Last Words: Printed Cocaine for the Rich - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Last Words: Printed Cocaine for the Rich

Last Words: Printed Cocaine for the Rich

Published August 25, 2017

More cocaine, please, and fewer books. That’s how we like it. Yes, let the good times roll. Decadence is hip again. Finally! It was only gone for a few years, but god, how long that felt. The uniform Range Rovers are back; the vodka-drinking, suit-wearing teenagers are back; fluid capital and ISDA agreements are back.

The influx of cocaine into Iceland is breaking all records and book sales are down a third since 2008. This can only mean one thing: the situation is excellent! We might actually reach the point where a decent novel in a Reykjavik bookstore costs more than a gram of coke from a 21-year-old on Facebook. What a milestone that would be. The government should tax art and culture even more. A book with interesting ideas easily costs 50 euros today. Why stop there? Make it 150. I thought that was the goal when taxes on books and food were raised, and taxes on electronics cut. Tax culture and food a bit more and maybe we can eliminate all fees levied on smart devices.

What a beautiful world it would be, what a glorious time to be free!

All joking aside, I get it. As a tyrant, I’d do the same. Books are dangerous. Something in their nature makes them enemies of power. Two minds meet to discuss ideas in silence. To people in power this should not be promoted (the same cannot be said of TVs and smartphones). There’s a reason why books have been banned and burned throughout the ages. Pricing is the more modern way to keep ideas under control. In Iceland, books and alcohol are kept extremely expensive. For some obscure reason, there seems to exist a silent agreement, regardless of who’s in government, that these things are not for poor people.

I look forward to the day when my book dealer—an unshaven man in a trench coat—shows up at my door with two smoking hatchet men, telling me I owe him money. I’ll be thin, pale and shaking. “I’ll get the money, Bergþór, I swear, just give me one more fix, something Russian from the late 19th century, you know I’m good for it!”

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