Whaddaya know: The Nobel Prize isn’t the elite commendation that it may seem to be. How can it be when nominators can nominate Adolph Hitler; Stanley “Tookie” Williams, mass murderer and early leader of the CRIPS gang, and KFI RADIO broadcaster Bill Handel. To all the Bill Handel fans, hang fire: This is not a dig against him.
Given that almost anyone can expedite getting someone nominated, how elite and precious could that Nobel Prize list of winners be? In the days when Tookie Williams, on Death Row for his murdering sprees, was fighting for his life for a pardon, someone managed to get him nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (for the anti-gang books he wrote while on Death Row) in an attempt to show that Williams was worthy of a second chance.
To ensure that the convicted criminal Williams would not benefit from the glow of a Peace Prize nomination and get that stay of execution, Handel set out to discount the prestige of the Nobel Prize itself. He contacted a local California assemblyman to nominate him/Handel to make the point that anyone could be nominated. Handel went on the books as being a nominee and he went boisterously public about the ploy via his radio show. That ploy might have had at least some effect. In December, 2005, Tookie Williams was executed by lethal injection in California.
Here’s more about the Nobel Prize:
Being nominated for the Nobel Prize isn’t as big a deal as it sounds
Occasionally, somebody will use the fact that they were nominated for the Nobel Prize as some sort of proof that they are a qualified or well-respected person. Except that it proves no such thing.
This isn’t like the Academy Awards or the Pulizter Prize for which receiving a nomination means that you are one of a handful of finalists. For the Nobel Prize committee, nomination is just the first step, and there is no restriction on how many people can be nominated. In particular, the list of people authorized to submit nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize includes “members of national assemblies and governments of states.” For the United States, this means that any
member of the Executive Branch and any member of Congress can submit a nomination. Deputy Under-Secretary of Transportation? Sure.
The easiest way in is to convince a House Representative to submit a nomination for you, since there are over 400 of those positions, and each one represents fewer than a million people. Representatives are known for being quirky, so shop around. I’m sure you’ll find somebody who would be willing to submit your name. It costs them nothing, after all.
According to the rules of the Nobel Committee, the list of nominees (and nominators) is kept secret for fifty years. You can search the database of Peace Prize nominees from 1901 to 1951 to see whether your favorite figure or organization is in it.