The most meaningless prize on the planet

Well, almost. Because all of the media outlets listed above, and all my Snowdenite friends on Facebook and Twitter, have fallen for the perennial person whose politics I share was nominated for the most meaningless prize on the planet story. But what, dear reader, does it actually mean to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize? The short answer: not much.

Remember that flurry of reports in October that “Russian President Vladimir Putin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by an advocacy group that credits him with bringing about a peaceful resolution to the Syrian-U.S. dispute over chemical weapons?” In 2012, hundreds of news organizations reported on Bradley Manning’s nomination (one of those Norwegian parliamentarians who nominated Snowden also nominated Manning). In 2011, the wires were clogged with stories of a potential Peace Prize gong for Julian Assange. And my personal favorite, courtesy of a former Swedish deputy prime minister and parliamentarian, the 2006 nominations of former U.N. ambassador John Bolton and right-wing polemicist Kenneth Timmerman, author of books on Jesse Jackson, the Iran nuclear program, and how the French “betrayed” America. (On the cover of Timmerman’s book Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran, potential readers are told the book is written by “a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.”)

And one can have a bit of fun mining the online database that catalogues nominations, though only those submitted between 1901 and 1956. A sample of the brilliant suggestions by not-so-brilliant nominators: In 1939, twelve forward-thinking members of Swedish parliament put forth the name of gullible “peacemaker” Neville Chamberlain.