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Why Should We Care About the Nobel?

Why did they give it to him, did he deserve it, should he have accepted it, who else should have gotten it: The nation is speaking of nothing else except President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. Here is a better question for us to ask ourselves: Why should we care?

Think about it: The Nobel Committee consists of five Norwegians, selected by the Norwegian parliament. In his will, Alfred Nobel, the Swedish dynamite tycoon who thought up this whole thing, specifically wanted Norwegians to choose the winner, apparently because Norwegians, being outside the European mainstream, would be less likely to be politically corrupt. The trouble is that Norwegians, being outside the European mainstream, are also more likely to be eccentric. Norway is a wonderful country and Norwegians have some of the highest living standards in the world -- thanks to their low population numbers and their large deposits of oil and gas – but the last time I was there, I got in an argument with someone over which country was more evil, the United States or North Korea. This being a few years ago, at the height of the Bush Terror, you can guess which side the Norwegian was on.

Perhaps as a result of their eccentricity, the five Norwegians who choose the Nobel Peace Prize winner have made quite a few odd decisions over the years. Look at the most recent American winners. In what sense did Al Gore, whatever you think about his movie on global warming, fulfill the wishes of Alfred Nobel, who wanted his money to go to "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”? Jimmy Carter won it in 2002, presumably for his skill in being an ex-president; I’m not sure where he created much peace or reduced any standing armies in the decades after he left the White House, either. The Nobel Peace Prize, like all prizes, is a roll of the dice, and thus it does sometimes go to apparently deserving people – Martin Luther King Jr. won it, as did the 14th Dalai Lama – but a lot of times it doesn’t. Mahatma Gandhi never won it, but Yasser Arafat did. Need I say more? Generally the committee is accused of left-wing bias, and there is indeed something to that – though, of course, there is something profoundly left-wing about the very idea of a prize for promoting peace congresses in the first place. But sometimes the award decision seems not so much left-wing as just strange. And there isn’t much that is left-wing about Henry Kissinger.

The same, I’m afraid, is true of the Nobel Prizes for Literature, which are selected by Swedish judges. Sweden is a larger and more cosmopolitan place than Norway. Nevertheless, year in, year out, the Nobel laureate turns out to be an obscure writer, usually European, whose works are hardly known outside of a few German-speaking and Germano-centric countries. (Exceptions are made for Frenchmen whose books are hardly known in English either, and Harold Pinter.) The rule holds for this year's winner, fascinating though her life story seems to be. At least her subjects – totalitarianism, dictatorship – are more worthy than those of, say, Elfriede Jelinek, the 2004 Nobel laureate, who was infamous for her writings on sexual perversity. Once again, plenty of great writers win it. But Leo Tolstoy, for example, did not.

Presumably the enormous sums of money that go with these prizes explain some of their magic. So does the fact that they also go to scientists, though I gather that the process for selecting those winners is equally unpredictable. I am all in favor of randomly distributing large sums of money to hardworking writers, chemists, physicists and even the occasional peace activist, particularly if they aren’t rich and famous already. Why not? As long as the rest of us don’t take the decision-making process of five Scandinavians too seriously.

By Anne Applebaum  | October 9, 2009; 5:25 PM ET
Categories:  Applebaum  | Tags:  Anne Applebaum  
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Comments

Your slip is showing.

Posted by: slovelace | October 9, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

It's sort of amusing that you start out with complaining about the Norwegians not being "cosmopolitan" enough, and continue with complaining that the Swedes give the literature prize to authors you're unfamiliar with.

And your lack of knowledge about the science prizes, coupled with the lack of caring enough about the subject to actually learn anything about it before writing about it, is actually similarly ironic -- though hardly surprising. In fact, it seems to be just about the same modus operandi as when you embraced the disastrous decision by the Bush administration to invade Iraq.

Ignorance and arrogance. Great show, Ms. Applebaum.

Posted by: sembtex | October 9, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

If Bush hadn't started two wars President Obama wouldn't have received the Nobel Peace Prize. THANK YOU W!!

Posted by: blarsen1 | October 9, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the question is why we care about Anne Applebaum--ok, wait, we don't!

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 9, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant Ms. Applebaum, absolutely brilliant! I love your tongue-in-cheek approach to what has become an award with no credibility ever since that guy that invented the internet won it for reading a script on global warming that someone else wrote. The President hasn't fulfilled any of Alfred Nobel's criteria yet, but neither did Carter or Gore so we shouldn't take it too seriously. Thanks for a good end-of-workweek laugh!

Posted by: josephboltersdorf | October 9, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Ms. Applebaum, you fail to point out that Messrs. Obama, Gore and Carter accomplished much in their careers for peace and amity among nations. For example, neither of them directed the invasion of Iraq, despite the fact that they had exactly as much evidence as Mr. Bush had for invading Iraq.

Oh, I'm sorry, did you advocate that invasion?

Posted by: Dollared | October 9, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

the Nobel prize is way better than having a shoe hurled at you... twice!!!!!!

Posted by: mimo1 | October 9, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow.
You realize your criticizing the judgment of the Nobel price judges based on their nationality and the generalization of what you think Swedish and Norwegian people are like? Ive heard people from the USA say thinks like "I can see Russia from my house(in Alaska)" yet I don't think all of the US citizens hallucinate. Its this sort of thinking that has led the USA to be one of the most racist and nationalistic countries in the world.

Besides, it sounds like you are judging the Nobel price for literature based on how well you know the authors instead of judging it by how good the books are. Why don't you actually read the books. If the Nobel price judges where to choose an author based on its popularity Dan Brown, Haruki Murakami and Paulo Coelho would be Nobel Price winners and that my friend would be the end of literature world.

I do agree that the Nobel price isn't everything, you can't say an author is good or not depending if they won the Nobel price or not. Same thing for the peace price, you can' say Gandhi wasn't a peace hero just because he didn't win the Nobel price. But it sure does usually means they are very good, even if there have been some very sketchy winners(which I agree they have) but the majority of the winners deserve those prices.

