Sunday, October 11, 2009

About Obama the Nobel laureate

For a long time, the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize has been dropping, slowly but surely, with all those twisted political influences on the committee.. Not in the eyes of the corporate media, of course, the proverbial and perennial harlot of sensation and show business, but in the minds of those members of the general public who are critical analysts and thinkers rather than predictable, knee-jerking cogs in the mass-wheels one way or another.

Personally, I recognized the political corruption of the Nobel Committee 15 years ago, when three notorious bloodstained warlords, namely Arafat, Peres and Rabin, were awarded the prize for something that amounted to little more than a weekend ceasefire. After that, they resumed shooting with the prize in their back pockets. Rabin was assassinated, Arafat died too, and Peres became one of Israel's most hawkish and brutal politicians.

The 1994 choice was nothing but a PR stunt for Norway; the warlords had signed the toothless and useless "Oslo agreement." Laureates are always specifically instructed to thank "The NORWEGIAN Nobel Committee," because NORWAY is the real star, and the Laureates are only puppets, those who look good on television and can give nice acceptance speeches worthy of somber applause.

National Leaders and Politicians

So one former national leader or politician after another gets the prize. And now, an INCUMBENT American president, with 750 military bases at his disposal worldwide who is talking about accelerating the war in Afghanistan at the cost of countless civilians, gets the Nobel Peace Prize? Mister Spock (of Star Trek) might have found this 'interesting' or even 'fascinating' but not me.

Once again, excellent PR for Norway. It can't match the 1994 Winter Olympics, but president Clinton's appearance in Oslo for a Middle East summit meeting in 1999, the first incumbent US president to visit the country, made an indelible impression and boosted national pride; it placed a small, usually invisible nation, on center stage. Wow.

So with Obama on his way, they're looking forward to Air Force One touching down, the superstar waving from the Grand Hotel balcony after an eloquent, televised acceptance speech. That's it: Tiny invisible Norway is Center World Stage once again. Some folks may think it's about the prize given to the laureate, but it's really about the laureate being a prize to Norway: The land of peace, diplomacy, negotiations, Oslo agreements, and tourism.

The Alternative

Instead, let's display a defiance of the rulers by calling attention to and supporting Right Livelihood Award: The 'Alternative Nobel Prize'.

Unless you think war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is wisdom.

A truly prestigious prize of this nature should always go to imprisoned poets, anarchists, rebels etc. -- people whose voices are not heard but who need that spotlight as a weapon against their oppressors and torturers.. Instead, the largely overrated official Nobel Peace Prize Committee is abusing their global impact in order to advance their own political ends and to make Norway the big star instead of the laureate, who in this case has all the attention he needs already.

"A slap in the face" -- ?

Well, "Obama is getting the prize for not being George W. Bush," I'm being told. Excellent point, except that this motive was already used in 2002 when the prize was awarded to Jimmy Carter. Considering the fact that Carter was rewarded for his accomplishments as ex-president, with the extensive humanitarian work of the Carter Center, and not for his presidency in the late seventies, there was really nothing wrong with it, but the highly charged political comments were curious. It was supposed to be a slap in the face against the incumbent president George W. Bush.

They love that phrase, "a slap in the face." When Obama won the presidential race last year, Shimon Peres was asked for a comment on CNN, and his immediate response was that it was "a slap in the face" against racism and against anti-Semitism. Not a victory for this, that or the other, but a slap in the face against somebody. That's the talk of the hawk, the warrior, whether left or right. It's the diametrical opposite of peace, if one recognizes the difference between the angry, clenched fist and the open, outreaching hand.

Politics -- and more politics

There's more to it than all that, of course -- more politics. Thorbjørn Jagland is the chairman of the Nobel Committee; he is also an active political member of The Labor Party. (And in my opinion, his IQ is lower than GWB's IQ, and that says a lot! He's nothing but an incredibly dull imbecile, a total nitwit.) Obama's expressed vision of global politics coincides precisely with the Norwegian Labor Party's platform. So today, I heard on the radio news that Jagland is offering to resign as Nobel Committee chairman if the choice of Obama leads to serious political controversy -- especially after strong criticism from the right.

