Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fames and flames


BB Final
Originally uploaded by Will Rise.
When living in Finland my favourite moment of the week was Sunday morning-midday when I opened the Sunday issue of Helsingin Sanomat and spent over an hour reading it. Due to language incompetence and different traditions (in the Netherlands the weekend issue with the feature pages is published on Saturdays), I have not been able to continue this habit.

I am sitting in a cafe in the centre of the world’s attention, Copenhagen. (Mum, don’t worry. I am alright.) It felt odd when I was buying my newspaper today from Schiphol airport that my travel destination Denmark was on the fronpage of all newspapers. I decided to skip my common habit of buying the European issues of The Guardian and bought its sister-paper The Observer.

I want to share a few quotes from the newspaper on two issues:

DANISH CARTOONS
”The Hamas leader, Dr mahmoud Zahar, told the Italian daily Il Giornale that the cartoons were an offence that should be punished by death.”
”As for the need for ’Europe-wide solidarity’, invoked in one German newspaper, it is hard to see how the interests of the Continent are served by aggravating an insult to one of its communities.(...) For a broader dialogue to happen, we must state clearly and often that Muslims can alsobe Europeans. This is not a clash o
f civilisations. We have a common interest in being vigilant against Islamophobia and in standing up to the advocates of terror.”

CELEBRITIES

”About a month ago, I speculated here on what might happen if Chantelle, the only official non-celebrity on Big Brother, suddenly became more famous than any of the celebrities she has cooped up with. Now she’s actually won, something has happened far worse anything I could have imagined. We’ve shifted from a society where people are famous for being famous to one where they can become famous for not being famous. This is more terrifying than the release of a poison-gas cloud. Like a lethal virus, fame has mutated. Pandora has opened her box and unleashed someone more famous than Pandora.”
- Comedy writer (incl. Thick of It) Armando Iannucci
”Two years ago, in a competition run by the wildflower charity Plantlife, Essex won the poppy as its county flower, against stiff opposition. The judges must have agreed with me that the poppy is a real Essex girl of a flower, too loud, too bright, with too much make-up. The Essex girl is a working-class heroine surviving in a post-proletarian world.(....) Chantelle (NB: Essex-born) was not ashamed of her ignorance, but simply asked for the information that she needed.”
- Academic Germaine Greer defending the girls of her home county

p.s. I read recently an essay by a columnist of The Guardian, Madeleine Bunting, where she talked about Starbucks cafes as spaces where the modern (wo)man escapes, where it is allowed to relax for a moment. She was saying that we escape to places such as Starbucks from offices and even from homes. I wandered today on Ströget looking for a place for lunch. This cafe is not a Starbucks but very similar. I ended here because I did not want any surprises for my newspaper moment. I knew how to order my cafe latte, how to orientate etc. Bizarre people we are.

2 comments:

Tommi Laitio said...

A tip: check my friend Marija's post on the current conflict. The woman makes sense. http://rijama.blogspot.com

Enfant terrible said...

I don't know if you've heard that several Iranian magazines are preparing to publish cartoons mocking the holocaust? That's exactly what I've been trying to stress - free speech but with responsibility and consideration. Now that the "Pandora's box" of free speech is open, god knows what will happen next ....