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Friending Iceland
May 19, 2011 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Halló humans on the Inter-net. My name is Iceland. I am an island, full of mountains and glaciers and hot water and sheep and many nice Icelandic people, who like to make music, and who are sometimes cold. (Maybe you have seen me on your tele-visions, or your Inter-net.) I have heard that many humans use the Inter-net to make friends, and to talk about themselves. I decided to do this, too.
                      Iceland wants to be your friend.

If that's not enough to win you over—an entire country who wants to be friends—hold on, Iceland has some more things to show you in favor of itself:

Every Single Word In Icelandic
Icelandic Bands That Aren't Sigur Ros
A Blog About Iceland

All this is An independent a social media project, orginally created at the initiative of the Icelandic Tourist Board... using nice people and fancy machines.
posted by carsonb (57 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
With their current economic situation, I'm expecting a Kickstarter page in 5...4...3...2...
posted by Afroblanco at 5:20 PM on May 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm suspicious, does it want to borrow some money or something?
posted by the noob at 5:22 PM on May 19, 2011 [30 favorites]


Iceland seems to have only one hipster. Iceland, you have just won my friendship.
posted by cazoo at 5:24 PM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Strange, Iceland wasn't nearly this friendly when I visited, in 2005 or so.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:24 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


My wife and I are already friends with Iceland.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:25 PM on May 19, 2011


Iceland, can you make your airfares cheaper so my husband and I can spend Christmas with you? We're totally awesome guests. But we won't eat hakarl. Well, I won't. He will.
posted by Kitteh at 5:27 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hear bears like Iceland - maybe bear bears, too, but mainly hairy men who like other hairy men bears. I'm a bear, so I think I'd like Iceland. But I am very cautious about making friends with the intern-net. Also, "hakarl" sounds like it has something to do with the fish, so, I'm not eating that either.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 5:29 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you make friends with Iceland, and read the small print, it will sing you a song and you can download it, too!
posted by jokeefe at 5:31 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


As an Icelander, I want to drink myself into oblivion.

To get back on-topic, I don't think very highly of these websites.
posted by Kattullus at 5:32 PM on May 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Iceland asked me to be its friend on Facebook, but when it heard I was Polish it asked me to work on a potato farm, too :(
posted by 1adam12 at 5:32 PM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just came back from a trip to Iceland - we did the ring road, and it was really one of the most amazing places I've been. Not for the cities (we were bored w/ Reykjavik really quickly) but the natural scenery - the landscape is incredibly varied and changes very quickly. You can go from windswept coasts to scrubby bush-covered desert in just a few hours. Volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, it's got everything.

Iceland seems to have only one hipster.
Sorry to let you down, but Reykjavik's full of hipsters.
posted by pravit at 5:33 PM on May 19, 2011


I don't know, Kattullus, I have a hard time criticizing anyone who spreads the joy that is rabarbarasulta throughout the world.
posted by weebil at 5:37 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


To get back on-topic, I don't think very highly of these websites.

Why Kattullus? I'd enjoy your insight, and this post could use some beefing up.
I thought the sites/general idea is cute. And I'm digging the music blog and the words.
posted by carsonb at 5:37 PM on May 19, 2011


Iceland's website improves by orders of magnitude if you read the whole thing in Strong Bad's voice.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:37 PM on May 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Iceland, as your friend, I mean this in the nicest possible way: you need to see a dermatologist about that acne. Not only are those erupting cysts on your face pretty gross, but they're fucking up everyone else's air travel schedules, too.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:39 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd go out drinking with Iceland. They have fish liquor.
posted by The Whelk at 5:46 PM on May 19, 2011


Also, "hakarl" sounds like it has something to do with the fish, so, I'm not eating that either.

Yes, it does.
posted by jason's_planet at 5:48 PM on May 19, 2011


Sometimes I climb in a laundry basket and tickle my ears. Sometimes I do not. Pizza!
posted by loquacious at 5:50 PM on May 19, 2011 [7 favorites]



I hear bears like Iceland - maybe bear bears, too, but mainly hairy men who like other hairy men bears.

and this post could use some beefing up.


