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Tuesday Hatred of prizes (& the prices thereof)

I hate that Thomas Pynchon did not win the Nobel Prize. It’s not so much that I particularly care who gets it. But Pynchon not getting it means that my scarcely read dialogue with his masterpiece Gravity’s Rainbow published here will remain just that: scarcely read. Nobody will discover my insights, nor the post-perfectionist style which I perfected precisely to  be able to write them in, and be able to forward such discovery pointing out to the forwardees how I started this intriguing series of literary collage in tempore non suspecto (i.e. before any wide publication of Mr. Pynchon being hot as far as being a possible recipient of this most elusive of prizes).

Instead, they gave it to a Swede. Go figure. From looking at the possible candidates and recent winners, I would guess that the price to pay for winning the Nobel prize of literature is that one has to be prepared to live far longer than is healthy for the spirit. Maybe one should write a book about writers who have outlived their writing but are in a fierce competition to look as if they are about to die for as long as possible a time. On the one hand, you don’t get the prize if the committee does not feel like you might not be around the next year to get it. On the other hand, there are at least ten people who might get it and who all look like they might not be around next year. Outliving those who are about to die therefore seems to be the key capacity to get the prize.

[The same cannot be said for other prizes such as those of Peace and Economics but, as we all know: it’s more immediately apparent whether a certain action or research has advanced peace or the field of economics than it is whether a book or a poem has lasting value. The former is a matter of one to a couple of years whereas the latter normally would take a couple of centuries at least. One can only hope for the Nobel prize committee that the average life expectancy of writers goes up to 200 years or so soon.]

The essence of my today’s hatred is a counter-factual. This means my hatred is of a purely academic nature. In fact, I hope Mr. Pynchon never gets the Nobel prize for if he never were to get it my dream will remain unchallenged meaning that I can die happily in the belief that it might have come true if only …

The upside of this is that I need to feel under no compulsion to live any longer than I really want to.

Take that, Tomas Gösta Tranströmer!


October 11, 2011 - Posted by | books, Tuesday Hatred


  1. i hope stras is doing ok somewhere
    i hate to learn about a friend’s death and the feeling that i failed him however insignificant and temporary was our brief internet communication in his life, so so sorry and sad
    hope he is in the better world if there are worlds after life

    Comment by read | October 11, 2011

  2. [today’s post title sounds: Tuesday hat – rid of praises… :) ]

    I wonder if Thomas Pynchon – provided he would get one day the Nobel Prize (I think he will not, but let’s assume he would) – might go to the award ceremony in Stckholm with a paper bag over his head, like in his animated appearance on the television series The Simpsons, in 2004, or, will he rather choose to send a certain ‘Profesor’ (let’s say Irwin Corey?, or anyone else playing ‘Irwin Corey’, if Irwin Corey won’t be available in 2150, the presumed year of Pynchon getting the prize) to impersonate him (Pynchon) at the award ceremony?

    on another note (actually, on the same), i hate to make fun of peoples’ counter-factual hatreds of purely academic nature, but they are sooo begging for it. :)

    Comment by grrl | October 11, 2011

  3. I hate that my car had a flat this morning and that it’s going to cost me 3.5 hours of personal time to address this issue.

    I hate baseball when the Tigers lose. (Not really, baseball. I love you. I just talk crazy when I’m upset.)

    Comment by mattintoledo | October 11, 2011

  4. I hate that Belgium lost against Germany. I hate that when matches really matter the probability of winning is low. I mostly hate that The Youngest Kid was more disappointed than he normally would have been because I built it up as The Big Match.

    Comment by Guido Nius | October 11, 2011

  5. “The price to pay for winning the Nobel prize of literature is that one has to be prepared to live far longer than is healthy for the spirit.”

    Vicente Aleixandre, born 1898, fell deathly ill of tuberculosis in 1925. He was mostly an invalid thereafter, receiving the Nobel in 1977 and dying at age 86 in 1984.

    Comment by John Emerson | October 11, 2011

  6. I further hate people pointing out what’s broken. As if at any point in time the most relevant thing is to measure your kid and point out to her how she falls short of the ideal athletic body and/or the ideal school trajectory of a future winner.

    Comment by Guido Nius | October 12, 2011

  7. I hate the sound of trucks standing still motors roaring under my window in the morning.

    I hate self-commenting.

    Comment by Guido Nius | October 13, 2011

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