"Every compulsion is put upon writers
to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile.
In protest, I declined election to the
National Institute of Arts and Letters some years ago,
and now I must decline the Pulitzer Prize."
Sinclair Lewis
(1885-1951) American novelist, short-story writer, playwright, Nobel Prize in Literature (1930)
Letter, 1926
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Reader comments about this quote:
A great statement of conviction, Columbia's perspectives can differ from the individual or entity and as such, seem slanted or perverse.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Must have seen the pathetic future of the two institutions coming. Wonder if it would have surprised him how bad they have become.
     -- warren, olathe     
  • 1
    That's one way to remain objective.
     -- Anonymous     
    The mainstream media of today is a perfect example. Whatever happened to real journalism?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    The western Main Stream Medis is pretty much totally owned by one of five major corporations. I imagine they know how to phone each other and set the strategy of the day. As for writers of books, there's still some good ones out there if you look. My latest fave is John Robb's "Brave New War". It lays the war on terror pretty much wide open.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Is it the oligopoly of media corporations that causes the uniformity of opinion in that business (yes, it is a business-not a calling), or is it the almost absolute lock Sorelian and Marxist thought has on journalism schools everywhere in the country? I think you'll find the so-called journalists are completely brainwashed long before the find a paying job.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Utter BS, right Waffler? What is the Pulitzer Prize but what the majority thinks of it? It doesn't matter what a group of stingy old men who choose the recipient think, right? just the majority who ignorantly think fondly on the award?
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Sinclair Lewis was a social critic who commented on the terrible conditions of the working class. He wrote contrary to the political correctness of money and priviledge. His novel about the meat packing in Chicago led to a government intervention of that sector of business and to a large extent to the creation of the Food and Drug Admin and USGA Government inspected meat. He thought outside of the box. He was rewarded for his efforts by the Pulitzer. I think they like people who think outside of the box. I think your remarks are unfathomable Logan and off the mark. The pressures Lewis must have felt were from the right wing power structure.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    All those that give out those prizes and run those institutions are leftists. The right wingers must have forced him to not take any recognition from the left. Yea that’s the ticket.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    Whoa, Waffler, you're confusing Sinclair Lewis with Upton Sinclair. Sinclair Lewis did not write The Jungle. He wrote Babbitt, Main Street, and It Can't Happen Here. Lewis may have had a lot of contempt for middle class smugness, but he also had a lot of contempt for socialism. The two men were anything but allies in the area of social reform. It Can't Happen Here is peppered with nasty barbs citing Upton Sinclair by name.
     -- Barry Kruse, Petaluma, CA     
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