Yesterday I won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. The news was announced almost simultaneously with the first alerts coming out of Boston. Many of us weren’t aware of what was going on until after the gathering around the main news desk broke up, perhaps an hour later. By the time I did a quick video interview for the Post, and a few brief conversations with journalists from the AP and The New York Times, the images flashing on every screen and monitor throughout the building made the ugliness of the bombing–the panic, the wounded, the urgency of first responders–feel almost too familiar, even as the tragedy was still unfolding.
    People asked if it was strange to win on such an awful day. Yes, it was very strange, and I have family in Boston (who are all safe). But it was a thing of wonder to see the newsroom with all hands on deck, to see it do what it does best.  Arts critics survive in newspapers not because we help the bottom line, but because enlightened editors and publishers see art as an essential part of the picture of the world that newspapers deliver everyday. It’s news that makes newspapers vital and relevant, and there wouldn’t be a working arts critic in America if people weren’t first hungry for the work of reporters covering breaking stories with depth, perspective and passion.
    Art, on the other hand, is entirely essential to the survival of the world itself. That fact, that necessity, isn’t universally acknowledged, as the events in Boston give sad witness. Creation is the opposite of destruction.


Filed under Art, Culture

11 responses to “Yesterday

  1. Absolutely right. I am still wondering what makes some people commit terrible acts and how they can be encouraged to live meaningful and creative lives.

  2. Miguel

    What happened in Boston is horrible, but we would be giving up to horror and defeat if we let them stop us from celebrating what should be celebrated.

    Congratulations, Philip!!!

  3. Well said, Miguel…congratulations from South Beach, Philip. Long journey from NY days…there’s a celebratory mango daiquiri waiting for you if you ever make your way down here! Thrilled for you.:

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  6. David Kray

    Congratulations Philip, it is wonderful to see your hard work and intellect rewarded.

    • philipkennicott

      How great to hear from you. Where are you? It’s been an age.

      • David Kray

        As Descartes might say I have been studying the book of the world. I’ve been in Las Vegas since 1989. Father of three young women and married 18 years. Currently I’m a Philosophy major living on my savings and the good graces of my wife. Enough about me. Are you well? Tell me more if you like. Congradulations again. My pleasure at hearing of your PULITZER certainly pales in the face of yours. Well done!!!!

  7. achilles3

    Thank you for sharing your observations/thoughts from 4-16. I spent 9 summers in Western Mass and trips to Boston were frequent.

    And thanks also for mentioning the news coverage. Always good to be reminded of where the “facts to empathy” line comes from.

  8. Congratulations! Very well-deserved. It’s wonderful, but also very important, to see art criticism receive such positive attention. You are so right that “Arts critics survive in newspapers not because we help the bottom line, but because enlightened editors and publishers see art as an essential part of the picture of the world that newspapers deliver everyday.” I am looking forward to your next articles and blog posts.

  9. …well-deserved award.
    i remember gratefully the article you wrote on puppetry and activism a few years ago. puppetry has now taken center stage.

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