Nobel Committee gives gift to our shallow culture



Freddie deBoer used to blog at, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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21 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:


    Hey, Scott! How many peace prizes have Prime Ministers got between them?Report

  2. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    To your point on the Nobel prize – when I heard about that this morning I had a similar reaction. Oh what a hue and cry this will raise! This is perhaps the first time someone who promised to withdraw from at least one war, has instead maintained troop levels in two wars and still gotten the bloody Peace prize. Words, words, words. But no actions.

    Indeed, the outrage expressed inevitably on all the movement conservative blogs will have enough of a hint of justification to it to keep the fires stoked. How silly that the folks at Nobel thought this would be anything but another political distraction for Obama.

    To your points on our culture – well yes, we do have a fairly shallow culture. Though I’d take a slightly more optimistic angle. I think we see the shallow, pop-culture side of things more because it is presented more by its purveyors – the media. The deeper, more thoughtful, less materialistic side of our culture is of necessity the under-represented. The slam poets don’t show up for American Idol. There is no America’s Next Great Novelist, because no great novelist would stoop to being harangued by sappy judges on television, and because not even the most loyal reader would watch such a show to begin with.

    So what portion of our shallow culture is merely perception, and what is the truth of the matter?Report

  3. What we’re seeing is not a rebuke of Obama, it’s a rebuke of the Nobels. The awards given to genuine heroes like Lech Walesa are now demonstrated (again, in my opinion) to have less meaning than the pomp and circumstance in which they were given. I agree that many of the right-wing kool-aid drinkers can’t make that distinction, so bad on them.

    Obama’s test will come in a few hours when he reacts to the award at a press conference.Report

    • Avatar Dave says:

      No, this is another rebuke of Obama. If GWB or Cheney were to have received the Nobel, regardless of whether they deserved it, the same people that are outraged would have used this as a validation of the Bush 43 presidency.Report

  4. So, I tried to write a post suggesting that maybe the Committee intended this as something other than a condescending pat on the back for Obama being “not Bush.” I was going to write about how maybe we were underestimating the global import of the missile defense decision and the fact that Obama got the Russians to start taking Iran’s nuclear ambitions more seriously; that maybe, as such, this award was really intended to put some pressure on Iran and to give the West some additional moral leverage over Iran.

    Then my sense of reality returned, and I deleted the post.Report

  5. Avatar MNPundit says:

    Well let’s be honest, the world is probably a lot safer than it would be if Sarah Palin were the heart failure of a passionate elderly man who has endured much stress in his life, away from the oval office.

    That said, I rather enjoy one aspect of the shallow culture: it can handle anything. Hmm, maybe that’s just the internet though, everything is absorbed and reprocessed as various types of humor.Report

  6. Avatar Joe Mayo says:

    Tremendous article.Report

  7. Avatar Jetpacks says:

    I blame Bil Gates, Steve Jobs, those punks at Twitter, that weasel who stole Facebook from his college buddies and the Google monolith. And The Onion. And Al Gore. And Chris Matthews. And Sean Hannity. And Keith Olbermann. And Rush Limbaugh. And Ariana Huffington.

    It is what it is, an immature Empire on steroids – in premature decline.Report

  8. Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

    It is my fervent wish that someone could invent an airborne agent for distributing shame and deploy it in Brad Woodenhouse’s office. The RNC offices and the offices of every pundit or politcal host.

    Maybe if we triggered it everyday their might be some small improvement.Report

  9. Avatar Herb says:

    “the Nobel committee’s silly, indefensible decision”

    It may be silly, but the decision is hardly indefensible. If you wanted to form a committee and issue a LOG Peace Prize to whoever you wanted, even someone I deemed unworthy, I might scratch my head and I might laugh and I might disagree with your reasoning, but I’d certainly defend your right to do that.Report

  10. Avatar Jason says:

    Ordinary gentlemen don’t wear hats like the one shown atop this blog. Also, the deadline for nominations to the Nobel committee was February 1st of this year. The award has nothing to do with Obama’s presidency – it is obviously a nod to a renewed emphasis on diplomacy. And no, whether the support is there or not, you have to pull out in a responsible manner. Cleaning up after hawks is messy work that always creates a catch 22 political situation for the follower.Report