Iceland’s media has a curious habit of referring to certain people as “Íslandsvinir,” or “Friends of Iceland.” Curious to the outsider, that is. Locals don’t bat an eye when the media leads an article with “Russian-Uzbeki magnate, and Friend of Iceland, Alisjer Usmanov, is the richest man in the United Kingdom” or “Cook and Friend of Iceland Gordon Ramsey denies that he cheated on this wife.” While the media doesn’t always explain why these people are our friends in a given article, the tradition dates back to the 1870s and it’s pretty much understood at this point: to join the ranks of people like Alisjer Usmanov, David Lynch, Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Biel, you need to take the following 4 steps.
- Get famous
You must have clout or else there’s really no point in our friendship. Direct a movie. Act. Look pretty. Be super rich. Clout matters.
- Visit us
By stepping foot on our shores, you are acknowledging us. We’re a small island nation. We like to be acknowledged. It tickles our egos. We will report on anything you do while you’re here. Scarf down a hamburger. Sip on a latté. It’s all newsworthy to us.
- Come back to see us again
Okay, now we’re really impressed. You came back. This means you must really like us. We consider this act of yours a true testament to our friendship.
- Make your presence known to the media
Don’t hide out like Kimye. Show yourself, talk to the media, and tell us how great we are for good measure.
Once you’ve achieved “Friend of Iceland” status, you pretty much have it for life. Just don’t pull an Odd Nerdrum and go to prison for tax evasion because the media might refer to you as “Íslandsvinurinn fyrrverandi,” or “Former Friend of Iceland.”
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