From Iceland — New Year's Address

New Year’s Address

Published January 9, 2012

New Year’s Address
Jón Gnarr, mayor of Reykjavík

Now we bid farewell to the year 2011. It is expired. It is useless to contemplate it any more. It is gone. Memories. We leave it to the historians of the future to examine that year. Perhaps they will discover something important that we do not recognise at the moment. To me, the year 1967 is very important. This is because I was born in that year. Before 1967, the world did not exist. Everything that happened before 1967 is not real. Then, everything changed.
I don’t remember what is most memorable to me in 2011. Probably it was something that my youngest son said. He is very clever. Is it not right, what scientists have been claiming for a long time, that humanity is constantly progressing? We can see it in our children. They are usually their parents betters in most things. Children are a little more perfect than their parents. This is not something all parents admit. It can be painful. It is dreadful to lose to one’s children in a game of Trivial Pursuit, or at armwrestling. I have an experience of this. Enough about that.
The start of a new year is a perfect time to look to the future. What will happen in the coming years? There will be an election in the United States and Obama will continue being president, or he will not and someone else will replace him. If Republicans make it to power, this will strengthen the entertainment industry. This is certain.
I could well envision becoming eternal. But is that a realistic option? I think so. We are constantly becoming more like our machines, and our machines are constantly becoming more like us. One day, machines and humans will fuse into a single entity. It will be called The Singularity. This will happen in around 25 years. Then, we will biologically connect to the internet. We will be able to get a nano-router grafted into our brains. We will be able to google in our brains. We will become omniscient and connected to one international consciousness. And we will be able to upload our brains to the internet when our bodies die. Dead people will for the first time be able to maintain an active presence on Facebook. We will be able to live there for all eternity, or even download ourselves into an avatar or robot. Not having a conventional body will still have its shortcomings. If we show forethought, plan ahead and store samples of our DNA samples in a freezer we will be able to clone ourselves later and be reborn in our own bodies, go swimming, enjoy sex, drink good wine and eat good food. You can also do that as an avatar (I think). It will be similar to The Matrix, except not as negative.
What I most look forward to in the coming year is acquiring an Obi Wan Kenobi costume and wearing it around and practicing Jedi-tricks. I also hope I will be permitted to marry people. I also would very much like to see more tourists in Reykjavík. I am mostly interested in getting people that are rich, interested in swimming and like to spend a lot of money on nonsense. Others are also welcome, though.
I would like to extend Reykjavík’s tourist season. Now, most of our tourists come in the summer and around New Year’s Eve. I would like to see more tourists in horrible months, like October and November. A lot of tourists spend Christmas and New Years Eve in Reykjavík. That is good. But I would like to see more tourists here during Easter. Icelanders celebrate Easter by eating giant eggs made from light milk chocolate. The eggs are filled with candy. I once read how this is relevant to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but have since forgotten. Anyway, it isn’t important, because these eggs are very tasty! And each egg comes with an Icelandic proverb. If I were a foreigner, I would spend my Easter in Reykjavík and buy a lot of Easter eggs.
While I hope I am not jumping the gun, I wish to use this opportunity to wish all the readers of Grapevine a happy Easter in Reykjavík.

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