the Internet doesn’t work


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

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36 Responses

  1. Bob Cheeks says:

    I feel your pain, Freddie. I felt the same way just after the Ayrabs blew up the Marines in Lebanon and Ronnie didn’t level the Bekka Valley (sp). Dylan had it right, “It’s an empty, hungry feelin’ that don’t mean no one no good…and everything I’ma sayin’ you can say it jus as good…”Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    They probably imagine the Nobel Peace Prize as an idealistic reward for accomplishment rather than a cynical down payment on future accomplishment (like they do the one for physics or medicine).

    I’m not sure that such an assumption is *THAT* far out there. Sure, there are the people that the Redstaters (full disclosure: I have been banned from Redstate) are saying “HE’S IN GOOD COMPANY!!!” and pointing to.

    But most folks are looking at the folks like Tutu and King and the International Red Cross and, heck, Roosevelt and saying that the prize can mean something and that is when it is at its best.

    (I’ve gotta say, It seems odd to say that the Redstaters are the ones who truly understand how the Nobel Peace Prize really works.)Report

    • M.Z. in reply to Jaybird says:

      A long list of people banned by RedState. I’m on that list.Report

    • adolphus in reply to Jaybird says:

      Tutu got the NPP 10 years before Apartheid Fell. What were his ACTUAL accomplishments in 1984?

      Not saying he didn’t deserve it, but it seems to me that he was also given the award largely as an encouragement and funding opportunity.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to adolphus says:

        I don’t think that the response to Tutu getting the prize in 1984 was “but what has he done? Seriously! What has he done???”

        Everyone knew exactly why Tutu got it.Report

        • adolphus in reply to Jaybird says:

          But what were his actual accomplishments? That seems to be the question of the week for Obama. Why not ask it that of previous winners as Freddie seems to be suggesting?

          Not everyone knew why Tutu won. As I recall the announcement was greeted by derision and denouncement in South Africa with accusations that the Nobel Committee was meddling in the internal politics of their country. Even conservative commentators and politicians in this country were unhappy at the award.

          The same can be asked of the Dalai Lama, really. What has he ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHED? Tibet is no nearer free no matter how many countries he visits or concerts U2 puts on.

          I know I sound cynical here, but I completely agree with those two men receiving this award at the time they did, but lets not fool ourselves that it WASN’T, in the words of Freddie, “before [they] accomplished his or her goals for peace, as a way to inspire them and, more importantly, to fund their efforts with the prize money.”

          And lets not close our minds to the idea, as much as I disagree with it, that some in the international community hold the USA, especially after the Bush years, in the same low esteem as they held Apartheid South Africa and Communist China and view Obama as the same symbol of hope as they held Tutu and the Dalai Lama. The NPP has always been political. It is by its very nature political. It would behoove everyone to recognize that fact even whether we agree or disagree with the goals of the politics it is trying to meddle in.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to adolphus says:

            This is the wacky thing.

            When the Dalai Lama got it, were people saying “but what has he done?”

            When Tutu got it, were people saying “but what has he done?”

            Sure, we can look back and point and laugh at those two losers for not having accomplished a damn thing when they got their prize.

            But that’s not what happened at the time, was it?

            Everyone knew why they got it, didn’t they?Report

            • Trumwill in reply to Jaybird says:

              Tutu and Dalai Lama put themselves on the line or were fighting for something tangible and spent years doing it. If, a couple years from now, Obama is still tugging really hard at world and he has the world talking about it, I could see that even if it doesn’t happen. Or if Obama had been a more influential senator and the presidency had been an extension to a long and hard-faught campaign for peace (however defined), then sure.

              I want Obama to have earned it. I want something to latch on to so that this makes a little more sense. But… so far I can’t. And not cause right-wingers are mocking it.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to adolphus says:

            Yes, of course, we can find people in South Africa who said that the peace prize was “meddling”.

            But can we find people who said “what has he done?”

            The complaints about the peace prize that I have seen have not been “how dare the Nobel Committee think they can tell us what to do!!!” but “What has Obama *DONE*?”

            “some in the international community hold the USA, especially after the Bush years, in the same low esteem as they held Apartheid South Africa and Communist China and view Obama as the same symbol of hope as they held Tutu and the Dalai Lama.”

            Sure, this is true. But the complaints that I have seen have not been “we’re not South Africa or Nazi Germany! What the hell?” but “lol, they gave the peace prize to Obama”.

            Instead of the indignation that China gave to the Dalai Lama, instead of the indignation that South Africa gave Tutu, Obama’s prize doesn’t seem to be engendering indignation as much as it is a horse laugh.

            This is a *VERY* different response than the one those other two guys got.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

          Make this an SAT question.

          Bishop Tutu:Ending apartheid:: President Obama::?

          A. Nuclear disarmament
          B. Closing Guntanamo
          C. Ending the war in Iraq
          D. Health Care Reform
          E. None of the Above

          There’s no right answer.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            Indeed, Obama could usher in the Milennium! We could finally achieve the singularity! Maybe it’ll be more wonderful than any of us could possibly imagine! With tears streaming down our faces screaming “YES YES YES!”

            That said, there is totally a different dynamic at play here than when those other guys got it.

            Even if the Dalai Lama and Tutu were both dorks who never did anything when they got nominated.Report

          • Extra credit for correcting the punctuation.Report

  3. Pat Cahalan says:

    The Internet works just fine.

