martedì 21 marzo 2017

1 The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth
You have 176 highlighted passages
You have 38 notes
Last annotated on March 21, 2017
IntroductionRead more at location 56
Note: INTRO@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ felicità qualità dela vita ma xchè nessuno si fa la casetta a copenhagen e si va tutti a londra parigi o berlino? terra incognita priva d interesse lo scarso interesse che desta l ottusità Edit
in central Copenhagen,Read more at location 57
my adopted countrymen had been anointed the happiestRead more at location 58
something called the Satisfaction with Life Index,Read more at location 58
Department of Psychology at the University of Leicester.Read more at location 59
it wasn’t 1 April.Read more at location 60
Britain was forty-first on the list. A man at a university had said it, so it must be true.Read more at location 63
‘Well, they are doing an awfully good job of hidingRead more at location 63
had rung up the cost of my prohibitively expensive, low-grade produce without acknowledging my existence.Read more at location 68
I’d crossed the street on a red light; there was no traffic, but in DenmarkRead more at location 69
Note: ... Edit
is a provocativeRead more at location 69
Note: c Edit
The evening’s prime-time TV entertainment had consisted of a programme on how to tackle excessive chafing of cow udders, followed by a ten-year-old episode of Taggart, and then Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?Read more at location 72
Note: x TV SERALE Edit
This, I should add, was long before all those critically acclaimed Danish TV seriesRead more at location 75
Back then, I had come to think of the Danes as essentially decent, hard-working, law-abiding people, rarely prone to public expressions of . . . well, anything much, let alone happiness.Read more at location 78
The Danes were Lutheran by nature,Read more at location 79
they shunned ostentation, distrusted exuberant expressions of emotion,Read more at location 80
they were a frosty, solemn bunch.Read more at location 81
the least demonstrably joyful people on earth, along with the Swedes, the Finns and the Norwegians.Read more at location 82
Perhaps it was all the antidepressants they were taking that was fogging their perception,Read more at location 83
in Europe, only the Icelanders consumed more happy pillsRead more at location 84
Was Danish happiness nothing more than oblivion sponsored by Prozac?Read more at location 85
The Danes came top of the EU’s first ever well-being survey – the EurobarometerRead more at location 87
more than two-thirds of the thousands of Danes who were polled claimed to be ‘very satisfied’ with their lives.Read more at location 88
‘people leave their children in buggies outside of cafés, that you aren’t worriedRead more at location 90
the punishing weather, the heinous taxes, the predictable monoculture,Read more at location 93
Note: FASTIDI Edit
the fear of anything or anyone different from the norm,Read more at location 94
the distrust of ambition and disapproval of success,Read more at location 95
the appalling public manners, and the remorseless dietRead more at location 95
I shook my head in disbelief when, for example, the country topped the Gallup World Poll, which asked a thousand people over the age of fifteen in 155 countries to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, both their lives now and how they expected them to pan out in the future.Read more at location 97
The answers revealed that 82 per cent of Danes were ‘thriving’ (the highest score), while only 1 per cent were ‘suffering’.Read more at location 101
Note: c Edit
in 2012, the United Nations’s first ever World Happiness Report, compiled by economists John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs,Read more at location 106
And, guess what? Belgium came first! No, I’m joking. Denmark was onceRead more at location 108
to win one happiness survey may be regarded as good fortune, to win virtually every one since 1973 is convincing grounds for a definitive anthropological thesis.Read more at location 109
Denmark was not without rivals to the title of peachiest place to live.Read more at location 111
So, Denmark doesn’t always come first in all the categories of these wellness,Read more at location 114
the Scandinavians were not only the happiest and most contented people in the world, but also the most peaceful, tolerant, egalitarian, progressive, prosperous, modern, liberal, liberated, best-educated, most technologically advanced, and with the best pop music, coolest TV detectives and even, in the last few years, the best restaurant, to boot.Read more at location 118
Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland – could boast the best education system in the world (Finland); a shining example of a properly secular, multicultural, modern industrial society (Sweden); colossal oil wealth, being invested in sensible, ethical, long-term things rather than silly tall buildings or Park Lane call girls (Norway); the most gender-equal society in the world, the longest-living men, and lots of haddock (Iceland); and ambitious environmental policies and generously funded welfare state systems (all of them).Read more at location 120
Note: c Edit
(weather still shitty? Check. Tax rate still over 50 per cent? Yep. Shops closed whenever you need them? Oh yes)Read more at location 128
