Sunday, September 27, 2009


Well, once again, the MacArthur Foundation, in its infinite wisdom, has overlooked me when selecting for the year’s “genius” awards.

Despite my unrivalled claim to being the world’s greatest writer of 327-word essays, the selection committee continues to reward individuals whose talents and abilities are applied to far more mundane enterprises, such as writing poetry, making films, or authoring in-depth analyses of civil rights issues. Nevertheless, I remain confident that, in coming years, as those who choose the winners become more sophisticated in their choices (and perhaps, somewhat more senile in the process), that 327 Words will receive its due recognition and its creator—yours truly—the half million bucks that goes along with it.

I don’t mean to sound all conceited or anything, but I mean really: this year’s MacArthur fellows include, among others, a mathematician, a poet, and even a friggin’ ornithologist! Somebody who studies, what? Orns? What’s up with that?

Now, I’m not saying that these folks don’t deserve their awards; I mean even “Rocky” won an Oscar for best picture, right? But if you think about the contribution to culture and meaning in the contemporary world, how can you compare, the import of—and I don’t mean to sound too harsh here, but really—a papermaker, to the positive affect upon humanity of almost daily 327-word insights into such vital human concerns as bicycle-riding, afternoon-napping, and ineffective parenting?

No doubt many will consider my complaints here to be merely sour grapes, but I would argue that it’s much more than that: it’s sour apples, watermelon, and pickles, too!

I’m sure that the selection committee worked long and hard to make its choices, but clearly it was neither long nor hard enough, which by the way, is a problem that the creator of 327 Words never experiences, badaboom-badabing, hah!

Of course, there’s always next year, and so I remain hopeful: but if I don’t win in 2010, it’s time to start writing about orns!


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