The way to win a Nobel

OK, so the best way to win a Nobel Peace Prize is clearly to be an American president — the surprised fellow in the Rose Garden today; or an ex-president building a legacy — the Georgian negotiator; or an almost-president — the king of cap ‘n’ trade; or a reluctant presidential fighter of the war to end all wars, which didn’t work out so well — the namesake of yours truly.

Whereas the way to win a Nobel Prize in Literature is NOT to be an American novelist working at the top of your game, or anybody’s game, for many decades, as in the late John Updike, whose failure to get the prize is a crime. And as in Philip Roth, who, yoo hoo Stockholm, is still with us and still eligible. Or Thomas Pynchon or Don DeLillo, whose politics are presumably more to European tastes.

The way to get the writing award is to be a European leftist with an interesting personal story as opposed to pure novelistic chops, as the selection of Herta Muller shows — not that I’ve read anything she’s written, and only a couple thousand Americans can say they have, before this week at least.

No good just to be European — otherwise the late great Tory novelist Anthony Powell, my favorite writer ever, would have won simply on the massive strengths of “A Dance to the Music of Time.”

It’s all diminishing the prestige of the Nobel in the end. Then again, the failure to award the prize to any of the trio who were the greatest writers of the late 19th and early 20th century — James Joyce, Leo Tolstoy and Marcel Proust — went a long way toward diminishing it, too.

Sure, they get sensible sometimes. No discounting the pure poetry that is Seamus Heaney.

43 thoughts on “The way to win a Nobel

  1. Larry Wilson,

    The way that you consistently misinterpret things is hilarious, yet a little painful at the same time.

    Merely being an American President is not “the way” to a Nobel “Peace” Prize.
    Otherwise, FDR, Truman, Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush would have won.

    Rather, “the way” to a Nobel “Peace” Prize is by being a LEFTIST American President who is loved by leftist Europeans SPECIFICALLY for the reason of de-emphasizing American power.

    See, FDR and Truman did not win because their actions during WW2 emphasized American power. The actions of Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush emphasized American power in the foreign policy realm, therefore they didn’t win either.

    But Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson DID win way back in the day specifically because their cited actions did NOT emphasize American power—Teddy Roosevelt had merely negotiated the end to the Russia-Japan war, and Wilson was instrumental in the formation of the League of Nations.

    Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and Barack Obama won because their actions de-emphasized American power—and that is an aphrodisiac for the leftist Europeans.

    It’s so hilarious that you can identify the leftist sympathies among the Nobel committee regarding the Literature prize, but you have a total blind spot in specifically identifying the anti-American leftist foreign policy sympathies among the Nobel committee regarding the Peace prize.

    Carry on, Larry.
    Continue to amuse us with your tunnel vision.

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