[Translated from the Swedish by an anonymous reader. Culled from remarks given at a press conference this week.]
I am Knut Ahnlund and you’re not. I pity you for not being me. You don’t know what it’s like having to wade through books, turning every Nobel committee meeting into a fistfight. The Americans think that when someone spits in their face or slaps some puny little man like Dale Peck that it’s some sort of literary brawl, that it’s the subject of an important debate. But here in Sweden, we argue over literature and draw blood! Have you dislocated a shoulder because you cared that much about a book? I have. Several times. That’s integrity, dammit! And don’t even consider it an accident that I haven’t smiled for decades.
I am Knut! Witness the golden halo above my head and the tension in my stride. I haven’t paid for a breakfast in years and I eschew jellybeans and walks on the beach. I know pornography when I see it and I can tell you quite adamantly that Elfriede Jelinek is a shameless hussy. When these parvenus unleash the next Nobel laureate, you will know that I, Knut, will be there, maligning the disgraceful winner at every opportunity!
I am Knut! And I know what is grand for the human race. They may force me to return to my chair. They may tell me that this Nobel stuff is something I can’t get out of. But I’ll be the one biting without warning into your calf, ensuring that I draw the appropriate amount of blood with my bicuspids. Do not mess wth me or mock my name! For I control the hidden levers and still have considerable influence!
You will never find me disgracing the weekly book review pages. You will find me instead hunkered over an obscure book. I do not read these popular darlings. I do not even consider you part of my universe. For you are not Knut! Only I am! And if you would like to deify me, you know where to send the elegies and the checks.
© 2005, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.