Stop the Presses!

Only a few minutes after my post below did I discover that this year’s Nobel laureate is Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek. Here are perhaps the most significant sentences from the NY Times’ lengthy story on her award:

In other ways, Ms. Jelinek fits a more familiar pattern…The academy has also again shown a preference for literature with a political echo….Ms. Jelinek has used her literary work as a form of political engagement.

Well, of course she’s used her literary work as “a form of political engagement.” Art has no other purpose, does it? It’s nothing if it isn’t being used to further some political goal, right? I mean, the Soviets put us right on that, didn’t they? And what, precisely, was the nature of Ms. Jelinik’s “political engagement?” According to the Times, “In 1974, she joined the Austrian Communist Party and remained a member until 1991.” Are you at all surprised? “A more familiar pattern,” indeed. And notice those dates…she was a party member at precisely the time that some of the totalitarian socialist dictators I mention below were liquidating their own populations. In fact, she joined the party the very year that Solzynitzen won the Nobel Prize for providing detailed information about the numerous horrors that Communist regimes were capable of. Props to the Nobel laureate committee: no better reflection of its “peaceful goals” than to award the laureate to someone who was a CP member during the 20th century. Good show, boys: almost as wise and informed a choice as your decision to give the Nobel Peace prize to Arafat.

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