Id be more interested in your actual opinion about Obama wining the Nobel peace price. Did he really deserve it? He was bombarding the middle east as soon as he was in post. Instead of ranting about the Nobel prices.

Posted by: srcuervo | October 9, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Looks like the Norwegians upset the whole oligarchy.

Good for them and good for Obama. The prize is an honor for Obama as well as the nation that elected him.

He didn't seek the honor and he accepted it with the proper humility.

As for dissing the Norwegians, is that funny or what? Love the Norwegians; love the telemark skiing, the ice climbing, the philosophy and the high level of education.... Norwegians are great people; not Americans and not beholden to America. I for one find that refreshing.

Posted by: protagoras | October 9, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I think the Nobel Peace Prize should have gone the the government of Switzerland for extraditing Roman Polanski to the US so he could finally face justice for drugging and sexually assaulting a child 30 years ago and then leaving the country before his sentencing. The "peace" message inherent in their decision is that the world should not tolerate the sexual exploitation of women and children by men in positions of power (please Google "rape in Darfur and Congo").

Posted by: jemaddux | October 9, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Like I said the Kanye Wests' are trying to snatch the victory and the moment from the winner even before the Pres made his acceptance speech. What a bunch of hypocrites and Jockasses

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 9, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse


All good points, Anne.

http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/nomination_committee/members/

I looked up the five-member committee and they are all politicians. And always have been. Five politicians from a puny socialist country with the population of Minnesota.

It's a wonder these purely politicized awards were ever prestigious. They are less credible than the Golden Globes.

Posted by: DagnyT | October 9, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Applebaum is best when she is defending pedophiles. Writing about presidents winning nobel awards is beyond her prurience.

Posted by: lichtme | October 9, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I think no student of history would want to tasked w/ arguing the opposing side of this thesis; "If all nuclear weapons magically disappeared tomorrow at sunrise, World War 3 would be underway in less than a month."

Indeed, how could any thinking person predict otherwise? Hmmm, let's see: Jews/Arabs, North vs South in Korea, China/Taiwan, Hindu/Muslim...

Would some one on the Left please put forth at least a bare-bones scenario wherein eliminating all nukes would NOT make large scale "conventional" war inevitable? Something explicit, as opposed to vigorous handwaving and cheerleading?

Sheesh.

Posted by: jabez | October 9, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Enemies of America do not care about the Peace prize . They do not want peace . You can ask them . They believe it to be their duty to spread Islam by sword not by word .It won't hurt to ask them . Good luck with that . Beware according to the Koran a contract between a Muslim and a non Muslim is only binding on the non Muslim . Kind of like Democrats and Republicans. Democrat contracts with Republicans are only binding on Republicans

Posted by: Imarkex | October 9, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Advocating peace is very left-wing? Ann, stick to defending the rape of 13 year olds. You're not much good at anything else.

Posted by: patrickschabe | October 9, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

You know who I feel worst for in this whole thing? Jimmy Carter. That poor man worked his ass off for decades at the Carter center when other ex presidents generally were either lazing around or picking up a few million on the lecture circut. He created an organization in the Carter Center that he become the gold standard in diplomatic facilitation and the verification of fair elections. He's written multiple best sellers advocating peace and diplomacy. In short he did EXACTLY what Mr. Nobel whanted his prize winners to do. And yet somehow it seems like every single article about Obama's Nobel seems to take the time to call him useless and undeserving of the award. Even when the harshest criticism the can find for Obama himself is 'premature'.

Posted by: Oberfrobe | October 9, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Al-Qaida, Taliban and the Republican Party are the only entities opposing President Obama wining the Nobel Peace Prize. TRUE Three axis of evil!

Posted by: JHigginss | October 9, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

The biographies of the Norwegian judges ooze socialism. No wonder that Obama won their votes!

Posted by: judithod | October 9, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Anne,
Smiley Boy screwed up the World. Now the world has spoken because now there is at least Rational Hope again. Republicans are hated around the world.

Posted by: fedupindc | October 9, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I should have referred to you as Applebaum, not Ann. But my point remains.

Posted by: patrickschabe | October 9, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, Ann let's scrap the Nobel, because your boring travel anecdote proves conclusively that it's a waste of time.

Really. The arrogance among the punditry in this country is incredible. They're now clamoring in unison to end the peace prize.

Posted by: kay5 | October 9, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

The lock-step DC villagers like Applebaum are really rattled by this.

Peace scares the hell out of them. Ann was hoping to trump up a war with Iran.

Posted by: kay5 | October 9, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Ms Applebaum, American dismissal of the opinions of others is what got America into the mess it's in now.
Did you know that only 30% of Americans have passports? With opinions like yours, it's easy to believe.

Posted by: lewfournier1 | October 9, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me. I live on planet Earth. I think we should be happy that the world views our prez positively. So sorry the sour apple gang is having problems with this, but then, what good news about obama have they ever viewed positively?

It is the most disingenuous display of outrage so far in this admin--and that is saying alot!!

Posted by: tmcproductions2004 | October 9, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me. I live on planet Earth. I think we should be happy that the world views our prez positively. So sorry the sour apple gang is having problems with this, but then, what good news about obama have they ever viewed positively?

This is the most disingenuous display of outrage so far by the gop--and that is saying alot!!

Posted by: tmcproductions2004 | October 9, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Why is this defender OF PEDOFILES still writing???
Just as we were not cosmopolitan enough to understand that a "great" artist needs to anally rape children once and again, we should not be apalled that a flim-flam man with NO accomplishments in his life except being able to read vacuous rhetoric from a teleprompter is given the Nobel Peace Prize.
Your SO right Anne! These provincials are SO hopeless! Clinging to their guns and religion.
Better rush back to the embassy for the next cocktail party with the beau monde.

Posted by: beecheery | October 10, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Being 100% of Norwegian lineage, I am so proud of my heritage country!

