October 1, 2008

"The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature."

"That ignorance is restraining."

Speaking of ignorance, can we ignore them?

***

Relatedly, I just noticed I don't have a tag for the United States. Ha ha ha. Down with the Swedish Academy!

166 comments:

erniecu73 said...

They should give each other the Hate Nobel Prize.

I wonder how many younger or even just newer and less well known authors we can find translated into Swedish in Swedish bookstores or even libraries.

erniecu73 said...

I might have botched the grammar on that last post...Definitely not Noble Prize material. Oh, wait, I live here...and I will be officially an American citizen on October 16th...

1jpb said...

This must be why Palin doesn't read.

It's the fault of the writers.

Tibore said...

Sooo... I guess that now the US is no longer the most ethnocentric nation on the planet, huh?

chickenlittle said...

The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature," Engdahl said. "That ignorance is restraining.

That's cultural dynamite. Alfred would disapprove.

Christy said...

The Literature Prize is only fractionally less political than the Peace Prize, so in my book it doesn't count for much. Although I pretended differently the year Naipaul won.

Beth, what do you think?

mccullough said...

John Ashbery would be a great choice for a Nobel Prize in Literature.

So would Cormac McCarthy or Don Delillo.

Since Walt Whitman, we've always had some outstanding American literature. This is just nonsense.

Pogo said...

The the "big dialogue of literature"?

Man, those Swedes are really funny little guys. I thought their main function was stealing money from murdered Jews, hiding money from taxes, and remaining neutral about evil in comfort, knowing their ass is covered by that insular power across the pond.

They make chocolate there still?
Facts about Sweden
1. No new net jobs have been produced in the Swedish private sector since 1950.

2. None of top 50 companies on the Stockholm stock exchange has been started since 1970.

3. "...well over 1 million people out of a work force of around four million did not work in 2003 but lived on various kinds of public welfare programs, such as, pre-pension schemes, unemployment benefits, sick-leave programs, etc."

4. Sweden has dropped from fourth to 14th place in 2002 among the OECD countries in GDP per capita since 1970."

5. If Sweden left the EU and joined the U.S. we would be the poorest state of America.

6. Sweden offers only half of the per capita income of the United States.

7. The innovations and military of the US and other countries subsidize Swedish government spending.

Trooper York said...

Everybody hates those dirty Scandi's.

chickenlittle said...

@Pogo: On the plus side, they do hunt moose in Sweden.

mccullough said...

Pogo,

You forgot they don't even own SAAB anymore.

But it is a beautiful country. I think they're still mad at us because of Bill Murray.

That's no reason to punish the Americans in the literature category.

Synova said...

Heh.

I realize that everyone involved would turn up their noses at speculative fiction but I do actually know a number of writers from Europe and they are trying to get published in English in the United States. They have a far greater chance of actually publishing a book in their own county if it is published in the United States first and then translated back.

I don't believe for a moment that there are not talented science fiction or fantasy writers in Finland, for example, but there is no *publishing*. Partly that's because the market is rather small and partly it's because the publishers who do publish care more about printing literature than printing a good story. So books are either purchased by people and read in English or else they buy translated novels.

Foreign language publishing of genre fiction is a significant chunk of a US author's ongoing income. A little bit here and there adds up.

And the US translates a whole heck of a lot of Japanese manga. Which is no doubt scorned even more than genre fiction... and it's not European.

I honestly don't care a bit for literature or participating in the "big dialogue" of it, because it seems purposefully designed not to appeal to human beings. Like that makes it better or something. The total failure to communicate important ideas should not be the definition of *literature*.

As it is, that seems the case. It's not the fault of the author for failing to communicate... it's the fault of the people for failing to wade through it.

Cry me a river.

SteveR said...

Their hockey, tennis, golf and poker players don't seem to mind us a bit.

Apathetic Citizen said...

How many people serve on the Nobel Committee for Literature?

a) 1,078 world-renowned professors, prominent authors, and esteemed critics from around the world;
b) 563 world-renowned professors, prominent authors, and esteemed critics from around the world;
c) 112 world-renowned professors, prominent authors, and esteemed critics from around the world;
d) 5 professors and writers from Sweden.

You know the answer.

A bit of a racket.

LarsPorsena said...

It's all Bush's fault.

New statement from Nobel committee pending US election outcome

John Burgess said...

I read this as a bitch-slap to all the LitCrit and Creative Writing courses in US universities. Those courses teach not much beyond ego-centric navel gazing in a morally ambiguous universe in which no fact is actually knowable. The result is, generally speaking, crap.

That's the 'Literature' part of the equation.

The 'Popular Literature' part of the equation is simply nose-in-the-air anti-Americanism, write large. You find American novels on the best-seller lists in most countries of the EU, but it's only the poor white Eurotrash that's buying them. Yep, that must be it...

bjm said...

*Yawn*

This sort of cultural hubris from Swedish elites devalues the Nobel and brings to mind Groucho's remark that would not want to be a member of any club willing to have him as a member.

Cedarford said...

It's been a long-time since an important mainstream American author (Steinbeck, 1962) won.

