Saturday, June 26, 2010

Here's to you, Mr. Gnarr

How do I get to be an Icelander?

The more I hear about that country and its people, the more I like it. I want to be there, I want to be one.

The latest is this article in the New York Times, "Icelander's Campaign Is a Joke, Until He's Elected", about the new mayor of Reykjavik, Jon Gnarr. He's a comedian who ran for mayor as a kind of joke, but actually got voted in. He led the Best Party, a bunch of punk rock musicians, and he made campaign promises like free towels at all public swimming pools, a polar bear display at the zoo and a drug-free Parliament by 2020. He has zero political experience, quit school at age 16, and considers himself an anarchist. And apparently is drop-dead funny.

His ideas sound silly, but the free towel thing is to promote tourism: in order to be considered a spa, European Union rules require a pool to provide free towels. Icelandic pools have seawater and sulfuric baths, but not free towels. Easy fix. The polar bear display is another easy fix: lately six polar bears swam to Iceland and were duly shot. Mr Gnarr proposes that Icelanders stop shooting the bears and put them up in the city zoo instead. And a drug-free Parliament? Well, why not?

Mr. Gnarr, lacking political experience, proposed a coalition government with any party that could prove it had watched all five seasons of The Wire, and the Social Democrat party qualified, although he suspects they got an underling to watch and make notes. Gee, I would qualify, I watched all five seasons and frankly I think it is one of the best dramatic TV series I have ever seen. What a great criterion!

I wannabe an Icelander...


Barbara Anne said...

Clearly the thinking people voted in Iceland! How refreshing!!!


20th Century Woman said...

This was such fun to read. I am putting it in the context of the Teaching Company course Jerry and I are watching on the Vikings. We are learning how Iceland got populated, among other things.

Annie said...

I look forward to great things from our Gnarr. Here's to more anarchists with a sense of humour standing for election.

20CW, have you read Farley Mowat's Westviking? Also The Farfarers...