Yes, I know what you're thinking. You are thinking that Lee Harris has not actually won the Nobel Prize for Literature, in which case: why are you being invited to read his acceptance speech?
Well, I like to plan ahead. And even if my name is not on the short list of Nobel Prize nominees, nor indeed the longest list imaginable, stranger things have happened. For example, let us consider some of the people who have won it in the past, and see if their names are more familiar to you than mine is: Karl Adolph Gjellerup, Henrik Pontopiddan, Carl Spitteler, Wladyslaw Reymont, Grazia Deledda, Johannes Vilhelm Jensen, Frans Eemil Sillanpää. Ring any bells? In short, if you think Lee Harris is too obscure to win the Nobel Prize, you are obviously wrong.
So the next question is probably going to be something like, "Well, do you really think you're talented enough to win it?" And, being a writer, that question is quite easy to answer. Of course, I do. All writers do. We wouldn't be writers if we didn't.
Which brings us to truly decisive question: Am I anti-American enough to win the Nobel Prize?
Here, it seems to me, I have a real problem on my hands. In my book Civilization and Its Enemies, I actually defended America, kind of, as I have done in a number of articles for Policy Review and right here at TCS. Thus I have foolishly left one of those awkward paper trails that nominees to the Supreme Court have so much trouble explaining away to unsympathetic Senators, and this does present quite a serious obstacle to my Nobel Prize aspirations. Can I really expect the committee to give the prize to someone who has said nice things about America, even in his dotage?
But that is precisely why I decided to go ahead and publish my acceptance speech now, because that way I could make it clear to those guys in Sweden that I know exactly what kind of thing they are looking for in a Nobel Prize laureate, which is fanatic, frothing-at-the-mouth, virulent anti-Americanism of the most vicious kind.
You see, by reading my speech ahead of time, the committee would realize at once that they were dealing with a man who could spew as much bile and hatred against America as their previous choices for the prize have done, and that way they would jump at the chance of awarding me the prize, with the added plus that they wouldn't have to bother about actually wading through my books and articles.
You don't really think that the committee actually read Harold Pinter's plays before giving him the prize? If The Caretaker is pointlessly boring and tedious in English, one can only shudder to think how it must come across in Swedish. No, they probably called him up and said, "Listen, this year we're down to you and Maureen Dowd, and since we can't give it to an American, it's gotta be you. So, can you give us a really vicious attack on America?"
Now anyone who has read Mr. Pinter's acceptance speech knows how well he came through for the committee, and, I must confess, that it has set a standard that will not be easy to surpass. Indeed, its effect on me was downright daunting. How could I top that?
A creative mind is a wonderful thing to have, however, and I soon came up with my acceptance speech.
"Ladies and gentleman of the Swedish Academy. Thank you for honoring me with your prize, and thanks for all the money that comes with it. But now for the part you have all been waiting for -- my anti-American speech.
"America sucks! It sucks now and it has always sucked. As long as there is an American left alive, the world will suck because it has Americans in it. All Americans suck. I suck and all my friends back in America suck, too. In America, even the cats suck. It's sickening to think how much we suck. In fact, just thinking about America makes me want to puke. See, look, I'm vomiting right now." Of course, I won't really be vomiting -- I'll just be pretending to, the same way the Swedish Academy pretends to award literary merit. It will be like a work of conceptual art, and you can only imagine the electrifying effect as the Reuters newsflash bulletin makes its way around the globe: "American Nobel Prize Laureate Lee Harris Pukes All Over Himself Denouncing His Own Country." You won't hear anybody asking "Lee Harris Who?" after that, will you?
Who knows, after making such a good impression, I might go on to win the Peace Prize the next year -- and without having to commit a single act of terrorism!