Nobel Prize season is always fun. People place bets and argue over who should win. College professors and researchers try to go about their daily routine, but it's in the back of their mind: did I do anything worth $1.4 million? And then comes the final moments, when the awards are announced, and the words are always unexpected. Partly because we teeter on not understanding the thick Swedish accents and in disbelief. This year, of course, the disbelief is the Peace Prize, awarded to President Barack Obama. Accepting the award, Obama himself said he did not deserve it and will use it as a call to action into the 21st century; it has also been said that he will be donating that money.
On the literature side, the award again has been unexpected. Herta Muller, the bestselling author of 1989's Reisende auf einem Bein, the major literature event Heute war ich mir lieber nicht begegnet, and her most recent Atemschaukel, is taking it home to Germany. While not as controversial as Obama's award, many were expecting to see Amos Oz win, others were looking at Indian writers, such as Salaman Rushdie, and everyone wanted to see Joyce Carol Oates win because her pictures always looked so sad and perhaps she might stop writing already—but American literature is not Nobel material enough...just like Obama is stuff of Nobel Peace Prizes.
Laura Nathan explains, it is the ideal of five Swedish academy members. Meaning the award winner must please the ideals of these five Eurocentric, upper-class, most likely men. And what kind of an ideal is that truly?