Archive for the ‘Literary’ Category

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Ink, Like Venom, Stains The White Of Your Eyes

September 1, 2010

There’s something I need to get off my chest: The Nobel Prize in Literature is a fucking joke and a bloodstain on the otherwise well-kept rug of literature. It’s an institution I resent infinitely, primarily because of its terribly corrupt judging—which has purely political motives at heart, as opposed to rewarding masters of the craft for their work in writing and imagination.

When you think of the Nobel Prize, the word “greatness” comes to mine, doesn’t it? Yet when you glance the list of recipients of the Literature branch of the prize, you may notice two things: first, most of the roster consists of people you’ve never heard of, and likely never will (likely due to the fact that they haven’t actually contributed much to literary movement or passion.) Second, you’ll note the absence of a great many worthwhile writers. Like, I don’t know…James Joyce!? Vladimir Nabokov? Anton Chekhov? Salman Rushdie, Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, or Leo Tolstoy? Would it have killed them to award a posthumous award to Kafka when they can afford to hand out the medal to Dario Fo, a man who was mainly a performance artist?

It’s a known fact that the Academy—based in Sweden—favors Swedish writers, regardless of notoriety or overall importance. Hell, Sweden’s had more winners than all of Asia. What the fuck? Sure, nowadays the judges will flat out deny the favoritism up and down; but let’s hearken back to the good old days, shall we? When Nabokov, arguably one of the greatest writers to ever live, was turned down so that two Swedish authors could receive the prize for themselves. Oh yeah, one more thing: both of ‘em were judges on the Nobel committee. Again: what the fuck?  Can anyone name the two guys who “won” that prize today? No; yet everyone can titter the words “Lolita” or “Pale Fire” or “Ada/Ardor” or even “Bend Sinister.” They were pretty much unknown outside of their country. There was not only an apathy towards authors who lived in “wartime” countries in the early 1900s, but also Russian writers.

It’s all political; Borges was refused the prize largely due to his support of some right-wing leader of something-or-other; I don’t recall the specifics but the decision relied upon dislike with his personal politics. On a similar note, Harold Pinter used the speech following his win as an opportunity to speak out on—in layman’s terms—how much the USA sucks under Bush, and how it’s become a giant dumb puppy that doesn’t know how to control its bark or its bite. Well gee, thanks for telling me what I and a million other Americans know, Mr. Pinter. I also thank you for utilizing your position as laureate to spout more political bullshit, which is probably true but should be saved for another time.

It’s so disappointing to see an institution that should be a beacon for aesthetics and love of literature melt into the very opposite of what aesthetics stand for: the political, the overtly analytical, and the tired squabbling of interracial conflict between countries and creeds. It’s just one more reason that I regard so much of the literary world with disgust, dispassion, and general disregard for what the “elite” consider well-written prose. When the institution has been in a comatose state of bickering for decades, what can be gained from idolizing them? Nothing. Clive Barker will never come close to being instated in this hall; it’s because he will be dismissed as a genre writer, a splatterpunk enthusiast, and a stockboy to the gods—all of which are completely untrue. Clive Barker is a beautiful writer who’s done more than people like Elfriede Jelineck; a Nobel winner who is an antisocial, unoriginal hack who writes self-indulgent, melodramatic pornography, and feminist manifestos and communist prose that borderlines on laughable.

The elite has their world of make-believe heroes and medals; let them stay in their bubble so they don’t infect ours with their caustic tripe and masturbatory relish.