Posted by: chicago11 | October 10, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

As it turns out, President Obama was only the second choice of the committee. Their first choice, Roman Polanski, was unavailable.

Posted by: Rob_ | October 10, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Al-Qaida, Taliban and the Republican Party are the only entities opposing President Obama wining the Nobel Peace Prize. TRUE Three axis of evil!
Posted by: JHigginss

======================
No they are not. Plenty of people at work today who like me voted for Obama were in complete agreement - the Award was flat-out stupid and embarassing.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | October 10, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

ROFL, you got to love the format that the Norwegian leftists have given to their Prize. They select somebody that has done nothing in hopes that that person will do something to deserve it. That is, if it's a leftist thing that pleases them.
Leftists and liberals are just plane goofy and like nails on a chalkboard.

Posted by: ekim53 | October 10, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse


Last news in:

The "Ignoble Prize" will certainly go to Pervert Polanski, or one of his supporters. Starting by Appelbaum and Ricghard Cohen as good outsiders.

BTW, Anne. Aare you aware of the mess the French Minister of Culture is in as we speak.

In one of his books ('La Mauvaise Vie' 2004), Frederic Mitterand, one of the staunchest defenders of Polanski, writes about his pleasure having paid sex with young male prostitutes. F. Miterrand, like your husband (Polish Forign Affairs Minister) is lobying hard to prevent Polanski's extradition.

How young were the male Thai prostitutes? The debate is raging here in France. He now is giving lame answers, saying that the said "boys" were 40. As if he couldnt find any in Paris. A liar and most certainly a pervert pedophile.

I guess your next op-ed will be about this téalented talented artist, hounded by ignorant and unsophisticated folks ilke me.

By Miterrand's standards, this is good news to me. I thought I was an aged man (58), in fact I must be a handsome youngster.

These people are repugnant.

Posted by: bekabo | October 10, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

He's all right in my opinion.

I wish he'd sent tanks into Israel, and stood Bush andCheney up against a wall. Still, no American president will do that, so we do what we can with what we have.

He's the best president we've had in a long long time. That's OK by me

Posted by: drankland | October 10, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I find receiving any award that is not tied to performance to be as tenuous as it is spurious.

Posted by: nosam32 | October 10, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

As of today, October 9,2009, the Nobel Peace Prize is meaningless.

All Obama has done is kill many innocent People, including women and children by dropping bombs on innocent people!!!

I know of no other President that has killed so many people in just 8 months.

Posted by: WestVirginian | October 10, 2009 4:02 AM | Report abuse

i think you are wrong on the literature prize. what about seamus heaney, steinbeck, hemmingway, saul bellow, naguib mahfouz, william golding, samuel becket, ivo andric are hardly obscure or exclusively eurocentric etc etc

Posted by: peterbeaumont | October 10, 2009 5:32 AM | Report abuse

So...the bottom line is the Nobel people like:

Carter
Gore
Obama

This is a joke that wrote itself, the two of the biggest buffoons in recent American politics and Obama could get there very quickly if he doesn't figure out how to be president within the next 6 months.

The funny part is that the peace prize for Obama actually made Obama even less likable than he was already.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | October 10, 2009 5:47 AM | Report abuse

It is ironic that this Appelbaum woman was one of those who cheered loudest for Cheerleader Bush to invade Iraq.

Appelbaum must therefore share some responsibility for the deaths of more than 4300 real American soldiers who were killed there.

She is therefore a warmonger who tries to influence others to fight her own wars of choice.

She, like others of her kind, hates President Obama because he is a genuine man of peace.

People like her who hate others certainly do not like people of peace.

Posted by: kdhcherry | October 10, 2009 6:38 AM | Report abuse

"...year in, year out, the Nobel laureate...an obscure writer, usually European...hardly known outside of a few German-speaking...countries...Exceptions...for Frenchmen whose books are hardly known in English either..."

Maybe the Nobel judges should hand the whole thing to Appelbaum.

Then the literature prize can go every year to an American. (Hey, why would anyone speak, let alone write, in anything but English anyway?) Maybe there'd make an exception for Russians and Poles.

She can keep the whole process simple, avoiding obscure writers by just picking the best seller. (Hey, if I, Anne Appelbaum don't know this guy, who is he anyway?)

Nobel prizes can go only to living people, which leaves Ariel Sharon in some doubt for the Peace Prize, but hey, there's always Netanyahu.

Posted by: observer100 | October 10, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

If only a rightwing American had set up a prize with as much money and pretensions as the Nobel prize --- then there'd be prize balance! Now I suspect we've been kidded all along that the Nobels go to the most deserving people in other spheres- i know they pick the least known author in the world to reward each year which does absolutely nothing for books themselves....

Posted by: gmallet0709 | October 10, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

So the Polanski defender is questioning the decision making abilities of others??

Have you yet realized that you support the anal rape of children? When will you address that?

Posted by: Amelia5 | October 10, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I can only imagine Ms. Applebaum's comments when President Obama beats her out for the Pulitzer.

Posted by: jralger | October 10, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Al Gore, Ms. Applebaum, you may be interested to know that Army brass has cited global warming as the major threat to national security in the coming years. (PS, he also had a best-selling book for the literati in the US).

To address the remaining errors and omissions in this piece, please see postings above. We still have hope that you won't waste our time in the future.

Posted by: mus81 | October 10, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Anne: I don't care about the Nobel Peace Prize. Like Hollywood it's phony, but spectacular.

Posted by: johnson0572 | October 10, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

No one really cares,,its another wingnut excuse for tv-radio ratings and keeping their audience,,obama could have a good morning movement and pills limbo would say its a liberal plotz,,at least it took the war news away overnight,,thats peace isnt it?

Posted by: gonville1 | October 10, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Neo con Anne is jealous, obviously, that her heroes on the rabid right have not won Nobel prizes and that no one has ever considered her writing worthy of anything beyond paper training the puppy.

Posted by: skylark1 | October 10, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Applebaum,

The reason we care about the Nobel Prize for Peace is that ideas matter.

