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Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobel endeavors

A couple quick thoughts about the Nobel prizes: Nice work with Al Gore. I haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth yet, but everything I've read/heard about it seems positive, though sobering. And it's just nice to see a guy get a major high-profile prize for worrying about the environment, which is so often laughed off or treated as mundane by Big Powerful People Who Decide Policy. And while I couln't comment on Al's credentials vis-a-vis all the other people out there beavering away on the same issue for years, but who aren't as famous as he is because they've never been vice president of anything, it does at least seem like he's a serious thoughtful guy who was writing books on this topic years ago (Earth in the Balance).

As for Doris Lessing winning the lit prize, well, okay. I read more or less one book by her, in the '80s sometime, The Good Terrorist. I never finished it and barely remember it. I may have taken in a short story or two along the way also, though they never stuck in my memory either. I really have very little opinion of her, as opposed to, say, Harold Pinter, who won a couple years ago and whose plays I love love love. (Saw The Caretaker performed in a tiny theatre in London in 1983, and it knocked me out of my chair. I've also always loved The Dumb Waiter. Great title, that.) Rightly or wrongly, I've always mentally lumped Lessing in with other gray postwar Brits whom I tried once or twice but who never made much impression. (Iris Murdoch also fits this category, and John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, and others who elude me at the moment.) But I gather she's won buckets or prizes over the years, and while that's no ironclad indicator of quality, it does suggest that a few well-placed people consider worthy of a little time. So I may have to look her up again.

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