Is anyone as surprised as I am that the Nobel Prize in Literature went to an old pasty white dude?
I’m mean, it’s only been four years since the last one was selected with Peter Handke, and five years before that since Patrick Modiano was selected, and three years before that since Tomas Tranströmer was selected.
Of course, Bob Dylan doesn’t count in 2016, because, well, wtf was that all about anyway?
Nor does Kazuo Ishiguro in 2017, unless you are of the mindset of the former South African apartheid government and regard those of East Asian descendancy as honorary whites.
Of course in this day and age it is treading in dangerous territory to assume the particulars of anyone’s identity, even that of assumed pasty old white dudes such as mentioned above, sans Ishiguro of course.
But I’m pretty damn confident of my assumptions.
Come to think of it, that’s a whole lot of old white dudes selected for the NPL in just a little over the past decade.
What’s up with that?
I thought, with the state of the world as it is, with global sensibilities as they are, old pasty white dudes were persona non grata when it comes to just about any form of praise or recognition.
It certainly is a oui for me and I’m as old and male and pasty white as they come.
I say, to hell with old pasty white dudes, regardless of their particular talents, or lack thereof.
Can I get an amen?
Yeah, I guess it’s easy for me to blame and complain sitting in my warm, comfortable chair in my warm comfortable house far from any terror and strife (no I’m not referring to Baltimore… only), my fingers click click clickety clicking away carelessly on my keyboard, whiling away the hours blaming and complaining.
And since I’m an old pasty white dude, it’s my privilege to do so…
Especially since, no matter how out of favor I and my ilk have become, we still pretty much run the world, like it or not.
Not me of course, I just enjoy the guilt by association that goes with it, it being the power of course.
The associated blaming and complaining… I enjoy not so much, but it’s my longstanding practice to blow with the wind, if you know what I mean, and hop on the fastmoving bandwagon as it passes by, which is why I’ll pile on and blame and complain about “them” right along with everyone else.
Mixed metaphors aside, where was I?
Oh yeah, the new NPL winner.
Mr. Jon Fosse.
So, like I do after all new NPL winners are announced, I choke down the deep envy and regret and begin the search.
Because of course, being the singularly focused, narrowminded American that I am, I have no idea who the foreigner is.
The first thing I discover about Fosse is that he is Norwegian…
And the understanding as to why he won, despite the heavy negatives of his physical “attributes,” is immediate…
He had home field advantage.
And I smile and give my brother in-old-white-maleness an appreciative nod and tip of the fedora.
Gotta get it anyway you can, right.
And then, after learning that, like most NPL winners, he has completely and wholly dedicated his life to literature in just about all its forms, and again choking down the envy and regret, I go straight to my library app and do a search for his books.
And I’m surprised to find that my local Pennsyltucky library has so many of them!
But I’m not surprised to find that they all, every single one of them, are still available to check out…
You know, it being a small town, Pennsyltucky library and all that.
Yeah, a lot of necks around here are overexposed to the sun, if you know what I mean.
Not to imply those whose white necks have taken on a shade colored by the sun don’t read…
It’s just that, well…
You know what I mean, right.
Yeah you do.
So, anyway, I check out The Other Name, the first book of what Fosse calls his Septology Trilogy, and quickly find…
It’s immensely boring.
I mean, yeah.
And not just regular literary boring…
I’m talking recent selection of the Sight and Sound Greatest Picture of All Time, Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles boring.
You feeling me now?
But, the boringness of Fosse’s book is no surprise.
I mean, I haven’t truly enjoyed the writing of a NPL winner since perhaps Kenzaburo Oe.
In fact, his, Oe’s, is probably the last NPL winner’s work I’ve actually finished.
Now I know what you’re saying…
More blaming and complaining from white boy Brindley.
And you’re right, but the only person I’m blaming and complaining about is white boy yours truly himself.
As I’m certain the fault in my inability to complete the works of such accomplished writers as past NPL selectees is solely my own.
Even you gotta admit that some of these NPL writers’ books are true snoozers, right?
But, despite its lullaby effect, I somehow managed to slug it out and finish reading The Other Name.
And by reading I mean listening…
My eyes have been jacked for a long time now so I’ve taken to listening to more books nowadays than reading them.
Which means the narrating is just about as key to my liking a book as is the writing.
The Other Name is narrated by Kyle Snyder.
He’s pretty good.
He’s obviously Canadian…
Obviously because right away the oots and aboots* begin distracting the hell out of me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Canada. It’s about the best neighbor any country can have…
I mean, some of my nicest friends are Canucks.
And I’m sure Kyle is a rock star narrator up there…
But even the slightest hint of an oots and/or aboot destroy immediately even the deepest, most narcotic level of verisimilitude.
Yeah, yeah, I know…
More blaming and complaining…
And you’re right.
But what else is an old, pasty white dude like me to do?
It’s not like we’re going to get acknowledged by any other means…
Am I right?
Of course I am.
*If you don’t speak Canadian, oot and aboot translate to out and about, respectively.