From Iceland — The Ghost Of Sigmundur Davíð

The Ghost Of Sigmundur Davíð

Published April 7, 2016

The Ghost Of Sigmundur Davíð
Photo by
Art Bicnick

It’s the age of the crowd.

Events, leaders, history. Nothing escapes it. Everything is instantly consumed by the ever-expanding crowd. The crowd’s dialogue with the world is both aimless and eternal and there’s something almighty and monstrous about it. A true mysterium tremendum.

The necessary aim of every crowd is to kill the individual—the most dangerous force in the world—and slowly this is happening now, in digital times. The likes and retweets. The shares and trends. They shoot across horizons at the speed of light, streamlining human absurdity and convictions, converging markets and minds, styles of writing and ways of thinking.

The individual is doomed.

Meeting the most powerful man in the world, he wore a single Nike shoe. Black. Matching the suit. In the brilliant final moments of his Wagnerian downfall, he became Schrödinger’s Prime Minister, alive and dead, both flesh and not. A constitutional ghost haunting the day. A quantum politician, belonging to several dimensions at once, like all important historical leaders.

He was the arch-individual and this is what I liked about him. On the ropes from the very beginning, he was a beautifully Nixonian character to watch, bent on taking advantage of every single opportunity to display his first-class paranoia and self-destructive fantasies. So gloriously incapable of forged expressions and pretence, of appearing graceful or friendly, condemned by the naked realness of his deeply flawed character. A political Moses, a corrupt liar, a relentless mind and frail body. Sigmundur Davíð. A perfect name for a poet of politics.

Not even on the most banal of Sunday talk shows was he able to hide his obsessions, his deep struggle, the mesmerizing terror and dread of his gaze. In the eyes of the professionally smiling host he saw the smug pride of the digital crowd that hated him. The Seinfeld-quoting intellectuals, the Liverpool-supporting atheists, the vegan saints. He despised all their silent riots. Constantly mocking him, rearranging his arguments, provoking his fading old world with empty commercial selfie rebellions. Every day they fabricated new versions of his exiles, forcing him to answer to the details of their creation.

They said he collected napkins and boiled meatballs in coffee makers. They said he stumbled out of toilets in front of foreign royals, zipper down. They said his billionaire wife dreamed of being propelled into space. I liked to picture him alone in small rooms at night, sinking deeper into the erotic oblivion of great plots and conspiracies, escaping his own small reveries and desperations, just for little while. I always found it gratifying to disagree with him on every issue. I couldn’t help finding his complete lack of charm somehow moving and always knew in the back of my mind that one day I would fall in love with his memory. In the end they exposed him with a decoy, pedophile-style, cameras rolling. It was an agonizing watch but also deeply human and poetic.

A godless nation will never forgive him. Everything will be dull in comparison to the spectacle he was. This will be our curse.

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Enough. Stop. Now.

Enough. Stop. Now.


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