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Obama in wonderland

October 15, 2009

Like a lot of people, I woke up last Friday and thought I had fallen down the rabbit hole. More and more every day it seems like the world descends into surrealistic madness, but Friday’s plunge was a bit much.

I’m not a morning person, that’s part of the problem. After slapping vainly at the alarm and staggering into the living room scratching, moaning, and farting, I turned on Headline News and the first thing I heard was that NASA had bombed the moon and President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Huh?

That’s a tough one-two combo to take first thing in the morning. I’m pretty sure CNN put those two news items together just to screw with everybody’s head.

Like people over fifty tend to do, I immediately went through my checklist of stroke symptoms. Then I pinched myself to make sure I was awake, made sure the television was really tuned to Headline News and not a Saturday Night Live replay, and eventually got around to asking some pertinent questions, like:
Is that where Osama bin Laden has been hiding? On the moon?

Don’t bombs need air to work?

Don’t you have to accomplish something to win a Nobel Peace Prize?
The answer to all three questions: “Apparently not.”

It’s not that President Obama hasn’t accomplished anything in his nine months in office… although he hasn’t. No, the real problem is that the deadline for prize nominations was February 1, twelve days after he took the oath of office. So we’re talking about winning the Nobel Peace Prize for eleven days of work. In that eleven days he managed to skip church twice, take a day off, have four parties in the White House, sign an executive order allowing taxpayer money to pay for abortions in foreign countries, and read some speeches. That’s it.

I guess that adds up to Peace Prize material.

The Nobel awards – there are five of them – were established by Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, but the Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of Norwegians. Nobody knows for sure why Alfred gave that one to the Norwegians. Maybe he felt sorry for them, maybe he thought the responsibility would elevate them, or maybe he envisioned a long-term strategy whereby the Norwegians would make utter fools of themselves and open themselves up as a nationality to worldwide ridicule.

The Swedes can be sly like that, and Norwegians are their favorite target. If you travel the northwestern United States you’ll find lots of people with Scandinavian backgrounds and lots of Norwegian jokes… probably written by Swedes.

We can never know why Mr. Nobel assigned his Peace Prize to Norwegians, but if his reasons were dastardly it certainly hasn’t stopped them from being proud of the job. The Norwegian parliament elects people to the five-person Nobel Peace Prize Committee, and politicians enthusiastically campaign for the positions. So what if it’s Swedish money that funds the prize?

As Norwegian dairy farmer Olaf Olafson, from North Dakota, said to me, “All dat I am, I owe to udders.”

Even Obama himself seemed a little embarrassed about the award, but when you look back at previous winners you quickly realize the standards are low. Al Gore won one. ‘Nuf said, right?

Does anybody in the world – outside Norway – associate Al Gore with world peace?

Factor in winners like U.N. thief Kofi Annan, terrorist Yasser Arafat, and nutjob Jimmy Carter, and suddenly Barack Obama looks like one of the better winners. He’s certainly one of the more dignified winners, and they’re bound to get a good speech out of him at the awards ceremony… provided the teleprompter doesn’t break.

I remember when a Norwegian girl swam the breaststroke in the Olympics, came in second, and then rushed to the judge’s bench to lodge a protest against the winner: “She was using her arms! She was using her arms!”

Did I mention that I’m part Swedish?

Personally, I found this whole thing surprisingly reassuring. It’s not like Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize is the only surrealistic occurrence lately – NBC gave The Tonight Show to Conan O’Brien, for God’s sake – but it might be the most ludicrous, and by stretching the Obama myth into the realm of the humorous I think the Norwegians finally broke the spell. People like me have been shouting that the emperor has no clothes for two years now, but it took five simpletons in Norway to bring the reality home.

People are laughing now, and that’s a good thing. Even the president is laughing about winning this award, also a good thing. (Don’t forget, the emperor thought he was dressed in the fable, too. It wasn’t just the emperor’s subjects who were deluded.)

After Obama puts his Peace Prize (for not bringing peace) on the mantel next to his two Grammy’s (for not singing), what’s next? Maybe an Oscar as a director for dressing up those Rose Garden doctors in white lab coats? Hey, didn’t he throw out the first pitch of the baseball season? That’s a surefire Cy Young Award! And remember how he flew to Copenhagen to help Chicago get the games? Give him an Olympic gold medal for trying!