You people and or island nations are taunting me.
posted by The Whelk at 5:51 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a cod peace joke in here somewhere, but I don't wanna be that guy.
posted by Dumsnill at 5:53 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Part of me is really in love with the idea of one day living in Iceland. Another part of me thinks it would be like living in the worst small town ever.
posted by strixus at 5:53 PM on May 19, 2011


Once upon a time, when I was considering leaving the US permanently...before I spawned and there were dozens of grandparents, aunts and assorted loons who would follow me...I seriously considered Iceland's invitation. I love the country, the people were wonderful, at the time the economy was top-notch, and I had a job offer. Then I realized that I had been freezing...FREEZING...in June. As a tropical flower who needs an ambient temp around 80 degrees, I decided that I couldn't be a special snowflake in Iceland.

I still think of Iceland fondly though. Even though we broke up, I'm totally cool with you guys being friends with Iceland.
posted by dejah420 at 5:57 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, who didn't read that in Bjork's voice with the delightful little rhotic purr?
posted by fleetmouse at 5:59 PM on May 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh you crazy wacky Iceland. You have such cute little ponies, but if they leave, they cannot return. YOU AND YOUR ONE-WAY HORSE TRANSPORT, ICELAND!
posted by rmd1023 at 6:03 PM on May 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


loq: Sometimes I climb in a laundry basket and tickle my ears. Sometimes I do not. Pizza!

I can't believe that gif is still going strong.
posted by carsonb at 6:06 PM on May 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I am not allowed the sugar!
posted by loquacious at 6:13 PM on May 19, 2011


*leaving the toga off will make me seem more virile.
posted by clavdivs at 6:14 PM on May 19, 2011


Wow. I had seen but forgotten that gif and now I have been reminded and am delighted. YAY!

also, i am tipsy, which may factor into my utter squeeing delight at that silliness
posted by rmd1023 at 6:17 PM on May 19, 2011


step away from the sugarcubes loqacious. it will only end in tears.
posted by The Whelk at 6:17 PM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I know about Iceland is that when Norse colonists came from there to Scotland they were amazed at the balmy weather and welcoming beaches and were ecstatic at discovering the delicacies that grew in its semi-tropical climate. Why, even barley would grow in some areas, which meant that you could brew beer! It was so far south that they called it Suðrland, "southern-land" and even though it is actually the northern tip of Britain it has kept the name ever since.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:17 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pretty much no trees in Iceland, right? I mean, photos I've seen, it's not like grandeur of huge pine or whatever, stands of oak, none of that, maybe just stands of lichen? I like what I've read -- admittedly, not too very much -- I like what I've read about Iceland -- seems religion is pretty well off the menu there, human decencies about ie same rights for gay people as straight, and I love that they pretty much fired their government and hired a new govt that told the banking community (ie scumbags who stole from most of the rest of the countries when their loans went bad) to go piss up a rope when they came calling.

On the other hand, it seems I've read somewhere (I read it on the internet, it must be true!)that lots of people from Iceland believe in elves? wtf is that about? I mean yeah, I believe in Bjork, she's sortof small and maybe elfin, and acts a tad goofy, but real elves, living in rocks or caves or whatever? Hmmm..
posted by dancestoblue at 6:47 PM on May 19, 2011


Dear Iceland:

Please, just let it go. Seriously. We can't go back to the way things were between us, and even if we could, I wouldn't want to. You either grow or you stay the same, Iceland, and let's face it, I've grown.

You're still just a small country way north of here. And you promised me you'd change, that we'd work together on our issues.

I've moved on; there - I said it. Please, just accept how things are.

And stop texting me.

Sincerely,

Lipstick Thespian
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:48 PM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, 'hakarl' sounds like it has something to do with the fish, so, I'm not eating that either.

Hákarl "has a particular ammonia smell, similar to many cleaning products...Those new to it will usually gag involuntarily on the first attempt to eat it due to the high ammonia content...First-timers are sometimes advised to pinch their nose while taking the first bite as the smell is much stronger than the taste."

