Barack Obama got a phone call yesterday, early in the morning, notifying him he'd won the Nobel Prize for Peace. This doesn't happen often, I hear - fairly big honor one should think, and made all the more interesting for a few notable reasons:
First, Bambam was completely unaware he'd been nominated, or so he says. Whatever, we all learned a Nobel can be given to people who are completely unaware of it, like a guerrilla award. As an aside I have to admit I'm a little pissed I wasn't selected. Seems the only time I get surprise phone calls these days it means there's a funeral or I have to go look for a job again.
Second, the conferment of this historically arguable honor has brought, as could only be expected, a flurry of partisan responses that are just as varied as they are inevitable: the guy who was slated to end a very unpopular war in Iraq hasn't quiiiiite managed to do that yet, and is leaning toward expanding another in Afghanistan. Obviously peaceful efforts. Maybe I'm out of line, but this sounds a lot like my favorite peace rally poster: "fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity." I'd think so august an award for peace would have gone to someone...I dunno...peaceful?
The Right is up in arms about it of course, because it's their job to be and they're very good at that job: if the spirit-form of Gandhi himself popped up and was handed another Nobel he'd be blasted as "that skinny liberal" and endlessly dissed as a cause of AIDS or whatever other blather could be rapidly and histrionically invented. Similarly, The Left is stuck wondering what the hell to do about PETA, those hysterically pathetic hippies on YouTube crying in the woods over dead trees, and scratching their heads as well; that SNL "Jack and Squat" skit spoofing Obama's two great achievements, or notable lack thereof, rings a little too true.
Third and last, and most telling for me, is the question that sprang to life within hours of the announcement on every blog, in every paper, on every web news outlet ever made: if they didn't give it to Obama...who the hell would they give it to? This planet isn't exactly swimming with peaceful people these days. Ahmadinejad, too busy spinning up uranium to accept. Putin shirtless and wrestling a bear, plotting something new in Georgia. Berlusconi? Gawd - a quick one to wipe off the list because he'd he'd try to nail the presenter.
Do they really give those things to anyone? I mean, it's not that I dislike Bambam. He was and remains my pick, and if he can overcome the bizarre spate of home brewed anti-intellectual torpor splattered on the front pages, he's far, far more likely to be a deserving recipient than, say, his predecessor...and let's face it: G.W. Bush was probably nowhere near the list of finalists, was he?
It seems to me that he wasn't picked: the Nobel people simply had no one else to give it to.