Friday, 12 October 2007

Hooray for the Nobel Peace Prize

Yet again our candidate, the USMC, has been slighted by the Oslo Nobel Peace Prize Committee. I imagine by now those marines must be rather pleased. Imagine if they were given the prize – there they would be in the same category as the International Atomic Energy Agency (last seen still pleading with the world to be nice to the Mad Mullahs and even Madder President of Iran), Jimmy Carter (easily the least successful and most unpleasant American President of the twentieth century) and the late unlamented kleptocrat and tyrant, Chairman Yasser Arafat. I forget the others.

As it happens I am absolutely delighted that Al Gore and the much derided by all except the MMGW fruitcakes IPCC were given the Nobel Peace Prize. It is about as ludicrous a situation as anyone can imagine and makes an even greater mockery of it than any past judgement may have done.

Speaking of judgement, we had the one in the High Court. In his ruling Mr Justice Burton identified nine separate hysterical outbursts truths in Al Gore’s film, which were, in fact, significant errors and had arisen in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration”. Just the man to whom a Nobel Prize should be given. The Times article I have linked to lists the nine statements and explains what is wrong with them. Hint: they ignore any scientific proof.

On American Thinker John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute bemoans the fact that by awarding the Peace Prize to Al Gore who fights with all his might against scientific development and increased welfare for humanity (though he has no particular objections to his own increased welfare) the Committee has finally destroyed the vision of Alfred Nobel.

This is it, Mr Berlau says, the 105 year old Nobel Prize is finished. Well, not so, say I. Schooled by one of our readers I know that the Peace Prize is a completely separate entity from the rest of the Nobel circus and is awarded by the Norwegian Parliament, whose members clearly have nothing better to do with their time.

Looking at the prizes in various sciences I am duly impressed. The recipients do seem to have achieved a great deal and have advanced knowledge and increased humanity’s well-being. Of course, the relevant scientific communities are no doubt arguing bitterly about the laureates but that is part and parcel of academic life. Alfred Nobel’s vision lives on and he had not actually intended there to be a Peace Prize. Presumably, he had a clear idea of how idiotic that idea was.

He did, however, intend there to be a Literature Prize, imbued, one assumes, by the early twentieth century idea of the general betterment of the human spirit as well as the human body.

This one tends to follow buggins’s turn. Last year it was a Turk, Orhan Pamuk, the year before that the egregious Sir Harold Pinter and so on. This year, it is clearly the turn of Africa and African writers.

Amazingly, the committee picked one who is worthy of many prizes and who is a genuine rebel against all establishments. I have to declare an interest in that I am an admirer of Doris Lessing’s, having read various books of hers and found them mostly excellent.

Ms Lessing is a very unusual person. Brought up in Southern Rhodesia she was banned from there and from South Africa because of her outspokenness about the white community and the treatment of black people.

Subsequently she came to Britain and moved far enough left to become a Communist. Her Martha Quest novels trace the political development of an alter ego. She also wrote one of the seminal books of modern feminism: “The Golden Notebook”.

However, the Hungarian events of 1956 made her denounce Communism and she has moved steadily further to the right. “The Good Terrorist” shows little sympathy for any left-wing organization from the KGB to ridiculous little communes. Mind you, the police does not come out terribly well either.

It seems that the British academic community has never forgiven her for abandoning Marxism and subsequently turning against soi-disant feminists. For these reasons she appears to be more popular in the United States than in Britain.

Every now and then some unexpected person does receive the Literature Prize (just as the Oscar sometimes goes to an unexpected film like “The Lives of Others”) and Doris Lessing is one of those. I assume next year it will go to a well-known Communist hack of some description in the interests of balance.

When it comes to the Peace Prize, on the other hand, there can be no mistakes. After all, nobody could possibly deserve it, anyway, and with this latest award its transformation into the world’s greatest joke has been completed.

Don’t believe me? Read some of the comments on this blog and try to keep a straight face.

And while we are on the subject of cosmic jokes, will the Venerable Al Gore, Hollywood’s favourite politician, run for President?