The Right Coast

October 18, 2005
By Maimon Schwarzschild

Christopher Hitchens is aptly withering about the Nobel Prize to Harold Pinter. He has a substantial piece on the absurd outrageousness of it in the weekend Wall Street Journal, available online, alas, only to subscribers. But Hitchens sums it up in a sentence for the left wing readers of Britain's Guardian newspaper:
The award to someone who gave up literature for politics decades ago, and whose politics are primitive and hysterically anti-American and pro-dictatorial, is part of the almost complete degradation of the Nobel racket.
(Hat tip to our colleague David McGowan about Hitch's WSJ piece. There is a very interesting post by David, by the way -- about legal ethics, not about Nobel lack of ethics -- at the Legal Ethics Forum, where David is guest blogging this week.)

Roger Kimball was also given a sentence or two by the Guardian to sum up about Harold Pinter:
The Nobel committee has for some time demonstrated that its prizes are ridiculous but the award going to Harold Pinter is not only ridiculous but repellent. His anti-American rantings have been saved from being merely outrageous by their insanity. He can't take any public platform without a mad raving about the evils of the American empire - although he can't make up his mind if George Bush is a moron or a mad genius.
Apart from Pinter's emetic politics -- precisely what the Nobel people, degradingly, wanted to honour -- there is, or used to be decades ago, Pinter's literary work. Kimball has it right about that too:
The essence of Pinter's drama is adolescent Samuel Beckett - it's warmed-over and second-hand.
Has anyone ever said, with any pleasure, "Let's go see a Pinter play"?