You know as well as I do that President Obama has brought a complete reorientation to America's engagement with the world. Just compare the views of the current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice with those of former Ambassador John Bolton (whose hostility toward the United Nations and multilateral diplomacy was so controversial that he was never confirmed by the U.S. Senate).

Those who complain that President Obama has done nothing to deserve this award are, in fact, worried because they oppose what he has done and will do. They worry that this award will validate and advance President Obama's actions and ideas.

By the way, who would you say has done more than President Obama in the past year to promote "fraternity between nations?" He ended the U.S. policy of placing people in some lawless limbo in Guantanamo, he had the U.S. take a seat on the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, he went to Egypt to address the reconciliation of the West and the Islamic world, he spoke in Prague about a world without nuclear weapons and then chaired the U.N. Security Council and proposed a resolution on the subject that was passed, and he has pushed the U.S. to address climate change (and his party has a climate change bill through the House and proposed in the Senate). None of this would have happened without President Obama's leadership and his willingness to commit to certain ideas.

The Nobel Committee recognizes this.

President Obama's detractors recognize that ideas are important too. We care about the Nobel Prize because it, too, is an idea. The award to President Obama is support for ideas that his detractors oppose.

Posted by: QuizMaster | October 10, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse


Applebaum's ignorance and arrogance couldn't be more explict. There isn't a principled treatise--your critical of some Nobel prize winners because you don't like then, while you you hail othere because you like the recipients. Did it occur to you that it is Mr. Bush who is squarely responsible for at least two Nobel Peace Prizes--Al Gore and Obama. Bush is the reference line, and without Bush--none of themm would have won Nobel Prize.

Posted by: dravidianeye | October 10, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Yes, there are lots of very strange choices.
Henrik Ibsen never got the literature prize. Members of government in the world's no. 1 terrorist nation, Israel, have got peace prizes.
Strange indeed. But then again, when the varnish of Alfred Nobel is scratched away, lots of nastiness come to light.

Posted by: jmeroAUS | October 10, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I don't take WaPo or its columnists too seriously. And by "too seriously", I mean "not seriously at all." Get a couple of copy editors, maybe I'll change. Matter of fact, recognize that your rapidly declining circulation is not wholly the result of a general trend, and maybe I'll change. Until then, I regard the WaPo as collectively delusional.

Now go back to peddling influence or whatever you people spend most of your time doing, because reporting can't be it.

Posted by: gbooksdc | October 10, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Well it is about time the "committee" award the prize to Neville Chamberlin for his fine work at Munich in 1938.

Posted by: josephgallen2 | October 10, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I intend to be an influential journalist that reports significant revelations that bring new hope of health and prosperity to the world.

Where is my Pulitzer?

Posted by: 2009frank | October 10, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Ms Applebaum, you will be pleased to learn that next year, Avigdor Lieberman is slated to win the coveted Nobel Peace prize.

Posted by: Kingofkings1 | October 10, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

We care because choosing distinguished indviduals is part of our biology. The Nobel prizes have achieved particular prestige because of their role in recognizing exceptional scientists. A few of those scientists are probably the closest thing the modern world has to a mythical hero. But, the peace and literature prizes have never counted for much. Even in science, the reality is that there is increasingly little real difference between how it works and any other profession. The public has little real idea of what the science is about. There are so many Nobel prize winners that their names make little impression on the public consciousness and are quickly forgotten. But, within the professional world of science, the recognition of a Nobel prize can make a difference and the prizes do certainly provide PR value for the institutions that employ the winners.

Posted by: dnjake | October 10, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Pity that Ms. Appelbaum doesn't believe in "full disclosure". She happens to be married to the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. Recently, Obama decided to drop the idea of a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, and now many Poles and Czechs are angry at him - obviously her husband belongs to that group. "Sic tacuisses...."
Michael S. Cullen, Berlin, Germany

Posted by: michaelscullen | October 10, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I too have visited Norway and Sweden. What marvellous countries and people they are! So they did not agree with Bush's policies? Neither did the majority of the rest of the world.
The Nobel price is theirs and they do occasionally send a message to the world and Americans via their selections.
Too bad Ann that you did not like it.

Posted by: littke | October 10, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

It will cost more to run Air Force One around on the Peace Tour than the prize is worth. He should make them come to Washington with the money or just wire it and airmail the prize package. The can make it like publishers clearinghouse and show up with a big check at the front door of the white house and have him answer with a camera waiting and a shocked look. That's the American Way of doing these things.

Posted by: Dermitt | October 10, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the only one who comes out of this unscated is Obama himself. He graciously understated his own deservedness for the award and accepted it only as a challenge to live up to the award's meaning.

The media's take on it comes off as cynical and pandering to Obama's greasy critics who come off as self serving hypocrites who would applaud and ejaculate if Rush Limbaugh was selected.

And the opinion classes, the chatterers on TV, radio and the blogs come off the worst and most cynical of all. Opinions are like anal orifices. Everybody has one and they all stink in equal measure.

Posted by: jaxas | October 10, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

My how things haven't changed. Back in 1973 or 1974 the famed satirist Tom Lehrer stopped writing and performing his songs. When asked why, he responded, "A world in which Hennry Kissinger wins the Nobel peace prize is beyond satire."

Posted by: jhadv | October 10, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Applebaum's criticisms are generally accurate. The Nobel Committee is hardly representative of the world and is prone to their own biases. How many readers can even name the panel members much less recite their resumes and qualifications? Most of us know absolutely nothing about them. And yet for some reason we trust their judgement. Why? I think the answer lies in the concept of "branding". The Nobel Prizes share many of the characteristics of a major corporate brand, the most important ones being that they are trusted household names. Everyone knows them and we have been conditioned over the years to trust them.

