The Not-Bush Prize

Spencer’s take on Obama’s selection as the Nobel Peace Prize winner is one of the most reasonable. As Peterr has noted, the committee has emphasized the direction Obama intends to take (particularly on nukes), and there is a history of giving the prize to encourage particular initiatives. So let’s hope that with this recognition, Obama achieves some of his more laudable goals, starting with peace in the Middle East, and including a drawdown of nuclear weapons.

That said, I wanted to emphasize the degree to which this is the not-Bush prize. Gore invoked his de-selection in 2000 in his own Nobel acceptance speech in 2007. Observers sure read Krugman’s Nobel prize in economics as a rebuke of Bush. But more importantly, remember that Mohammed el-Baradei–who tried to prevent war in Iraq, and who has been central to preventing war against Iran–won in 2005. Baradei’s win, even more than the other two, was a critique of Bush’s (and Cheney’s) aggression and violence.

Until Obama, of course.

Yes, the Committee focused on Obama’s work with nukes, one of his few legislative accomplishments as a Senator. Yes, we have seen initial steps on the Middle East, Iran, and (to the extent Obama intends to close Gitmo) the worst–but not all–of our human rights abuses. But this is really a reward and encouragement for Obama’s efforts to engage where Bush refused to engage. This is, as much as anything else, a carrot designed to keep the US on its more constructive path internationally.

All of which makes me more amused by Jeb Bush’s complaint yesterday, in which he called on the country to stop picking on his brother.

KILMEADE: It’s been 10 months. Should Leader Hoyer be looking backwards, and is he accurate?

BUSH: I was on the plane coming up to Washington yesterday, and I heard someone complaining that their child’s acne was because of George Bush. Of course, last week the Olympics didn’t come to Chicago — that was my brother’s fault. And at some point, people are going to have to put on their big-boy pants and assume responsibility for the great challenges and opportunities our country has. I don’t know how much longer leaders — responsible leaders in Congress — can continue to say these things.

The day after Jebbie’s complaint, the Nobel Committee effectively awarded the third Nobel Peace prize for being Not-Bush.

So as much as I’m curious how Clinton, the sole living Democratic President (yeah, I’m including Gore there) who hasn’t won this–and no slouch on international engagement–feels, I’m even more interested in how Jeb Bush feels about this.

82 replies
  1. brendanx says:

    Obama is such an incredible asset to the United States’ image abroad. The same week reasserts his determination to wage war in Afghanistan he wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

  2. orcatjf says:

    I think he is right. Chicago kicked out of the Olympics in the first round. Definitely because of the tarnished image of America, due to the Bush administration. Obama’s got a carrot. He needs to finally become that Change we can finally now at long last actually see, to believe.

  3. LabDancer says:

    Bang on. Though, it is nice to know that there’s a committee out there whose members have a proper appreciation of how difficult it is to maintain even a modicum of decorum & the most minimal level of connection to human values, not to mention while staying cool, in the face of the Great American Right Wing Noise Machine. This must be in some part an award for the oft-ignored ideals of forebearance and the capacity to offer the other cheek.

  4. knowbuddhau says:

    Hadn’t seen it, JT. The whole idea, let alone the fact, that the guy with his finger on the button of the largest nuclear arsenal, waging overt and covert wars all over, with an empire of bases, can be awarded a ‘peace’ prize,’ just blows my mind. What, in thanks for not bombing Norway lately?

    It’s just too surreal. Just too effing surreal for words. Peace truly has been perverted into war. I feel like puking.

      • scribe says:

        You mean “out-and-out-war-criminals who later get to testify as character witnesses in the criminal trial of an old man for allegedly arm-twisting his older mother into re-doing her will and for having an unpopular wife“, right?

      • knowbuddhau says:

        You’re right, thanks for reminding me. That Kissinger walks free sickens me, too. Talk about a master jacker of whole nations with the power of myth! I’d sure like to know what was going on at State during the decades that Joseph Campbell lectured at FSI, which decades also saw the rise of Perkinsian “economic hit men” and the “deliberate project of ideological transfer” that preceded our overthrow of Allende, setting the pattern for later efforts all over the planet. IMO.

        Is/was Kissinger to foreign affairs as Rove is to criminal justice and Cheney is/was to covert ops? Who is Obama’s master myth-jacker? Emmanuel? Can Clinton hope to meet or match her predecessors’s levels of criminality?

