- Yesterday was apparently Thanksgiving. Meh. Of all the US-centric holidays, this is the one I always find easiest to forget when I'm living abroad. Partly because most other countries fire up their Christmas shit right after Halloween, but also because Turkey Day was never a huge deal in my family. My warm Thanksgiving memories mostly consist of gurgly bong hits in my grandma's basement followed by Arkansas-grade gluttony and sloth. What am I thankful for this year? Not having to look for eye drops at 7-11 with a belly full of yam.
- The current, right-wing Danish government was gang-reelected to power for another four years. I've heard everything from "I've been crying all day" to "Now Denmark can finally get back to how it was" from assorted lefty and righty friends, and I'm mostly just glad the whole thing's over. Now I can get back to my own 'lesser of two weevils' electoral circus back home.
- I'm applying for a work visa. Considering that this is a process known for having the charm, simplicity and civility of the Armenian Genocide, I'm steeling myself for the long haul.
- The internet has been broken at my house for the last 2 weeks. This has been good for my dissertation (there's nothing to do but write, unnngggg), my social life (get me the fuck out of the house!) and my job (I might as well come in early; there's no LOLcats at home), but terrible for my connection to the outside world. Does Pakistan still exist?
- I'm leaving for that other Zealand, the nice one, in 10 days. If you know me in 3-D, holler and let's hang out before I leave. I'll be gone almost til February.
Monthly Archives: November 2007
Unlike in the United States, where the presidential candidates start campaigning while still in the fetal stage, elections in Denmark are a wham, bam, thank you ma'am affair. The prime minister simply 'calls' the election at whatever time suits him, and 20 days later everybody gets their finger purple.
Today is the big day, and just like in America, the Danish elections are won or lost on just a few issues that will get people pissed off enough to bike to the nearest curtain-booth. We've got gays and stem cells, they've got immigrants and income taxes.
From left to right, here's a list of the 'ticipants in this year's elections.
Profile: These are the hoodie-wearing, circle-A spray-painting Ralph Naders of the Danish political system. They're struggling to get 2 percent of the vote, and they can't really agree on what they're for, but they know they're, like, totally against The Man. And, and capitalism. Yeah. Suck it, Thatcher.
Slogan: "Just like a write-in candidate, but without all that writing!"
Profile: You know that sassy goth chick you had a crush on in law school? If she was a political party, she'd be SF. The only thing this party loves more than immigrants is taxes, and they're full of audacious proposals like lowering the cost of public transport and levying a Not Awesome Enough tax on Coldplay albums and people who buy their clothes at grocery chains. Oh, and I have no idea what SF stands for, but I think it's something like Subsidized Foreigners.
Slogan: "Vote like someone cooler than you."
Party: Radikale Venstre (i.e. 'Radical Left')
Profile: This is the 'liberal' party of Danish politics. Unlike in America, where 'liberal' denotes a martini-sipping, homosexual-recruiting Rockefeller, here it just means someone who wants low taxes and no government interference in their lives (think 'libertarian,' without the guns). In Denmark, though, 'low taxes' means 40 percent, so the word becomes meaningless again. Anyway, these dudes pretty much want to privatize everything from the health care system to bra sizes, and enjoy pointing out the way this ethos has turned the U.S. into the egalitarian paradise you see today.
Slogan: "Freedom is just another word for 'Rich people deserve better hospitals than you'."
Party: Venstre (i.e. 'Left')
Profile: This is the current party in power. Turn-ons include economic prowess, the collapse of the EU, and powerful North American leaders whose names rhyme with 'Smoosh'. Turn-offs consist of things like wind power, shifty foreigners, raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, etc.
Slogan: "Who else are you gonna vote for? Huh? Huh, pussy?"
Party: Konservative (i.e. 'Conservatives' – sometimes Danish is just hella easy)
Profile: I never understood why political parties call themselves 'conservative'. If someone said about an acquaintance, "He's a really conservative dude!" would you want to meet that person? Anyway, the Danish conservatives are unmitigated dickheads, and one of their members of parliament recently charmed the nation by suggesting that hate crimes against gays are really the gays' fault. You know, for bein' gay all out in public n' such. Vote for them if you think the world was a better place when women and black people couldn't vote.
Slogan: "Get off my lawn!"
Party: Socialedemokraterne (i.e. 'Social Democrats' )
Profile: In spite of their well-chosen name (Hey, I like socializing and democracy!), this party mostly panders to right-wingers who sympathize with the conservatives, but don't like that old-people smell.
Slogan: "Don't worry, you can still tell your friends you voted for SF."
Party: Ny Alliance
Profile: This party's actually kinda the reason why Denmark's having an election now. They just formed (See? In Europe, you can just make a political party outta nowhere), and they mostly just consist of a bunch of Famous-in-Denmark people who don't like the way the country is going. They don't really have much of a platform yet, but considering that it's mainly just a gaggle of soap stars and football players, I'm sure they can get their assistants to whip something up before pilot season starts.
Slogan: "Because Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and those Polish twins were a cracking idea."