You wash it down with a shot of Brennivín, AKA Black Death. "It has a strong taste, a high alcohol content (37.5% ABV), and a dubious reputation."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:58 PM on May 19, 2011


Dear Iceland,
You seem really nice, our names are but a consonant apart, and our inhabitants have 50% of their mitochondrial DNA in common. Unfortunately, we're both quite skint right now, and I'm not sure this will work out.

Your pal,
Ireland

P.S. say hi to your sister Norway for me
posted by kersplunk at 7:09 PM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have heard that there are MØØse in iceland. (A MØØse bit my sister once.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:22 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, Brazil thinks you are cute.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:34 PM on May 19, 2011


Grandma? Ja, it is your grandson. Ja, this is Iceland. I am so happy to hear your voice! I was mugged in London .....
posted by dhartung at 8:17 PM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Iceland wants to be your friend.

togtfo
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:35 PM on May 19, 2011


Iceland just got added to my spam filter. Curious name for a mail-order bride, though.
posted by chrominance at 8:53 PM on May 19, 2011


carsonb: Why Kattullus? I'd enjoy your insight, and this post could use some beefing up.
I thought the sites/general idea is cute. And I'm digging the music blog and the words.


After taking out my annoyance on some computer-game nazis, I feel ready to think about this a bit clearer. Basically, my problem is the voice. It's this really weird stereotypical "quirky Icelander" voice. That wouldn't be a problem if it was a person writing these in his or her own voice, but this is just a marketing exercise.

For better or worse, "quirky Icelanders," which are known in Iceland as "krúttkynslóðin," which translates to "the cutiepie generation," are my people. I'm slightly younger, (the cuties are people born in the 70s, Sigur Rós' generation) but a lot of friends and acquaintances are of that type. It annoys me to see their subculture stereotyped into a marketing gimmick.

But ultimately what pisses me off the most is that whoever's doing that felt that it was just fine to speak in the name of Iceland. During the financial bubble there were a large number of people who felt they had the right to do that and those very same people drove Icelandic society off a cliff. I know it's a gimmick, but it still rubs me all kinds of wrong ways. Yes, the bands featured are good bands, but there must be a way to do this without presenting Iceland as some sort of monolithic entity with one voice and one opinion on everything.

Now that I've fought back against computer-simulated fascism, I feel somewhat better, but I still wish that marketers didn't feel the need to present my culture (or my subculture) as a stereotype. It's bad when it's people who don't live here, it's even worse when it's people who should know better. Couldn't the at least have created a character to speak and not just spoken as "Iceland?"

[tl;dr]: Marketing ruins everything.
posted by Kattullus at 9:40 PM on May 19, 2011 [19 favorites]


Iceland, I'd like to be friends, but we have to work through what happened in Dubuque. You and me, Sally's pub, 6 PM tomorrow, no sharp objects, and for God's sake leave the Isle of Man in the car this time, I mean it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:43 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aðila.
posted by clavdivs at 9:45 PM on May 19, 2011


Iceland seems to have only one hipster. Iceland, you have just won my friendship.

I'm pretty sure Sigur Ros and Mum have multiple members.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:18 PM on May 19, 2011


Iceland seems to be getting wider and wider.
posted by not_on_display at 11:26 PM on May 19, 2011


Hi. This is Iceland. Please leave the message after the beeps...

Hey Iceland,

Britain here. Hey, I knew we used to be better friends, and we're not as in touch any more, but errm, you remember that money I gave you to look after? Well, I kind of need it back. No biggie, just give me a call so we can talk about it. Haven't seen you around, or, anyway... I know you're probably not avoiding me Iceland, but if you could just, ermmm, pick up the phone?

Anyway just call me back.

It's Britain. Did I say that already? Anyway, you probably knew, but just in case. It's Britain.

Call me.
posted by seanyboy at 1:02 AM on May 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Kattullus I agree, that old-soul/innocent voice of Iceland has GOT to go. It is inauthentic, annoying.