        SCOTT HORTON: The Willingham case and numerous other incidents relating to judicial misconduct out of Texas point to a criminal justice system which might compare unfavorably with the Salem witch trials of 1692-93. In the background stands Karl Rove and his strategy of extracting partisan political gain from the criminal justice system. Rick Perry’s Witch Trials

        All of which I see as support for my assertion about the power of myth regarding voters: the facts are much less important, to shaping political events, than the narrative’s effect on the polity.

        How are these words and spaces right here working right now? As self-emptying vessels, into which I am pouring my heart out to you; from which your awareness is arising like steam; and out of which this narrative, that is us, flows like water.

        These words are self-emptying vessels. So are metaphors, the fundamental unit of myth. A metaphor is a vessel for going from ignorance to enlightenment–or the other way around: Myth has the power to reveal, and conceal. It all depends on the intentions with which we load them: passengers into lifeboats? Or kittens into burlap sacks?

        Thus were we jacked to war in Iraq by the power of weapons-grade domestic propaganda running on the power of myth. Myth-jacking is Rove’s MO, I’m tellin’ ya!

        I also suspect it’s a core principle of GOP propaganda. I’ve been looking at it as a GOP specialty, but I’m sure spin-meisters of all varieties make use of it. I’d sure like to trace it right back to Campbell’s lectures someday. I’m sure that’s where it’s coming from.

        JOSEPH CAMPBELL: The old mythologies have to take care of this, they have to carry people from dependency through responsibility and being the one who’s carrying the universe, to somebody who isn’t wanted anymore. Well how did the old societies do it?

        They had a wonderful idea: old people are wise. [Laughter] So everybody made believe, you know? “And here they were asked–” [speaking ponderously]; they had the council of elders; the senate. The society always found a way to get the thing in, and I’ve been um connected, in one way or another, in a kind of, you know, talking way, with the State Department for a few years now, and the uh people down there tell me that one of their great problems is, not to do the things that the ambassador, and president and Cabinet, tell them to do.

        I can tell you, my dear friends [he chuckles], the State Department is a department of very learn-ed gentlemen, they know what to do. But they’re only agents. The directions come from these people who you know poured money into the Democratic Party for the election, and so become ambassador to this, ambassador to that, and they’re telling these people what to do, and I’ve heard it from many of them: “Our main problem is to achieve the work as slowly as possible in order to bring about as little damage as possible.”

        These are the authorities, the old people. We haven’t learned how to handle them, but in the old traditional societies, they had learned, and the reason they’d learned was that nothing much changed anyhow, things were in the times of the old people about as they had been in the times when they were young. That’s not true anymore. Joseph Campbell Audio Collection Volume 4: Man and Myth Disc 4: The Necessity of Rites

        Circumventing Congress, aggrandizing the unitary Exec, politicizing Justice, etc: were these GOP efforts to “handle” the authorities, the better to implement their faith-based policies?

  5. Mary says:

    As I understand it (and could be wrong, just second hand) the ballots had to be in awhile back, which lends to the “direction” aspect that Spencer is taking.

    I’m not a big fan of Obama or of the decision to give him the award, but if I were defending it, I actually would make the argument that it is based on something he accomplished.

    The biggest military vehicle in the form of a nation in the world and the world’s history – a military vehicle already embroiled in multiple war fronts; a military vehicle with multiple bases throughout the world which had been operating under leadership that encouraged use of those bases form the kidnap, sodomy and torture of civilians – that military vehicle was about to be driven by “bomb bomb bomb; bomb bomb Iran” and “I can see Russia”

    He may be a crappy driver himself, but he wrested the vehicle’s wheel from the guy who was about to crash it head on into a crowd that couldn’t get out of its way (the rest of the world). Kind of an accomplishment that should get a head nod, when you think of it in those terms.

    The fact that he is now taking driving lessons from the crash-crew is pretty demoralizing and might soon make the next notable accomplishment for the world to be someone taking the wheel away from him.

    But for the people standing in the crowd watching the oncoming vehicle and feeling the wave of relief he did yank the wheel, they probably are entitled to think of it as a present and palpable accomplishment. JMOO

      • Sara says:

        “The nomination was NOvember. The votes were much more recent.”

