Nobel, Part Deux

So, he didn’t turn it down, as I had hoped he would.

He did say that he felt that he did not deserve the honor, but that he’d accept it “as a call to action.” (Which is, according the Committee, the exact purpose.)

Andrew Sullivan posted a reader’s letter which really hit home for me:

“So, it’s a bad thing that the world is so optimistic about America’s role as a world leader with Obama as President that the Nobel Committee gave him the Peace Prize? Really? So bad he should turn down the honor? Really? Have we gotten so cynical in our views that when a segment of the world shows optimism toward our country, we think the best reaction is to double down on our cynicism?”

My initial reaction was one of political cynicism — that turning it down would be a brilliant move for him, politically. I really didn’t even think about the belief in America’s potential that the award clearly communicates.


Friday Music

Shorter list this week — and you’ll want to copy-and-paste these, rather than direct-clicking, because several are grabbed from the guts of Flash players, and hence are hotlink-disabled.

A track from Rob Zombie’s forthcoming album, Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool, which is coming in November. The first single, “What?” is already getting some radio play — this song is a track that he previewed via Twitter earlier this week: Rob Zombie – “Sick Bubble-gum.”

The XX are a London-based indie band. I heard this single during the week, and it grabbed me. I expect that it will appear soon on television, most likely in the background of some hour-long drama, during a montage of character-driven angst… The XX – “Crystalised.”

Another new London-based act, with one of the best band names I’ve heard in a long while. A lo-fi wall of noise, layer after layer of guitar loops, distorted bass, ethereal vocals — I’m hooked. Trailer Trash Tracys – “Strangling Good Guys.”

This band has a great retro John-Hughes-film-soundtrack sound to them. I definitely want to hear more: The Swimmers – “Shelter.”

Lastly, a mash-up: instrumentation from Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” with the vocals from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” – DJ Lobsterdust – “NirGaga.”

There you go. Enjoy.

Nobel? Seriously?

Barak Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”


Regular readers will know my politics, and know that I am a staunch supporter of the man — but even I think that this Nobel Prize is unmerited.

Obama simply has not done anything, by his own actions, that deserve the award.

Do I think he will, eventually? Absolutely. But that’s not the point. A Nobel Prize is a joke at this point in his Presidency.

However, it serves as a clear demonstration of just how far America’s image fell in the rest of the world during Bush’s term — and, even if the Conservatives refuse to come to terms with that, such a fall in standing was bad for America.

This award is based almost entirely on how Obama’s election changed the world’s opinion of the U.S.— which certainly helps us diplomatically, although its nowhere near worthy of a Nobel Prize.

Obama is supposed to be giving a speech about this later this morning: My sincere hope is that he’ll say that he’s humbled and honored, but that he’s turning it down. I certainly think he’s savvy enough to do that — it would be a brilliant political move on his part. But he’s managed to be surprisingly tone-deaf at times in the past, and may do so again.

Really, though — the whole foofaraw is not worth the conniption fit that the Right will inevitably have over this today (I can only imagine what we’re going to hear)…. The Peace Prize has given out some real doozies in its history (Kissinger, anyone?)