30 November 2010

Ultra Danish, a Christmas calendar

In a televised debate the two opposing leading women in Danish politics recently tried to define what was Danish. One was focused on humanity and the social conscience, the other was less so, but on the other hand very fond of fresh, new potatoes and the picturesque coast line. To me the definition is a blend of these things, and also very much a combination of how it is, how it once was, and how I want it to be. I love Denmark with all of my heart, and I cringe when people talk about being ashamed of it. I can understand not supporting the political direction (I don't have to say how I feel about them, do I?), but turning your back on the entire country, its history and the potential to be great once again, is not an option.

So I have put myself on an assignment to try and describe what being Danish means to me. And to make it digestible, I have made it into a Christmas calendar, so you get a little bit every day for the next 24 days. For every Dane there is a definition of what it means to be Danish, but this version will be all mine. Ultra Danish, the Christmas calendar will launch on December 1st (drumroll), and all you have to do is click the heart on the top of the page to get your daily Danish.


I found this on the back of a red car parked down my street. Although it is only two pieces of tape, I got right away how it is our flag, Dannebrog. The last decade or so, our beautiful flag have been hijacked by the extremist Danish People's Party, as part of their image. I strongly feel like it should be illegal to use a national symbol for evil, as this closely resembles using it for toilet paper. There is now a stain on the flag, that I can only hope some day will go away. Because to me it still represents something good and pure. It is my flag too, you know. And I am taking it back.

Update: by some small miracle I survived yet another Christmas. 


  1. I struggle a lot with patriotism, as I most of the time feel kind of anti-patriotic about the United States. I understand that many of the people in the country are wonderful, normal people who are just going about their lives like any other people, but when I look at the history of the country, as well as the current happenings, I can't help but think the U.S. was doomed to end up here, and here is really not a good place, I don't think.

    We started out by occupying a land which was devoid of human existence (oh, wait...), terrorizing its inhabitants, destroying their way of life in favor of implementing our own, and now we've just moved on to doing the same thing with our military all over the world.

    The reason I struggle with all of this, is that I deeply desire to be proud of the place I come from, but no matter how hard I look, I find very few things that don't cause me to cringe.

    You can say we are a great scientific and technological country, but I think most of those innovations have pushed us further into destroying our lives, so I don't really find that to be a positive either....

    Sorry, this really should be my own blog post, not a comment on yours, but it just brought up for me something which I think about often, and I never really feel at peace with.

  2. It is important to stand up for what you believe in, I think, and try and change what you can. If you let bacteria roam freely, you get what we have now. Every day we have a new development in the wrong direction, from mediocre thinking on a high political level, to the downright dangerous. But I don't think that that should be allowed to define Denmark. To me Denmark is the good, trying to survive the ugly right now. And almost as if Denmark were a person, I can't turn my back, she needs me too much.

    I do feel like USA is back on track, but that it is going to take some time to get it going again. Americans, at least the ones I have come across, are a warm and welcoming people, not afraid to fight for their dreams, the way we sometimes are here. But then I am not as up to date on your end of the world as you are...

  3. It is important to stand up for what you believe in, and you're right, if you don't do anything, you end up with the interests of the few overwhelming the interests of the many, as we see now.

    I feel like most Americans are good people, as good as anyone else by nature (that is, we are all human beings and essentially the same at the core), but we have been taught for decades to think certain ways (or to *not* think, more importantly, but just act based on social pressure), and because of that, I think we've ended up in this place where there is a lot of hate and animosity towards people simply based on categories which they get put in (republican, democrat, cyclist, pedestrian, driver, rich, poor, muslim, christian, whatever), without any regard for the individual person who is who they are regardless of what categories they fit into. For instance, we just had a bomb scare in Portland, and afterwards, the mosque which the bomber occasionally attended was burned down by someone, because to them bomber who was muslim means muslims are bombers. The Tea Party, Glen Beck and the like are just making use of this to whip people up into even more of a froth, because if you can get people angry at the same thing, they'll follow you against it.

    I feel like there is a lot of misplaced patriotism here, in the sense that people just pound their chests and say "I love America" and get angry at anyone who doesn't, and would defend anything the U.S. does without even thinking about it.

    Probably some of these things are the same anywhere in the world, but I definitely feel like America has been, and maybe still is moving in the direction of heavy social oppression and manipulation of its own people. It's the kind of thing that's hard to really put a finger on, but there is just, to me at least, a sense of something throughout interactions with people, discussions about issues, etc - something in the air, that you can feel almost tangibly, but you can't see.

    I don't know... I feel like it may be time for us to leave, it's one of those situations where we've tried to hold on for quite a long time, but it's beginning to become wearisome and burdening to the point that it's becoming harmful to us I think, or at least it's making the way we want to live extremely difficult to achieve. If we go elsewhere, and it turns out to be just the same, so be it, but if we never try, we never know :)

    On the plus side, maybe we'll see you in København sometime (even if only for a visit) :)

  4. portlandize, I agree that scare tactics are the most used weapon these days. My personal reaction when somebody tries to scare me is to take a step back and see what I could possibly be manipulated into now. Only very rarely is there a real threat.

    I am sorry to hear about the hatriot towards the mosque. Right after the 9/11 someone set fire to my local muslim vegetable dealers store. These guys work so hard, from early morning to late evening, in the cold, to get us fresh vegetables.. this was before I got to know them the way I do now (pre-smile sticker), but I remember how the community got together to help them restore the place. Everybody pitched in. When you have this kind of goodness going on (and I am sure America does too), there is still hope.

    But it would be so much fun to see you here, if you ever come my way. :-)

    Hi Neil... almost there (louder drumroll still), haha.

  5. In France, nobody cares about the flag except for the ultra nationalists (extremists right wing) and it is sad too, although being French I never cared about the flag, I feel it shouldn't be used that way. Yuck! -by the way I'm not sure French people are patriotic the same way, they just very arrogant mainly, when out of their country I'm afraid. They take it for granted inside the country and a lot of them try to fight other fights... I didn't have time to prepare my calendar for my son. Yuck again.... this is what i had to do today but things came up and then...
    and yes I think portlandize is right... I could go on about American people, but, well this is not my blog either...

  6. I'm looking forward to this! Portlandize and I would probably agree on a lot of things . . . I mean it took two comedians (satirists, really) to hold a "Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear" to get a lot of people to take a hard look at the way people who disagree here are arguing. Truth is the first victim, reasonable discourse the second.

    But enough about us. Or US, as the case might be. To end where I began - I'm really looking forward to this! It will be like the Advent Calendar of Blogging, with one little present each day . . . .

  7. Hi Carole, the extremists right wing are the ones hijacking our flag too. Like they have a special right to it. I don't know what it is with me that I have to get all mushy about Denmark and Dannebrog, but this is something that is on my mind at the moment, growing.

    You can write all you like in here, I don't mind. And good luck on the calendar for your son!

  8. Hi Kdt,

    From what I understand, you are struggling in America. I am sorry to hear that is is so hard, and I really hope that the voices of sanity and reason will triumph. What happens in the US has a big effect on us too. And I agree with the satirical approach, it cuts through fear like butter, and it is something we use here too. As you will learn tomorrow on the calendar (tadaaa, haha). I hope you will like your little calendar presents.


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