I keep going back and forth on this -- is it malice, or ignorance, or malice taking advantage of ignorance?
Within hours of the announcement that Al Gore had received the Nobel Peace Prize, I received this email from a reader:
"Al Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize ... Yes the Nobel Prize was also given to Stalin, Mussolini, Castro and even to Hitler ... how good a trophy can it be????" The reader also remarked on Nobel as the inventor of dynamite, "as if it is a useful invention."
Where to begin to answer such a missive? Stalin, Mussolini, Castro and Hitler never won a Nobel Peace Prize. All of them were indeed nominated, but unlike the science Nobels, all it takes to be put on a "nominees" list for the Peace Prize is a nomination from a "qualified" person -- like a history professor, the Internet tells me. It's like saying Donald Duck was "nominated" for president because he got some disaffected or sarcastic write-in votes.
Hitler was nominated in 1939 by a Swedish politician who pulled the nomination shortly thereafter. A few years before, it seems that the Fuhrer was so miffed that an imprisoned anti-Nazi writer was awarded the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize that he banned Germans from accepting the prizes.
Where, I emailed the reader, did he learn all of this? It was on CNN, he responded -- Headline News by Glenn Beck. Now that I was asking, he wasn't sure that someone had said they'd actually won the Nobel Peace Prize; maybe someone had just said they were nominated.
Winners or nominees, what reason would there be even to mention Gore and his fellow winners and these killer clowns in the same breath -- except to try to take the shine off? Is it malice, or ignorance? I inquire -- you decide.
As for Alfred Nobel, he invented dynamite and founded the prizes -- the latter because his obituary, printed in error by a French newspaper eight years before his death, labeled him "The Merchant of Death," an epitaph he obviously did not relish carrying to the grave.
He left much of his fortune to the prizes whose renown and high purpose have almost obliterated "The Merchant of Death's" original notoriety. He was lucky -- he died before the age of cable and the Internet.
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