"America isn’t yet a fully formed country. We haven’t decided quite what we want to be yet. And until we do, it would be best if you stay away. Only Alice Munro has made the suburban lifestyle even approach Literature-worthiness. But that’s Canada, where everything seems magical. I think that’s because the whole nation is so close to all that ice and when the sun or the stars hit it everything glistens. Everyone else just seems to sneer at boring middle-class people. As well they should. The most interesting thing that can happen in Suburban America is, like, having an affair or losing your baby in a mall. And relax, [...]
This picture is not chicken wire or a tesselation or a patchwork quilt or a cross-section of a honeycomb-amazing how many things are linked hexagons-but a material called graphene, which is just plain old pencil-lead graphite sliced thin, sliced as thin as you could imagine thin could be. It's thin enough that electricity flows through it effortlessly. It's thin enough to see through. It's one atom thin. Those atoms are carbon and their little arms hold tight and so in spite of being thin, it's also flexible and strong. Its possible applications are making the technoratiat fall all over itself with joy and lust. It just won its [...]
From the inbox. To the Editors: I'm in Oslo (on one of the three days in the year anybody in the world pays attention to Norway-the other days are the day the prize is actually handed out and the day the entertainers at the Nobel Prize Concert are announced) and I can tell you the people who work in the relevant sections of the Foreign Ministry are extremely glad that their Nobel Committee did not award the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident. There would have been diplomatic protests from testy Chinese, lots of troublesome questions, much work for diplomats! (Do not want!)
However, Norwegians are just as embarrassed [...]
—Alice Munro, "Royal Beatings," March 14, 1977, The New Yorker. At 82, she is the 13th woman winner of 106 Nobel prizes in literature.
But yes yay and all that but ALSO CAN WE POINT OUT that the Nobel Prize site is insane? FOR INSTANCE:
Nobody's going to win a Nobel Prize for website copywriting on this one. There's a lot of "tell us in the comments about your feels!" (yes: "Have your say and tell us what you think about the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature!") and also a MOST POPULAR LAUREATES LIST??? Maybe it's just foreign, let's live with that. (But c'mon: "How Do [...]
In case you were curious about whether the crazed reaction to Obama's Nobel Peace Prize began immediately upon ThorbjÃƒÂ¸rn Jagland's announcement, now comes this account from a reporter present at the event in Oslo itself. "[A] collective gasp had gone up in the room, the kind I'd thought reserved for dramatic reenactments in made-for-TV documentaries. A sound like a room of owls hooting followed, and then everyone was talking at once. Jagland raised his voice as he continued to read from the citation, struggling to be heard above the clamor. Behind the chairman, Lundestad, the committee's ever-serious secretary, tried to suppress a smirk before giving up and letting it [...]
Herta MÃƒÂ¼ller, the Romanian-born German novelist whose Heute wÃƒÂ¤r ich mir lieber nicht begegnet and Eine warme Kartoffel ist ein warmes Bett are just two of the titles listed under the "Works" section of her Wikipedia entry, has won this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, joining such recent notables as JMG Le ClÃƒÂ©zio and Gao Xingjian! I guess it's a good thing that President Obama didn't put his prestige on the line to campaign for Philip Roth.
"In fact, novels do lie – they can't help doing so – but that's only one part of the story. The other is that, through lying, they express a curious truth, which can only be expressed in a veiled and concealed fasion, masquerading as what it is not. This statement has the ring of gibberish. But actually it's quite simple. Men are not content with their lot and nearly all – rich or poor, brilliant or mediocre, famous or obscure – would like to have a life different from the one they lead. To (cunningly) appease this appetite, fiction was born. It is written and read to provide human [...]
Here is Barack Obama's speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. Unwilling to follow the suggestion of the chattering class that he take the award and shove it right up the Committee's ass, he instead delivered a humble and gracious acceptance on behalf of the entire nation. Or at least he did for the first four minutes or so, after which I kind of drifted off. Maybe he gets a little blue in the second half. Anyway, now onto the more serious issues: What's he gonna do with the million dollar prize? I would not be completely shocked to learn that several rightwing websites have already cast doubt on his [...]