May 6, 2018

The embarrassing result: no literature Nobel Prize 2018 / Swedish Academy part 3

The speculations have been going on since the crises started. And for every member leaving. This week it was a fact. There will be no Nobel Prize in literature 2018.

At five occasions before has the prize been cancelled. 1940-43 during the 2nd World War. And 1935 when the reason might have been the members of the Academy couldn’t agree.

2018. When a majority of the Swedish Academy members protected an accused sex offender linked to the Academy. In fact, the Swedish Academy imploded as a part of the Me too movement. At this time in my text I can’t decide on wether this is extremely sad or if it’s the ultimate eruption. The perfect storm.

To visualize the picture of the Swedish Academy at this hour, the 18 members are down to 10. Two left years earlier for different reasons, six these last weeks (including the Permanent Secretary Sara Danius who was forced down) as a result of this crises.

The remaining members (at least the ones speaking) are underplaying the accused sex offender’s behavior. They are choosing not to see and acknowledge the problem but is pointing at others factors as the fundamental causes for what the Academy is going through this spring. They are lacking insight of the decease.

The decision to cancel the Nobel Prize in Literature 2018 was taken by the Academy itself on Thursday. They are too few at the job and the Academy has lost trust all over the world. It is said though that the Nobel Committee put pressure on the Academy. Damage control. They don’t want this filthy drama to spill over at the Nobel Prize as a whole and the respected and dignified institution it is. 

What is striking to me is the Swedish Academy not seeing how the Nobel Prize in literature is bigger then the Academy is. It’s the Nobel Prize God damn it! The most important award within literature in the world. An award which eminent authors are hoping and dreaming of all their lives and only a few are chosen for.

No, it seems like the prioritization here is to save the Academy such it now is, not the Nobel Prize. And not only that, but saving a dark overgrown duck pond where a couple of the birds are quacking loud and with confident intensity of their own righteousness.

I feel sick. That’s how embarrassing this is.

The other day I heard an Italian journalist comment the news. I can’t believe this is happening in Sweden, he said. You are so organized and there is no corruption - as opposed to his own country. How could it happen?

Well, it happens everywhere. In every profession, field, organisation, community, society and country. That’s what Me too has pulled out of the dark and silent impassable shrubby woods where men who abuse and assault women sexually hide in their dens. Spurred, cheered and guarded by chums alike.

The Swedish Academy turned out to be one of those dens. And Me too blew it up. The core of the elite of the elite did not have immunity. The house of cards fell. And there won’t be a Nobel Prize in literature 2018.

Extremely sad or the ultimate eruption? Both, and I hope for the latter to make a real and profound change in our society. But it’s also damaging to Sweden. IKEA, ABBA, the Swedish welfare and the Nobel Prize. Our four world wide known signature trademarks. 

2018 is the year when the golden Nobel medal melts down to dirt and dust. An embarrassing landmark on the Swedish timeline for which we always will be remembered.

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