A while back, on Facebook, I posited the theory that soccer was America's national charity. It was the gift we give to the rest of the world. I don't mean we invented it, I think it was invented by Irishmen or Aztecs or something. Rather, it is the one facet of life where we are willing to let down our total dominance and let other countries have a day in the sun.
When the US loses to Equatorial Guinea in the World Cup, it's not embarrassing. It's like when Tom Brady is playing touch football with his little nephews at Thanksgiving. He lets them tackle him, everybody has a warm laugh and the kids feel great. And Tom doesn't mind that he got got sacked in a meaningless little game, he's still got three Superbowl rings and a supermodel wife. (This theory may not apply to women's soccer as I'm told our team might actually win games, but honestly who has the time to find out?)
Now we've got the hub-bub over President Obama winning a Nobel Peace Prize after less than a year in office. I really don't care about any of that, but what does interest me is a thought that occurred during all the resulting arguing.
Apparently our national sports charity has an egghead equivalent too, so our countries brightest and most pretentious can join our fastest and floppiest in boosting the world's self esteem. I refer of course, to the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Consider: The Nobel prize for Literature has been awarded to 102 individuals. Of those, 9, or less than nine percent of the winners has been from the US. No American writer has won the award since 1993, when Toni Morrison beat down Ōe Kenzaburō in the Nobel Finals to take home the big gold statue. (Kenzaburō would get his revenge however, and win it all the very next year. Also, I may have embellished some details.)
In the years since, American writers have graciously stepped aside for such as luminaries as Dario Fo, author of The Devil with Boobs and Orgasmo Adulto Escapes from the Zoo, Gao Xingjian, who of course won for France and "V. S. Naipaul" who is obviously just made up.
This year, the award went to Herta Müller, whose works "refuses to let the inhumane side of life under communism be forgotten". That sounds very deserving, and I'm sure she's an amazing writer, but I think we all know if the prizes were being handed out on a level playing field, she would have been beaten out by a Cracked.com article on "Six Amazing Breasts That Are Also Knives".
Now, compare this to every other Nobel category. After picking up nine "Nobies" this year, the US has won 322 total Prizes. (Or 320, depending on which source I should. I'm sure not going to do the counting myself.) Economics? We've taken that bitch home 45 times. (So have the tea-taxing limeys, but I suspect that's because our shared language makes it easier for them to copy off of us.) Chemistry, 61 wins. Not even Madame Curie can push France past our total chemical domination. Physics? 85 Nobel Prizes. It's like we can just make up any shit we want, and they'll give us a prize for it. But the real kicker? The Nobel Prize for Medicine has gone to the sweet, sweet USA 93 times. Or, 91 more times than all of Africa and South America combined. Yeah, suck it developing world. You might win a Nobel Prize for Literature for your "haunting poems about growing up on a coconut farm and speaking truth to power" but we're reanimating dead corpses while you try and figure out how a Band-Aid works.
Hell, despite our apparent love of blowing shit up, we've still won the granddaddy of them all, the Prize for Peace 29 times. (Or, 29 times more than the savage barbarians of New Zealand and Portugal have.) In total, we've taken home over two hundred more medals than the second place United Kingdom. (Although nothing can take away from the fact that the Brits are a super bunch of guys who give it their all every time out!)Heck, even blatant homerism can't push Sweden past ten percent of our grand total. And the next time your Latvian buddies are going on and on about their folk songs that date back over a 1,000 years, ask them why they haven't won a Nobel Prize in 100 years. Then push them in the mud.
In summary, I'm not bothered by the narrow-minded bigotry and short sightedness of a pack of Eurotrash voters handing out a stupid book prize we didn't want anyway. And I'm definitely not bothered by President Obama's seemingly unlikely victory. I don't think he should decline it, as some have suggested. Hell, I think he should accept it, smile, turn around and throw it over his back, wedding bouquet style into the African delegation. "Remember! The one who catches it will be the next one to get a developed economy!"
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Finally, a site on the Internet where somebody complains about things! Usually the fact that criminal justice majors make me cringe.
- ▼ November (7)