Party: Ny Alliance
Party: Danskefolkeparti (i.e. 'The Danish People's Party', i.e. 'The Fourth Reich')
Profile: Ahhh, the inevitable far-right party. Every country's got one. Denmark's charming iteration has the standard 'V for Vendetta' domestic policy, Gordon Gekko economics and Chairman Mao cultural stewardship, but with the added twinkle of a foreign policy exclusively devoted to making other countries better so that no one is tempted to come to gold-paved Denmark. This party thinks that global warming is caused by too many burqas.
Slogan: "For people who think 'Bah! Humbug!' is a legitimate political platform."
From a semi-review of “The Dangerous Book for Boys" and “The Daring Book for Girls,” two how-to books for modern children:
[The books] seem to perfectly capture a fear, floating in the culture, that a generation of preoccupied parents has been raising a generation of children full of sophisticated knowledge that is useless when the power goes out or the batteries die.
Meanwhile, Danish parents let their kids do just about anything, up to and including: Music festivals, public transportation, low-cost grocery store employment, urban nightlife, Palestinian throat-scarves, and mid-puberty binge drinking. Danish parents just let the batteries die, I guess.
"The 'suction six-pack' costs between $4,000 and $7,000. The procedure takes an hour or two. But pain can persist for days afterward. Swelling can last for weeks or even months. (The after picture above was taken a little over a year after the surgery.) And there can be complications, such as infection and bleeding. Eighty-six percent of the patients were satisfied with the results."
Can there be just one fucking thing from my childhood that didn't lead me down the path of iniquity? Check this shit out:
"In his diaries, my father talks about having to write another of those cursed books," the author's son told one interviewer, "in order to earn another $100 to buy coal for the furnace." He'd "inject his wonderful sense of humor," McFarlane's daughter once remembered, to make the writing project "palatable."
McFarlane's magnum opus was a 1929 masterpiece of dirty double meanings called — what else — The Secret of the Caves. Within a few chapters, an elderly male shopkeeper is warning the Hardy Boys and their two male friends to stay away from the mysterious beach because "There's some queer things been goin' on down there lately." And what exactly does that mean, asks the Hardy Boys' friend — Biff.
"Nobody knows. But there's been queer lights seen down around them caves. And shootin'. Guns goin' off. Mighty queer doin's, they say…"
Chet whistled softly. "This sounds good! We may stay longer than we had intended…"
Wikipedia says the word "queer" already had sexual overtones by the late 1800s.
The four teenagers are on summer vacation, so there's time for some sleuthing. When they buy camping supplies, the old shopkeeper re-iterated again that it's a dangerous cave full of queer doins, and Frank "smiled at this thrust."
But his younger brother Joe was even more enthusiastic.
"The one thing we're afraid of is a quiet outing. Excitement," he added slangily, "is our meat."
"Ye'll get lots of it if ye go pokin' around them caves," the old gentleman predicted.
Chapter 17 veers suddenly into startlingly unwholesome territory.
Frank halted and peered through the fog at the base of the rocks some distance ahead.
"Do you see somebody lying there, Joe…? Seems like a man sprawled on the sand…."
The boys hastened across the rocks in the direction of the figure on the shore…
They came up to the man sprawled on the sand. He was not dead. An empty bottle lying by his side told the reason for his slumber.
"What shall we do with him?" asked Joe.
Frank groped in his pocket and produced a length of stout cord.
"We'll tie him up first!"
"What if he puts up a fight?"
"He's too drunk."
They throw hat-fuls of water into in his face to revive him — but when he wakes up, they keep throwing more water at him.
"Hey! What's this?" roared the car thief indignantly. He had just discovered that his wrists were bound.
"Just a little joke," said Frank.
Water was streaming down the man's face. He was thoroughly aroused by now.
Shit, and here I thought I enjoyed those books for so many years because they were complex and engaging. Turns out they were just clicking my fag-button.
What am I gonna lose next, 'The Goonies'? Madeleine L'Engle? I hereby refuse to read any re-examinations of 'The Neverending Story', 'The Princess Bride', Jonathan Brandis, Dino-Riders, Mega-Man, Right Said Fred, or that sitcom with the girl-robot. I don't need any more essays gaying up an otherwise wholesome childhood.
If I ever become a porn star, though, my name is definitely going to be Queer Doin's.
Courtesy of Overheard in New York:
Little boy: It smells like an STD in here.
Father to three-year-old son: The ruler of the universe says to stop chattering.
–7th Ave, Park Slope
Scolding mother to little son as she yanks him along: You tryin' to be hip? You tryin' to be a hipster? Is that how they do it?
Mom to infant who keeps dropping his toy: Okay, let's try this — how 'bout I throw you on the ground?!
–13th & 5th
Mother to chatty child: Don't you have your pacifier? So pacify!
–Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn
Father to small child: Is that from China? Get that out of your mouth!
–Long Beach, Long Island, New York
Mom to kids: What do you want for dinner? Burger King or Dunkin' Donuts?
–42nd St & Queens Blvd
Little girl pointing at black receptionist: Pocahontas!
Nine-year-old boy: George Bush likes the Jews. That's why only Jews are allowed to hitchhike.
Old man to two-year old: Man, talking to you is like fucking talking to a brick wall.