The Golden Hookah Award: National Endowment for the Arts Funds Translation of Marquis de Sade

By Craig Bannister | October 15, 2010 | 3:15 PM EDT

The Golden Hookah presents this week’s “Golden Hookah” to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for spending $12,500 to fund the translation of a novel by the Marquis de Sade.

The term “sadism,” which Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines as “a sexual perversion in which gratification is obtained by the infliction of physical or mental pain on others,” is derived from Sade’s name because of his notoriety for engaging in such behavior and celebrating it in his writings.

On Sept. 7, the NEA announced it was giving a $12,500 grant to John Galbraith Simmons to translate Sade’s novel, Aline and Valcour, into English. Galrbraith told that this particular novel is not pornographic, and that “Sade is a figure who belongs with Shakespeare, with the greatest of authors.”

The Golden Hookah is the symbolic token that confers on government agencies that win our “What Were They Smoking Award” for outrageous government spending. presents the award weekly to a component of government that has distinguished itself in taking the hard-earned money of taxpayers and sending it up in smoke.

Inspired by stories that exposed federal grants used to subsidize research on hookah smoking in Syria and Jordan, the “Golden Hookah” symbolizes how a prodigal government squanders the taxpayers’ money on outrageous, unconstitutional and unconscionable programs. Each weekly video presentation of the “Golden Hookah” includes a “Taxpayer Tally,” indicating how many average American households need to work hard and pay taxes all year just to fund the winning program.

The Golden Hookah