Posted by: allknowingguy | October 10, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I generally enjoy Ms Applebaum's columns - primarily due to the fact that she has a rare and much appreciated (by me) "offshore" perspective on US politics and events. However, this column is a BIG disappointment - so much so that I am inclined to ask "Why should we care what Anne has to say about the Nobel Prizes?" More research in to the facts of behind the achievements of the past recipients would have been advisable - esp, those of the Carter Center and former Pres. Carter. She's entitled to her Brit Tory disposition as to whether The President "earned" this award, but she might do well to read with care and more consideration the wording of the committee's reasoning for this award. As an American living in a predominantly Muslim country where the US standing has now reached record highs, thanks simply to the election of one Barack Hussein Obama - and where US leadership is again accepted with enthusiasm, Ms Applebaum would do well to consider the colonialist legacy of which Brits still seem unable to rid themselves when it comes to the rest of the world's views of leadership - liberal or conservative. A very disappointing commentary by a columnist who generally offers up much better.

Posted by: williambgarrison | October 10, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

You have obviously never read a book by Elfriede Jelinek.

Posted by: catherine13 | October 10, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the Nobel Prize represents the European seal of approval, that of the European left – it is no coincidence that the Nobel medals have the engraving of Mr. Nobel looking left. But all of Europe is not left, and it is becoming less so as we speak; as the recent European parliament elections can testify. The only country in the West moving left is ironically the United States. The Nobel Prize award is meant to encourage that leftward move of America, but it is highly doubtful that it accomplishes that. Americans in spite of their election blip of 2008 are very skeptical and distrustful of international organizations as the UN and its species, and will remain so in spite of Obama. Obama will have to stand on his own success or failure, and as for now, failure is looming large in Healthcare, the economy, tax policy, energy, and foreign policy - where genuflection and appeasement will inevitably lead to more and more dangerous conflicts. Do not expect the tyrants and radicals of this world (of which I include Russia) to be much impressed by a Nobel prize winner; to the contrary, expect them to be now actively readying plans of how to take advantage of our new international pansy.
Read all by John Galt at: http://www.robbingamerica.blogspot.com

Posted by: JohnGalt9 | October 10, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"In his will, Alfred Nobel, the Swedish dynamite tycoon who thought up this whole thing, specifically wanted Norwegians to choose the winner, apparently because Norwegians, being outside the European mainstream, would be less likely to be politically corrupt."

More likely reasons: the honour bestowed on the Norwegians came very much as the result of Norway and Sweden being in a political union at the time. Also, to move a part of the decision making to Norway was obviously coherent with Alfred Nobel's international ambitions for the prize (it was a very national romantic climate in Sweden at the time so it was probably a wise move - the Swedish king became quite displeased when he found out that the prize was not intended for Swedish recipients only).

Posted by: robotnic2 | October 10, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

You hit the nail perfectly.

If five ultra right-wing American Republican politicians gave out the prize every year, I wonder how many of your detractors here in these comments would be arguing how much their opinion matters.

Posted by: couwnt | October 10, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

the nobel award means nothing...
absolutely useless...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 10, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

No, the question should be, why should we care about what you write after your disgusting defense of Roman Polanski!

Posted by: sandnsmith | October 10, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

What an idiot. But this is nothing new, nor is WaPo's willingness to publishing uninformed junk like this. There's nothing left-wing about peace---the people who wanted to keep us out of WWII (pre-Pearl harbor) were stalwarts of the conservative wing of the GOP like Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio. Taft was far from being an ignorant or non-serious person and Joe Kennedy (no liberal either, although he supported FDR) shared many of his sentiments.

Applebaum was on better ground defending Polanski the pedophile, although someone should disclose her marriage to a Polish pol who was lobbying for his defense.

Posted by: thebuckguy | October 10, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

THe Nobel is a nothing. Does anyone really care? Will these 5 left wing parliamentarians of Noway actually change the course of history?

Arafat, Gore, Carter, really? Let's try Putin next along with the Burnese Generals and of course Achmadinejag.He's for peace he says so I assume after he destroy Israel

Let's forget the whole damned Nobel thing.

BTW what did they have against Albert Sabin
who may ahve sisngle handedly saved many of the Post's readers and posters and millions of others around the world. .

Posted by: Hunthorse | October 10, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

The various Nobel Committees have the right to confer the various Nobel Prizes, not you or the Washington Post.

If their decisions upset you, the Post or you should pony up a few million dollars and endow the Post-Applebaum

Posted by: norriehoyt | October 10, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The various Nobel Committees have the right to confer the various Nobel Prizes, not you or the Washington Post.

If their decisions upset you, the Post or you should pony up a few million dollars and endow the Post-Applebaum Prizes.

Posted by: norriehoyt | October 10, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Applebaum is right. Outside of prizes in the hard sciences where you cannot interject politics easily the prizes in literature and peace are worthless displays of bias.

Posted by: ravitchn | October 10, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I find it ironic that Pres. Obama still is commander in chief over two wars and Guantanamo, yet wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Admittedly he inherited those wars, but he hasn't ended them yet. He's a great orator, and he does give people hope. But where is the actual accomplishment of peace?

This just solidifies my (not new) view that Nobel Peace Prize is shiny and impressive, but not really of much importance in the long run. Given the people that the committee has chosen to honor over the years (Kissinger, Arafat, now Obama) and who they've overlooked, it doesn't mean much in the long term.

Posted by: L1234 | October 10, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Nothing can be perfect.
Most recipients did deserve and a few didn't.
People have a right to ask: "does Obama deserves the Prize?" as I have a right to ask: "does the Prize deserves Obama?"
The entire world shouldn't really care. Only Europeans and their descandents should care because it is them that award the prize and more than 90 per cent recipients are from their community. It is an Eurocentric prize whith a few outsiders awarded it to make it sounds international and univeral. Awarding it to a US president man of color gives to the Prize a value that it doesn't have in the eyes of people that are not caucasians.

Posted by: Makiz | October 10, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Good point about strange...how could Johnson have tried to settle the Vietnam War with negotiations in '68 he declined running for office to conduct only to have someone help extend the war for years get a piece of the prize.

Posted by: Wildthing1 | October 10, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

If the Nobel Prize went to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney,Donald Rumsfeld,Paul Wolfowitz and all the warmongers in the Middle East then Applebaum and the neocons in the US would be happy and praise the Norwegian for their "insight"!

Posted by: peternd26 | October 10, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I am shocked. I thought you would take this opportunity to rebuke the committee for failing to award the prize to Roman Polanski.

Posted by: cmyates | October 10, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

She seems to have failed to mention Carter and Camp David. Getting that far to get Semites to talk to each other is a serious peace accomplishment.

Norway and the other top "Socialist" countries are the top countries in the world. The USA is in many respects a third world country. Take almost any worldwide poll and the Socialist countries come out on top(except arms exports, incarcerated prisoners and largest debts - USA is top in all 3).
*************
Try Corruption Index

http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2008/cpi2008/cpi_2008_table

Top is Denmark
USA is 18th
*****************
Try Child Poverty report

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Society/documents/2007/02/14/UNchildwellbeing.pdf

Best countries:
Holland
Sweden
Denmark
Norway

USA 20th just behind Hungary
*********************
Something called the GINI Index ranks countries by income disparity or the gap between a countries rich and poor.

As usual the countries with the greatest equality are Socialist.

Denmark is first then Japan, Sweden and so forth, with all the Socialist countries with more of an even income distribution. The USA does not even make the list.
http://www.infoplease.com/world/statistics/inequality-income-expenditure.html
***************
Try any poll and the same pattern shows itself. They don't discuss health care, they are born with it.

They don't get 2 weeks vacation, they get 10-16 weeks a year. Yes, in Sweden its nearly a quarter of a year.

So I think they are the tops and deserve to decide who qualifies in any area of life.

Posted by: Mnnngj | October 10, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Me thinks Radoslaw Sikorski would have been a much more deserving winner.

Posted by: scoob1900 | October 10, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse


The height of stupid arrogance.

"Nobody cares about the peace prize
It's now worth anything
the Norwegians are stupid.

And there aren't very many of them anyway."

Applebaum, the zionist, would think peace, and God help us a prize for it,

is uncouth, of course. But does she know what
an idiot she looks like, here and recently?

Of course the Post editors and the Weymouths
will be delighted. Israeli firsters all.

This newspaper became an international joke so quickly.
And will have sealed disgust today all over the world with it's editorial and columns like this.

And there's the fake picture of Obama surrounded by the Israeli flag on the front page...fake picture, trying to share the prize the Post is shrieking about?

It'd be a little frightening to have what used to be a major American newspaper so reviled if it weren't now so clear that much/most of America thinks differently. And gets Nobel prizes for it.

Posted by: whistling | October 10, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse


Obnoxios Annie, the complete zionist

sneers because Jimmy Carter got the prize.
(he isn't keen on Israeli apartheiD0

but Kissinger's prize was all right
(he's a Jew)

utterly contemptuous that Arafat got it
(dismisses it entirely,"goes without saying"
(for whom?)

AND OF COURSE giveing the literature prize to
a German or German centric authors...NOT, for God's sake Jews)

is behond the pale. Just a a huffy little snit here by the
grand decider of them all)

Krauthammer and Cohen, Kristol demonstrate perfectly the snotty hubris and supposed superiority of their thinking, that has made their ilk so detested so long.

But Annie Applebaum takes it yards down the road. It has always turned out badly, has it not? And here we go again.


Posted by: whistling | October 10, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You confirm the impression we have of Americans. So let me refrase your question.

Why care about anything which is decided outside USA? Or maybe better to say outside Washington?

Because it is clear that this is your view of the world. And this is the impression we have of USA. You look at yourself as the choosen people and the numbers ones of the world, so why bother.

And it sims that and Oscar price is more importent than a peace price. We don in fact care more about a safe world, than who Letterman slept with. And this does of course not fit into the priority of the american journalists.

And I can confirm that all over the world we are thrilled that Obama beat Bush, and for all us "others" the world has in fact become a safer world. We are now not wundering which country you are attacking next, which we was not sure about when Bush was president.

Enough to you, I have meet many Americans, and the people I have meet does not remind of the journalists and politicans at all. They are in fact quite like the rest of the world.

So the question I have is: Why is the journalists in USA only looking down on the rest of the world and glorifying everything in and about USA?

Posted by: TRNORWAY | October 10, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow!!
I find it very interesting that you base your criticism of the Nobel Committiee on the fact that you belive that norwegians i general are eccentric. And this you know for a fact after visiting Norway one time..
The irony of it all is that you seem to belive that we shouldn't pay attention to what norwegians think, but still you have written an article about it and problably used a couple of hours thinking about how awful it is that norwegians speak their mind.

Posted by: sigridroenhansen | October 10, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Given Appelbaum's past history I didn't expect much from her comments. In my opinion she is right down there with Judith Miller. So, I wasn't surprised by its asinine contents. Moreover, I heard David Brooks, another neocon just like Anne, repeat the line about "five Norwegians."

Let me here repeat a previous comment because it was right on the money:

...
Pity that Ms. Appelbaum doesn't believe in "full disclosure". She happens to be married to the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. Recently, Obama decided to drop the idea of a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, and now many Poles and Czechs are angry at him - obviously her husband belongs to that group. "Sic tacuisses...."
Michael S. Cullen, Berlin, Germany
...

A serious newspaper wouldn't publish her stuff without full disclosure. WAPO misleads its readers, again and again and again.

Posted by: FedUp1 | October 10, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I used to care about the Nobel Peace Prize when it actually had a good reputation and was considered to be something prestigious. Nowadays I could care less about the Nobel Prize.

Posted by: liberalsareblind | October 10, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

GWB didn't win a Nobel, but maybe the Supreme Court can give him one.

