Letters - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Letters

Letters

Published July 8, 2005

TODD DOLAN-SMITH
Howdy, that’s how we say hello in these parts! Well not really; I’m from Oakland, Calif, but I live in Bolinas,Calif. And been here too long! It’s this little town just north of Frisco, where all the hippies/ poets /writers/ what have u came after the Summer of Love turned ugly, some of them didn’t turn to the Dark Side, as Mr. G. Lucas would say.   As for myself , I was too busy getting drunk/ stoned/ surfing/ living like tomorrow would never come as I grew -up thinking they would drop the Bomb, so now I am doing the best I can, not having jumped into the real-estate game in the 70s so I must WORK, for a living. Oh getting kicked out of library now so later???!! Just want to thank you for your article on surfing in Iceland. The surf was great thanks to Geoff Hilmarsson too!!!??
Thank you. A British writer, Mr. Stephen Taylor-Matthews, wrote that for us. We look forward to his future writings. Also, the surfer was Georg Hilmarsson, and tomorrow seems to have come.
in response to
ÞÓRDÍS E. ÞORVALDSDÓTTIR BACHMANN’S
ARTICLE
USE YO’ HEAD, BITCH!
Step forward Iceland’s very own Tipper Gore!
It may come as a suprise to you, but popular music around the world does not exist simply to espouse white middle-class ‘right on’ attitudes & opinions.
Personally (as a foreigner living in Iceland) I find Bubbi Morthens & Icelandic Idol far more insulting & potentially damaging to the state of Icelandic youth, than I do Snoop Dogg’s obvious Caricature of the Big Bad Black Pimp. 
There’s not even an age limit to Snoop Dogg’s concert. Time to start thinking, folks
Oh the outrage! What on earth would we do without Þórdís around to set us folk to thinking.
Give the Icelandic teens who like Snoop & their parents who buy the tickets a little more credit. It’s grim, it’s discpicable & yep it’s just another facet of rock’n’roll. I hear those white Scandinavian Death Metalers are also capable of making a fairly offensive & diabolical racket. Are they next on your hitlist? Or is it just the people who make a lot of money out of rapping about things, that are thankfully not a part of our lives? ( that being crime in predominantly black American Inner cities) Because rape seemed to be flourishing in Iceland before Snoop arrived. Do something positive in stopping violence against women in Iceland, as this is just a fool’s errand. 
After all, the horrific reality of violence against women in the black American ghetto is hardly reflected on Laugavegur on a Saturday night. Other than the youths driving around blaring 50 Cent & Snoop out of their cars of course.
  Or is that what’s really bugging you? I too find that quite annoying. Other than that, keep up the good work, as Grapevine is my only real source for Icelandic news.
 Yours, Laurie Duthie
Laurie,
Excellent points about Snoop. I also feel that there is a lot to celebrate in the curiosity of the younger generations and in the tolerance of their parents. Still, it seems irresponsible to bring Snoop over without at least opening the discussion of hip hop’s portrayal of women. As with the big 50 Cent show last year, I have mixed feelings about choosing Snoop: has he been brought in because he’s got a great delivery and was an innovator in the genre, or because he is a soft-core porn star? In any case, we’re glad Þórdís wrote the piece, we’re glad she touches nerves and we’re glad she opened discussion on the topic, even if we acknowledge that you may have just presented a well-reasoned closer to it.

Hi Bart
While I have often thanked heaven for the existence of your publication I cannot help but wonder sometimes as to the approach, or rather the impression of the approach, you seem to convey lately. A little bit of subversion is a fine thing and ex-pat grumbling also needs an outlet, things your paper has provided admirably in the past. However, I can’t help but get a little bit annoyed at the lengths to which you seem to go in your most recent edition to find something to criticise even when the subject, the content and the argument is so banal, so pointless and quite frankly wrong.
I refer (as just one example) to the recent editorial by Paul Nikolov. If it was meant to be funny, it wasn’t. If it was meant to be a serious critique it was actually laughable but for the wrong reasons. Icelanders should be outraged at a Danish flag flying on a Danish ship? Err.. Why? Somehow this point segues into a discussion about Iceland not being that independent from Denmark because they look to Denmark (among other countries) for legislative “reassurance”. What garbage. Every country in the world looks to its neighbours, trading partners and political allies for guidance or precedent when making legislation. In fact, the only countries I can think of that don’t do this are tyrannical dictatorships without the will or the inclination to look outwards (No doubt the citizens of Zimbabwe would love to adopt ANY other country’s property laws than Mr Mugabe’s own particular form). If we are truly to be one world and one happy global family (as I sometimes get the impression your paper would rather we do) then this cannot be accomplished without some reference to other nation’s customs, rights and laws. Observing a tested “experiment” in another country is only prudent after all.
Your journalist’s point were far too heavy for the flimsy evidence supporting them and actually, he did a pretty good job of destroying his own argument by pointing out that other countries do look at Iceland for guidance on maternity law (hence the title). As for his suggestion that Iceland pass some “trend-setting” laws, laws unique to the needs of the country why doesn’t your journalist add the quota system (recently adopted by Norway) to maternity laws as another example. In fact, perhaps readers would like to compile a little list of unique Icelandic laws and customs. I know there are many, enough to make the article a nonsense several times over. Anyway, I cannot thing of any Icelanders really concerned about their independence with Denmark. If they have gotten over it I think so should Mr Nikolov.
Seriously guys, if you wish to avoid the increasingly popular impression among native Icelanders that you are really just a bunch of whinging ex-pat slackers looking to find the slightest crack in an otherwise pretty good structure that is Iceland, why not keep to the serious dissent like you have done in the past. This kind of writing is just frivolous, annoying and pointless. Was it a slow news week?
Otherwise, keep up the good work.
Fabio Quaradeghini,
Asset Management
Landsbankinn-Landsvaki
First, thank you for your criticism. Occasionally, we do hear that the Grapevine takes too hard a stance regarding news. In the last few months, with more people reading the paper, the “impression” of our approach has drawn fans and critics. I think both fans and critics go too much with impression without paying attention to the articles. In an infamous case, one respected local attacked our credibility because we had run a picture of an actor portraying Prime Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson. He stated we were attacking the government. When we showed him the headline of the article, and then the sentences in the article, he apologized.
Still let us not confuse the purpose of the Grapevine: we are here to serve the needs of local English-speakers: tourists, foreigners living in Iceland, and immigrants. The fact that Icelanders keep on stealing our paper and keep on reading it so that we never have any left for visitors is getting extremely annoying.
Mr. Nikolov’s editorial in issue 8 was a traditional editorial, meant to prompt discussion. It was not a piece of hard news. It was based on a number of queries we received from foreign journalists asking why Iceland would follow Denmark’s controversial lead regarding treatment of immigration. The Grapevine is extremely fortunate to have Mr. Nikolov on staff; many in the local media have acknowledged his sound criticism of his adopted country.
To clarify your final paragraph, then, Mr. Nikolov is an immigrant. Mr. Cameron lives in Iceland because he works here and because his girlfriend is Icelandic. In addition, I believe you misheard popular opinion: Mr. Cameron is not a “whinging slacker” but a “Warbler Attractor,” referring to his years on the Pro Am Bird-Watching Circuit. Kha kaw kha kaw gugabala kha king king kah!!!!!
It wasn’t that slow a news week. There was a large banking scandal. Something about this company Landsbankinn being privatised below cost and without proper public notification. That was in our feature.

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