Friday, October 13, 2006

Insulting the nationalists

Earlier in the year, Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk was charged with "insulting Turkishness" for saying in an interview with a Swiss magazine that

"Thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it."

Now, he's won the Nobel Prize for Literature...


Apparently the French just outlawed denial of those killings. To the outrage of the Turks.

And if I heard right, a bunch of people had walked out of the parliament in protest at the motion. Perhaps they would have done better to vote on it.

Posted by Lyndon : 10/13/2006 04:36:00 PM

I thought the Nobel Prize for Literature was, well, for literary achievement not making a political statement? Silly me...

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 10/13/2006 04:43:00 PM

Indeed. And given that the 2005 Nobel Prize for lit was awarded to Harold Pinter - political activist and literary nonentity, one might be forgiven for thinking that the criteria have shifted whilst we've been asleep. Philip Larkin or Evelyn Waugh could have lived a hundred lives without coming close...

Posted by Anonymous : 10/13/2006 05:06:00 PM

Could it be that people who write extremely insightful works of literature also see the world in great depth, and feel compelled to speak out about subjects other than fiction?

It seems to me that it takes an indepth view into the world as it is to write Nobel Prize winning fiction.

And I don't understand how awarding a prize to someone speaking out about genocide should make the Nobel committee the object of ridicule. Seriously, you just seem to have descended into simple reactionary responses here, even if they are meant in a humourous fashion.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2006 04:22:00 PM

Indeed; but political participation should never be a criterion for a literary prize. It certainly seems to have been with these last two laureates.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2006 04:43:00 PM

they shoudl make the nominees and their criteria public.

It would also be interesting if the whole debate was on the record.

Posted by Genius : 10/14/2006 05:05:00 PM

Well, a quick skim through the winners gives a long list of people who've held political opinions... but these are people who speak deeply about the human condition.

I'd be suprised if the winners were mere mutes, as 123 seems to suggest should be the case.

Admittedly a small numbers of the winners were quite questionable. Churchill and Satre stand out as winners with literature of a lower standard than the rest (whatever you think about the rest of their lives)

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2006 07:21:00 PM

Whoops, that should be Sartre...

Posted by Anonymous : 10/16/2006 05:37:00 PM