The Nobel Peace Prize is an esteemed and venerable award that is given only to the most important and influential humanitarians in history. And an honest to god, in-the-running candidate this year is: The Internet.
Because if there are two words that best describe the Internet, they're "esteemed" and "venerable." If there are three, it's "LOLZ0RzFAG."
While it's true that the Internet was initially nominated by the Italian version of Wired--who are obviously going to push forth something within their wheelhouse (we should probably consider ourselves lucky that it wasn't "AirSoft Guns" or XKCD)--it has since been backed by some serious folks: 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi; esteemed professor Umberto Veronesi; even fashion designer Giorgio Armani. (Hey, don't laugh. He counts: He’s an expert in interpersonal communication according to this sentence.) All sources point to this nomination being legit, and that is absolutely not retarded. No, really, it’s not. It is absolutely not a crash-helmeted, cork-forked, can’t-ride-the-Slip-N’-Slide-for-liability-reasons retarded move.
"Oh, goddammit, Chuck! You said your daughter was just dyslexic! The insurance companies are gonna have a field day with this."
The Internet is an astoundingly important tool for change that has absolutely revolutionized society… or else it’s Cat Fails and Balloon Porn; it all depends on how you use it. In Iran, Twitter single-handedly collapsed a media blockade that, just 10 years ago would have completely quashed a social upheaval. Two nights ago, it was a place where something called “Bad Girls Club” (which I believe is a show about illiterate whores fist-fighting for welfare checks) was not one, not two, not even three but holy-shit-we're-all-doomed four of the 10 trending topics.
Annie and Natalie are names of Bad Girls - hell, maybe "Olympics" is too, depending on how ghetto her parents were.
But I digress: I’m sure flawed people have won the Nobel Peace Prize. A person’s vices do not nullify their virtues, and the Nobel Peace Prize is meant to honor the actions more than the nominee. So I not only understand this move, but I actually support it. Here, I've even taken the liberty of writing the Internet's acceptance speech, should it win:
"Friends, R-tards, Perverts, Trolls,
I am honored beyond belief to be receiving such a high award this day, but I know this is a somewhat controversial decision to many. Some say that I am "not a person" and perhaps we should "not be giving out awards to abstract fucking concepts." To them I say: When Time gave the 'Person of the Year' award to 'You' back in 2006, did you think that was 'a stunt'? A stupid gimmick? Little more than a carnival grade tchotchke to artificially boost the self worth of fat middle-aged women who only suck breath another day thanks to the motivational kick of their 'Hang in There' kitten posters?
No! It was totally valid and not a gimmic- Holy shit look! It's a mirror!
Though I do agree in part with those that say my humble contributions do not warrant such an esteemed award, I cannot abide by the statement that no abstract concepts should be honored in ways they cannot possibly live up to or appreciate. If that kind of thinking prevailed, 'Words' would have never won the Pulitzer, 'Food' wouldn't have won the Humanitarian of the Year Award for its unceasing efforts in stomping out hunger, Honor would never have received the Medal of Honor, and Titties would not be President of the United States. That, friends, is a dark world I am glad we did not see.
Hail to the chiefs.
But I digress, this is not a night about disproving my detractors; this is a night to thank all those who have given so much to put me here now. Where do I even start? I’d like to thank file sharing, of course: Without the promise of 'free shit,' there’s simply no way I would have the bandwidth I do now. I’d like to thank Google for all of their hard work in taking over every aspect of me with the iron fist of a Marvel Comics villain. I’d like to thank Facebook and MySpace for eliminating the concept of real world friendship and replacing the interpersonal gesture with the poke button and the thrown sheep.
...and the Friendly Gifts, and the Vampire Mafias, and the Crop Star Invites, and the...
I have to thank Twitter for its revolutionary work in facilitating instant news updates to a worldwide network, and also for using that network to keep us abreast of the status of everybody's sandwiches and exactly how "redonk" they were. I thank those who have sacrificed all to get us here as well: Thank you Netscape, for tanking so instantly the very second the first hint of competition showed up, thus allowing better browsers to shine through with ease; thank you webcomics, for supplying reams of free content while eschewing all semblance of quality and sanity, thus setting back the cause of the cartoon as an art-form after more than 50 years of Family Circus; and special thanks to 4chan, for basically being a giant asshole corral, containing and concentrating all the negative impulses of humanity in one easy-to-avoid site.
Truly, 4chan is a saint.
But most of all, I’d like to thank my soulmate. My heart, my life, my love, my partner through thick and thin--come on up here, baby! This is just as much yours as it is mine:
Thank you, pornography!
Now, I see some of you laughing. Why is that? Without pornography, I would still be a clunky, text-based interface obscured from mainstream adoption by the dense foliage of unfamiliar technology. We all know that pornography is the spur for mass acceptance. It has decided every media war: It killed beta and ushered in VHS. It murdered HD-DVD; it pimped out the digital camera--it has always been the decider, and the personal computer owes a great debt to it.
"Yeah yeah yeah, I get it: Artificial thinking machine. Listen, Frank, if this thing can show me titties bouncing then I'll cut you a check."
Without the appeal of free porn, the consumer would not have overcome the impressive learning curve required for PC use, they would have been adverse to adopting expensive, incomprehensible new equipment, and would have balked at paying yet another monthly subscription fee for access. Without pornography’s presence on the Internet acting as a siren song for the lonely, the desperate, the--aw hell, let's just say it--the men, I would have been, at best, an obscure archival tool; at worst, a shameful toy for nerds. There can be no doubt that I am so much more than pornography now, of course. I’m not saying that’s all I consist of. No! I am shared information. I am the very concept of communication between human beings distilled to its essence. I am the great equalizer and the epitome of free speech and all that good stuff. I'm just saying that if I wasn’t absolutely filled with the weirdest kind of fuckin’, I would not be the widespread tool of change that I am. So really what it all comes down to is this: A Nobel Peace Prize for the Internet is a Nobel Peace Prize for Pornography. And you earned it, honey. Here: Take it."
Take it all.
You can pre-order Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead on Amazon, or find him on Twitter, Facebook and his own site, I Fight Robots where you can read more dismissals of grand concepts based on the ratio of penises present therein.