December 08, 2005

SATIRE: Nobel Laureate excoriates Microsoft

In announcing Harold Pinter as the winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, Horace Engdahl, Chairman of the Swedish Academy, said that Pinter "in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms."

Harold Pinter, in his acceptance address to the Swedish Acacemy in Stockholm yesterday, ripped unrelentingly into The Microsoft Corporation.

I put to you that [Microsoft] is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all [Microsoft managers in the papers] say the words, 'the [customers of Microsoft]', as in the sentence, 'I say to the [customers of Microsoft] it is time to pray and to defend the rights of [our users] and I ask the [Customers of Microsoft] to trust their [Leader] in the action he is about to take on behalf of the [great installed base].'

It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words '[the Customers of Microsoft]' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.

* Note: the words in brackets are my own and not the words of Harold Pinter. For the actual text of Pinter's remarks to the Swedish Academy on December 7, 2005, see The Guardian Unlimited UK.

Harold Pinter Links

Harold Pinter dot org
The Guardian Interview | August 3, 2001
Pinter, at Wikipedia

Pinter's Plays

The Room (1957)
The Birthday Party (1957)
The Dumb Waiter (1957)
A Slight Ache (1958)
The Hothouse (1958)
The Caretaker (1959)
A Night Out (1959)
Night School (1960)
The Dwarfs (1960)
The Collection (1961)
The Lover (1962)
Tea Party (1964)
The Homecoming (1964)
The Basement (1966)
Landscape (1967)
Silence (1968)
Old Times (1970)
Monologue (1972)
No Man's Land (1974)
Betrayal (1978)
Family Voices (1980)
Other Places (1982)
A Kind of Alaska (1982)
Victoria Station (1982)
One For The Road (1984)
Mountain Language (1988)
The New World Order (1991)
Party Time (1991)
Moonlight (1993)
Ashes to Ashes (1996)
Celebration (1999)
Remembrance of Things Past (2000)


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