In my opinion, the Nobel Peace Prize should never be given to people with political and military power. (Come to think of it, Mikhail Gorbachev may be an interesting exception to the rule here because he surrendered that power in a selfless fashion. In the mid-eighties, he had the opportunity to be tsar for life, to rule an enormous region covering a third of the planet or something, and he surrendered it on the altar of reform and progress. That's unique.)

Obama is the slickest politician I've ever seen, and I admire him for it. His extremely well-organized campaign, accurately labelled "Brand Obama" by Noam Chomsky, beat Apple as the most successful marketing campaign of 2008. If not, the Nobel Peace Prize might have gone to Steve Jobs instead. Obama is a talk show president. We know his speeches because they make us feel good, his photogenic charisma, eloquence, beautiful wife, young kids -- everything very reminiscent indeed of John F. Kennedy, and look what happened, he almost started World War 3.

Myths, Legends, Passions, and Metaphysics

What do we really know about Obama's politics? Only that they're basically business as usual, a continuation of what was done by his predecessors. Before he took office, we knew absolutely nothing. People get so blinded, so incredibly mesmerized by charm, likability, eloquence, intelligence and talent that their critical thinking faculties go to sleep, and when they finally awake, they're catapulted, like out of control, from unconditional worship to consuming irrational hostility and hatred. People are ruled, controlled, by extremely intense passions.

This unbelievable love-hate thing is the lot of every US president without exception, because the job is nothing less than Mission Impossible. It's the pathology if America: A religious worship of the presidency that not even Nixon succeeded in dismantling. They desire to worship the guy as a Caesar -- Obama had to remind his supporters that he wasn't born in a manger dammit! -- and his right-wing political opponents are so wacky and toxic and dangerous and hateful it's really disturbing, frightening -- calling Obama the Antichrist and so on.

This must be based upon the recognition that Mission Impossible can't be accomplished by anyone human, but only by a superhuman who has to be either Christ or his adversary. But if you're going to involve the Antichrist here at all, you have to consult The Lord Of The Rings by recognizing that The Antichrist is the the Oval Office itself, not the person who happens to occupy it. It's the ring to rule them all-- look how happy GWB is now back in Texas after he took his ring off with a huge sigh of relief. It was also fortunate for him to have low approval ratings, because it means his hatred ratings are equally low. The more people imagine that they love a president, the more intensely others hate him; it looks almost like a law of metaphysics somehow.

Look again at John F. Kennedy; his tragic, shocking and untimely death gave birth to a twisted and misplaced revival of the Arthurian Legend, an idea that his beautiful widow Jackie succeeded in feeding to the media while preparing the funeral. Thus the American legend was created about the White House being Camelot with JFK as King Arthur. So I guess the Holy Grail is buried somewhere beneath the CIA headquarters in Langley, or perhaps underneath the Pentagon or the Capitol.

But back to this business about Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009. We need to do a Vulcan Spock trick and silence our passions and our knee-jerks and endless opining. There are several aspects of certain issues that may be more complex than how they appear on the surface.

Different views and perspectives

Norway shares a border with Russia in the north, so cordial relations with the Big Bear have always been of the greatest concern to our national security. The Cold War made this extremely difficult for a long time. Bush made these relations worse when he insisted upon constructing those missiles in Poland, allegedly as a deterrant against Iran. But had Bush forgotten how Americans felt when Krustchev dispached missiles to Cuba because the US was doing the same thing in Turkey? Politics aside, 27 million Russians were killed in World War 2 when they were attacked from Europe, and Poland is on their doorstep. Scrapping those missiles may have made Obama less popular in Poland (at least according to The New York Times), but Scandinavians feel more at ease, I think, me included. And the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama has bolstered confidence in him from the Russian government that he is a man of peaceful diplomacy. From this perspective, giving the prize to Obama may have improved relations between Russia and the West, and that's a huge benefit for Norway -- a NATO country sharing a border with Russia.

So there's more than one way to look at this, although I still stand by my earlier comments above. What we should keep in mind is that each one of us has the power to choose what to pay attention to and what to ignore. That's a power that the corporate media endeavors to take away from us, by controlling our choices and directing our attention. In a case like this, everyone is free to ignore the official Nobel circus and focus instead upon alternatives, like The Right Livelihood Award. And if we're insistent and persistent enough, the media will be forced to follow us, not the other way around. But first off, I would love to see more people stop knee-jerking with their passions and begin to think instead -- analytically.

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