Toni Morrison won after that, but you can just see the Swede intelligensia counting off her multiculti "bonus points".

A great writer named in the last 20 years, with actual global popularity and intense scrutiny of their works? Well, just V S Naipaul. And he got it after his reputation was simply too big for the Swede "braintrust" to ignore anymore in favor of "a compelling writer of New Guinean tribal folklore".

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute. Don't those dirty Scandi's know about Gwen Ifill?

Simon said...

I think this is a great story, and those who are criticizing Engdahl are looking at this through the wrong lens. The right way to look at this is pointed by the reaction to Engdahl's comments quoted in the story:

"'[waaaaaaaaaaaaah!]', said David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker."

Personally, I take a great deal of satisfaction at our liberal cultural elite -- those supposed sophisticates who are always quick to scorn and look down on America at large -- being on the receiving end of the same treatment, being given a lecture about how they are unsophisticated provincial rubes who can't eat at the grown-ups table.

This should play badly with the elite's inferiority complex and fetishization of Europe. Hope it hurts.

Arturius said...

Man, those Swedes are really funny little guys. I thought their main function was stealing money from murdered Jews, hiding money from taxes, and remaining neutral about evil in comfort, knowing their ass is covered by that insular power across the pond.

Actually I think those were the Swiss. The Swedes on the other hand did sell the Germans quite a bit of iron ore to fuel their industry.

Trooper York said...

"LarsPorsena said...
It's all Bush's fault."

Hey I not taking anything Phyliss Lindstorms husbands say's seriously.

Trooper York said...

(Obscure Mary Tyler Moore joke)

LarsPorsena said...

Trooper;-)

madawaskan said...

Wow....

And to think I actually took Swedish in college.

All I gotta say is-

inte bra....

in a morally ambiguous universe in which no fact is actually knowable.

You mean that fr*nch f*ck f**c**lt?

zeek said...

Best line from the article is the reaction from David Remnick of The New Yorker:

"And if he looked harder at the American scene that he dwells on, he would see the vitality in the generation of Roth, Updike, and DeLillo, as well as in many younger writers, some of them sons and daughters of immigrants writing in their adopted English. None of these poor souls, old or young, seem ravaged by the horrors of Coca-Cola."

Apathetic Citizen said...

The New Yorker ran a great short story by Stephen King in 2001..."All That You Love Will Be Carried Away."

The guy can write when he wants to.

madawaskan said...

Talk about Stockholm Syndrome-

There in love with themselves!

MadisonMan said...

Bess Lindstrom. Now there was a woman.

integrity said...

Hey I not taking anything Phyliss Lindstorms husbands say's seriously.


Phyliss Lindstrom. Really obscure reference, but Cloris is terrific.

Doyle said...

We all know from your impassioned defenses of Sarah Palin (and vote for George Bush) that ignorance doesn't bother you that much.

Alex said...

Sweden gave us:

Volvo
ABBA
IKEA
Roxette
Ace of Base

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

The Nobels of the world will love us once Obama is elected.

Alex said...

Obama is winning the world electoral college 5343-3.

Alex said...

Those 3 electoral votes for McCain from Israel.

chickenlittle said...

Alex wrote Sweden gave us:...

Don't forget a significant gene pool of real blondes.

Mrs. Topsy Canning said...

At least you can still see blonds over there, every time you turn around.

Althouse shouldn't necessarily bash her own culture. She's not full German. She's part Swedish.

Nobody is blonder. Not the Dutch. Too many brunettes in Denmark, and Norway.

Sweden is the only nation to still be 100% blond.

Measure of authority.

Alex said...

Ah, yes I forget. The Swedish bikini team. That we couldn't live without.

madawaskan said...

Doyle-

Name one good Swedish book?

No Pipi Longstockings does not count...

Alex said...

Sweden is the only nation to still be 100% blond.

Measure of authority.

2:45 PM

Huh, one of ABBA's singer was a redhead.

madawaskan said...

Oooh maybe I shoud have used the original title-

Pippi Långstrump

Smilin' Jack said...

"Bad news for American writers hoping for a Nobel Prize next week: the top member of the award jury believes the United States is too insular and ignorant to compete with Europe when it comes to great writing."

Hey, I'm not so ignorant. I've heard of Europe. It's that dinky little peninsula that sticks out of the northwest corner of Asia. Isn't it?

chickenlittle said...

Alex wrote Huh, one of ABBA's singer was a redhead

How do you know. Did the cuffs match the collar?

But perhaps she was related to the Norse.

Synova said...

I think the Finns are blonder than the Swedes. At least the ones who came over here and settled in the U.P. I mean... I'm Norwegian and Swede and the first time I saw one of those guys with a beard that was blond I was shocked. That's *really* blond, when even your whiskers are white.

Paul Zrimsek said...

A møøse akkused mi sister øf kultural insularity ønce...

Alex said...

It turns out that Anni-Frid Lyngstad is Norwegian!

Trooper York said...

I was just on the Norwegian Cruise Line and every fucking employee was a Filipino. I think Norwegians are mythical creatures like unicorns, hobbits or winning Met's players.

