A Comedy of Comity

There was an interesting piece in the Washington Post the other day. Denmark appears to have beaten covid-19 — for now. Here’s how it did it.Michael Bang Petersen & Alexander Bor, Washington Post, Sep. 20 The lede is: “For the most part, Danes avoided blaming and shaming their fellow citizens.” That’s more than a lede:…

Genies, Camels, and Toothpaste

Toward the end of August, Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke announced that Covid-19 would lose its standing as a public health emergency (in Danish, a “samfundskritisk sygdom”). The Health Ministry’s press release was headlined “The government will not extend the classification of covid-19 as a public health emergency in Denmark.” A TV2 article about the…

Use Mascara!

It was a refreshing three weeks of vacation. I’m tanned, rested, and ready for whatever the rest of this year wants to throw at us. (If the rest of the year is listening, that was not intended as a challenge.) We spent two weeks down in the Algarve, sunning ourselves in the Portuguese sun and…

On the Burning of Witches

Today is Sankt Hans Aften in Denmark: St. John’s Eve. The holiday is a celebration of John the Baptist’s birth, which the Gospel dates six months prior to Jesus’s: thus St. John’s Day is six months before Christmas. (More or less: changing calendars over the years have resulted in the slight offset.) Skt. Hans Aften…

World Champions

I had some other stuff queued up to write about today, but all of that has to be set aside. As everyone in Denmark and very few people in America know, the Danish national handball team defeated Sweden 26-24 last night in Cairo to win the world championship. (The US team qualified for the tournament…

Dillermania

Stephen, Buddy! Thanks for making time for me. I know you’re crazy busy and I don’t want to waste your time, so I’ll get right to it. I’ve got the next big thing in kiddie shows. I’m serious. This isn’t a pitch, Stevie. It’s a gift. No, you know what it is? It’s a fucking…

American Conditions

I don’t know how I overlooked this early December opinion piece in Berlingske: it’s hard to think of a headline more appropriate for this blog: Stop the Americanization of Danish Culture, Jacob Mchangama, Berlingske.dk, 7 December I should remind non-Danish readers that “Amerikanske tilstande” translates literally as “American conditions.” The phrase has a long pedigree…

IKEA for the Soul

I’ve spent a lot of time among Danes defending America from basic misconceptions about the country, and a lot of my time among Americans defending Denmark in the same way. I’m not talking about politics, but much more basic stuff. Geography. Climate. Cuisine. Education. The practicalities of daily life. Denmark and the United States are…

Titular Privilege

The American chattering class has been entertaining itself for the past couple of weeks with Jill Biden’s insistence on being addressed as Doctor Jill Biden. The right has been mocking her for it, the left has been attacking that mockery as sexism. Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an…

Lys i Mørket

Do you know how Chicago was founded? It was a bunch of New Yorkers who said, “You know, I love the crowds and pollution and crime and filth and high prices here in New York, but dammit, the winters just aren’t cold enough…” That’s one of two classic Chicago jokes I know. (I’ll get to…