Monday, November 21, 2011

Why American novelists don’t deserve the Nobel Prize - Salon.com

Why American novelists don’t deserve the Nobel Prize - Salon.com: "The basic problem is that there is only Nobel Prize for literature and there many thousands of published writers who fancy themselves suitable and deserving of the award. It's not unlike the billions (and billions) of sperm swimming upstream madly to fertilize an egg that will only take accept one. Ninety nine percent of the those contending for what the prize simply don't make it; given that the Nobel Committee has to consider writers from a fairly broad range of poets, novelists, playwrights internationally, we are a bit too sensitive about not having a winner in a good many years. We are in competition with writers of other countries, after all, not merely with other American writers. It does, though, make for convenient news copy that will attract readers to the presence of whatever advertising happens to be lurking near or hovering over the editorializing about the continued "outrage". Our lazier arts commentators can then enjoy themselves with the Full Nancy Grace, sneering, pouting, whining, insinuating about America being passed up for the prize and cash reward the comes with it.

I do believe, though, that the Nobel folks do not like American writers in particular and that the remarks that have been made in the name of the Nobel Prize is dumbly Eurocentric; as the specific qualities a writer's body of work needs to have has never been articulated beyond the misty generalities of helping humanity understand its soul and its true self in the best and worst of conditions, the idea that American scribes are too insular, too narcissistic to be considered worth considering as a higher class of literature seems capricious at best. Writers are self absorbed, period, no matter where their bloodlines come from; it is the conceit that each of them has that theirs is the voice and the insight that makes them different from their fellow citizens. The task, though, is to judge what they do with the self-concentration, something the Nobel Committee is unwilling to do; contempt before investigation, I believe. The Nobel Prize, though, is one thing above all else, and that is worth remembering; pointed bullshit and frippery . We could all do better and just read our literary discoveries , shared them with our respective communities, and passed on the the amount of smoke a batch of self appointed Deacons of Taste are producing .