From Iceland — LETTERS


Published July 9, 2004


Received sms:
The regulars at Kaffi Vín support you wholeheartedly 100%. It´s about time Icelanders accept the fact that the world reaches farther out than 200 nautical miles and includes things that can even be more interesting than sour food, brennivín and Americanized Vikings.
Finally, someone who´s not acting out of self-interest.
PS. Moli demands a party and we all want to see Vín on your map.
Oh, well.
Received phone call:
Góða kvöldið. Pétur Pétursson heiti ég og mér langaði til að benda á málfarsvillu í sambandi við bréf eftir þig sem var birt í Fréttablaðinu. Þú talar þar um magn af fólki, en í íslensku talar maður um fjölda fólks og magn af kjöti. Takk fyrir og gangi ykkur vel.
This would lose the point in English. But at least you know people are listening to what you´re saying when they call you up in the evening to correct your grammar. wrote:
The white power community all over the Nordic countries seems to be mad at you because of some prank you pulled, involving a black model and a national costume. What gives?
If nothing else, at least I´ve managed to unite Scandinavian Nazidom. Now, if only our side would stop bickering among themselves.
From the website:
Scandinavia nationalist: A liberal commie photographer got the splendid idea to take a picture of a negress in the national uniform with some beautiful Icelandic nature behind to prettify the front page of some business magazine…
White Iceland: As you can imagine, being an English paper, many of the writers and readers are immigrants and the editorial policy is libertarian to leftist…
They then go on to say they smell blood and print my number and address as well as that of Sheba for any of its members interested. But I´m glad to hear that we´re libertarian commie leftists who run a business magazine. I think that covers pretty much the whole spectrum. Except, of course, for Nazism. But apparently Nazis are not the only ones who are confused:
Heard at a party at the American embassy:
Óli Tynes: You´re all communists!
Grapevine: Why?
Óli Tynes: YOU put a black woman in the national costume.
Grapevine: And that makes me a communist. Define the word communist.
Óli Tynes: I don´t have to, you are all communists etc..
Thank you for the 3rd issue of Grapevine that I received today, I have in fact read the others with pleasure. Well written and edited material. It is useful to have a look at the country and the people from the outside. But you should look at one thing: In the Top 8 movies, by Þráin Bertelsson on page 30 it says: “3. When the Raven Flies” (Í skugga hrafnsins).
This is confusing. It is the film Hrafninn flýgur (1984) which in English is called When the Raven Flies (also Revenge of the Barbarians). Í skugga hrafnsins (1988) is called in English In the Shadow of the Raven.
Best wishes, Ólafur H. Torfason
You´re a perceptive man, Ólafur. Not only did you notice the fine quality of the editing, but you also managed to find a mistake. The film Þráinn mentions is indeed Hrafninn flýgur (When the Raven Flies), the very film that taught a generation of Swedes to say “Tungur Knivur.” The mistake was not Þráins, as we translated his comments ourselves. The translator would be summarily punished, were it not for the fact that he is also the editor. Hence, a gentle “better luck next time” will do.
Dear editor,
All the anchor people at Channel 2 got the latest issue of Grapevine sent, apart from me. Is this because all my female colleagues at the channel are blonde and blue-eyed, but not me?
Sólveig Kr. Bergmann
Grapeviners prefer blondes.
Dear grapevine read your paper all three of them excelent. Apart from the ask the American. This is a country that thinks it’s ok to carpet bomb a whole country to get one person. And to invade another to find another. It’s also the only country that has two national sports sports contests and calls them world contests wwf and world series. I think you would have been better asking the teletubbies .
3546984354 [] But surely you can´t hold the entire population responsible for the World Wrestling Federation and the war in Iraq . A lot of Americans are actually quite sensible despite the actions of a government the majority of them didn´t vote for. Some Icelanders, even, have been found to be sensible despite the actions of a government that the majority of them did vote for.
Dear Sir
After visiting the Víkingahátíð (Viking festival) in Hafnarfjörður I came away an enlightened man. I had no idea the Vikings had discovered electricity and were able to use computers, more glasses, watches and smoked cigarettes!!
I did however know of their tradition for plundering and stealing, a tradition reflected in the price they charged for a drink. They robbed me of 950kr for a single rum and coke. Yours sincerely,
Colin Porter, 101 Reykjavík
We like the Viking festival. But we don´t like the price of alcohol in Iceland. Vikings should band together and do something about this.
Dear Grapevine- Crew,
As a foreigner living in Iceland I find it really refreshing and amusing to read in a magazine how Iceland really is. In fact you are the only magazine I´ve seen which covers even negative experiences and reveals that not everything is quite that “best í heimi” like the Icelanders would like it to be. It really seems that the Icelanders have a big problem with being such a small nation and compensate for this by telling themselves (and no one else would believe them) that everything Icelandic is “best í heimi”.
Sincerly Yours, becko!
Grapevine -Best í heimi
Dear Jondi, Hilmar and Valur,
If you are able to rise to the occasion, you may very well create one of those magical whirlwinds about which art historians write and upon which future writers reflect for inspiration and validation! If you do not challenge one another – everyone involved with the paper, writers, editors, etc. – and hold one another accountable, then you will create nothing special and simply add to the sewer we, the public, consume on a daily basis. Please don’t do that to us.
So here’s my rant…
#1. Editor, you’re not doing your job! You continue to…
The rest of this letter has been edited out.

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