Synova said...

I think I actually own a Swedish book, someplace, I think it's called, "Nils and the Goose" or something... not sure.

What I really need to get hold of is my own copy of "Scandinavian Humor and other Myths" which probably isn't funny to anyone who hasn't taken jello to a potluck, but there you go.

chuck b. said...

I guess the winner takes it all in the publishing biz. In the end, it's all about money, money, money. That's just the name of the game.

So it's no surprise a Swedish publisher calls out to us saying, "Take a chance on me!" He's gonna be around if we've got nothing else to read. Knowing me, knowing you (and I do, I do, I do, I do, I do), we're unlikely to fall head over heels.

Alex said...

chuck b - you sure know your ABBA.

chickenlittle said...

@Alex: ah ha!

Trooper York said...

Vess du fan ikke kan oppfør dæ årntli så ska æ stapp høue ditt opp i ræva di, så kan du sett dær, aleina i mørtna, å prat mannskit me dæ sjøl.

Palladian said...

Isn't Sweden filling up with angry Muslims? They love good literature!

erniecu73 said...

Alex said...
It turns out that Anni-Frid Lyngstad is Norwegian!

2:54 PM


So was Henrik Ibsen. And Hans Christian Andersen was Danish. That brings the grand total of well known Swedish authors to...

chickenlittle said...

Synovia wrote: "Scandinavian Humor and other Myths

I was looking for Obama Humor and other Myths

oops- wrong thread

Pogo said...

Ha ha.
My mistake!
Swede. Swiss.

Whatever.
Ha!

It's like caring about North Dakota when you live anywhere else.

Seriously, what do they do over there, besides losing their land to Muslims?

erniecu73 said...

Palladian said...
Isn't Sweden filling up with angry Muslims? They love good literature!

2:59 PM


Mostly that best-seller of theirs...

Trooper York said...

Må din pung bli överkörd av femhundra siamesiska elefantbögar samtidigt som du får en ananas uppkörd långt upp i rektum

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute, the Muslims are invading North Dakota?

Palladian said...

They're still upset about this.

Oxbay said...

To Ernie,

Congratulations. Welcome to the 'hood.

Ox

Palladian said...

Bork, Bork, Bork!

Simon said...

Alex said...
"Sweden gave us ... Ace of Base"

You know, All That She Wants was the Very first single I ever bought. Our class had gone to Normandy, France at about the time it was out, and someone had that song on a boom box as we were walking arond on Omaha Beach or whichever it was. And come to think of it, Waiting for Magic off their first album was a pretty good effort - with better lyrics one could easily imagine it coming from Pet Shop Boys.

Alex said...

Too bad that Ace of Base fizzled out, but that's the way of rock music. You only get 10 years at the most.

erniecu73 said...

Oxbay, thanks!

And just to clarify, I have never actually studied a Swedish author in my life. I asked my best friend, a philologist and college professor who's Cuban but lives in Belgium, if she could name one good Swedish author, and she replied "¿Qué??"

So, there, it's not just that they are not known here, but everywhere else.

chickenlittle said...

A small two-seater Cessna 152 plane crashed into a cemetery early this morning in central Sweden. Swedish search and rescue workers have recovered 3000 bodies thus far, and expect that number to climb as digging continues into the evening...

"Dumb Swede" jokes gave us "dumb blonde jokes." In Wisconsin, "Polack jokes" were outlawed. American cultural tidbits.

Alex said...

I always like it when Archie and Meathead go at it.

madawaskan said...

Be bound to your handbag become öat the same time as yous sheep a pineapple buying far up in rektum?

Pogo

During WW II-

Sweden, Switzerland-not much difference.

integrity said...

Could someone tell me how to link an article?

Alex said...

madawaskan:

Hey I like Swiss chocolate and Roger Federer.

erniecu73 said...

Ok, I will take that back, maybe the Finns know of Swedish literature. According to Wikipedia:

"Finland
Swedish literature has a considerable following in Finland, led by the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland, which describes itself as "a versatile and future-oriented cultural institution of Finland-Swedish literature, culture and research." The Society offers Finnish visitors an ideal forum for the exploration of shared leitmotifs such as snow. Apart from such activities, the Society is also a leading investor in the global equity and debt markets and a staunch defender of Finnish national interests, most recently against incursions by Swedish investors. This stance has caused some disquiet among Society members committed to the project of pan-Nordic literary appreciation."

Lorelei Leigh said...

Sweden gave us:

Volvo
ABBA
IKEA
Roxette
Ace of Base


They also gave us Ingmar Bergman. That has to count for something.

madawaskan said...

Alex-

Well ya if it wasn't for the chocolate-I'd like to bunker bust their banks...

integrity-

[a href="www.althouse.com"]Link[/a]



replace the [ ] with the corresponding-

< > signs.

Peter V. Bella said...

They gave Al Gore the Peace Prize for junk science. Just shows how smart they are.

Alex said...

So will Palin show up tomorrow at the ambush err debate?

erniecu73 said...