Yep, everybody’s laughing, and hopefully that signals a return to sanity. Maybe we can crawl out of this rabbit hole and have tea, like Alice did… maybe even a tea party.

(By the way, do you know why they bury Norwegians head first with their butts sticking out of the ground? So they can use them as bicycle racks.)



From Reno, Nevada, USA

October 17, 2009 - Hey Bill, regarding that Car of the Year award, as long as they don't give him the Miss America title I'll be happy. - Toni, Florida

October 17, 2009 - J.P. this is comic stand-up material. Very funny. But unfortunately very scary. Can't wait to see what you come up with on the subject of no social security cost of living increase. - Boomer Pie, Grand Rapids, Michigan
J.P. replies: Hey, wait a minute, how old do you think I am?

October 17, 2009 - BREAKING NEWS: Obama Named Motor Trend's Car of the Year! - Bill, Wyoming

October 16, 2009 - I don't recall where I read this, but the reason the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of the Norwegian Parliament is this: In Alfred Nobel's time, Sweden and Norway were united, with Sweden handling defense and foreign affairs for both countries. Nobel thought his Peace Prize would be less likely to be used as a tool of foreign policy, or suspected of it, if it was administered by the Norwegians, since they had no direct involvement in foreign policy. Norway and Sweden are no longer unified, of course, and the Peace Prize has been used as an instrument of foreign policy several times in recent years. For example, the award of the Peace Prize to Jimmy Carter was intended to deliver a "kick in the leg" to George W. Bush, in the words of one member of the Peace Prize committee. The award to Al Gore was probably intended to express the Committee's displeasure at U.S. non-participation in the Kyoto Protocol insanity (all Bush's fault, of course; never mind that treaty ratification is the Senate's job). This year's award could be a retrospective "kick in the leg" intended to reward Obama simply for not being Bush. Alfred Nobel's big mistake was giving Peace Prize administration to a committee of politicians and naively expecting them to not act like politicians. - Pete, San Juan Islands
J.P. replies: In spite of once being united, there's always been one big difference between the Swedes and the Norwegians... the Norwegians have nice neighbors.

October 15, 2009 - so do you think was crazy obama's peace nobel prize? i think was because of his charisma more than him fighting to pacify the world, maybe he is overrated and people think he is going to change the world, but in fact he is sending more troops to afghanistan. didnt he promise he was going to reduce the us troops in those countries? - Jackie, United Kingdom
J.P. replies: Using the standard Alfred Nobel specified in his will, yes, awarding the Peace Prize to Obama is crazy. But if you're a bitter little leftwing Norwegian politician who resents the success that individual freedom has brought to the United States, and you want to send a message that encourages leftwing anti-American policies, then this is your best shot at bringing meaning to your life.

October 15, 2009 - Wow, to learn that I was not alone in my perplexed state of Friday morning is a huge relief. I awoke from a wonderful nights sleep to the phone ringing, answering it much to my chagrin was a very out spoken liberal family member shouting from the rooftop "He won!" "Who won what?" I asked "Barack Obama won the Noble Peace Prize!" I could tell by her tone that this was a great source of pride and joy for my family member. "Why?" I asked. There simply was no logic to it. At which time she blustered like a blowfish and hung up. I really enjoyed your approach to the more ludicrous side of our current condition in this country. It is guys like you and sites like yours that will see us through to sanity. Thanks for your courage. - LAS, Reno
J.P. replies: Thanks! I don't know if I have courage, but I killed a spider in the garage last week, so maybe...

October 15, 2009 - Great article J.P. .....but your jokes are sick sick sick!!!!! Come on...you can do better than that! Love...your only sister, who loves you! (Hate to think what a sister who doesn't love you would say about this article!) - Mary, Ohio
J.P. replies: Remember that day with Jolie's Norwegian joke book, many years ago? Obviously I do.

October 15, 2009 - I woke up to a text message from my slowly recovering liberal friend. She was as baffled as I was. It was also 5:30 in the morning. It wasn't until after coffee that I realized she wasn't joking... I also have no idea how I wound up on your subscription list. I like what you are doing here. Please visit me also: In Jennifer's Head. Keep up the good work - Jennifer, Oklahoma
J.P. replies: Thanks for the compliment. I did visit your website, will continue to visit it, and it is linked here for everybody to see, okay?



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