Hel is the best icon I have for this.

janni is the one who needs to read this, if she hasn’t already, but Vanity Fair has done an awesome piece on the collapse of the Icelandic financial market. And I say that as somebody who pretty much detests economics, so even if you don’t care about how Iceland turned itself into one giant (and now defunct) hedge fund, the article’s worth looking at.

If only for the bit about the elves. Seriously. Search for the phrase “smelt aluminum,” and go from there.

0 Responses to “Hel is the best icon I have for this.”

  1. lady_puck9999

    Sad for Iceland. But a hilarious, hilarious article. The part about the little old man saying “I just want some women to take care of my money” might have been my favorite part.

  2. mmegaera

    That was fascinating. Thanks.

    I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland. I think I’ll wait a while longer [g].

  3. arielstarshadow

    Hmmm…..what would the native word/s for “hidden people” (aka elves) be?

  4. janni

    Interesting. Mostly matches my understanding, though I’d slant the nuances differently. Of course, I’m coming at it as an outsider who’s only spent two weeks there twice, so my takes are outsider takes, too, and I’m sure there’s lots I’m missing and misinterpreting.

    But I suspect it’s not so much about believing in the hulduf├│lk sincerely as, well, what you believe doesn’t matter, because there’s this thing that happened to your cousin, and it’s best not to take any chances. (Or as someone said to us while we were there, even if you’re not sure about the hulduf├│lk, there are too many stories you hear about them, and “it’s safer to believe.”)

    And the risk-taking probably comes from a strong sense of individualism/responsibility–it’s not a culture where you just do what someone tells you and say it’s not your fault–anything you do is your responsibility, and there’s a need to understand why you’re doing it, and a sense that you only do it if you agree.

    The sagas also tell me that claiming this is a men’s history is … simplistic. ­čÖé But that might not come through at a saga museum, depending. (We avoided the one I think he visited, because it looked … cheesy/tourist-trappy/pricey, though we did visit other history museums.) His take on men and women living lives in parallel makes a lot of sense, though I’d never thought about or consciously noticed it before.

    He also maybe misses that this has always been a country where farmers and fishermen were always well-educated, even if they didn’t have access to Ph.D.s and were instead reading books together at home–that really isn’t new, and I’m not sure it was always considered a particular conflict.

    But like I say, outsider takes, based on no doubt incomplete observations/reading of my own.

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