Posted by: slowpoke132 | October 10, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse


As a Scandinavian I have a high regard for former President Carter although at times being timid he has engaged himself splendidly for the betterment of mankind. I have some worry that the Peace prize and at times the Prize in literature have been used to irritate the Communist Soviet, so there can hardly be any accusation of left wing leanings of the price committees. As a matter of fact Stalin was very upset with Sweden during the war, and could not comprehend that it was not the Government that decided who would get the price. The Swedish king was somewhat worried that the large fortune that Alfred Nobel left if given away over the whole world could seriously dislocate the economy of Sweden. If Ms Annie Applebaum wants to close down the Peace Prize she will be in good company with Adolf Hitler who actually did forbid Germans to receive the price during the war. A. Nobel worked for a short time in 1850ies for Edison and apparently learned something about USA justice when he stated that it was useless to turn to an American court when an American company in a grand scale started producing dynamite without agreement from Nobel. Perhaps his fortune would have been twice as big when he passed away. Considering the American Administrations hard work to protect copy rights and license rights of American companies around the world today, not least by way of Internet the stealing of the dynamite process is a severe blot on American justice. Look into what have happened today with AIS and color graphic invention for computers that American courts have disregarded to the detriment of one of the most prolific inventor Hakan Lanz in Sweden.

Posted by: clark010 | October 10, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Applebaum: "Year in, year out, the Nobel laureate turns out to be an obscure writer, usually European, whose works are hardly known outside of a few German-speaking and Germano-centric countries."

FYI, Anne, you dumbass, in the past 20 years Nobel Lit winners include:
Paz, Gordimer, Walcott, Morrison, Heaney, Fo, Grass, Naipaul, Kertesz, Coetzee, Pinter, Pamuk, and Lessing. These people may be obscure to you, but not to educated people.

Do yourself a favor and stick to writing about what you know...whatever that is.


Posted by: slowpoke132 | October 10, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse


Do let's rearrange the world to suit Applebaum.

Demented arrogance is not unusual for her kind.
But she, of no credentials or accomplishment,
sort of sets a new ridiculous standard.

Sits back there in the WaPo editors room with her zionist pals.

And helps show the face of the WaPo that is well on the way to ruin.

Hubris like hers often does that.

Posted by: whistling | October 10, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Well since Gore, Carter and Yasser Arafat have all received this bogus award, it is fitting that a bogus president like Obama should have one as well. It means nothing, it's just toilet apper in the end.

Posted by: aaniko | October 10, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

The real question is, "Why Should We Care About the Applebaum?" After reading your recent defense of Roman Polanski raping a 13-year-old girl, I'm afraid you have become completely insignificant to me. I will no longer be reading your posts.

Posted by: c0lnag0 | October 10, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I really am not impressed by the opinions of 5 obscure left wing Norwegian Parliamentarians and nor should anyone be. Given some of the loopies that get the peace prize, it is not worth much anymore. Remember they gave it to Arafat.

Posted by: Lavrat2000 | October 10, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Just waiting on the day when Norway's committee has an authentic Norwegian Sa'ami or two on it ~ or maybe even a majority.

Be interesting to see if the indigenous people share the same bizarre interests as the Indo-European invaders (who just won't go home where they belong).

Posted by: muawiyah | October 10, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

It seems to us, the Norwegians, that the Americans, are and will be ignorant of the rest of the world. The American democracy is presented to be the salvation to the world trough the American media, and other mediums, but it fails to consider the rest of the worlds opinion.
There are 6 bil. people in the worlds. About 300 mil. lives in the US, and another 500 mil. in the "westernized" Europe.
This is below 1/6 of the people in the world. Still this part of the world, (western) seem to think it is the only one with a correct view on how the world works.
Before Obama, the US president, was perceived to be evil, not only by the part of the world that supported all attacks on the US but also most of the people the rest the world. (aprox. 4 bil.)
Now when a US citizen is elected,and put in the white house, and after that in 9 months manages to turn this Anti-American feeling around, to a positive attitude, this means something. Not only for the "common" people but also for the western world. That is why he got the prize, and this is exactly in line with the directions of Mr. Nobel. I am sorry to see that again people like Applebaum fail to see this. Read the intentions of Nobel, and some foreign newspapers before making a statement.

Posted by: Sheperd | October 10, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

What i want to express is that the Nobel Peace Price is not a popularity contest but is given on very specific instructions from Mr. Nobel.
But, this seems to elute Ms. Applebaum.

Posted by: Sheperd | October 10, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for articulating what I haven't been able to do on my Facebook page. For some reason, the American people are overreacting to a curiously prestigious award that is more symbolic than results-oriented.

Politics aside (has that become an oxymoron?), perhaps we can stop questioning the award selection now and wish our president well in achieving the sort of peace that would benefit all.

Posted by: dchapters | October 10, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Sheperd, whether or not the rest of the world loves us or hates us, rest assured that your dictator friends all hate us ~ and with a burning passion.

Currently our biggest social issue are the visitors from foreign lands who just don't want to go home. We have MORE illegal aliens in many states than you have (counting the Indo-European people in Norway as rough equivalents to them).

The number of people who have taken out applications to immigrate here is in the tens of millions!

So, somebody loves us.

Frankly, everybody, including Obama himself, are highly disturbed by this quite obvious attempt to bribe him to take certain actions with respect to the Palestinian situation.

He may yet call in your ambassador and tell him he and his staff have 12 hours to GET OUT.

Wouldn't be the first time.

In fact, the attempted bribery of the Mexican government by the Kaiser's Germany in WWI pretty much switched American sentiment from Germany to the Brits.

So, you people had best watch out, and BTW, take care of your own social problems first. Certainly you can find room for the Indo-European invaders somewhere ~ so I'd get to it.

Posted by: muawiyah | October 10, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I wish one of the tags under the Report Abuse link could be "Abusive/Painfully Moronic". The tag would get used A LOT, especially when we repeat left/right talking points and scream over each other.

Posted by: parrot1696 | October 10, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Announcement
The Norwegian Nobel Committee

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009


The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Oslo, October 9, 2009

mm! mm! mm!

