When President Kennedy hosted a dinner for Nobel Prize winners, he made one of his nicest little speeches: “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

A dinner for Nobel Laureates today would be just a hot air fest for trendy intellectuals who hate the United States (at least when there is a Republican in the White House). Nobel Prizes nowadays are awarded almost exclusively to harsh critics of the United States-and I’m not just talking about Jimmy Carter. 

The latest America-basher to win is Harold Pinter, the annoying Brit playwright, who was just awarded the Nobel for literature. According to a report in the Telegraph, the Nobel committee awarded Pinter the prize because he “uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms.”

If there’s a precipice under the prattle, sentences like this make me want to jump off it. The news story adds:

“[Pinter] is also known as a radical who has never been afraid to speak his mind, recently opposing the Iraq war.

“The playwright turned down an offer by John Major, the then Prime Minister, of a knighthood and has called Tony Blair a ‘deluded idiot’ and President George W Bush a ‘mass murderer.'”

It’s a sad commentary that the last English recipient of the Nobel for literature was V.S. Naipaul, who wrote like and angel and addressed complex subjects. Today all you have to do is hate George Bush.

The committee’s awarding the Peace Prize to Mohamed ElBaradei and the gang that couldn’t get into Iraq at the International Atomic Energy Agency may also be interpreted as a slap at the U.S.