the inventor-of-dynamite peace prize

As much as people may admire the winners of Nobel prizes, the discouraging fact remains that becoming prominent enough in physics or medicine or literature to win one probably lies beyond the intellectual capacity of most. Fortunately for them, a consoling hope still exists in the form of a Nobel prize for mediocre minds: the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s gotten to the point where any Democratic President of the U.S. (or even presidential candidate) who doesn’t win one should probably consider themselves a total failure. All it used to take seemed to be spending a weekend at the presidential retreat with the leaders of a couple of warring Middle Eastern states and standing between them like a minister between bride and groom at a wedding while they recite vows that they are just as unlikely to keep. But now even that much isn’t necessary. Granted Al Gore doesn’t get to take advantage of the presidential retreat to host dictators taking time off from planning their next invasion of their neighbors to take credit for negotiating a settlement to their last one. Still, not only is it entirely unclear how spreading propaganda about global warming contributes to world peace, this is a man so unwilling to bury the hatchet that he did his best to break up the peaceful electoral succession of U.S. leaders by sending a pack of lawyers to Florida to bandy theories about the electoral preferences of a few senile gas emitters from Florida for two months. Now that the Nobel committee has made its criteria for winning the Peace Prize so opaque and unclear through seemingly trying to become a mirror for every trendy global fad of the moment, I’m praying that this doesn’t lead at some point to them wheeling out an actual mirror at the prize-giving ceremony and declaring that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate is “YOU.”

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