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Nobel Prize

10/16/2012 @ 6:27am

They announced the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature.

I didn’t win.


Instead, they gave it to some Chinese guy named Mo Yan.  

I’d like to point out a few issues I have with that choice.

First of all, there are over a billion Chinese people.  That’s a lot more folks than live in the rural areas of the Midwest, where most of the people who read my stuff live, and I just think it’s unfair.  You can’t tell me there wasn’t some pressure brought to bear to give the award to the guy with the most readers.

In the announcement, the Nobel Committee praised Mo’s writing style, which includes “hallucinatory realism.”  First of all, I don’t even know what that means – I’m guessing somebody just made that up.  But even if it’s a real style, how hard can it be?  Let me tell you what’s hard.  Let’s see Mo Yan write about his wife’s dog AND still stay married.  Now that’s hard.  How about spending 15 years writing about your neighbors AND still have someone willing to sit next to you at a community pot luck dinner?  Not just anyone can pull off that little trick.

I’m really disappointed, because the guy who won is the same age as me.  If he were older I could just say he had more experience, if he were younger I could have a short rant about young whippersnappers…but the same age?  That doesn’t leave me anything to work with.

I suppose this wouldn’t be bothering me so much if they hadn’t also announced this year’s winners of the McArthur Genius Awards.

That’s not really what they’re called - I believe they’re called McArthur Fellowships, but anyway, they’re awards, worth half a million dollars, that are given each year to between 20 and 40 people in the United States just for being…cool.  Smart, talented, hardworking…any and all of those.  You can’t nominate or campaign for yourself; you just need to be noticed being remarkable by someone who knows someone on the nominating committee.

I didn’t win one of those either.  I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised by that.  After all, my writing goes hither and yon all over, so at least the Nobel Committee had a chance of finding it, but if people are just supposed to notice me being remarkable…well, that doesn’t even happen in my own house all that often, let alone anywhere else.  I’m trying not to take it personally, but that half million dollars sure would come in handy.

I was on the phone with my sister, explaining my disappointment and she was really pretty sympathetic.  I explained that things will just keep getting more nerve-wracking from here on out, because People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive Award comes out in February, which isn’t that far off.

There was a long pause on the other end of the line and then my sister said, “Baby, you’re going to have to let that one go.  Just…let it go.”

My own sister.  Life is so hard.

Copyright 2011 Brent Olson

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