Lorelei Leigh, true, although he was a film auteur, not quite the same category.

erniecu73 said...

I had already mentioned how much I loved The Seventh Seal.

Alex said...

The ambush in St. Louis. I'd not show up there without a posse if I were Palin.

Lorelei Leigh said...

Lorelei Leigh, true, although he was a film auteur, not quite the same category.

Oh, I know. Just figured in the midst of all of the silly non-literature related things being posted about Sweden - which are very entertaining - I'd throw in something that was more positive that is also a bit closer to being literature related.

Not that I'm pro-Sweden (I'm ambivalent) or pro-Nobel (I'm anti). Perhaps Bergman was just a fluke.

integrity said...

integrity-

[a href="www.althouse.com"]Link[/a]



replace the [ ] with the corresponding-

< > signs.


Thank you very much, but I still don't quite understand.

I'm going to ask someone in my office. I am severely embarassed to be so computer illiterate. I thought you just had to hit one of the symbols near the article?

Mrs. Charmaine Gladlee said...

"one of ABBA's singer was a redhead."

So was Althouse, before she renounced her Scandinavian lineage, and tried to pass herself off as a full-on Germanic tow-head.

I really think she should play up her Scandinavian roots, Heidi and the Windmill and all that...or was that Dutch ?

A proud history, Leif Erickson and the old Norse.....or was that the Vikings ?

The Swedes are the blondest !

erniecu73 said...

Lorelei Leigh said...
[...] Perhaps Bergman was just a fluke.

3:31 PM


That seems to be the case, the only one that could be universal at that level.

Other than footballers (the real football kind), politicians (Palme) and some pop cult figures, the Swedes have not been able to make it or be known outside of Sweden. Perhaps because the rest of the world is too insular...

Chet said...

I think we all need to bone up on our Scandinavian history.

I'm headed to Helinski in a matter of days, so I'll look into the matter.

erniecu73 said...

integrity said...
[...] I am severely embarassed to be so computer illiterate. I thought you just had to hit one of the symbols near the article?

3:34 PM


You should be! The One (PBUH) is very disappointed in you!

Just kidding, html takes a bit of practice, but doesn't kill anyone.

erniecu73 said...

Chet said...
I think we all need to bone up on our Scandinavian history.

[...]

3:38 PM


Did that for six and a half years, well, kinda the last 5 and half were just sort inertia...

Stupe said...

OCTOBER SURPRISE:

Israel bombs Iran.

And, why not? Might as well get it out of the way before the new United States Black Muslim President takes office, while they still have an ally in GWB.

Israeli forums and chatrooms are buzzing with an attack predicted in the next few days !!!

Cool.

Trooper York said...

"I had already mentioned how much I loved The Seventh Seal."

Yeah well stay away from the first Seal or Heidi Klum will scratch your eyes out.

She's one tough bitch.

Lorelei Leigh said...

Other than footballers (the real football kind), politicians (Palme) and some pop cult figures, the Swedes have not been able to make it or be known outside of Sweden. Perhaps because the rest of the world is too insular...

That explains it. They're suffering from a massive inferiority complex over there, which they attempt to mask by bestowing their awards the way they do. "Those who can't do..." and all that.

integrity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blake said...

A Swede is a Norwegian with his brains bashed out.

(Reverse as needed.)

chickenlittle said...

Peter v. Bella wrote: They gave Al Gore the Peace Prize for junk science.

That means that al-Gore (PPBUH) gets to nominate subsequent peace prize recipients. Funny how that stuff perpetuates itself.

Stupe said...

The Danish are the worst. All those humorless stolid, lumpy bodies.

You seen one windmill, you've seen 'em all.

The Muslims are all in Denmark and Norway.

Sweden is still 100% pure Blond.

Oxbay said...

It's difficult for foreign writers to be published in the U.S., even ones who write in English. Bryce Courtenay, after dazzling readers with the Power of One, has had difficulty getting other books published here. Besides being a great and magical book it even got the supreme cultural nod of being made into a movie which, of course, wasn't great.

Chet said...

Swedish Erotica.

Absolutely, Sweden is the pinnacle of Scandinavia. Swedish chicks are the ticket, the ones to aim for !

bearbee said...

[a href="www.althouse.com"]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/01/does-bill-clintons-new-sl_n_130887.html

See HTML to create link.

madawaskan said...

integrity-

Sorry I was off line-I didn't explain it very well.

[a href="www.yahoo.com"]link[/a]

That's the format for the coding you replace the [ ] brackets with the < > respectively.

Inside the quotation marks you paste the link of the website you wish to link.

wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedarford said...

Arturius said...
"Man, those Swedes are really funny little guys. I thought their main function was stealing money from murdered Jews, hiding money from taxes, and remaining neutral about evil in comfort, knowing their ass is covered by that insular power across the pond."

Actually I think those were the Swiss. The Swedes on the other hand did sell the Germans quite a bit of iron ore to fuel their industry.


There were a lot of countries that remained neutral in WWII. All of Latin America, most of Africa and the ME, Ireland, Spain. Portugal. America had both Parties pledging in 1940 they would keep America neutral, and only joined in WWII when attacked.