        Actually nominations had a February 1 deadline. Then they create a short list, and they create major files on the shortlisted nominees, and this gets circulated among the Norwegian Committee during the summer. I would assume sometime in late summer or September the Norwegian Committee had their final selection and votes.

        To read all about how the Nobel Peace Prize really works, google Irwin Abrams. He is my former History Professor at Antioch, and has assembled a huge site on all the Laureats, all their documentation, their Nobel Lectures and all the rest — plus he has some of the stuff he co-authored with Jimmy Carter on the site. He is the true American Expert on the prize.

        Irwin Abrams spent World War II in a CO prison camp, but when the war ended, he took the lead in setting up the American Friends Service Committee’s work with DP’s in Europe, and in 1947 the British and American Quakers were the Laureats. He is about 96 years old now, but in 1947 he was one of the American Quakers who collected the award in Oslo…I think Clarance Pickett gave the American Quaker lecture.

        Anyhow, since retiring Abrams has been all involved in documenting the whole Prize history, and he was very deeply involved in the nomination and the documentation for Jimmy Carter’s award. He also had to do with Al Gore’s though to a slightly lesser extent. He was also involved with Martin Luther King’s in many many fascinating ways. (Coretta was one of his former students.)

        Anyhow Irwin Abrams is the source you need, and his site has all the documentation.

      • Mary says:

        Yeah, the nominations were sent in like Feb or so weren’t they? That was mostly my point – he had accomplished something that a lot of people were holding their breath over by the time of the votes. He’s also disappointed a lot of people, but circumventing the Bomber of Iran from taking office is an accomplishment, even if he then did become a torture apologist, war booster, etc.

        I guess if it had happened like in a sci fi movie, with the Green Goober speeding away towards Iran, ready to unleash WWIII, and Barackman met up with him in the skies over Europe, complete with a kewl toolbelt, I could make my point more graphically. I don’t agree with the decision – I’m never going to be ok with a torture apologist, Executive power inebriated, excuse in a suit winning. But if I were going to defend it, it wouldn’t be based on the fact that they liked his message of hope. It would be based on the fact that Europe has seen the marches to mass war before, and the accomplishment they saw was keeping McCain out of office. I think they can forgive a lot for that – more than I can maybe. FWIW

    • Arbusto says:

      To use your analogy, Obama has a learners permit, the Joint Chiefs and the likes of McCristal are not only his driving instructors, but his back seat drivers as well.

      It is sad that the Noble committee appears awarding behavior that was pretty much the standard prior to 2001.

    • TarheelDem says:

      As I understand it, nominations are in February. But folks get nominated for all sorts of good and bad reasons.

      The committee is small. The decision could have been made relatively recently but not announced until the official announcement day. The committee is representative of the Norwegian parliament, which is left-of-center within Norway’s politics.

      In reading the press release, what struck me was that the award (or its justification) was for that week that Obama went to the UN, spoke about global climate change and chaired a Security Council meeting that created a new negotiating framework for a build-down of nuclear weapons. That framework allowed restarting of negotiations with Russia on reduction of nuclear arsenals, involving Russia and China in delivering a tough message to Iran about nuclear weapons, provided the opening for Iran to commit to IAEA inspections of the Qom facility, and restarted the talks with North Korea. That’s a dramatic shift from the Bush approach to national security and must be encouraging to the committee.

      If I had to guess on the timing of the vote, it was shortly after that UN week and before any of the results began to show up. And it would not surprise me if Norwegian diplomats who were privy to some of the diplomacy going on might have had some influence on committee members. Just a SWAG.

  6. TheraP says:

    This is a call to action, I think, on the part of all peace-loving Americans. And yes, a rebuke of bushco. Let us hope it also spurs a rebuke of those who endorsed and implemented torture.

    I applaud the Nobel Committee’s hope in an America which turns away from bullying and toward peace and cooperation.

  7. ackack says:

    Could it be that the committee is using the award not to reward him, but to hold his feet to the fire with the potential shame of NOT living up to it?

    Just thinking out loud.

    • Stephen says:

      Good point, I don’t think Israel is too pleased regarding this award. Maybe the Norwegians are playing eleventh dimensional chess.

  8. JohnJ says:

    I’m even more interested in how Jeb Bush feels about this.

