Call This the Paris Hilton Peace Prize

Look, there are a half-dozen obvious ways of interpreting what the Swedes were thinking

This was the left-of-liberal left congratulating itself.  This was the left-of-liberal left honoring the President who will lead the US into retirement.  This committee was trying to encourage him in a Young-World-Leader-Most-Likely-to-Succeed sort of way.  The committee really believed what it said about “outreach.”  The committee was meeting in Malmo.  The Scandanavians were sorry about how the IOC treated him the last time he was over there.

What’s clear is that this award isn’t for actually having done anything.

There was a time when Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” was eagerly awaited.  Right up until they named. “The Computer” the Person of the Year, never mind the actual, you know, people who had invented, marketed, and exploited it.

This is a continuation, almost a logical conclusion, of the phenomenon of being famous  for being famous that Daniel Boorstin wrote about in The Image all those years ago. It’s a world where celebrity is based on prior celebrity, rather than on concrete achievement or accomplishment.

In a way, it’s a surprise that it took this long.  We’ve had science-by-press-conference, wherein little actual peer-reviewed science is done, but plenty of politics is practiced.  And the Middle East has long been a bastion of “peace by press conference,” where meeting and negotiations are announced, and everyone sits around reading the coffee grounds to see what they mean.  (Hint: they still hate us.)

The worst thing about this prize is that it’s not likely to encourage actual peace-making, it’s just going to encourage all that’s worst about the Cult of Obama, and its practitioner-in-chief.  Winning what used to be the world’s greatest secular moral award is likely to reinforce Obama’s sense of his own magnificence.  Any hopes – and they were slim – that he might have learned something from last week’s Denmark Debacle are dashed.  The man could probably walk away from the Infinite Perspective Vortex unscathed at this point.

If this were just the Nobel Equivalent of 4th grade social promotion, it might not be so bad.  That’s what it’s been in the past.  You collect your prize, you go home to Georgia or Ramallah and hang it on a wall.  (In Al Gore’s case, you find some way to electrify it so it lights up the night sky.)  But this is to a sitting President, with real duties to discharge.  Failures have real-world consequences for the US and its citizens, and nurturing Obamanian Infaalability isn’t likely to help him avoid them.

If the Nobel Committee had really wanted to do what all of its apologists suggest – encourage peace prospectively – they could have given it to the Iranian opposition, who are busily dying in the streets for their liberty and their country.  Hanging the mullahs by their turbans in the public square and establishing a decent secular regime there would do more to promote peace at this point than just about anything.

  1. #1 by gijemi on October 9th, 2009

    Norwegians award the peace prize, Swedes award Literature and Science prizes. Economics, not considered a “real” Nobel Prize is awarded by the Swedish Handelsbanken.

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