As a Bob Dylan fan, it was a pleasant surprise to see a Twitter alert that the great man had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. But I’m the first to admit it has to be controversial, for it raises the obvious question: can musical performance, with its combination of voice, music and words, be literature?
I back the awarding of the prize to Dylan for these reasons. Popular art, since its emergence in the last century, was inevitably going to produce geniuses, of which Dylan is one of the few. Due to the relative immaturity of popular music, it’s not surprising he’s the first to win the Nobel. But I think this sets a good precedent: if you write great lyrics, screen plays or drama scripts, in fact anything that uses words to create art, then you should be able to win literature’s greatest prize.
History of Art is the territory of the privately educated
History of Art A-Level is to be scrapped. This is the first time I heard that such an A-level existed. Though, as a music teacher, I am against cuts to student choice, I imagine that the qualification was the province of private schools. Therefore, this news will affect few people.
I’d be grateful if Rosie Miller could respond to my supposition and say where she went to school.
Zoos are morally detestable
We feel awful for Kumbuka the gorilla, who – like any living being – longs to be free, but we're grateful that unlike an American zoo which recently shot a gorilla dead, rightly incurring widespread public outrage, London Zoo acted in a humane manner. While this gorilla is still alive, spending the rest of his days in confinement isn't much of a life at all since even the best artificial environments can't come close to matching the space, diversity and freedom that animals have in their natural habitats.
The salvation of these endangered species lies in habitat conservation, not a life spent behind bars – because the truth is that hardly any captive-born gorillas are ever released to their natural jungle homes. Instead, they're bred to be high-earning living exhibits until the day they die, thousands of miles from where they belong. It's time the public stopped paying to see miserable animals in captivity and instead worked on solutions to help them thrive in their natural environments.
The British public were cheated
I had to suppress a bitter laugh when I read in Letters that as a Brexit Remainer I should “play up, play the game”, accept the referendum result and get on with it. For me, the traditional British virtue of playing the game incorporates the fundamental concept of fair play, and the fact is I feel cheated by the referendum result. It was a result driven by a Brexit campaign involving xenophobia, false promises and downright lies, patently unfair tactics which persuaded a poorly informed proportion of the public to vote for a course of action which will have disastrous consequences for the economy, people's livelihoods and the social integrity of my country.
Why should I sit back and accept the result? I was cheated, 48 per cent of the British people were cheated and more importantly, my children and their children, have been cheated.
If we had left it to Parliament we wouldn’t be in this mess
As a democrat, and a radical one, I have always had a distinct distrust of referenda (to misquote Amol Rajan). I thought his piece on democracy and his belated conversion to rejecting referenda was fascinating and so right. We, the British, have always been rightly proud of the invention we’ve exported to many parts of the world, it’s called “parliamentary democracy” and, by and large, it works, avoiding all the pitfalls of referenda that Amol so succinctly explained.
Thanks to Cameron’s massive misjudgement in calling the European referendum we now “live in interesting times” (an old Chinese curse), with a nation divided, a fragile economic outlook, leaders with no clear mandate who seem to have no clue, and those who put us in this position not being held to account.
If we’d relied on good old representative democracy through Parliament to resolve our relationship with Europe, I very much doubt we’d be in the mess we’re in right now.
Do not forget Wales
With reference to Brexit, Nash Riggins asserts that “England has cruelly imposed that... self-destruction on the rest of us”. Has Nash Riggins forgotten that Wales also voted to leave the European Union?