    As a victim of 8 years of that dangerous asshole; I hope he HATES IT!

    Hey jeb… this!

    • Stephen says:

      Especially if he knows his Administration will, continue to thrash the Constitution, continue eroding civil liberties, escalate the war in Afghanistan, continue rendition, continue protecting the Bush Cabal from prosecution for an illegal war and torture, continue saber rattling about Iran on Israel’s behalf, continue ignoring the plight of his own people while protecting the Corporate Fascists, etc, etc,…..

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Kipling’s If comes to mind:

    IF you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    ‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
    if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it….

    I suspect that what the Nobel committee hopes will be whispered into Mr. Obama’s ear each night are not the words of Dick Cheney or Rahm Emanuel, but the last words of Capt. John H. Miller – teacher, husband, father and soldier. A gentle command to PFC James Francis Ryan:

    “James… earn this. Earn it.”

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Turning down his Nobel Peace Prize would defeat the purposes for which he was awarded it. Obama should accept one of the highest honors capable of being bestowed. He should acknowledge, too, that, as with awards for gallantry, one is recognized, but many are honored.

    I suggest that the millionaire Mr. Obama donate the US$1.4 million prize to one domestic and one international charity. Possibilities include the International and American Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, Doctors Without Borders, Reporters Without Borders, and the third world medical relief organization that has been seconded to provide medical and dental care to homeless and uninsured Americans. He’s a politician. Let him be political and helpful at the same time.

  11. tjbs says:

    President Obama isn’t old enough to realize how fleeting his time is. He could be the leader to de-nuclearize the planet.
    The generation that sold nuclear security, as the be all to end all, owes the future inhabitants a nuclear free world.

    As the Peace President, he alone can stop the modernization of the nuclear stockpile (veto), the use of Depleted Uranium and bringing our #1 Middle East partner under the same rules as the rest of the world.
    A totally Nuclear free world would include, not exempt, USA and Israel.

  12. rteolis says:

    Very happy for him. This is a huge deal but seems to me a forward-looking award that increases expectations on Obama.

    I can’t wait to watch Fox tonight.

    They will be busy explaining why this is just another reason Obama should be impeached.

    Who will be on that round table? Hannity, Beck, Krauthammer, Greta, special guest John Bolton to give his take on the implication for the U.N.,…

  13. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    I’m even more interested in how Jeb Bush feels about this.

    You’re a better person than I am, EW.
    I don’t give a rat’s ass about what Jeb Bush thinks or feels. Ditto the rest of that clan.

    However, I do think we’re seeing Obama’s mother’s influence as an anthropologist and micro-lending advocate play out in the world today.

  14. zhiv says:

    So much noise and reaction to this surprising award, and the committee itself cites diplomatic progress and nukes, but isn’t it obvious that this is about something else? ew looks in that direction with the not-Bush approach, but I’m thinking about the historic election, the way that Obama, as a candidate, and through the inauguration, led a sort of peaceful democratic “revolution” against Bushco, with millions of people following him in the US and millions more around the world. Isn’t winning the election itself and turning around the basic direction of the US worthy of winning the prize? On the left we may be disappointed at the moderate course and persistence of Orahma political calculation, but from a broader view, and looking back at where we were in 03-04-05, torturing and everything else, it seems like a pretty major accomplishment.

  15. rosalind says:

    ot: via a link at huffpo, story on wired: “Telephone Company is Arm of Government, Feds Admit in Spy Suit”

    The feds were supposed to make the documents available Friday, but in a motion late Thursday, the Obama administration is asking for a 30-day emergency stay so it can file a further appeal.

    kinda related: this latimes article, somehow L.A. Sheriff’s dept. was able to get the phone records of everyone they wanted – including press – to chase down who leaked Mel Gibson arrest info.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    There is little “moderate” about the right-center domestic politics of Mr. Obama. His lukewarm efforts to return us to the rule of law are breathtaking for someone with his professional background and popular support. His party’s penchant for negotiating with itself and losing is second to none.

    There is considerable relief abroad that Mr. Obama is not Mr. Bush and that he will pull us back from the Bush-Bolton-Cheney rhetoric that the only good foreign neighbor is one that gives us a reason to go to war with them. There is recognition, too, that Mr. Obama is the first non-white to live in the White House who isn’t cleaning up or preparing meals. Curiously, Mr. Obama wants to pretend that we are already post-racial and post-partisan, neither of which is true and one at least of which is a dangerous fallacy.

