The hero of the issue this issue is Límonaði. If you have not yet tried this Icelandic lemon soda then you are truly lacking goodness in your life. Icelandic soft drinks are always a roll of the dice, some far better than others, but Límonaði is lightyears ahead of some of the ubiquitous standards out there. For one, it contains triple the amount of lemon juice compared to more expensive, imported, hipster lemonades with names like Mr. Tweed’s Inscrutable Cloudy Lemonade Beverage, while costing far less. Second, it is literally, and without hyperbole, the best summertime drink ever created in the known history of the universe. It reminds you that yes, some Icelandic soft drinks aren’t actually ambiguous syrup with soda water dumped into them, but are actually delicious and refreshing. Límonaði represents everything right about Iceland, and it is for this reason that it is this issue’s Hero of the Issue.
The villain of the issue this issue is “freedom of speech”, a concept that has been getting the shit kicked out of it lately. And by that we don’t mean the actual legal definition of freedom of speech, i.e., that everyone is free to express themselves or criticise the expression of others. We mean the kind of “freedom of speech” that bigots refer to whenever met with the mildest criticism. Local xenophobic call-in radio station Útvarp Saga is especially guilty of this kind of hypocrisy—they are the first to cite freedom of speech when they claim, with zero evidence, that asylum seekers have ties to Daesh, and the first to claim that their freedom is being oppressed whenever someone points out they’re racist shitbags. Freedom of speech has become a cudgel with which to bludgeon and stifle criticism and critical thought, and is used instead to give a platform for hateful, unexamined bigotry, and it’s for this reason that freedom of speech is this issue’s Villain of the Issue.