The other night I dreamed that I was managing a large event, running among conference rooms with arms full of files and contracts and A/V equipment, and someone said, “I thought you would stop doing this after you won your Nobel Prize.” What??? The Nobel Prize for Event Planning?
Middle English: the noun, a variant of price; the verb (originally in the sense ‘estimate the value of’) from Old French pris-, stem of preisier ‘to praise, appraise’ (see praise).
It makes sense that “prize” would be a variant of “price” or “appraise,” as we give prizes to those who have accomplished something of worth or value. The Nobel. The Booker. The Oscars, BAFTA, Pulitzer. There are prizes for entertainment, philanthropy, design, tourism, food.
Not surprisingly, a quick Google search yields mostly prizes for entertainment (television, music, theater) and sports (okay, this is also entertainment). For me, this raises the question of what we value most as a society. Is it because these industries draw more money that other areas of our culture? Or because the contenders are typically mainstream celebrities? What other categories can we dream up, where prizes are hard-won and well-deserved?
Teaching. More prizes here, please.
I know that some prizes exist for these lovely people, but probably not enough. I wish we knew their names, and their faces, and their stories. Can we put a high enough price on their value? In a world that’s so jaded, so negative, so mean, they might, just might, serve as inspiration for others to step it up.
More on some of those famous, and not-so-famous, awards: