I’m not sure when the credibility of the Nobel Peace Prize jumped the shark for me, but it was probably when they gave it to Yasser Arafat in 1994. But by comparison, Arafat’s selection appears rational compared to the just announced award of the prize to U.S. President Barack Obama.
The choice was so bizarre, that much of the reaction seems to range from bewilderment to cynical amusement.
In a stunning announcement, Millard Fillmore Senior High School chose Shawn Rabinowitz, an incoming junior, as next year’s valedictorian. The award was made, the valedictorian committee announced from Norway of all places, on the basis of “Mr. Rabinowitz’s intention to ace every course and graduate number one in class.” In a prepared statement, young Shawn called the unprecedented award, “f—ing awesome.”
At the same time, and amazingly enough, the Pulitzer Prize for Literature went to Sarah Palin for her stated intention “to read a book someday.” The former Alaska governor was described as “floored” by the award, announced in Stockholm by nude Swedes beating themselves with birch branches, and insisted that while she was very busy right now, someday she would make good on her vow to read a book. “You’ll see,” she said from her winter home in San Diego.
And again in a stunning coincidence, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the Oscar for best picture will be given this year to the Vince Vaughn vehicle “Guys Weekend to Burp,” which is being story-boarded at the moment but looks very good indeed. Mr. Vaughn, speaking through his publicist, said he was “touched and moved” by the award and would do everything in his power to see that the picture lives up to expectation and opens big sometime next March.
At the same press conferences, the Academy announced that the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award would go this year to Britney Spears for her intention to “spend whatever it takes to save the whales.” The Academy recognized that Spears had not yet saved a single whale, but it felt strongly that it was the intention that counted most. Spears, who was leaving a club at the time, told People magazine that she would not want to live in “a world without whales.” People put it on the cover.
There was serious commentary as well, but little of it supportive.
The award of this year’s Nobel peace prize to President Obama will be met with widespread incredulity, consternation in many capitals and probably deep embarrassment by the President himself.
Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.
Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.
I hope that President Obama will be able accept this award with a straight face.
Thanks to Instapundit for many links to this story.