The Nobel Prize…and yes I know it's late.

Posted on 12. Oct, 2009 by in Uncategorized

I didn’t exactly intend to jump on the the Nobel Peace bandwagon so late, but as many of you know, I’m on drugs that render me pretty useless for more than about five hours a day.  In any event, as usual, I haven’t read anyone elses posts on the subject so far so here we go.

I was a little offended by  both Thomas L. Friedman and Maureen Dowd‘s columns yesterday regarding the award of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama.  If neither columnist agrees with it, that’s great.  But for Friedman to say the award to Obama devalues the honor and wasting his column trying to write the president’s acceptance speech for him, coupled with Dowd’s mock conversation between former President’s Bush and Clinton for not ever being nominated, (when at least one of them didn’t deserve it) seems a bit petulant to me.

In their own words the Nobel Foundation gave Obama the award for “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Even I think that’s a bit of a stretch, considering that the nomination deadline for this years award was a mere 11 days after Obama took the oath of office.  

But it’s not like the Nobel Foundation gets it right all the time. As the headline of Dowd’s column states, the Foundation never gave an award to Mohandas K. Gandhi, a considerably grave oversight. Perhaps they would have done so in the year of his death, but no prize was awarded in 1948.  In 1994 the Foundation awarded the prize to Yassar Arafat, along with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, for their efforts towards creating peace in the Middle East, meanwhile the Palestinian Liberation Organzation, of which Arafat was once chairman spent most of the three decades of its existance not recognizing Israel as a country and was once considered a terrorist organization.  Then there’s my favorite – 1919 when the award was given to President Woodrow Wilson for founding the League of Nations.  In the same year the award was given Wilson was quoted as saying the highly controvesial (and racist) film, Birth of A Nation, “was like writing history with lightening,” and additionally remarked upon the truth of its content.  The film based on a play written by a former Johns Hopkins classmate of Wilsons promoted white supremecy and depicted the rise of the Klu Klux Klan.

Clearly, the Nobel Foundation doesn’t always get it right. But to malign the intelligence and capabilities of a recipient, or to craft a whiney editiorial using a made-up diatribe between two non-recipents as a screen to hide one’s own opinion is as pathetic as a second runner up in the Miss Universe Paegent, stepping on the train of the winners dress and she marches down the aisle to accept her roses and crown.

One Response to “The Nobel Prize…and yes I know it's late.”

  1. nicholas.martinez

    13. Oct, 2009

    Better late than never.