Thursday, December 07, 2006

Glittering Prizes

Last night, while sipping on some 80 year old Bowmore whisky and puffing on a 100 dollar Cuban cigar, I found myself ruminating on the nature of prizes and competitions in general.

It seems to me that Competitions exist on a spectrum that ranges from the worthiest to the tawdry. From the Nobel Prize at the apex, which generally attempts to celebrate mankind's highest achievements, right down to newspaper competitions like Spot the Ball which reward nothing but the grubby desire for monetary gain without the application of any kind of skill or effort whatsoever.

Part of the problem I think is financial. There is no doubt in my mind that the introduction of money - or equivalents such as holidays, diamonds, trophies, vouchers, trinkets and bawbles - totally devalues the prestige and value of a competition that aspires to celebrate the highest achievements of Mankind.

Which brings me to the Pundy House Literary Blog of the Year Awards. Where do they sit on the spectrum? Let me say unequivocally that I see the Awards as nudging the Nobel Prize in terms of prestige and respectability. And so it was that last night, after a second whisky, I determined that at all costs I would not taint the ideals and purity of the Pundy House Literary Blog of the Year Awards with the introduction of generous monetary prizes as I had originally planned to do. I am sure you agree with me that this has to be the correct decision. We do not want our competition tainted by Mammon. We dare not run that risk - it wouldn't be fair on the winners.

Instead, the real rewards of the Competition will lie in the genuine pleasure and unstinting admiration that the winners will receive from their peers, those unfortunate and less talented losers who have not quite cut the mustard.

As Henry James once said, our maxim must be "Be generous, be delicate, and always pursue the prize".

Pass the whisky, someone.

21 comments:

  1. Daddy2:55 pm

    You're right about Mammon -- the one Old Testament god that made the transfer to the New Testament. Since I'm not going to win anyway, I'll take the high road of Solomonic Wisdom, too: let the winners win only the jealous bile of the losers. In other words, let them eat cake, or something to that effect.

    However, if I were to win, I think I'd prefer some cash, nubile nymphs, or some 80 year old whiskey and a $100 Cuban cigar -- something a little more tangible than the venom of a bunch of losers, of which, sadly, I am one.

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  2. "However, if I were to win, I think I'd prefer some cash, nubile nymphs, or some 80 year old whiskey and a $100 Cuban cigar."


    See with my luck I would probably win an 80 year old whiskey drinking nymph smoking a cigar.

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  3. I feel I've already been rewarded.
    Don't know how many times I've dropped by to read that post.
    Again,thank you.

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  4. See Bernita, that's exactly the right reaction. Heartfelt gratitude plus you boost my visitor stats.

    If everyone was like you the world would be a much better place.

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  5. Anonymous8:58 pm

    Huh! Well I've certainly learned a lesson or two. Should've seen it coming a mile off ...

    How could I have failed to realise that going out of character and grovelling to the rich and powerful would get me nothing but humiliation?

    Not that I'm not still pleased about the kudos and that, but - not even a bar of sodding chocolate for all my pains?

    Oh and please can I have my dignity back?

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  6. Sensible decision: when they award a Nobel prize, everyone always gets very cross about certain names not having been included, etc. This way, the also-rans will accept defeat gracefully. Mind you, for the Nobels, the also-rans are top secret....shome mishtake shurely, ed?

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  7. Anonymous10:52 pm

    The desire for monetary gain without skill or effort is grubby? Surely not El Duce.

    I don't want accept defeat gracefully, I want to moan, sulk and be bitter for years......
    Although, one of those Cuban cigars for everyone nominated, would make me considerably less bitter and twisted!

    Worth thinking about, your most venerable wonderfulness..........

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  8. Maxine, I think you may be optimistic about the losers accepting defeat gracefully. It's well established at the universities that the maximum bile is expended when the stakes in a competition are vanishingly small. Still, let's raise a glass to His Majesty and promise to behave. OK?

    OK?

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  9. I'm from NYC. Show me the money!

    Wicked Witch of Publishing--Winner of #4!

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  10. Anonymous12:40 am

    I'm from Cornwall and you can show me yer nobels!

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  11. I heard both Bernita and Debi are getting chocolate if they win or not, but they're the only ones and its to keep them quiet. There's always something nasty lurking at the bottom of these competitive things. But I don't say anything in case it spreads a rumour.

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  12. Anonymous8:11 am

    It might be apt to repeat here the Ambrose Bierce definition of success: "the one unpardonable sin against one's fellows".

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  13. Anonymous12:24 pm

    I'm honoured to be on the list, Bill. Thank you.

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  14. Anonymous12:52 pm

    Chocolate, John? I've not seen any yet ...

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  15. Debi, that remark will go down in history together with Clinton's I never had sexual relations with that woman and all the stuff about WMDs that Blair and Bush gave us.

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  16. Anonymous11:53 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  17. Anonymous11:56 am

    See? You start off going against your instincts and grovelling ... and you end up with no one believing a word you say and being compared with US Presidents!

    And I DIDN'T even get the bleedin' chocolate! Cruel world ...

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  18. Anonymous12:09 pm

    See? You start off going against your instincts and grovelling ... and you end up with no one believing a word you say and being compared with US Presidents!

    And I DIDN'T even get the bleedin' chocolate! Cruel world ...

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  19. Anonymous12:18 pm

    Agh! Blog attack! Please delete the 2nd comment - and the 3rd - and the ...

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  20. You was seen getting the chocolate. The man in the gabardine mac was a spy.

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