back on Dylan, but for what it's worth: I'm not particularly happy with the Academy's choice, really. I understand what it wants to do/promote — it's entirely in line with last year's pick — and while I was very happy to broaden literature's horizon with Alexievitch, I'm more reserved about Dylan. If this year's pick isn't a category error [debatable, IMHO], there may have been better candidates. Plus, optics: it looks like a huge backhand compliment to US literature. But I was quite glad this year to follow the speculation and glean more authors to explore.

    So, to the topic at hand:

    I took the occasion to read a DeLillo I've had lying around forever now, Mao II. I loved The Body Artist, enjoyed Cosmopolis purely cerebrally, and White Noise... ended up being just that in my mind. Which is why I hadn't read anything by him in ages. I finished it a few days ago, and I'm not very impressed. There are some very good pages, and the theme of "now is the age of the crowd" is very well done (and prescient), but I'm not in love with his style (clipped and fragmentary dialogue, little indication as to who is speaking to whom). I get that it's for effect, but others do it better (Bernhard and Simon come to mind). It rings like Nobel caliber; it's just not an author I enjoy much any longer.

    I was rooting for Kadare, he richly deserves it. I hope he gets it someday (maybe next year, the Academy reverting in reaction to this year's messiness?). I'll certainly read a later-oeuvre diptych of his soon (French translation), Agamemnon's Daughter/The Successor.

    I'll also certainly read Ngugi. I'm kinda reading him backward, chronologically speaking, and I have to say his earlier works are fairly obviously marxist in inspiration — not a criticism per se, I just prefer more subtlety. It's done well, just in a rather manichean way; so far, nothing of his beats Wizard of the Crow, which I read first, IMHO.

    I've also gotten quite interested in Lobo Antunes. His name pops up, often lamenting the fact that the writing caliber is there, but Saramago got there first/he ruined his chance by saying he wanted the prize. I quite like to discover new works employing experimental narratives/language, and LA seems just the thing. I've decided to explore him more or less chronologically, sussing out the better works by thread mentions, reviews, prizes, and my own browsing (in French translation). I should read Explanation to the Birds or The Splendor of Portugal soon.

    Same with Magris. I've been aware of him for a while, but him popping up on the thread and winning the Kafka prize interested me enough to pick up Danube. I'll see when desire strikes me to read it.

    Other authors high on the radar (read): Couto, Ugresic, Krasznahorkai, Murnane...
    (unread) Fosse, Nadas, Cartarescu, Oz, Quignard, Énard...

    Other authors low on the radar (read): Nooteboom, Mccarthy, Rushdie...
    (unread): Marias, Banville, Michon...

    Authors I am actively hostile to: Murakami (bland, repetitive, and famous for being a famous Japanese writer. This guy gets it perfectly) -> https://shigekuni.wordpress.com/2015...by-jake-waalk/



    As for the surrounding pageantry, I like the betting lists, even though they're silly and should be taken as such (until the final days, where movement may mean something).

    I also like the teasing on Facebook and Twitter – it's a bit gimmicky, but it sure sparked discussion, it's a fun guessing game, and it provides some sense of what discourse the Academy wants to put forward as to its choices.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    For the last two years I've been visiting this forum almost everyday. I absolutely love the nobel debate here, and trust me, I've started looking for the thread from May 2016.
    I've read so little compared to most of WLF members and this forum has introduced me to so many great writers!
    This year, nobel prize was a let down for me. I, with my so little reading and understanding of literature, tried to join the dialogue. I knew, I can be wrong, but I wanted to join the discussions, I wanted my opinions to be heard. But, all of my posts could not pass the admins table.

    It made me sad, I thought may be I'm too ill-read, too young to join the great debate.

    But, I'll continue reading literature and I'll continue visiting WLF, and I'll eagerly wait for the nobel speculations every year.

    And may be one day I'll end up posting something yet again and to my utter surprise would find that post approved by the admins.

    Until then, Love and respect to all you book lovers.

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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    ^Humayun, I looked into it, and the only explanation I have is that you tried to post too many responses within a short space of time--the system lets established users do that without a hitch, but new users are put on hold because such behavior automatically appears "suspicious." I have read through your posts and it seems you tried to post the same one THREE times--another reason why you may have been "moderated" by the forum software. Let me know if this problem persists, but your original post is visible and it actually DID go through (it was the other two that were moderated): it is # 138 on p. 7, you can check to see if you can see it or not. Hopefully this won't happen again,

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Conclusions from 2016 Speculations

    I stand by my statement that although Dylan wasn't the best winner, maybe not even one of the top 5 Americans, he surpassed the level of quality I expect in a Nobel winner.

    As for what we learned, I wouldn't hedge my bets on the Nobel lib meaning anything (not that I did this year really, just wasn't always in a good place and gave me something to do). The Facebook posts a week before the announcement, though, definitely do mean something, and it appears really leaks are gone, at least, leaks of the official winner. In years past, people on the shortlist have been leaked, who knows if that's over with now or if this year was an exception.

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