Monday, October 6, 2008

Stream of Consciousness

Today on Talk of the Nation, big news was that the Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded this week, not to an American most likely, especially since one judge on the committee just said that American authors are too "insular and ignorant," even though both Americans interviewed on TOTN and a caller agreed that Philip Roth should get the prize, one saying he's a shoo-in.

"Insular and ignorant?" Isn't the purpose of writers often to reflect culture? So what if our public radio stations tell the same news and features stories repeatedly all day, about American people doing American things in America? (Or occasionally in places like Iraq or Pakistan.) While the BBC tells news and features stories about America, too, but also Britain, and France, and other EU countries, and Somalia, and Uganda, and China and other places around the world. We have National Public Radio, not the BBC, World Service.

Anyway, one of the Americans being interviewed reminded Lynn Neary that there are other people in the world who have also not received the Nobel Prize, like James Joyce. Not American. But a friend of mine reminded me on International Talk Like a Pirate Day of another interesting fact about the man, aside from that he was a tremendous writer who gets way more crap than he should while other writers like Virginia Woolf and William Burroughs, who also employed stream of consciousness in their work, go essentially free: He also wore an eye patch, not as an affectation, but to rest his left eye and attempt to save his sight, though he was almost blind in that eye.

Oh, and William Faulkner, too.

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