A Nobel A Burn

Posted 7 years ago by Adam Gautsch

A must read Slate article that is basically a giant a burn to the Nobel prize committee for their hatred of American literature.

The Washington Post's Michael Dirda pointed out that it was Engdahl who displayed "an insular attitude towards a very diverse country": It is a bit rich for a citizen of Sweden, whose population of 9 million is about the same as New York City's, to call the United States "isolated." David Remnick noted that the Swedish Academy itself has been guilty of conspicuous ignorance over a very long period: "You would think that the permanent secretary of an academy that pretends to wisdom but has historically overlooked Proust, Joyce and Nabokov, to name just a few non-Nobelists, would spare us the categorical lectures."

5 Comments

Alex ~ 7 years ago

I'm not entirely sure how relevant the size of your population is to the degree of insularity. However big America is, more than 80% of American's don't own a passport, most can't identify the countries they invade on a map, and one vice-presidential candidate's opinion on foreign policy is "my state borders alaska".

Most countries have a literary history that is longer than America's political one.

Evan Tishuk ~ 7 years ago

Thank you for reminding us that America is full of ignorant rubes living in the cultural hinterlands. Congratulations, your country has a few centuries worth of a head start and we're working with the assholes you kicked out. I think we're doing pretty well considering the less-than-ideal circumstances.

The incentive to acquire a passport here is pretty low when you can traverse the entire continent latitudinally without one. And Americans didn't need one to get into Canada or Mexico until 9/11. By the way, if your statement is accurate, 20% of 300 million equals 60 million -- roughly equivalent to the entire population of the UK. Then again all those passport holders are probably just going to Tijuana or Montreal for cheaper medication and non-puritanical alcohol regulations. Let's hope those 60 million American passport holders don't get too comfy abroad because then the world will be outraged about their carbon footprints.

Adam Gautsch ~ 7 years ago

I think the idea of pointing out the size of Sweden is to say that a city like New York City is more culturally diverse than the entirety of Sweden and that to walk from one side of NYC to the other would provide a greater range of culture than living in Sweden.

olivier blanchard ~ 7 years ago

I'm still stuck on that Proust thing. He was robbed. Seriously. I wonder if his being ignored by the Nobel crew had to do with his name sounding an awful lot like a drinking cheer.

Alex, here's to my contribution to increasing US diversity and passport ownership since 1994, baby!!!

Even my kids have passports. (Future Vice Presidents and Nobel laureates, they are.)

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