All too much, America is "treated" to relentless media and textbook discusion - from their owners - about WWII being All About the Jews.

And all neutral nations being evil because The Jews were not rescued by them. Few Americans know how many Americans were killed in WWII, or Brits, or Soviets, or Poles, or Chinese...but they can regurgitate endless Holocaust stats.

LoafingOaf said...

Maybe if you guys turned away from your George W. Bush Big Government Conservatism, you'd know that one of the coolest young libertarian authors is from Sweden. Johan Norberg!

He's got a blog, partially in English: http://www.johannorberg.net/
And a great book translated to English: In Defense of Global Capitalism

The Swedes will save capitalism!

madawaskan said...

integrity-

This is the exact html coding

<a href="www.yahoo.com">Link</a>

www.yahoo.com just being an example, you paste whatever link you wish inside the quotations.

erniecu73 said...


cedarford said...
[...]

All too much, America is "treated" to relentless media and textbook discusion - from their owners - about WWII being All About the Jews.

And all neutral nations being evil because The Jews were not rescued by them. Few Americans know how many Americans were killed in WWII, or Brits, or Soviets, or Poles, or Chinese...but they can regurgitate endless Holocaust stats.

4:08 PM


Dr. Goebbels, correct?

madawaskan said...

Sorry I didn't do it that way the first time but escape coding renders me dyslexic for hours...

madawaskan said...

C-4-

I have been reading your hatred for yeeeeeaaaaars, OK?

We get that Jews are your superiors because they happen to rule your world...

But absent your point....

It's about the frickin' money-alright?

You know how many evil despots generation after generation shelter their money there?

Zimbabwe?
Rwanda?
Druglords?

That doesn't have a thing to do with your inferiority complex...

LoafingOaf said...

Haven't read any contemporary Swedish fiction, but I do have that much-hyped crime novel from Sweden about a young female hacker, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, on my Amazon wishlist. Is it any good? Anyone wanna buy it for me??

madawaskan said...

You have got to escape your obsession it literally is OCD.

Try to go TWENTY-ONE days without thinking about-who supposedly controls you.

Break free of that.

integrity said...

madawaskan said...
integrity-

This is the exact html coding

Link

www.yahoo.com just being an example, you paste whatever link you wish inside the quotations.



That's it, now I think I get it. So I just have to memorize the format and put the page I am linking to between quotes. Like this:

Link


Thank you again. So embarassing.

integrity said...

My link didn't work.

integrity said...

Your link didn't work either.

LoafingOaf said...

I think this dude is just mad that the Nobel Prize in Literature doesn't get paid much attention in the USA, so he felt he had to insult us to get us to wait and see who they anounce as the winner next week. Good marketing, that's all.

Simon said...

Intergrity - you need to include the full url - so http://www.dvdtalk.com rather than just www.dvdtalk.com.

integrity said...

madawaskan said...
C-4-

I have been reading your hatred for yeeeeeaaaaars, OK?

We get that Jews are your superiors because they happen to rule your world...

But absent your point....

It's about the frickin' money-alright?



It is true. The most revealing part of the documentary "Shoah" is when the Polish peasants who were around when the Jews were being rounded up and brought to Treblinka are being interviewed(in the late 1970's) and one of the female Polish peasants offers up that the Jews were killed because they had all the money, and she seems to be gleeful about it without any sense of remorse or horror. It is all about the perception of money, not the reality. These geniuses thought Jewish people were both communist and wealthy capitalist, it is amazing.

madawaskan said...

integrity--

OK I'm trying to figure out what you did-

Give me what you want to link to just cut and paste it here-without any formatting...

integrity said...

Simon said...
Intergrity - you need to include the full url - so http://www.dvdtalk.com rather than just www.dvdtalk.com.


Thank you very much. This is my karma for calling people morons.




Link

integrity said...

It worked!!

Thank you Madawaskan and Simon. Excellent.

madawaskan said...

Dude you did it!

Thank you Simon between escape coding and C-4 my brain was crashing.

ricpic said...

It's been all downhill for Scandi lit since Knut Hamsun bought the farm, and that was 60 years ago.

Charlie Eklund said...

Let's not get too mean towards the Swedes. After all, every country on Earth has more than it's fair share of knuckleheads.

Smaller countries, maybe more than their fair share.

Revenant said...

"The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature."

Americans speak, read, and write English. This is, of course, the same language used in the United Kingdom, home of three of the last seven winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature. So how is it that we're "too isolated, too insular" and our cousins across the pond aren't? How is it that foreign-language novels can be translated into a form readable by Brits but not by Americans?

Personally I view not winning Nobel Prizes as being a bit like not winning the World Cup. Nobody I know really cares if America wins, and the rest of the world would probably complain if we did. :)

ricpic said...

It's been all downhill for the Poles since Chopin, and that was almost 200 years ago.

On the plus side their pierogi is still to die for.

ricpic said...

It's been all downhill for the Czechs since...forever.

On the plus side they put out the best poontang in the world.

ricpic said...

