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Opinion
Where do they go from here?

Where do they go from here?

Published January 14, 2005

Davíð Oddsson
Having spent almost a decade as top dog in the city, and then another decade as top dog in the country, people wondered what he would do when he left office. Before he entered politics he was a promising actor, and his performances in Áramótaskaupið and the annual RÚV news first of April spoof prove that he’s still got it. However, a man of his age and build would probably mostly get Edward G. Robinson or Oliver Hardy parts, which may not be appealing to someone used to being a leading man. He has also released two volumes of short stories, but the one book everyone will be waiting for is his biography, mostly to see whether he will slag off the current President. To everyone’s surprise, he decided to stay on the cabinet as Foreign Minister. And people were even more surprised when his first high profile decision went against the American alliance by offering Bobby Fischer a residence permit. The unpredictable Oddsson may not have strayed too far from his roots in absurdist theatre after all.

Jennifer Aniston
For a decade she was America’s sweetheart. Eclipsing both her co-leading ladies in Friends, she was the most desirable woman in television. Then she married the most desirable man in the world. Aniston was probably the most envied woman on the face of the earth. With films such as Bruce Almighty and Along Came Polly, she has so far been the most successful Friend in cinema but has yet to prove that her charm can make the transition from the small to the big screen. And then came the bombshell, Brad Pitt dumped her. Whom do you sleep with after the most beautiful man in the world? A genius? Who cares. Aniston is still a star post-hubby. But she is no longer the most envied woman in the world. That title will probably go to whomever Pitt dates next.

Bill Clinton
For eight years he was the most powerful man in the world. He was President of the United States in an interregnum between Republican incumbents when the US was generally admired and respected. When he toured Eastern Europe shortly after the collapse of communism, he was hailed as liberator. When his term was up in January 2001, he had a hell of a resume, but hasn’t been able to hold a steady job since. But what do you do after having been the most powerful man in the world? With his autobiography generally considered a bore, and his talked about talk show not seeming likely to materialise, his brightest career prospect might be as the United States first First Husband, Mr. Hillary Clinton.



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[Continued from Ungoo: Part VI] The most recent attempt to create a common venue for cultural commentary and debate is Starafugl, a website started and edited by author Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl. It’s been around since last winter. As I have been involved in various ways, I am liable to be considered biased when I claim that Starafugl has had a convincing first few months. I claim it, all the same. Starafugl ran into trouble a few weeks back, when it received its first ever invoice. The invoice charged Starafugl for a photograph, that had been used to illustrate an article

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[Continued from Ungoo: Part V] Radio program Víðsjá, run by state broadcaster RÚV, is in fact a tower within Iceland’s cultural panopticon. Which might serve as a translation for the program’s name. It reports on events and publications, and leaves space for commentary, which at times has been among the best you’ll find: inspired and grounded, informed and enlightening, at times romantic, courageous when needed. Incidentally, if I’m not mistaken, radio host Eiríkur Guðmundsson, often credited for having made the program what it is, was also a student of the aforementioned Matthías Viðar. Notwithstanding repeated downsizing of RÚV programming, the

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Air-bnb has announced its future vision —and a new logo. Supposedly composed from a heart, a location marker and the letter A, the logo has already been the target of much ridicule, needless to repeat here. The logo is not the point. One of the its main virtues, according to the company’s announcement, is that it is easy to draw. This serves a function: people all over the world are offered to draw the logo on just about anything they are willing to share for a fee. As the company’s statement says, Air-bnb is not just about sharing spaces, but

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“The president will not discuss statements made in an election campaign, during his term in office.” So said the President’s spokesman in response to RÚV’s attempt to ask President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson about his statements in 2012, that, if elected, he might seek to leave office before the end of his term. His fifth term, to be exact. The spokesman’s response has the structure of a reasonable, if not self-evident, principle, something any member of a functioning democracy would surely understand. Meanwhile, the content of the sentence may be considered somewhat less than democratic. In other times, the same content,

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[Continued from Ungoo IV] Granted, much of traditional paper-based publication is currently in crisis. Yet, most of Morgunblaðið, heavily decorated by ads from companies on friendly terms with the Independence Party, keeps going. (Buying ad-space in Morgunblaðið is not just a political act, but comes close to signing a manifesto.) Its sports pages persist. Without any empirical evidence, my hypothesis as to why they cancelled Lesbók, is that it was open to texts that Morgunblaðið‘s new masters simply would not understand. And what you don’t understand might be communism. Perhaps the old masters didn’t understand it all either, but that

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[Continued from Ungoo III] Until the advent of Iceland’s economic crisis, anno 2008, the conservative-liberal daily newspaper Morgunblaðið published a weekly supplement focused on culture, called Lesbók, literally translatable as Readbook. The Lesbók‘s history dates back to 1925. Around the turn of the millennium its main editor was Þröstur Helgason. As a scholar of literature interested in contemporary critical approaches he would at times be derided by the right for being post-modernist as in non-traditional, and scorned by the left for being post-modernist as in apolitical. Both groups read Lesbók for the sake of irritation, to feel forced to respond,

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