What do prizes justify? Do you hate them?
Why? Because they're institutional? Because we can always make a better case for the underground choice? Because it's always good to be contrary?
What if the institution is right occasionally? What if they don't screw up? Should we laud the institution? Or continue to reject it? What is a Pulitzer Prize anyway? Is this an institution? Is it a cool institution, like that one local store you tell all your friends about? Or is it the necessary institution, like that grocery store by your house, these people controlling your food intake, what you put in your body, because you don't know what to do without institutions? How would you live? And if there weren't institutions what would we reject? Would we accept everything and become another institution?
So what about this Pulitzer Prize? Where does it fall? What if it's better than the Nobel Prize for literature? What if this book totally surprised me as the pick? What if it brought indie people and normal people and your grandmother's people altogether? Should we disparage it? Or is that giving it too much credit?
Because who really cares about the music industry? Who really cares about creative PowerPoint presentations? Who really cares about a story told in vignettes? Who cares about multiple points of view? And a story that at first I couldn't stand but then came to love?
What if there was a prize that sometimes got it? That had a good sense about it? That rewarded books for its interesting take on the current American culture? That could award a book like Kavalier & Clay? and Oscar Wao? A Confederacy of Dunces? Is this prize different? Is it sometimes different? Less pretentious? More pretentious about things that don't matter?
What matters? Is it aging? is it frayed relationships? Is it having a once awesome musician slam a fish down in the office of his now kinda-sorta successful friend? And what should be done about these things?
Have you read A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan?