Malakas Of The Week: The Swedish Academy

Many pundits are either upset or puzzled about Barack Obama’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize from the Swedish Academy. Yeah, it seems premature: in fact, my friend Cousin Pat called it“premature enobelation.” I’m inclined, however, to agree withJosh Levin at Brow Beat who said it was like the time Sports Illustrated made Tiger Woods Sportsman Of The Year for merely being a phenom. Tiger did live up to the appellation shortly thereafter. Interestingly enough, in Will Ferrell’s one man show, You’re Welcome, America: A Final Night With George W. Bush, Ferrell’s W called Obama “that Tiger Woods fella.”

I may not be irked with the peace prize bestowers but I’m vexed by the sanctimonious malakas (meatballs?) who give out the Nobel Prize for literature. In their collective malakatude, they yet again gave the prize to a relatively obscure writer, Herta Mueller, who is not even terribly well-known in Europe. Herta Fucking Muller who’s so obscure that I misspelled her name in the linked passage above. THE Herta Fucking Muller? Have any of y’all heard of Herta Fucking Muller before this? I certainly hadn’t and I’m reasonably well informed. Guess I need to brush up on obscure Mittel-European writers. She’ll make for a helluva final Jeopardy question some day: who is Herta Fucking Muller? Oh well, at least her first name is punworthy, her Nobel prize certainly put the herta on me…

Back to a writer you’ve actually heard of: the scuttlebutt was that the great Philip Roth was among the finalists for the prize. If the malakas that run the Swedish Academy can get over their anti-American bias with President Obama, why not include the creator of Nathan Zuckerman and half a dozen of the best novels ever written? Of course, Roth is funny, which may puzzle the stolid Swedes but, jeez Louise, give us Yanks a break.

I guess we could subtitle this post Adrastos’ complaint; especially since literalmalakatude was a major preoccupation of the randy title character in Roth’s classicPortnoy’s Complaint. The only good thing about the latest bizzarro world literature prize is that it gives me an excuse to link toAdam Kirsch’s classic 2008 rant about the Swedish Academy and American literature. Read it and weep, then open your window and, uh, Bellow…

UPDATE: According to commenter Ficus, a committee in Norway selects the peace prize.

8 thoughts on “Malakas Of The Week: The Swedish Academy

  1. Just a point of clarification: a committee in Norway chooses the Peace Prize winner. All other prizes are chosen by the Swedish committee.
    This arrangement was an intentional statement on Nobel’s part — Norway and Sweden had not been the best of friends leading up to this time, and giving Norway control over one of the awards (and specifically the International Peace Prize) was a lasting act of diplomacy by Nobel.

  2. Interesting. That’s unclear from the press releases and media coverage. Oh well, the Swedish Academy is ultimately responsible.

  3. Don’t forget that Obama became the first not-lily white President of a country that is about 100 years behind Europe in it dealing with racism.
    How many European, or Eurocentric countries have elected a leader who is not ethnically or racially Eurocentric.
    That is a significant acheivement in the eyes of the world.

  4. Marnie: I also think that encouragement could be the key word to the peace price. They gave the peace prize to some Northern Irish women back in the mid-70’s not because they’d ended the troubles, they went on and on, but to encourage them to keep trying. I’m tired to I hope that made sense.

  5. “You’re a Nobel Peace Prize winner. You wouldn’t REALLY escalate military activity in Afghanistan, now, would you?”

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