Friday, October 14, 2016

Another law professor blathering on about Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize

Mark Tushnet

Me (not all those others blathering on): (1) Take it together with last year's, and maybe we can see the prize committee deliberately acting to expand our understanding of the category "literature." Last year's was for non-fiction writing, this year's for song-composition (put aside all that "he's a poet" stuff). Are there other "new" subcategories rattling around? (2) If you go back over the "papabile" lists for the past several years, Dylan's regularly been there, though -- a quick search suggests -- lower than Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth, and several other more "traditional" choices. (3) The prediction markets for Nobel Prizes in general are not very good, taken year-by-year, much better over a longer span (that is, the favorite this year probably won't win this year, but may well win in the next years -- if s/he lives so long!). For Medicine, the Lasker Prize is a good predictor, though again not for any specific year. (4) Isn't all this just "law professor as astrophysicist" blathering? [Probably, though I might be able to make a case for the relevance of #3, and therefore #2, to what we do in our day jobs.]

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