The Corner

On Giving It Back

I’m generally sympathetic to the idea, but I think Mickey — and others — downplay the potential for blowback. Turning down the Nobel Peace Prize and, in effect,  lecturing the Nobel committee for jumping the gun, could itself seem pretty arrogant and narcissistic. “It’s too soon for me to get the Nobel Peace Prize” is not necessarily a humble statement. When Woody Allen refuses to show up at the Oscars, do you take it as an act of humility or supreme arrogance?

And, given that the Prize is more esteemed abroad than it is here in the States, the connotations of rejecting it might not be the same everywhere. It may well be the best play, but it assumes that Obama has more humility than any of us suspect he has and it requires a defter touch at sounding humble than he has usually shown.

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