Man Without Qualities

Monday, April 08, 2002

There must have been some simple but terrible mistake …

Surely at this very moment Paul Krugman is firing off a righteous note to the Pulitzer Prize committee.

(“Ladies and Gentlemen of the committee: There must have been some simple but terrible mistake …”)

You see, the Pulitzers are in. But Mr. Krugman isn’t. Even though the New York Times collected a record seven of these babies. How can this be? Was it not Mr. Krugman who, calling on capabilities uniquely his own, earnestly and breathlessly pointed out that “in years ahead the Enron debacle will turn out to represent a greater turning point in US society than September 11 terrorist attacks” when no one else seemed to understand? Doesn’t that deserve a prize?

And yet, even after Mr. Krugman’s clarion call, the Pulitzer Prize Awards have disproportionately and mistakenly gone exactly to people who wrote about the September 11 disasters and their aftermaths! Well, certainly this award business is another disaster in and of itself.

(“I frankly find it impossible to comprehend how the committee could possibly miss the significance of the story of the century, unless you have succumbed to another of the vast right wing conspiracies that have so ravaged my life of late … ”)

Tragically, the committee seems to have inadvertently awarded Mr. Krugman’s prize to another Times financial reporter, Gretchen Morgenson – who didn’t even write a single cited article about Enron! The closest she came was some general thing that appears at the bottom of her list of cited articles on "today's loosey-goosey world of financial statements" that uses Enron as a jumping off point to warn us that "[a]fter a debacle like Enron's, regulators may begin to examine disclosure lapses." That's it? Regulators may begin to examine disclosure lapses? Where's the earthquake?! Where's the outrage?!

(“… and, while, of course, I am not intimately familiar with the committee’s procedures, can I suggest that perhaps a page of the committee’s memorandum listing the award winners was inadvertently lost in transmission to the wire services?")

Not only that, but not one person awarded the Pulitzer Prize – at the New York Times or elsewhere - seems to have written a single hot word about Enron.

Not since Mr. Applegate fulminated to perdition at the end of “Damn Yankees”has anyone been so justified in his rage, so cheated of his just desserts.

(“...How could this have happened? Just what the heck is going on at Columbia?…")

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