    People are broken.Report

  4. Daniel says:

    But you know, I think Obama is in a somewhat different position than other Nobel recipients. There already is a lot of pressure for him to do “something”. Unlike some of the past Nobel laureates, he really doesn’t need any more encouragement. That, I think, makes the award a little strange and the “he hasn’t done anything yet” claim a bit more realistic. Nor does he need funding (errr well the amount of money that come with Nobels). So for Obama the award is more a prestige thing than it is for others.Report

  5. Louis B. says:

    May I ask how dead tree papers would improve this situation?Report

    • Freddie in reply to Louis B. says:

      Oh, it wouldn’t. The press doesn’t work either.Report

      • E.D. Kain in reply to Freddie says:

        Besides, Freddie, don’t you kind of disprove yourself by posting something like this? Aren’t you (and others who posted similar things) acting to correct the perceived mistake? And quite a lot faster than if you had to publish something in a newspaper.

        Which isn’t to say we should rejoice in the death of print (which I don’t think will happen anyways.) I think there is far too much self-congratulation in new media, far too much pooh-poohing of the old media we rely on for news and what-not. For the most part new media is still all opinion and ideas, with very little in the way of reporting.

        But, old media will have to adapt, scale back, slim-up, etc. There’s a whole heck of a lot of redundancy and unnecessary overhead in that industry.Report

      • Louis B. in reply to Freddie says:

        What does work then?Report

  6. Trumwill says:

    They do that all the time, giving the award before someone has accomplished his or her goals for peace, as a way to inspire them and, more importantly, to fund their efforts with the prize money.

    Even accounting for the fact that people sometimes win for their efforts on goals not yet achieved, I am having a whole lot of difficulty coming up with efforts Obama has made at all. That’s really not a knock on Obama. The man’s got a lot on his plate. But haven’t most awards, historically, gone to people that at least took great strides for peace even if they didn’t work out or haven’t worked out yet?

    I’ll cop to being relatively ignorant of past winners and the breadth of their accomplishments, so if you can point me to some other cases of people with records as comparatively thin as Obama’s, I’ll concede the point.

    (I totally agree with you on the broader issue of the Internet’s viability as a replacement for newspapers and other professional media organizations.)Report

  7. Nob Akimoto says:

    I realize that strategic nuclear arms reduction isn’t “sexy” anymore like rogue states or terrorist organizations, but when was the last time a sitting American president went to the UN and declared his goal is zero nuclear weapons?

    I mean since Superman V: The Quest for Peace that is.Report

  8. Michael Drew says:

    Now you’re talkin’. That first post was a little frou-frou for my taste. 😉Report

  9. Northeast Elizabeth says:

    You can disagree with this award, and I do, but there’s a smart way to do it, and an ignorant way to do it, and many, many people are choosing the latter.

    Including this blog. How could you possible post this with putting the Nobel Peace Prize in its proper context? You don’t bother to mention that it’s awarded by five Norwegian politicians appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, and thus has no greater meaning that a prize bestowed by five members of the U.S. Congress, the Peoria city council, or, for that matter, five randomly selected bloggers. It’s just an ordinary political opinion. The only reason it’s given any weight is that the mainstream media, and sloppy bloggers like you, perpetuate the myth that it’s handed down by God.

    As for the value of the internet, you haven’t the slightest clue about what you’re talking about. It’s extraordinarily effective in correcting specific FACTS misrepresented by the media (and elsewhere in the blogosphere). What you’re complaining about — this murky, opinion-laded question of whether the politician-determined Nobel Prize has historically been awarded to people before they’ve “done something” — isn’t really the kind of “fact” question for which the internet is particularly useful.

    Anyway, I think the world should rid itself of nuclear arms TWICE as fast as Obama does, that the wars should end TWICE as fast, that global warming should be ended TWICE as fast. May I have TWO Nobel Peace Prizes? My vision and aspirations are twice those of Obama’s. No, I haven’t actually DONE anything — but you can’t complain about that, because, as you’ve noted, only people who haven’t done their Google homework would think I’m unworthy.Report

      • Roxana Mayer, MD in reply to Freddie says:

        Oh . . . I get it . . . disagreement with you is a sign of mental illness. Ha ha ha! But you disagreed with people in your post too — does that make you crazy? Or is your thesis that only people who make sloppy, unsubstantiated arguments like yours and then dodge criticism with accusations of mental illness are sane?Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Northeast Elizabeth says:

      I’m confused. On the one hand, this is five Norse guys’ (any women’s?) call, on whom we can depend to apply their distinctively idiosyncratic Norse perspective and judgment (if I understand the comment correctly — and if I do, I agree entirely with this!). But at the same time, it makes sense to do this annual ritual critique of their — based on the track record — reliably idiosyncratic Norse judgment from a decidedly non-Norse, reliably commonsensical American merit-based perspective? All this ever results in is routine annual October Nobel-Peace headscratching across the American continent. What’s the point? Let’s just let them be their idiosyncratic Norse selves!Report

  10. Bob Cheeks says:

    Right ON, dudette!
    You’ve got so many truths in this comment, that your errors are insignificant!Report

  11. Freddie says:

    Just a small point: Desmond Tutu did not end apartheid.Report