It's been a week for awards—you probably heard about this year's Polar Music Prize going to Renee Fleming and Pink Floyd; or perhaps Amy Winehouse showing up late to pick up an Ivor Novello Award, a situation Ivor Novello probably would have turned into a wry, bittersweet song; or perhaps my own favorite, Jazzie B, OBE.
But have any of them been "examining the historical background and long-term implications of important public policy issues"? Andrew Lloyd Webber (don't make any jokes until you listen to Evita again—OK, go ahead and make jokes, but do listen to Evita again, it's better than you remember) is the latest recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service. Presented by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (named for the most insufferable academic snob we ever stuck in the White House), the award is given "to individuals who have served with distinction in public life and have shown a special commitment to seeking out informed opinions and thoughtful views." (Although they did give the award to Dick Cheney a couple years ago—there's obviously some wiggle room in the criteria.) Musical types are rare on the honor roll, which is dominated by politicians and world leaders, but Lloyd Webber does follow in the footsteps of Wayne Newton (huh?—hey, he works like a dog for the USO) and Dolly Parton (no explanation necessary, really.)