It's been all downhill for the brits since Churchill.

But Savile Row suits are still the best.

AJ Lynch said...

Pogo:

Good debunking of the Swedes superiority. Facts are stubborn things, eh.

I did not know that stuff about Sweden.

AllenS said...

They're jealous because we have Larry the Cable Guy.

ricpic said...

It's been all downhill for the French since Waterloo.

And Mark Twain was right: there's the human race and then there's the French.

ricpic said...

It's been all downhill for the Eyeties since Bernini dropped his chisel.

But it's still the only place to live in.

Verso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Verso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Verso said...

ROFL! Oh, I do love the wingnuts: hahahaha.

LOL, I still know some people who actually get mad if you suggest that Fox News isn't fair n' balanced.

Please note: This is not blogworthy.

Can you say "professionalism"?

knox said...

Surely when Aafat won, anyone with sense figured out the Nobel is just a leftist beauty contest...a hypothesis proven when Al Gore won. It's sort of like the Oscars, in a way.

michael farris said...

He does have a point. Americans may be up on literature written in English but not much gets translated into English.

On the other hand, not as much original literature is written in Swedish (though all Scandinavian countries punch well above their weight in that area). But a _lot_ gets translated and I wouldn't be surprised if Swedish is about as good a language as any to keep up with world literature in.

ricpic said...

It's been all downhill for the Irish...and they wouldn't have it any other way.

Kirby Olson said...

He's right: there aren't any good American writers.

We do have pretty good stand up comics.

The prize should go to best stand up routine.

Literature is very boring anyway.

But especially in America.

Our worst writer of all is Toni Morrison.

Not even vaguely funny, ever.

Verso said...

"In what respect, Charlie?"

Holy crap, that still cracks me up.

"I can see Alaska from my house!"

Hahahahaha.

Yes, I know, that was SNL, not our dear Lady of the Lobotomy. But it captured the essence of Sarah just beautifully, didn't it?

I swear. Republicans. What a laugh riot. Bummer about the consequences, though.

Oh well, accept what you cannot change, and all.

Note: The loss of America's standing in the world is not blogworthy.

Verso said...

You know, before this is all said and done, I'll bet even a healthy chunk of Althouse readers vote for Obama.

I mean, it's just getting to be THAT obvious about McCain/Palin.

Alex said...

You know, before this is all said and done, I'll bet even a healthy chunk of Althouse readers vote for Obama.

I mean, it's just getting to be THAT obvious about McCain/Palin.


How so? Wishful thinking?

Pogo said...

Verso's that wild-haired guy on the streetcorner shouting and gesticulating at no one, and no one listening. Generally, he yells something of vital importance about which he has the inside knowledge which will save us all.

Quite possibly he's drunk. He often bellows NNNnnnnOOOoooooohhhhHHHHH!! for some reason.
Don't give him money, he'll just drink it.

madawaskan said...

However, when it came to trade with the Nazi regime, the Swedes, for a period of time, accommodated themselves to the Reich to an even greater extent than the Swiss did. The Swedish economy was, for a number of years, almost fully integrated into the Nazis' New Order; the country supplied Germany with high-grade iron ore (30 percent of that used by the German armaments industry), as well as ball bearings, foodstuffs, wood, and many other raw materials. In matters of finance, the Swedes cooperated with Germany by providing credit, which allowed the delivery of vast quantities of military equipment to the Wehrmacht.

link

So you know this begs the question what is a military without iron?

Nothing....

But the Swedes they made it possible.


Total human losses-

The total estimated human loss of life caused by World War II was roughly 72 million people, making it the deadliest and most destructive war in human history. The civilian toll was around 47 million, including 20 million deaths due to war-related famine and disease. The military toll was about 25 million, including the deaths of about 4 million prisoners of war in captivity. The Allies lost approximately 61 million people, and the Axis powers lost 11 million.

So ya-Swedes , Switzerland ca fait rien...

chickenlittle said...

Verso wrote: bummer about the consequences and provided a link to Der Spiegel's banalysis of the US in the world.

Anybody interested in debunking the Germans should consult here , and more specifically Der Spiegel here.

Apathetic Citizen said...

For an exemplar of insular, consider Swedophile Woody Allen, interviewed in last week's New York.

He had a house in Southampton but says he only slept there one night, a Penthouse on Fifth, and a townhouse in the Seventies. He says he has a driver, eats at "the good restaurants," has a private screening room (so he doesn't have to go to, you know, public movie theatres, and when he wants to go to Europe, as he did two days after 9/11, he flies "privately."

And here's what he says about American culture...

"Y: Do you have a theory about why the culture keeps getting coarser?

WA: The country has, over the years, moved to the right. And it’s possible that accompanying that move to the right, you also get a lessening of taste. But I don’t know if what I’m saying is true, because I have shown some very good films—Bergman, Fellini—to kids from good schools like Yale. Bright kids. And they were not impressed. You know, it wasn’t as though I picked out some kid from the Midwest who’s a churchgoing barbarian. Those same kids that you see in the movie house doubled over with laughter over fraternity toilet jokes are very often kids from Columbia and Yale."

garage mahal said...