    The left’s criticism is that Mr. Obama hasn’t turned the corner. He keeps insisting he’s turned as far left as the political wheels will go. The right says, “No” and retreats into obstruction, raising pointless fears instead of addressing real ones.

    In the end, I agree with Spencer. Mr. Obama’s award is about the direction we and the world need Obama to travel, not how far along that road he’s taken us.

    • brendanx says:

      Can’t we all just come together in common contempt for Republicans for just one day, a Friday before a long weekend no less?

      Especially after their orchestrated mockery of Obama’s Copenhagen trip.

      • cinnamonape says:

        Limbaugh just said that the “Nobel Committee suicide bombed themselves” whatever that’s supposed to mean? I suspect that this is just sour grapes after the Nobel Committee used Limbaugh’s “self-nomination” as wiping paper in some Norwegian outhouse.

    • skdadl says:

      Well, that makes me feel a little better, eoh. I always thought that I would never disagree with you (I never have before), but when you posted the Kipling above (and I do admire Kipling in some ways, but we’re worried about imperialism here, or at least I am), I had to go get a drink (luckily the sun was over the yardarm up here on the ice floe).

      About that “considerable relief abroad”: really, I think you’re talking only about Europe, where Mary’s reading @ 27 sounds right to me, with a few of the predictable pretensions thrown in. (Many Europeans also like to pretend that they are post-racial and post-partisan, which is also demonstrably dangerous nonsense, even less true than it might have been for a while.)

      I think the truth is that the rhetoric and the table manners might be prettier, but the wretched of the earth are still being made wretched for the same reasons as ever and are unlikely to care whether the masters of the universe have improved their table manners.

      I do agree with you that Obama should donate his prize money to a group or groups who actually do work for peace, and I’ll give him this much — I expect that he’ll be savvy enough to do that.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Oh, I think Kipling’s If is as much an aspiration for Obahma (forget Rahma) as are the fruits for which a Nobel Prize is more commonly awarded.

        I think the Nobel committee desperately hopes the US will continue in the direction of Obama’s rhetoric, with real actions, resources and diplomatic pressure. I think it saw a moment when those were possible, but one that could slip dangerously away if Obama and his Congress were not helped in the correct direction. I suspect it regards our reversion to diplomacy a fledgling that could easily be pushed out of the nest by neocons and other hungry cuckoos.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Not that I need to remind a fan of Kipling, the standards in If were a Victorian fantasy for nearly everyone, rather like expecting American Senators and SEALS to respect the Boy Scott Motto or the Golden Rule.

        • skdadl says:

          eoh, I keep trying to reply, but I find the loss of whatever that was so hard, such a betrayal, that I can’t write it out in brief, or at least not now.

          But I will try again some time, and, y’know, we’ll talk. *wink*

                • skdadl says:

                  Ok — all is forgiven, Petro. That is the only story that’s made me laugh today, and I’ve been lookin’.

                  You, me, and eoh on a pub crawl along Yonge Street — that would be fun. It’s a very long street, y’know, goes all the way up to Lake Simcoe …

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    If Yonge Street is too short for a walkabout, rumour has it there’s a line of pubs from U of T to Osgoode Hall, though I gather it’s best to change mufflers somewhere along the way.

                    • skdadl says:

                      Aha — we are in need of some disambiguation re Osgoode Hall. I suspect that our earl meant the grand pile of courts plus Law Society right downtown at Queen and University, Petro. If you’re saying that Miller’s Tavern is halfway to Osgoode, I think you mean the law school, which was moved up to York Uni back in the sixties.

                      I mean, Petro: North York? Downsview? That’s nosebleed country up there. If we take the earl that far north, we’re gonna need oxygen and everything. *wink*

                      Actually, Miller’s looks like fun. I’m always up for a freshly shucked oyster.

                    • Petrocelli says:

                      *smacks forehead* … of course that’s what EoH meant, my bad. I’m around lots of College Kids all the time and the rivalry between Osgoode Law School & U of T made me think of York U. Osgoode Law School is in Upper Downsview, right next to Vaughn … we’d need more than Oxygen, we would require a Space Shuttle … *g*

                      As soon as I get a publishing contract, I’ll treat you to some A-may-zing fresh Oysters over there !

