Monday, October 12, 2009

The President's New Nobel

Like everybody else, including the recipient, I was astonished when Barack Obama won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Clearly, the Nobel Committee were (a) trying to encourage the man to bring about peace more than actually reward him for having done so, and (b) afraid that if they waited for the end of his term, they wouldn't be able to give him the prize. So in one deft move, they managed to offend both the American Right and the American Left by giving our president the single most prestigious award in the world.

Deftly done, Nobel Committee!

But the REAL scandal is, of course, the news that against all reason I have once again been passed over for the award. And so, for what is surely the last year, I must again post . . .

My Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
(Presented Here Against the Unlikely Chance I Never Get to Deliver It)

It's about time!

You lousy bastards should have given this to me decades ago, and you fucking well know it. Look at the morons and retards you have given it to. Okay, so Albert Einstein, personal hygiene aside, wasn't a total loser. But Niels Bohr, Desmond Tutu, Ilya Prigogine, the Dalai Lama? You'd think this award was being given for having a funny name! And whoever decided it would be a cute joke to give the prize in literature to the likes of Thomas Mann, Anatole France, and Selma Lagerlof obviously never bothered trying to read those boring old windbags. To say nothing of that self-promoting fraud, Mother Theresa!

I could go on, but I think my point is made.

The Nobel Prize was created by Alfred Nobel, who was—I trust I'm not hurting anybody's feelings here—a neurotic recluse and a mass-murdering Swede. So, when one considers the source, I really shouldn't be surprised that you only gave me the one. There are five, you know. (I don't count the Economics thingie as a real Nobel, and neither should you.) It's not as if the single greatest Writer/Peacemaker [note to self: scratch out whichever category these idiots neglect to honor me in] the world has ever known couldn't be adept in chemistry and physics and medicine as well. I assure you I could. Not that I have, granted. I've been busy. But surely intentions should count for something.

Oh, and a word about the venue. Stockholm?? InDecember??? No wonder your bikini team never showed up.

So here's what I propose: Vegas, obviously, for the climate. Ditch the king—nice guy, but no Robin Williams. For the MC, rather than doing the safe thing with Madonna or J-Lo, go visionary with the Osborne Family. Can you picture them wandering aimlessly about the stage? Hilarious. Maybe we can even convince Ozzie to bite the head off a (fake) bat.

To get television coverage in the major markets, you're going to need music—Guns N' Roses, Aerosmith, maybe even get the Stones out of retirement and back in spandex again. Back 'em up with a few flash-pots and some fly-girl dancers. Filmed testimonials from Michael Jackson and the Simpsons. Choreography from The Producers. A line of Elvis impersonators. Dignified and elegant, that's the key. Keep the wire-work to a minimum.

I get shivers just thinking about it.

Now I realize that these suggestions might seem startling to some. But that's why I'm up here and you're down there—because I'm a genius and you're not. So shut up and think it over.

Meanwhile, I accept this award with a modesty so profound that pissants like you cannot even begin to comprehend it.

Thank you.

The above was taken from Michael Swanwick's Periodic Table of the Elements. You can view it here, or the entire 118-story run of elements here.



JJM said...

Ahem. Never read Nils Holgersson in your impressionable childhood, did you? Selma Lagerlof a "boring old windbag", indeed! [fussfussfuss] ;)

Michael Swanwick said...

No, I was in college before I discovered Nils. Lagerlof, incidentally was a great favorite of both Hope Mirrlees AND Sylvia Townsend Warner. Who must surely have met each other, though I never found any evidence of it if they did. So much of what we'd like to know evanesces into air, into thin air!

A pleasantly curmudgeonly rant, though, eh? I'm positive Obama's speech won't be half so provocative.

JJM said...

Heh. Wonder if I was responsible for introducing you to Nils -- that was always one of my favourite books. I'm pretty sure you're the one who tipped me off to Tove Janssen, which is a fair enough exchange. :)

As for your rant -- truly brilliant. One can take that as given. Obama's speech will be excruciatingly dull (not to mention inspirationally uplifting) by comparison. But ... grammatically superior. Complete sentences, no less. :P