The world, it seemed, could not get enough of contemporary Viking culture:Read more at location 133
Swedish crime authors Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson began to shift millions of books, and Danmarks Radio (DR), the Danish national broadcaster, sold three series of its miserablist crime epic, Forbrydelsen (The Killing), to 120 countries, and even saw it remade for American TV. The company’s follow-up, the political drama Borgen (‘The Castle’ – the nickname given to the Danish parliament building), won a BAFTA and a million viewers on BBC4; and even Broen (The Bridge), a Danish–Swedish crime series, was a hit. (No matter that there was little original about Forbrydelsen other than its setting – we had seen tough female cops many times before; no matter that Borgen was a third-rate West Wing, albeit with better lampshades; or that The Bridge was actually really, really rubbish.) Suddenly Danish architects, most notably Bjarke Ingels, were knocking out major international building projects as if they were made out of Lego blocks, and works by artists like Olafur Eliasson were appearing everywhere from Louis Vuitton window displays to the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern.Read more at location 133
Danish films had a major moment, winning Oscars and awards at Cannes with directors such as Thomas Vinterberg, Lars von Trier, Susanne Bier and Nicolas Winding Refn becoming among the most acclaimed of the current era, and the actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, The Hunt, Hannibal) became such a regular figure on Danish and international screens that these days he calls to mind John Updike’s famous couplet on a similarly ubiquitous French actor: ‘I think that I shall never view/A French film without Depardieu’. And, of course, there was the New Nordic food ‘revolution’ and the journey of the Copenhagen restaurant Noma from obscure joke to international trendsetter, named best restaurant in the world three times in a row and making its head chef, René Redzepi, a Time magazine cover star.Read more at location 142
Note: c Edit
Note: c Edit
Meanwhile Sweden continued its domination of our high streets with H&M and Ikea, and of our airwaves with pop producers and singers too numerous to list here, as well as giving us Skype and Spotify; Norway kept the world supplied with oil and fish fingers; and the Icelanders embarked on their extraordinary fiscal buccaneering spree.Read more at location 149
Note: c Edit
why wasn’t everyone flocking to live here? Why did people still dream of a house in Spain or France?Read more at location 159
Note: DUBBIO Edit
Why can no one you know speak SwedishRead more at location 161
Name the Danish foreign minister. Or Norway’s most popular comedian. Or a Finnish person. Any Finnish person.Read more at location 162
Scandinavia, though, really is terra incognita. The Romans didn’t bother with it.Read more at location 164
Charlemagne couldn’t care less.Read more at location 165
Even today the lack of interest is deafening.Read more at location 166
comparatively few of us ever travel in this part of the world.Read more at location 169
the cost of visiting Scandinavia coupled with its discouraging climateRead more at location 170
Where is the travel writing on the North?Read more at location 171
standing for half an hour waiting to be served at my local chemistsRead more at location 173
the truth is that we learn more from our schoolteachers, televisions and newspapers about the lives of remote Amazonian tribes than we do about actual Scandinavians and how they actually live.Read more at location 176
we have more in common with all of them than we do with the French or Germans: our humour, tolerance, distrust of religious dogma and political authority, honesty, stoicism in the face of dismal weather, social orderliness, poor diet, lack of sartorial elan, and so on.Read more at location 179
we Britons are, essentially, Scandinavians.Read more at location 183
Viking kings went on to rule a third of BritainRead more at location 185
They certainly left their mark on the English language.Read more at location 189
The Domesday Book is full of Scandinavian names for settlements:Read more at location 196
Family words – mother (mor), father (far), sister (søster) brother (bror) are all pretty close too,Read more at location 200
the influence of Nordic culture on authors ranging from J. R. R. Tolkein to J. K. Rowling,Read more at location 206
The Norwegian Viking Leif Ericson discovered America around AD 1000.Read more at location 208
he promptly turned around and went home again,Read more at location 209
At one point in the 1860s, a tenth of all immigrants arriving in the United States were from Scandinavia, many of them ending up in Minnesota, where the landscape reminded them of home.Read more at location 210
What makes the current Nordic mania so unlikely is that during the twentieth century the popular cultural influences tended mostly to flow in the opposite direction.Read more at location 213
Socialise with Scandinavian males of a certain age, for instance, and the conversation will at some point almost certainly turn to the sketches of Monty Python.Read more at location 214
Even British cabinet reshuffles make the news in Denmark.Read more at location 219