    • bobschacht says:

      I’m more than half-way through Obama’s Dreams of My Father, and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that Obama’s strategy is driven in part by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. His experience as a community organizer impressed on him the importance of basic physiological and safety needs as the foundation for everything else. For example, Maslow ranks “health” and “employment” in the Security level, right above physiological needs (food, water, breathing, sleep — and yes, sex). I think he considers Constitutional issues to require a more solid foundation of physiology and security than we have now.

      We may not see much in the way of defending the Constitution until the job market improves and the Health Care issue is resolved.

      Bob in AZ

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        One would think that “health” was at the bottom of the pyramid along with [safe] food and drinking water. For America’s poor, and now many of its once middle class, that’s certainly true.

        If I recall correctly, except in extremis, one can meet the needs from more than one level of the pyramid at the same time. While working on higher order needs, one must constantly take care of lower order needs. If one waits to meet higher order needs until lower order needs no longer need replenishing, one would be dead. Further exertion would be pointless.

    • phred says:

      Woot! Both men’s and women’s rugby. From the article you linked:

      Rugby will organize a four-day seven-a-side tournament — instead of the more traditional 15-a-side game — for 12 men’s and women’s teams. Golf will stage a 72-hole stroke-play tournament for men and women, with 60 players in each field.

      Sevens EW. Gonna knock a little rust off to try out? ; )

      • emptywheel says:

        Nah, I’m gonna hold out until Ultimate gets in. Only ultimate’s biggest problem, the IOC told us, is that we don’t pull up our socks and like to wear caps backwards and whatnot. Apparently ultimate is even more disorderly than rugby.

        • Sara says:

          “Nah, I’m gonna hold out until Ultimate gets in. Only ultimate’s biggest problem, the IOC told us, is that we don’t pull up our socks and like to wear caps backwards and whatnot. Apparently ultimate is even more disorderly than rugby.”

          The IOC has been meeting all week in Kobenhavn, and it turns out there is a considerable backstory regarding why Chicago lost the bid for the 2016 Games. The Danish major daily, “Politiken” has an investigative story out today, which they report in much shortened form in their English Language version.

          It seems that the decision to reject Chicago was made before Obama flew out of DC to Kobenhavn, and it had nothing to do with the city’s bid, but a lot to do with the US Olympic Committee’s GREED. It seems that about 20 years ago the IOC was financially in bad shape, the US Committee made a loan to tide them over, but the US Committee was trying to use this as leverage to force the IOC to select Chicago. In essence, the IOC ganged up on the US Committee, let them play out their string by bringing Obama on to the stage in Kobenhavn, and then pulled out the rug.

          Denmark has some very strange law about links to blogs, so you will need to type in the following to get the summary of the story.

          Anyhow, this has not yet been reported in any American Newspaper, but the Politiken Journalists are solid types, so we should have fun with it.

  17. freepatriot says:

    I would like to thank the Nobel Committee for providing the repuglitarded party a surprising large amount of rope at a really cheap price

    everybody knows the repuglitards need more rope

  18. freepatriot says:

    rugby ???

    eleven dimension chess ???

    duck duck goose ???

    can’t you people wait for a trash talk thread to discuss all these physical activities

    an somebody needs to tell bmaz that favre don’t have to be mentioned in every thread

    now, where’s the hat pin ….

    (duckin & runnin)

  19. alabama says:

    After losing a son in the War II, Kipling wrote the greatest anti-war stories in English (”The Gardener”, “Mary Postgate”, “The Janeites”, etc.). This cost him a loss of readership that continues to this day. Although he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907(?), he certainly earned a peace prize for writing those wonderful stories.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Kipling was ahead of the curve in expressing his sense of desolation owing to the losses from the First World War. Other poets shared anti-war sentiments, Siegfried Sasson being probably the most well-known among them. As was true after other wars, there was a lag in the authors’ ability to put their experiences into prose and poetry. Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That, for example, wasn’t published until 1929. First World War poetry and reminiscences have since gone from cottage industry to a full-blown area of study.

      I think Kipling’s reputation might have been hurt more by his association as the poet of empire, the White Man’s Burden and all that.

