As a creature born of the 21st century, I’m primed to live on information, especially that of the useless kind. Like a neural junkie, my brain craves and seeks context, analysis, historical equivalency, and LOLcats. If no information is forthcoming, my intellect begins to wither and die, but not before I’m found wandering Lækjartorg in my underpants shouting “Who am I? What year is this? How will joining the EU possibly affect Iceland’s Fishing policy?”
This has happened on more than one occasion.
So when the kreppa descended upon this country like a flock of malevolent seagulls, I and others like myself found ourselves scrabbling in the media dirt, trying to find some answers as to what the hell happened. And for a non-Icelander, trying to find out the whos, whats, whys, and hows of it all was a struggle. But help came in the form of a dedicated group of English language Icelandic bloggers, such as Economic Disaster Area and The Icelandic Weather Report. Thanks to their analysis, I became aware of the situation, from the amazing Enron-style dealing of the banks, to the feudal shenanigans and rank incompetence of the nations ‘honourable’ political leaders.
Then a post appeared in the Economic Disaster Area blog in October stating that there was to be a blogging hiatus. I actually contacted the blog’s owner, Daði Rafnsson, for a coffee and chat about what was going on. We met and chatted about politics, Icelandic history and the reason behind his break, saying that he would return to blogging after the New Year. But then he told me that he wasn’t the only blogger that was giving up.
And he’s right. These days my news feeder of Icelandic news has begun to resemble a deserted fishing village form the 19th Century. As well as the EDA, Independent Icelandic News has not posted anything for three months. And towards the end of October, Alda Sigmundsdóttir, the person behind the Iceland Weather Report, announced that she be no longer continuing her blog, although she would still be producing E-books about Icelandic life.
The reasons for quitting are many and reasonable. Their blog had run its course. They wanted to spend more time with their family/work/studies. But almost everyone who stopped felt that wading neck deep into the constant stream of scandal, revelation, incompetence, anger and despair simply made them sad and depressed. Not surprising really. It’s a miracle they didn’t develop societal anthrax.
But this is troubling trend. We still currently have a media body in Iceland that fails to ask the right questions and look into the dank putrid corners of Iceland’s ruling class and drag it into the light for everyone to see. And while the real value of bloggers as a credible journalistic force is still being debated, here in Iceland they’ve been instrumental in looking into the issues that the newspapers and TV stations can’t or won’t undertake. Like it or not, right now we need these critical voices to find out and disseminate what is happening to this country and we can’t let them fall by the wayside.
Perhaps instead of using a lot of time on money on things like why puffins are disappearing at the Westmann Islands (all you need to know about puffins is that they are the hussy of the seas and they taste great!), we should get those scientists working on tracking, nurturing and conserving Icelandic bloggers before they die off and our discursive environment becomes a barren wasteland that only contain lumbering old media dinosaurs with brains the size of walnuts.
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