All that glisters

Salman Rushdie, now hitting prime award-gathering age, has a nice Borgesian story that only reveals his ignorance of a very wide con that the world is pulling on us all:

I was presented with the Gold Medal by the Historical Society of Trinity College Dublin (“The Hist” to its friends, founded by Edmund Burke). It’s this very beautiful medal with bas relief on it and so forth. But when I opened the box, there was this silver medal inside. I was slightly disappointed and I said, “Oh, so this is the silver medal.” “No, no,” they said, “This is the gold medal – we just make it out of silver.” That’s definitely my favourite prize.’

But it turns out, to my shock, that few gold medals are made of gold. As in Dublin, they’re mostly silver. According to Wikipedia, some of the few truly gold medals are the Nobels, the Lorentz, and the Congressional Gold Medal. For once, base literalism really does have value.


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