The 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature: Let’s Bet Cash Money on This

Posted by @ 3:35 pm on September 29th, 2009
This award will go to someone you have never heard of, or a duck.

This award will go to someone you have never heard of, or a duck.

Next month, the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced, and literary types have already started speculating, and even betting, on who might be this year’s winner. This is pointless, because the winner is going to be, in all likelihood, an anarcho-syndicalist playwright or pamphleteer from Moldova or something like that. It might be a duck, as long as it’s a duck that likes Gramsci but not America or television. It probably will not be anyone you have ever heard of. But you might pretend you have after he or she wins, if you, like me, are kind of a dick. The winner will definitely be alive, per Nobel rules, at the time of the nomination, though. Sorry, Updike!

One thing is for sure: the announcement will catapult the winner to worldwide reality show-level fame, and magazines will speculate about his or her sexual orientation, and nobody will be able to stop talking about the latest Nobelist for years to come. Remember when that happened with Dario Fo? And Elfriede Jelinek? Huh? Huh? Anyway, we discuss the bookmakers’ odds for what might, sadly, be the most exciting contest of the year…after the fucking jump!

OK. So according to the latest Ladbrokes odds – apparently people in the United Kingdom bet on things other than cockfighting, oooooh, you’re so civilized, British people – the favorite to win this year is Israeli novelist Amos Oz (4-1), a member of the “Zionist left,” which means his victory would assure peace in the Middle East forever. Boring! He’s followed by two people I know nothing about (unless one of them wins, in which case I’ll be all like, “Oh, yeah, I went through this big Luis Goytisolo phase in high school”), so let’s skip right on down to Joyce Carol Oates and Philip Roth, tied at 7-1. Oates might have an edge because she has published 873 novels – OK, 874, it went up as I was writing this – but unfortunately for her, 870 of those novels haven’t been read by a single person ever. And the Nobel committee won’t like Roth’s foray into dance music this year. So they’re out.

Haruki Murakami and Thomas Pynchon are both tied at 9-1, followed by the awesomely named “Thomas Transformer” at 12-1. Fuck yeah! I can totally get behind – OK, wait, it’s “Thomas Transtromer.” All of them are out, because people besides comparative-lit majors actually read Murakami sometimes, and Pynchon probably would skip the ceremony, and send a bong or Sacheen Littlefeather in his place. And Transtromer? You’re out because I thought your name was cool, and it’s fucking not. Asshole.

Don DeLillo and Mario Vargas Llosa are among the writers tied at 16-1, but the real fun starts at 25-1, where Alice Munro, Bob Dylan, and Margaret Atwood are tied. Munro’s too nice, even Jersey cops don’t recognize Bob Dylan (and he’s about to release a Christmas album, how dreadfully bourgeois), and Atwood? Whatever, Margaret Atwood. Then there’s some predictable names, blah blah blah Byatt Achebe Ondaatje Doctorow blah blah boring, and then Salman Rushdie at 80-1. Rushdie won’t win because he was in the Bridget Jones’s Diary movie. True, so was J. M. G. Le Clézio (he played the gay best friend, I’m pretty sure), but Rushdie is not a good actor. So: out.

Bringing up the rear are several authors at 100-1, including Julian Barnes, Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, John Banville, Marge Piercy, Paul Auster, William H. Gass, and – God help me – Maya Angelou. (Seriously.) Which brings me to my suggestion – Blake, are you still reading this? – on how HTMLGIANT can use this contest to our financial advantage. Maybe if we pooled all of our money, and bet on Gass, we’d get lucky. And none of us would ever have to work again! Just think about it. I mean, if I put all the money in my checking account on Gass, and he pulled it off, I would have Three. Hundred. Dollars. And that’s just me! We just need to put someone in charge of collecting the money, and placing the bet in the UK, and incurring any legal responsibility for it. Taylor. It’s got to be Taylor. If he gets busted, he can charm his way out of it. Maybe Baumann.

Anyway, I’m going to go brush up on my Cees Nooteboom, so I can sound smart if he wins. Now there’s a cool name. Suck it, Transtromer.

(Coming tomorrow, unless I get bored with this: A Brief History of Past Nobel Prize in Literature Winners! I’ve got some fucking dynamite material on Karl Adolph Gjellerup.)

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