Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The world is a whirpool

The Bloody Scotland festival turned out to be bloody great, as expected. It was held in a town named Stirling, the home to Stirling Bridge where one William Wallace of historical fame led a Scottish army to victory against the English in 1297. Think Braveheart. William Wallace ended his life in one of the most awful ways possible, he was hanged, drawn and quartered. When reading history, one is sometimes tempted to soothe the mind by deducing that the horrors humans have inflicted upon one another through the ages is made up. Exaggerated. That it wasn‘t as bad as we are told.  

For one, of course Nero did not set Rome on fire and play the fiddle while his city was toasted. I will never buy that whopper.

Maybe this view, that people are better than we are led to believe, has something to do with the sheltered life Iceland provides. While in Scotland I had access to a TV. Since this is not an everyday occurrence me and my husband watched one news channel after another, becoming increasingly worried as the reports piled up regarding the state of the world. Much of the Muslim world was going ballistic over an insult to their prophet, China and Japan were bristling their fur over some island and the Occupy Wall Street movement had what appeared to be a pretty serious clash with the law in the States.

It seriously seemed to us that the pressure cooker we call Earth was about to blow. All we wanted to do by the Tuesday was to get home so we would be with our family come nuclear winter.

When we got back to Iceland it was almost as if we had arrived to another planet. The news here was of a completely different category than the international media outlets were pushing. Someone had been arrested for speeding on the road to Keflavík, another driver outside Selfoss had been driving without a license and Iceland was noted in the Economist for having the largest number of tractors per hectare of all countries in the world. These are actual news, not made up.

I quite like the Occupy Wall Street movement. They have a sympathetic cause. What is it about high finance that makes it so repulsive that no one would work at it without being paid a king’s ransom? Since when are the high ranking bankers worth so much more than other employees (of any kind, anywhere) that they need to receive bonuses on top of their already padded paychecks? Can they not just do their job for a salary like the rest of us? Who put this system in place? No more questions. I promise.

I do not know precisely what the China/Japan island argument is all about. I am however sure it is not worth a skirmish between these two nations. Nothing is.

Having seen the movie trailer that caused the Muslim uprising I cannot for the life of me understand what is going on there. I can just say that the old lady that fixed up the fresco in Spain with disastrous results was lucky Christians are not as touchy.
Stirling is home to more than its namesake bridge. It is also the site of a Tower built to honor William Wallace. In 1996, a year after the film Braveheart came out, a Scottish stoneworker was so inspired by the movie that he made a gigantic statue of William Wallace that was soon thereafter found place in vicinity of the monument. The statue was not to everyone’s taste. For one thing it said “Braveheart” in big letters on Wallace’s shield. Reading up on it I found a quote supposedly from a Stirling resident saying it was “a load of crap”.  Locals loathed it, but tourists liked it. Since the locals are just that, i.e. local, they had more say in the matter and the huge statue was removed. The stoneworker tried selling it for about 500 thousand dollars and was hoping for an American buyer. No one came forth. He then tried to give it to Donald Trump but he refused. The statue was too tasteless or cheesy even for Donald Trump. Now that is something.

Maybe someone is at this moment trying to give Donald Trump the restored fresco.

Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. Yrsa, I want to come Iceland to get away from the radio. I no longer watch the news on TV or read it in the paper. Lately I have been trying not to shout at the radio. I have found that by a magical process I don't quite understand , one learns what is going on in the world without actually having to bear the pian hearing a reporter speak it on the radio, much less watch moving pictures of it on TV or have its print come off on one's hands while reading about mayhem in the paper! I can't wait to laugh with you in Cleveland!

  2. Yrsa, do you happen to have the call letters for an Icelandic radio station I could listen to? One of the great advantages of being in Greece is that I'm away from the 24/7 scare the hell out of you US approach to news. Well, at least away from it in English. Bring on the Icelandic, PLEASE.