Nobel prize to Obama ridiculous: Remnick

Last Updated : 20 January 2012, 20:04 IST

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Renowned political commentator, editor of the New Yorker Magazine and Pulitzer Prize winner, David Remnick discussed American politics and analysed Barack Obama’s leadership on the session titled “The Disappointment of Obama,” with Samanth Subramanian.

Commenting on awarding the Nobel Prize for Peace to Obama, Remnick said: “The Nobel Prize was ridiculous. It was a prize for not being George Bush.”

The comment triggered the crowd in a packed Mughal tent to break into laughter and was grreted with applause.

But Remnick said he was “not disappointed” with Obama, despite contentious issues like Israel and Palestine, the environment and civil liberties. He appreciated Obama’s seriousness of purpose and belief in science, apart from his approach of taking the US citizens seriously. “It is about as good as it gets in American politics,” Remnick commented.

 However, he insisted that “one of the big things for journalism is to make power uncomfortable and when we do it well, then we’ve fulfilled our role.”

“Obama is tremendously disappointed with his first term but he’s not a dictator. Stalin was never disappointed with himself,” Remnick observed. He hoped that there was “a difference now, morally” about what the United States stood for.

He also observed that in American politics, the Republicans had become radically  conservative while the Democrats were becoming liberal. “We are watching a clown show in the Republican party,” the veteran journalist commented.

‘Satanic Verses’  read out

Writers Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar on Friday read extracts from the banned ‘Satanic Verses’penned by Salman Rushdie to protest the controversy regarding the Booker-winning author’s visit to the literature festival, reports DHNS from Jaipur.  Kumar was stopped from reading another extract by the organisers who feared that he would be arrested.

A statement issued by the organisers said that the views or actions taken by certain delegates were in no manner endorsed by the festival and that the former had acted without prior knowledge or consent of the organisers.       

Published 20 January 2012, 20:03 IST

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