April 8, 2003 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Pulitzer?! I don't even know her! Yes, folks, the 2003 Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded. Jeffrey Eugenides wins the Fiction award for Middlesex (a NYT link to the book's first chapter), Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post wins for criticism (that links you to his LOTR Two Towers review, which made me laugh) and this picture (NYT link) and this cartoon (also NYT) also won.
posted by adrober (14 comments total)
fixed cartoon link
posted by spazzm at 9:04 PM on April 8, 2003

Cheers, adrober. I'm very glad Eugenides and Stephen Hunter won - and I'll be checking out all the other prizewinners (though, in my experience, the also-rans tend to be better). Apart from that, I think there are perhaps too many Pulitzer categories - or is it that they're not really equivalent? - so that the prize has come to be gradually devalued. Or is it that there are too many other prizes? I really don't know.

P.S. Funnily enough, I owe a lot of reading pleasure to the Pulitzers - not the least of which was discovering Dave Barry much earlier than I (being European) would have.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:26 PM on April 8, 2003

Stephen Hunter's prose review is pretty entertaining, but it doesn't really read like critque of the film. Or like he knew much of Tolkien:

But underneath it all is the same issue that defined Tolkien's life, the battle between Western democracy and monsters who wanted to destroy it. Read into it what you want, or read nothing into it, but it's really the oldest story of all...

Tolkien said:

The real war does not resemle the legendary war in its process or its conclusion. If it had inspired or directed the development of the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved, and Bard-dur would not have been destroyed but occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-eart. In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits in hatred and contempt: the would not long have survived even as slaves.

I'm nitpicking, as people familiar with both Tolkein's work are wont to do when encountering popular perception of it. But I hope that a Pulitzer prize goes to Stephen Hunter for better work than that review. Amusing, but hardly a combing commentary on Jackson's adaptation.
posted by weston at 9:43 PM on April 8, 2003

Clay Bennett, who draws for The Christian Science Monitor (check out the Commentary page) is unbelievable. He should have won for cartoon again.
posted by tayknight at 9:44 PM on April 8, 2003

I think adrober gets a Pulitzer for the best Mefi headline of the day:

Pulitzer?! I don't even know her!

That brings to mind so many, many, many, many high school conversations, where we'd turn any word into a "...don't even know her!" endings.

[nostalgic sigh]
posted by TheManWhoKnowsMostThings at 12:27 AM on April 9, 2003

weston: preach it, man. right on.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:34 AM on April 9, 2003

I just think it's great that another film critic has gotten the Pulitzer (the second to do so, and the first since Roger Ebert's in 1975.) As Ebert pointed out in Chicago magazine last month, there are so many good film critics out there, and it's high time more of them got recognized.

I'm not sure there are too many Pulitzer categories, Miguel; which ones would you drop? Granted, the "arts" category is somewhat covered by other awards (National Book Award, Tonys, et cetera), but I believe that Joseph Pulitzer's will specifically set up both the journalism and arts categories. The Pulitzer remains by far the most prestigious and well-known journalism award. (Witness, for example, the fact that they get an FPP, when last week's Peabody announcement didn't.)

In an interesting side note, Editor & Publisher magazine published a leaked list of the finalists on April 1 which turned to be bang-on. They called it the "worst-kept secret in journalism."

People link to it all the time, but Romenesko's MediaNews really is the best site around for rounding up news about this kind of stuff.

Another minor side-note: the Peabodys were announced on a webcast with the director of the Peabody program, the chancellor of UGA, and other bigwigs. And then they'll be presented next month in a glittering ceremony in New York. This was the first year I've really paid attention to such things, but a friend who covered the Pulitzer announcement said there really wasn't any "announcement" per se -- they had a list of the winners posted on the wall, handed out a stack of press kits with winners and finalists and bios and such (and a pretty cool CD of the winning pictures), and that was it. I thought that was odd, given how prominent the Pulitzers are and what mystique tends to surround them. (Wish I could find it, but there was an interesting article in the now-sadly-defunct Brill's Content about the Pulitzer board and their working method.)
posted by Vidiot at 3:36 AM on April 9, 2003

sorry to disagree Miguel, but I thought that Stephen Hunter's prose was hackneyed, his jokes poor and his insight minimal, the kind of thing one expects to find in a student magazine, not on a Pulitzer prize list.
posted by johnny novak at 3:39 AM on April 9, 2003

I'm glad Eugenides won—it was well deserved. Middlesex is a great read.
posted by btwillig at 5:39 AM on April 9, 2003

Middlesex was one of the funniest and most compelling books I read this year. It reminds me a little of Gunter Grass's The Tin Drum or the best John Irving books, in that the protagonist is wise and confused well beyond his/her years, and that there was so much social commentary on what was historically going on around her/him. (Detroit in the 60s and 70s).
posted by pomegranate at 6:22 AM on April 9, 2003

Bully for Eugenides. I haven't read Middlesex yet, but The Virgin Suicides is by far the most haunting take on adolesence I've read.
posted by signal at 8:02 AM on April 9, 2003

I agree with your comparisons, pomegranate, I also loved the how the story was framed within the history of Detroit—I hope it's not turned into a movie. Mind you, I didn't mind Coppola's film version of the Virgin Suicides. I can't wait to see what Eugenides will do next.
posted by btwillig at 9:46 AM on April 9, 2003

By the way, johnny novak's comment was referenced in Slate's Summary Judgement.
posted by lbergstr at 1:43 PM on April 11, 2003

Which, you know, I'm kind of flattered by association, but it does smell lazy, right? "Hmm...need some negativity to balance this out, where can I get me some snark..."
posted by lbergstr at 2:39 PM on April 11, 2003

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