Britain haven’t really cared to get to know anything beyond fictional representations of the Scandinavians.Read more at location 221
Scandinavians are not very forward when it comes to coming forward: they aren’t ones to boast.Read more at location 224
While I was writing this book, several people – including some Danes and, in particular, many Swedes – expressed genuine bemusement that they would be of the slightest interest to anyone outside Scandinavia.Read more at location 226
Note: x UN LIBRO SU DI ME? Edit
‘Why do you think people will want to know about us?’Read more at location 228
‘What is there to know?’Read more at location 228
‘We are all so boring and stiff.’Read more at location 228
unremitting dullnessRead more at location 230
So, how do I hope to hold your attention for the duration of this book?Read more at location 232
They are funny, too. And not always intentionally,Read more at location 238
‘If you had to be reborn anywhere in the world as a person with average talents and income, you would want to be a Viking,’Read more at location 242
how uptight the Swedes are;Read more at location 244
corruptedRead more at location 245
Finns are self-medicating themselves into oblivion;Read more at location 245
Danes are in denial about their debt, their vanishing work ethic, and their place in the world;Read more at location 246
how the Icelanders are, essentially, feral?Read more at location 246
the more serious fissures in Nordic society:Read more at location 253
the racism and Islamophobia, the slow decline of social equality, the alcoholism, and the vast, over-stretched public sectors which require levels of taxation which would be deemed utterly preposterous by anyone who hasn’t had them slowly creep up on them over the last fifty years like a deadly tide choking off all hope, energy and ambitionRead more at location 254
Note: x PECCHE Edit
neither the Finns nor the Icelanders were actually Scandinavians:Read more at location 263
Chapter 1 HappinessRead more at location 269
Note: 1@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Edit
The Danes are masters of revelsRead more at location 279
They take their partying very seriously, are enthusiastic boozers,Read more at location 279
communal singers,Read more at location 280
large grillsRead more at location 281
midsummer’s party is the perfect place to commence my dissection of the Danish happiness phenomenon,Read more at location 283
Though the drink has been flowing, the atmosphere is relaxed, there are no raised voices, no hints of alcohol-fuelled fightiness.Read more at location 287
Danish children are granted what, to British eyes, can seem an almost old-fashioned freedom to roam and to take risks,Read more at location 289
They are still haring about as midnight approaches, yelling and screaming, hiding and seeking, buzzing and crashing on Coca-Cola and hot dogs.Read more at location 290
Note: x BIMBI Edit
I have met few ‘live to work’ types in this country;Read more at location 296
many Danes – particularly those who work in the public sector – are frank and unapologetic about their ongoing efforts to put in the barest minimum hours required to support lives of acceptable comfort.Read more at location 297
Danes workRead more at location 298
Note: ... Edit
significantly fewer than the rest of Europe:Read more at location 299
Note: c Edit
Danes were second only to the Belgians in the laziness stakes – that’s globally.Read more at location 301
most people knock off at around four or five in the afternoon,Read more at location 302
More than 754,000 Danes aged between fifteen and sixty-four – over 20 per cent of the working population – do no work whatsoever and are supported by generous unemployment or disability benefits.Read more at location 305
Note: x PENSIONE Edit
unemployment benefits of up to 90 per cent of previous wagesRead more at location 307
The Danes call their system flexicurityRead more at location 308
flexibility Danish companies enjoy to fire people with short notice and little compensation (compared with Sweden, where jobs can still be for life),Read more at location 308
More reasons for the Danes’ happiness? We must also include this very summer house – a homely, single-storey, L-shaped cabin, identical to thousands of others scattered along the coasts of these islands.Read more at location 310
This summer house is furnished, like most, with bric-a-brac and IKEA perennials.Read more at location 315
Denmark has a much more laissez-faire attitude to booze than the rest of the region;Read more at location 320
there is no state-owned alcohol monopolyRead more at location 320
alcohol is sold in every supermarket and corner shop.Read more at location 321
eveningRead more at location 324
how surprisingly warm the Danish sea in summer can be.Read more at location 326
On evenings such as this it is easy to see why the Danes have come to feel so contentedRead more at location 327
Chapter 2 BaconRead more at location 331
Note: 2@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Edit
the Robin Williams climax, that was me in Finland. SWEDEN ChapterRead more at location 4299
Note: dal gelo all orgia odiati dai loro simili laboratorio sociale come è stata affrontata la crisi x un danese: simbolo del xbenismo e della pedanteria Edit
The traditional Swedish crayfishRead more at location 4303