Everything is a leftist conspiracy!

All media is leftist. [Except Rush Limbaugh and the NRO].
All of Europe is leftist. Even Great Britain!
The Nobel is leftist.
All our universities and professors are leftists.

If we get a non-Republican President [and EVERY policy not conceived by a Republican we of course know IS socialism] if they will just rename us the USSA. I mean we can't even get a non black leftist debate moderator. I'm really, really frightened.

Kirk Parker said...

"Sweden gave us: ... IKEA"

OK, all they have to do is take it back, and all is forgiven.

Blake! It's definitely the other way around. As in this:

Q: What does Norway have that Sweden doesn't?

.

.

.

.

A: Good neighbors.

Trooper York said...

From The Frontier Of Writing


The tightness and the nilness round that space
when the car stops in the road, the troops inspect
its make and number and, as one bends his face

towards your window, you catch sight of more
on a hill beyond, eyeing with intent
down cradled guns that hold you under cover

and everything is pure interrogation
until a rifle motions and you move
with guarded unconcerned acceleration—

a little emptier, a little spent
as always by that quiver in the self,
subjugated, yes, and obedient.

So you drive on to the frontier of writing
where it happens again. The guns on tripods;
the sergeant with his on-off mike repeating

data about you, waiting for the squawk
of clearance; the marksman training down
out of the sun upon you like a hawk.

And suddenly you're through, arraigned yet freed,
as if you'd passed from behind a waterfall
on the black current of a tarmac road

past armor-plated vehicles, out between
the posted soldiers flowing and receding
like tree shadows into the polished windscreen.

(Seamus Heaney)

Just for you ricpic.

Simon said...

Revenant said...
"Americans speak, read, and write English. This is, of course, the same language used in the United Kingdom, home of three of the last seven winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature."

Ah yes, America and Albion... Divided by a common language.

Synova said...

"Y: Do you have a theory about why the culture keeps getting coarser?"

Oh, that's easy.

It's every bit as coarse as it ever was, except now it's harder to put one's self apart from the coarseness. Plus, coarseness has become co-ed. Used to be Men were coarse in Men places and Women were coarse in Women places and when they got together they all pretended not to know where babies come from or where food goes after it is eaten.

blake said...

Just so, Synova.

Men are generally accused of being the coarser sex, but most men are shocked and, yea, appalled when they hear how women actually talk amongst themselves.

ricpic said...

A difficult poem, Troop. Reads on several levels.

"Time and faith, Edie, time and faith," counsels the priest in On The Waterfront. Don't know if that relates to the Heaney but it just came to me so I'm puttin' it down.

Pogo said...

Hey everybody!!! It's Leif Ericson Day!!! Hinga Dinga Durgen!!!

Apathetic Citizen said...

Seamus fears his readers and book critics.

These lines aren't up to snuff...

"as if you'd passed from behind a waterfall
on the black current of a tarmac road"

Bang!

Trooper York said...

"a little emptier, a little spent
as always by that quiver in the self,
subjugated, yes, and obedient."

Ohhhh BBBBAABBBBYYYYY!!!!!!!!!

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

"The U.S. is too isolated" is a meme loved by Europeans who, themselves, socially and economically isolate their citizens that happened to come from their former African colonies.

What they completely miss is that America is a world-representative citizenry. Take a look at any commuter train in New Jersey - it is full of every nationality and race on the earth.

The same can not be said on the ICE in Germany, or the TGV in France.

Paris is full of many nationalities, but they are all tourists.

Germany isn't even close, and neither is Sweeden. Only one in Europe that matches the US is the UK.

My favorite line to Europeans when they complained about America (the Americans killed the native Indians) was that America is what you get when you let Europeans have a lot of land and a lot of freedom.

It used to shut them up.

madawaskan said...

There are colors flashing
people wearing stars and stuff
there are engines cracking
there's a way to turn it off
It gets so hard at times
to take it serious
it really gets to be a drag
when all we really need is love
(CHORUS)
Here Come Cowboys - Here to save us all
Here Come Cowboys - They're so well inside the law
Here Come Cowboys - They're no fun at all
You've been waiting so long
you've been waiting for today
don't you put yourself on
don't you take yourself away
It gets so hard at times
to take it serious
it really gets to be a drag
when all we really need is love
(CHORUS)


Psychedelic Furs

Do not look at this if you are sensitive-the audio on this is the best the video--eh.

Anyways use to blast this and whoop it up.

Yeeee hah!

{they wrote this about Reagan? Who knows, who cares- whiners}

Cowboys?

Yeah baby!

Michael_H said...

