For the first time in 35 years, The Pulitzer committee did not award a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Th announcement was made earlier this week.
I haven't read any of the three finalists -- Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace. That said, I have a tough time believing that in the past year there was no "distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life." And, like everything else in life, there are good years and bad years in fiction.
That said, you can say that about everything. I don't think either the 2011 Giants or Patriots will go down as one of the best football teams of all time, but that doesn't mean the NFL canceled the Super Bowl. They always hand out an Oscar for Best Picture, regardless of how bad the year in film is. And the 2012 presidential election will go on, regardless of how mediocre Obama and Mitt Romney are.
So I will say this because I'm pretty confident I will never win a Pulitzer: not handing out a Pulitzer for Fiction in 2012 is a lame decision.