a rare moment of unguardedRead more at location 4304
vast canon of drinking songsRead more at location 4311
modern, liberal, collectivist and – kräftskiva parties aside – more than a little dull.Read more at location 4317
‘the most successful society the world has ever known’.Read more at location 4323
social laboratoryRead more at location 4336
free schools and foundation hospitals,Read more at location 4338
more immigrants than any other European land.Read more at location 4347
15 per centRead more at location 4347
homogenous, isolated rural communities,Read more at location 4350
banking and economic crises,Read more at location 4352
reforming and privatising services to a far greater extent than even Mrs Thatcher had dared; encouraging schools to opt out of the state system; allowing patients to choose any doctor, including private ones,Read more at location 4356
Swedish unemployment figures are about as reliable as Joan Collins’s age,Read more at location 4369
youth unemploymentRead more at location 4370
Nordic NoirRead more at location 4375
he had his special place where he waited for the trainRead more at location 4393
them of their self-image as beacons of chillaxery and fun. ChapterRead more at location 4408
Note: il libello della sontag: + che razionali inibiti e ansiosi omogeneità: tra simili si colgono meglio i segnali e bisogna controllarsi l ossessione e la paura del conflitto la cultura del consenso e del politicamente corretto paperino è l esatto opposto dello svedese: egoista pasticcione fallimentare che paga in prima xsona... il suo successo è catartico Edit
Susan SontagRead more at location 4410
bitchy, poison-pen farewell to the countryRead more at location 4412
‘Silence is the Swedish national vice.Read more at location 4413
misanthropic alcoholics:Read more at location 4414
national form of self-rape,’Read more at location 4415
pro-German during the Second World War,Read more at location 4417
inhibition and anxietyRead more at location 4419
rarely interruptingRead more at location 4425
‘The more you talk, the longer they listenRead more at location 4427
Swedes don’t hold themselves in terribly high regard.Read more at location 4429
they blushedRead more at location 4436
unusually heightened fear of appearing foolish.Read more at location 4437
Nordic aversion to conversation.Read more at location 4446
This makes it risky to give off the “wrong” signal:Read more at location 4453
everyone could read each other’s minds and people no longer had the privilege of privateRead more at location 4459
At funerals,Read more at location 4467
‘cries of despair are embarrassingRead more at location 4468
desire to avoid causing frictionRead more at location 4470
consensus culture.Read more at location 4471
‘acting in a common-sense way’,Read more at location 4485
the most-watched 24 December TV show in Sweden every year is a Donald Duck Christmas special from 1958, I have pondered on this strange affection for the ill-starred, trouserless fowl.Read more at location 4585
Donald Duck’s approach to lifeRead more at location 4586
catharsis,Read more at location 4591
a displaced catharsis, watching such episodes unfold in cartoon form. ChapterRead more at location 4592
Note: esperimenti a stoccolma: patatine semafori panchine svedesi e sesso... un falso mito e la lib. del porno Edit
provoking the SwedesRead more at location 4595
Scandinavian social-autistic spectrum.Read more at location 4598
NobelRead more at location 4604
akin to King Herod sponsoring a beautiful-baby competition,Read more at location 4604
The perfect place, then, to take out a bag of crisps and crunch them loudly,Read more at location 4612
Swedes were even more conflict-shy than they were rule-abiding.Read more at location 4617
for years I mocked their sheep-like behaviour.Read more at location 4621
My rebellious streak has been tamed by the sheer weight of Scandinavian social collectivism,Read more at location 4623
central Stockholm ‘was almost entirely rebuilt and dehumanized in the Sixties’.Read more at location 4643
Soviet-styleRead more at location 4646
without making eye contact,Read more at location 4649
liftsRead more at location 4658
public transport.Read more at location 4664
people masturbating at the National Museum.Read more at location 4702
decriminalisation of the Swedish pornRead more at location 4711
confused casual observers into believing Swedish women were especially freeRead more at location 4719
measures were implemented primarily to get more women into work, not into bed.Read more at location 4720
to take a closer look at Sweden’s great, multicultural experiment. ChapterRead more at location 4745
Note: immigranti e destra Edit
Malmö’s RosengårdRead more at location 4749
open-door immigrationRead more at location 4750
Nørrebro in Copenhagen;Read more at location 4761
car wouldn’t start unless his breath was entirely free of alcohol.Read more at location 4770
we don’t use the word “ghetto”,’Read more at location 4784
integration starts.’Read more at location 4786
immigrants and asylum seekers on one side, the right-wing working class on the other.Read more at location 4814
the city planning which defined and divided their everyday landscape. ChapterRead more at location 4861
Note: u Edit
responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in the country,Read more at loca