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"Why Should We Care About the Nobel?"

One shoe $1.99
Two shoes $3.98 and world wide embarrassment
Nobel Peace Prize.....Priceless

That's why

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Kissinger got the prize for his peace treaty with North Vietnam which the North used to rebuild their army, ensuring defeat for America.

Now the same people who loved that give the prize to Obama on the verge of a major policy decision about the war in Afghanistan.

Bad omen.

Posted by: alstl | October 10, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm ashamed that I even opened this piece, given that it was written by a woman who defends the forcible drugging and raping of children. Not a mistake I will ever make again...

Posted by: Itzajob | October 10, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

"This is an award for not being George W. Bush. This is an award for not making the world nervous. This is an award for sharing the basic political sentiments and assumptions of the members of the committee. It is for what Barack Obama may do, not what he has done. He hasn't done anything."

Posted by: 2009frank | October 10, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

"the last time I was there, I got in an argument with someone over which country was more evil, the United States or North Korea. This being a few years ago, at the height of the Bush Terror, you can guess which side the Norwegian was on."

And...?
what are you, three years old?
Get a grip woman


Posted by: Thea_polar | October 11, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Applebong,

Nobel Prizes do matter and they do go to people wit human qualities.

Of course, had you been in charge of the Noble decision making, you would have given one to your pal, Roman Polanski, for, eh, umm, peacefully sodomizing a thrirteen year old. Or maybe you would give it collectively to the Israeli government, for peacefully putting Gaza citizens out of their misery!!

Come on Ann, Obama in nine months has done more to improve America's oral standing in the world than any other president in recent history. You Zionists are still upset that Arafat received it

Posted by: Peaceful2009 | October 11, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Anne Applebaum - Sikorski, why don't you stay home and cook for Radek, your Polish hubby? You would do much better doing just that and I am sure the world would not miss out on anything - would you agree?
Just forget things you can't understand and feel compel to write about - I am sure Radek gets a lot dough from the corrupted Polish government being its Foreign Minister. And I am sure all the bribes he and you receive in Warsaw will allow you to live in luxury for the rest of your and your sons lives. So, don't sweat Anne, it is ok, we know you are ignorant and we don't expect you to leave the kitchen and have an opinion. Just relax... cook your dinner, Radek is hungry.

Posted by: Polanski2009 | October 11, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention Anne - Radek likes געפֿילטע פֿיש (Gefilte Fish) with מַצָּה (Matzah). Get him some form New York kosher grocers. Gesundheit! Leave the Nobel prize disucussion for those who are familiar with the subject.

Posted by: Polanski2009 | October 11, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Anne Applebaum's article is right on the money, which is probably why it is being predictably met with vitriolic and juvenile ad hominem attacks by those whose world view has been challenged a bit. Applebaum is simply pointing out that the "emporor has no clothes"; that far too much importance is placed on the judgement of a bunch of random Scandinavians whose decisions are politically biased at best and shockingly stupid or corrupt at worst. How can anyone defend the Nobel Peace Prize committee when they actually nominated HITLER for the prize in 1939? After that and the mind-boggling fact that Ghandi never won everyone with any intelligence should have viewed the award as a joke! Kudos to Ms. Applebaum for bravely pointing out the idiotic decisions of both the literature and peace prize committees!

Posted by: krash87 | October 11, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Dear Ms Applebaum, I was with you until you felt the need to rant against the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Not only has it been won by many Americans (more than Germans), but also by many authors from countries that we rarely hear of. You know, the world doesn't revolve around the USA. I thought that had become clear in the last decade.

And Germany remains a country with many thinkers and a preference for intellectual issues(just like France. The two countries were only separated by a small historical accident in 841, you know). I thought that Germans were often accused by Americans of not being practical and money-oriented enough. Too brainy, it is claimed. But you seem to know that German-speakers get the Nobel Prize due to some conspiracy in Stockholm. You need to get out of your Polish mansion before you catch the Polish bug of Germanophobia.

Posted by: brux1 | October 12, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Eh, we care because we care about peace, and we'd like to see a prestigious, highly publicized award to peace falls to somebody who has concretely advanced the cause beyond rhetoric, no matter how exciting.

Real people are living and dying for peace all over the world, desperately hoping their sacrifices can be made meaningful by the world hearing their stories. Instead the Nobel Committee chose to hold up a man who was already the most publicized figure in the world, and justify themselves with some highly suspicious logic.

But all of us, children included, learn the dubious lesson, if you want recognition, rhetoric trumps accomplishment and sacrifice.

That's a bad day for intellectualism, and it's a sad day for peace.

Posted by: edgydc | October 12, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

The worst thing since the arrest of Pulanski, right, Anne?

Seriously, you have no credibility. when you are right, it is coincidental.

Posted by: awalker1972 | October 12, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Your defense of the Polanski rape is going to follow you around for the rest of your career now that you've let it stand.

Posted by: sconover | October 14, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Here's the deal: Given your recent behavior, why would I place any value about your thoughts on the nobel prize?

Until you come clean on the fact that you acted as your husband's mouthpiece on the Polanski articles -- without disclosing the fact that your husband was deeply involved in the matter -- your credibility is shot to hell.

Without credibility, your opinion on anything, from the weather to a nobel prize, is fatally flawed because you have completely and utterly violated reader's trust.

Yes, you can continue to believe and to write that the arrest of a confessed child sodomizer, rapiest and drug supplier is "outrageous". No on is denying you that right and your belief in that is not the point.

The point is if you hope to gain any of that credibility back, you need to formally apologize to your readers for your journalistic transgressions -- that is, intentionally lying to readers I realize misleading in the PC word,but let's call it what it is) about your now-obvious conflict of interest. A conflict that you would be ALL OVER any other journalist or politician for.

You can not continue to hold yourself to a lower standard than everyone else in your profession and hope to keep any respect from your readers.

Posted by: majorangstgirl | October 16, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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