I must say that I quickly noticed the unified "inspired by Iceland" consortium of offerings, which likely appeal to the long-weekend visitors flying in for a dip
in the Blue Lagoon, a quick trip on the Golden Circle and pub-crawling in Reykjavik. And here is a movie, Heima, and a couple of groups - Bjork and Sigur Ros and now Jonsi - to bring back home after travel .

But for the seasoned traveler, this campaign is limiting. Iceland is so much more than these consumable, quick, experiences. It's a country to be discovered deliberately, slowly, on the Ring Road or via the network of secondary roads and trails that cris-cross the nation.

During my travels there I never met anyone that sounded like that Iceland voice, or expressed themselves so naively. With that simple persona, the tourist board cheapens the rich and varied experience of an extended stay in that beautiful country.

But for the seasoned
posted by seawallrunner at 3:20 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't forget about Iceland's three primary contributions to the world's economy: fishing, dragons and screaming.
posted by jbickers at 3:58 AM on May 20, 2011


As a citizen of the UK I'm a bit hazy on the whole Iceland-banking thing, and who owes who money. I do know, however, that Iceland beat the UK in the Cod Wars, so I was hoping we could settle the whole thing before they pillaged Scotland again.
posted by The River Ivel at 4:03 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've had friends like Iceland. Most of them disappeared when I got rid of my pickup truck and couldn't help them move.
posted by tommasz at 5:15 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Takk Takk, the agency behind the campaign.

I respect Katullus' opinion of this campaign, but every time something from Iceland pops up in my feed reader, it brings a little smile to my face.
posted by likorish at 12:49 PM on May 20, 2011


Iceland is so much more than these consumable, quick, experiences.

So the problem is that this campaign is incomplete in commodifying the experience of Iceland? If only they were selling us the rich and varied "real Iceland" for seasoned consumers travellers.
posted by AlsoMike at 2:58 PM on May 20, 2011


@thisisiceland has tweeted:
Be careful, humans: @kattullus says I am just a marketing trix: http://goo.gl/6vym8 (He would also like to tell you about "krúttkynslóðin".)
The link goes to a screenshot of Katullus' comment.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:15 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh, I'm getting trolled by an Iceland tourism marketing campaign. The 21st Century sure is living up to the hype.

The future was better when it had jetpacks and hoverboards.
posted by Kattullus at 4:01 PM on May 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


BATTLE THEM FOR DOMINANCE KATTULLUS.
posted by The Whelk at 5:29 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


YOU COULD BE KING OF TOURISM! MINECRAFT CON 2012 IN ICELAND! THINK OF IT!
posted by The Whelk at 5:29 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah I have to agree with Kattulus here. The quirky, oh-so-adorable voice is really grating. Not least of all because a great many Icelanders find it incredibly condescending to be thought of by foreigners as cuddly lil elfin folk who do and say the cutest things. And I have to admit, as an expat living in Iceland for some 12 years now, I do wince when I hear tourists talking about Icelanders in this manner - it's a bit of a pat-on-the-head "oh you charming little natives, pretending to be a grown up nation and everything" sort of condescension that I reckon would get very irritating after a while. But it's hard to blame the tourists, when the Tourist Board tries its hardest to sell this exact image overseas. I think it'd be nice if instead, the Tourist Board tried selling the natural wonders of the country without having to resort to blanket stereotypes that belittle the people they're supposedly trying to help.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:12 AM on May 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another example of nation-branding, here is a video my brother sent me from Peru. This video did capture some of the variety of Peruvian culture with a sense of humor. But I don't like the nation branding idea myself, I'd rather see the money spent on these ads going to the arts, to the individuals who create the culture of a place. But I'm probably turned off to the ad campaigns and branding of entire countries because I just don't like tourism as tourism. Tourists are no fun to deal with, and I'd personally rather visit a place when I also have some legitimate reason to be there.
posted by sulphur at 5:17 PM on May 21, 2011


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