How do you HTMLers do that øø thing? I know it's just typing, but every time I read 'møøse', I immediately begin speaking like the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show.

bill sherman said...

from skimming the "comments" it is clear that very very few Althouse readers are of a serious literary bent, and outside of vituperation and attempts at the comedic, few of the comments deal with the issue raised. i do NOT agree with what was said, but as an American poet and writer (for further information, i am webpaged @ www.torriano.org.) i have to say there is some truth in it, perhaps more than many American writers and critics are willing to admit. certainly, American universities and MFA programs do not, on the whole, encourage innovative writing. Of course the Nobel is as political as most other literary prizes are, perhaps moreso, and of course there have been great American writers (Melville for example) whose work stands comparison even with Shakespeare, and some of the greatest modern translators (Pound, Paul Blackburn, Eshleman's Vallejo, etc.) are and have been from the U.S.; nevertheless, the criticism is a serious one, not to be dismissed out-of-hand nor to be taken lightly, in spite of the obviously ignorant disdain and questionable motivations of this particular Swedish author.

Michael_H said...

Woody Allen's remarks suggest he still thinks about kids all the time. Of course, his wish that American culture mores move farther left would ease his fear of criticism for his interests.

Michael_H said...

....nevertheless, the criticism is a serious one, not to be dismissed out-of-hand nor to be taken lightly..

Sorry, I'm going to do both. What a few sorry Swedes think about American literature is utterly without importance. The Nobel Committee has devolved into an American-hating cabal of second-tier socialists and neo-facists who hide behind a thin curtain of self-proclaimed liberality.

Perhaps they will live their convictions by demanding that their published work not be exported to the U.S.

Fen said...

Let the swedes boast. In a few decades we'll all sit around and laugh at how entertaining those pesky Euros were before Sharia.

Joe said...

IKEA, the one store chain that makes Walmart look like the cradle of luxuriousness.

hdhouse said...

Fen said...
Let the swedes boast. In a few decades we'll all sit around and laugh at how entertaining those pesky Euros were before Sharia."

Gasp.

obviously Fen has spent a lot of time there. The uberrechts have been hurling about Sweden for years...same tune different singers...and we can only sit and envy....

pity. pity.

erniecu73 said...

Ah, hdhouse, how clever! You can type a german word. *clap* *clap*

When was the last time you were in Mälmo? Or Stockholm?

With how many people do you keep regular contact in Europe?

Do you read Le Figaro, Le Monde, El Mundo, El País, Il Corriere della Sera, Il Osservatore Romano?

Do you?

erniecu73 said...

Blah, my Italian blows in the morning, it should be L'Osservatore Romano...

Buon giorno a tutti.

jdeeripper said...

Cedarford said...All too much, America is "treated" to relentless media and textbook discusion - from their owners - about WWII being All About the Jews.

And all neutral nations being evil because The Jews were not rescued by them. Few Americans know how many Americans were killed in WWII, or Brits, or Soviets, or Poles, or Chinese...but they can regurgitate endless Holocaust stats.


There is a lot of truth in what you say. We have Holocaust museums in every good sized city in AMERICA!!.

That's like having Museums all over Europe devoted to the killing and displacement of American Indians and black slavery.

But Jews are a highly literary people. They want their stories told. It is often the case that the publishing houses encourage writers to create novels with favorable Jewish characters in them for the large Jewish book buying market.

It is similar to the film industry which now loves to have a black male lead or co-lead in so many movies because of the large black movie going audiences.

Most critically regarded literature and movies are pretentious junk anyway. It's for people who think PDQ Bach and Garrison Keeler are funny.

Synova said...I think the Finns are blonder than the Swedes.

I knew a blond girl from Finland and it was amazing to learn how much Finn/Swede animosity exists. It's harmless but there is quite a bit of animosity and contempt between the two peoples at times.

integrity said...It is all about the perception of money, not the reality. These geniuses thought Jewish people were both communist and wealthy capitalist, it is amazing.

That's because it's true. Jews made up a disproportionate percentage of the wealthy AND the communists. Why is that hard to understand?

Jews made up a high percentage of the "neo-conservatives" who ran the Bush administration and pressed for a war against Saddam. People like Wolfowitz, Feith, Wurmser, Libby, the Kristols, the Kagans, etal.

And they were also among the leaders of the anti-war movement. People like Noam Chomsky, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and others.

Henry said...

Hey Joe, don't knock IKEA. IKEA is great.

I think one of the most interesting clues to Mr. Horace Engdahl's attitude is this:

They don't translate enough.

In North America there are 500M people and three major languages.

In Europe there are 700M people and upwards of 25 major languages.

Orhan Pamuk, the brilliant Turkish writer who won the Nobel in 2006, could never have reached an audience of significant size if his work wasn't translated. (And he is a brilliant writer. I mostly read nonfiction, so my favorite work of his is his memoir Instanbul: Memories and the City, but his fiction is both engaging and profound.)

American writers writing in English can reach a huge worldwide audience with no need to worry about translation.

But from Engdahl's point of view, translation is a feature, not a bug.

The problem with the U.S. isn't that it is too isolated, too insular. It is that it is too damn big.

Synova said...

from skimming the "comments" it is clear that very very few Althouse readers are of a serious literary bent, and outside of vituperation and attempts at the comedic, few of the comments deal with the issue raised.

And why should literature require a serious literary bent?

I'm quite serious here.

What is there about making something inaccessible that makes it better?

blake said...

What is there about making something inaccessible that makes it better?

Everything's better when you can't understand it.