      • alabama says:

        I get the impression, reading his work after 1905 (after the age of 40, say), that he was also ahead of the curve on the darker dimensions of empire, colonialism, and the British suppression of the Irish independence movement. He never stopped looking for his own blind spots–of which there were many–and he worked his findings into his writings. One thing that rather shocks me: he saw the reality, and the problems, of what we now call “globalism”–with special attention to telecommunications–so far ahead of the curve that no one could, or would, pick up on his arguments.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          We’re well into OT here, but as the comment is about to perish into the previous posts purgatory, I think that’s right. Kipling saw the complexity of empire and soldiery. He shared some of the prejudices of his time, but he was “modern” in that he tried to capture the perspective of the common man, not the Oxbridge elite, something we now take for granted.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        In honor of skdadl’s fondness for Kipling, I should amplify my OT comment about English war poets. Sassoon is highly regarded and owing to his long life (and family name) well-known, but Wilfred Owen is “widely accepted as the greatest writer of war poetry in the English language.”

        November 11th is always a good day to reread a few poems that you may not have read since high school. Owen was killed by a sniper a week before the Armistice in 1918. With two of our own wars and hundreds of thousands of men and women who have “cycled” through them, we have our own dead and wounded, our own politicians and propaganda, our own legitimate issues and extravagant claims to keep as occupied as our president earns his peace medal.

        • skdadl says:

          “Dulce et decorum est …” It would be nice to think that at least a few of our politicians knew that poem, eh?

          Do you know Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy, eoh? Fascinating (Dr Rivers), haunting (Sassoon, Graves, Owen).

          Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man (Sassoon) is one of the few books that has truly shocked me, because it changes so profoundly midway through from a pastoral idyll of lost privilege to an unrelentingly honest narrative of that awful war. It ambushes its readers — very great work of art.

          And then there’s Graves, even greater. Sleep well, friends.

  20. worldwidehappiness says:

    Show Pony Wins US Presidency and Nobel Peace Prize!

    It would be fair if Obama received prizes for being handsome and good with words, but possessing those attributes shouldn’t be enough for him to win the Presidency and the Nobel Peace Prize.

  21. klynn says:

    Hey Marcy,

    Been away today and just catching up. Told someone yesterday when I heard Jeb, “Looks like Poppy got some word about something from his Team B folks at CIA that really bothered Jeb!”

    In less than twelve hours after the comment,Obama wins the Nobel.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ah, the old lie, how sweet and right to die for one’s country. From the last stanza, about a soldier moments from death after a poison gas attack:

    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori

    The Nobel jury gave full marks to Mr. Obama’s acknowledgment that restraint can be more effective than war, an expensively acquired wisdom that was cast like pearls before the swine of another administration.

  23. orionATL says:

    if there was ever a more savage anti-war poem than this, i don’t know what it was:

    The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
    by Randall Jarrell

    From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
    And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
    Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
    I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
    When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

    you can argue about randall jarrell all you want to, but this anti-war poem is sparse, like war is sparse, and quick-to-read, as death in war is quick to arrive.

  24. orionATL says:

    and then there is eric bogle’s great anti-war anthem, “the band played waltzing matilda”:

    bogel is singing about galipoli (see churchill, winston) a hundred years ago,

    but it could have been about americans today dropped into a god-forsaken region (nuristan) of afghanistan.

    nothing more needs to be said; just listen:

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Gallipoli has its own circle in hell. Ask the Anzacs, but not Ian Hamilton.

    Ball turret gunners were a special breed of terrier. Theirs was not a good place to be when the landing gear flattened or the hydraulics went out.

  26. orionATL says:

    skdadl @ 80

    genius indeed, especially with those small potential gaps in wording that many song writers just “sing through”.

    bogel’s one of the best “folk song” writers. i put the denomination in quotes because it understates by leagues what these men and women do and write and sing about which is human folly and institutionally administered injustice.

    in you’re a member of the commonwealth, and i have sense you might be from something you wrote,

    you can be proud of bogel and his work – a scotsman – who else would speak english like that – who immigrated to australia and is writing and singing great songs of protest (and humor – “no more muggie”).

    i was touched to see that a canadian (i presume from the flag in the video) has put the video out on youtube. good for him or her and the strong social conscience they are exhibiting.

    too bad we don’t have more like that is this nation.

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