Nobel winner laments internet

2010-12-06 22:35
The 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa gestures during the press conference at the 'Borssalen' hall at the Old Stock Exchange in Stockholm, Sweden. (Janerik Henriksson, AP/SCANPIX)

The 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa gestures during the press conference at the 'Borssalen' hall at the Old Stock Exchange in Stockholm, Sweden. (Janerik Henriksson, AP/SCANPIX) (Janerik Henriksson)

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Stockholm - Nobel literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa on Monday lashed out against today's fast-paced information society, saying it limits peoples' depth of thinking and is a major problem for culture.

The Peruvian author blamed the entertainment industry for creating what he calls a culture of "banalisation, frivolisation and superficiality."

Vargas Llosa is in Stockholm to accept the Nobel Prize in literature, which will be presented to him by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony on Friday.

"I think the audiovisual revolution, which is fantastic from a technological point of view, has introduced the idea that the main goal of culture is entertainment," he said.

"Of course culture is also entertainment, but if it is only entertainment, the result is the disappearance of long-range vision and deep preoccupation for basic questions," he said.

"I think it is a major, major problem."

China a dictatorship

The author, who switched to liberalism after flirting with communism in his youth, also welcomed the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the peace prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

"To me it is magnificent that they have awarded a Chinese fighter, who is a champion of democracy in his country," Vargas Llosa said, noting that many people seem to forget that, despite its advancements, "China is still a dictatorship".

Regarding his own award he was self-deprecating, wondering whether it was "some kind of universal misunderstanding".

Vargas Llosa said he had no natural talent for writing, but had been inspired by French 19th Century novelist Gustave Flaubert.

"The lesson of Flaubert is that if you don't have an actual literary talent, you can build... talent through discipline, perseverance, stubbornness, and self-criticism," he said.

Vargas Llosa is the first South American winner of the $1.5m Nobel Prize in literature since Colombia's Garcia Marquez in 1982, and the first Spanish-language writer to win since Mexico's Octavio Paz in 1990.

His best-known works include Conversation in the Cathedral and The Green House.

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