Who is this pack of men in Sweden that decide this award? And why does it seem to carry so much weight? Is it really any more substantial than an Emmy, a Grammy, an Espy a Spanky or any other frivolous exercise in peer adulation?
The Nobel people decided a while back to politicize the hell out of the “peace” archetype. Thus Jimmy “The Grinning Chavez Stooge” Carter picked one up during the run-up to the Iraq War. Kofi Annan scored in 2001 while the UN, on his watch, was enabling rampant profiteering in the Oil-for-Food-and-Kickbacks-For-the-Well-connected program. Of course there’s the all-time classic Joseph Rotblat, the 1995 Nobel-trophy winner who was previously decorated not only by the Nobel committee but by Czech dictator Husak and the Polish hammer Jaruzelski both of whom earned “peace” in their countries with military crackdowns. Nice company.
The true breakthrough came this year in awarding the blue ribbon to Harold Pinter, the consummate poser of postmodern poserdom, the Lord of the Perenially Indignant. Mark Steyn summarizes Pinter’s dramatic technique as “a pause followed by a non sequitur.” And “non sequitur” certainly describes the choice. Perhaps no one has been so childishly hostile to the United States. Pinter’s charade is an endless contrivance of rudeness and disapproval. He’s quite keen that everyone should believe that his vitriol, his staged scowl, and his steady glare are born of his deeper understanding of the true state of things.
But, OK–Pinter is a member of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic. As comedy it’s not bad when a body of men responsible for choosing the human embodiment of the “peace” ideal decides that a defender of Slobodan Milosevic (who tried to enact a mini-Holocaust in the Balkans) is their man. And anyone who describes the United States as “the most dangerous power the world has ever known” is good for a laugh. But maybe it’s just that time to recognize that the Nobel Prize isn’t much more than entertainment itself.