Bull. Eagle. Dragon. Giant.
July 2, 2020 5:31 PM   Subscribe

The Icelandic national football team introduced its new crest today with an absolutely epic, goosebump-inducing video (directed by their goaltender, no less). Visit the micro site to learn more.
posted by schoolgirl report (38 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

Jeez. That was intense
posted by potrzebie at 5:41 PM on July 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

Their goaltender also directed the video for Iceland's 2012 Eurovision entry "Never Forget," which I, at least, enjoyed.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:44 PM on July 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

wow, I'm ready to buy season tickets and fly in for the games.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:47 PM on July 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

That's one sexy logo.
posted by merriment at 5:48 PM on July 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Do they join together to make a massive robotic striker?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:00 PM on July 2, 2020 [19 favorites]

Holy crap; If I was into ink, I'd have that thing on my forehead.
posted by Afghan Stan at 7:06 PM on July 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

I feel like I need to go burn all the cities of Men.
posted by aramaic at 7:12 PM on July 2, 2020 [7 favorites]

Lower league football teams have been hurting due to the 'rona, so I've been buying new jerseys from teams I've seen while travelling (provided they pass a BLM check), but godsdamn will I be adding another with this logo to my collection even though it's state sponsored.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:18 PM on July 2, 2020

That's a good video.
posted by Windopaene at 7:39 PM on July 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Are they still just called the Icelandic national football team, or can I buy a t-shirt for the Bulleagle Dragongiants? Because, please take my money.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:40 PM on July 2, 2020 [7 favorites]

OK, I can forgive them for pushing out Clockwork Orange the last time around. They clearly want it more.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:50 PM on July 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

hypothesis iceland is not a nation-state in a conventional sense instead it is a very large art school that happened to become sovereign
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:05 PM on July 2, 2020 [57 favorites]

Not as intense, but the 2018 kit release video was pretty well-done as well.

I appreciate the new logo but the shirt pattern makes me think of a debit card. (Seems to be one of Puma's stock designs.)

This one is my only piece of footy kit and will likely be my favourite iteration.
posted by myotahapea at 9:21 PM on July 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

I feel like I need to go burn all the cities of Men.

Yes but how does the football logo make you feel?
posted by curious nu at 9:32 PM on July 2, 2020 [4 favorites]


posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:36 PM on July 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

Impressive, I too would suddenly be wearing a team shirt with that story. Plus the bonus that it's been a good while since I've heard that lovely Icelandic accent.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:11 PM on July 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

My wife's and my last big trip was to Iceland, for a week in a VRBO on hvalfjörður. To really fully appreciate a video like this, you have to have some sense of the daily staidness of Icelanders: of their calm, plainspoken demeanour betraying nothing of their viking blood aching to eat your still-beating heart.

I bought a watch while we were there from JS Watch, a famous Reykjavik watchmaker who spent an hour showing us old watches brought in for repair, that had been failed to be picked up. A WW2 Rolex; various wall clocks; an entire drawer of watches never claimed. Probably a million dollars or more in inventory unclaimed decades past the point where a business person would just say "ok, this is mine now", all in a 8' x 15' shop.

That was our first visit, when I was still thinking about it. I came back two days later to buy one, and the shop was open but empty. My wife and I had a good 10 minutes to fill our pockets when Gilbert Gudjonsson saunters in from the coffee shop one door down, where he was finishing a coffee and "keeping an eye on the front door". He tells us that his sons refuse to work in the shop with him becuase he talks too much, preferring instead the back room of their wives' accounting business a block away.
posted by fatbird at 10:29 PM on July 2, 2020 [7 favorites]

"...bewitched by the power of the Protectors..."
posted by bertran at 1:12 AM on July 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also of note is that the population of Iceland is only about three times the size of the world’s largest football stadium. (That’s part of what makes their recent international success so impressive).

Of course the actual stadium in which the national team plays, Laugardalsvöllur , has a current capacity under 10k. So it would take 36 of those stadiums to seat everyone.
posted by nat at 1:38 AM on July 3, 2020

This review page has photos of a bunch of the merch and I want the scarf so bad... (Which photos I now see are also on the micro-site, oops.)
posted by merriment at 5:30 AM on July 3, 2020

This video has been received extremely poorly in Iceland, as it plays with nationalist imagery in really problematic ways. People like the logo, though, which I find rather bland, to be honest.
posted by Kattullus at 5:34 AM on July 3, 2020 [32 favorites]

The new Magic: the Gathering set is looking epic!
posted by persona at 6:23 AM on July 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Kattullus if you have time to explain more about the nationalism implicit in this video, I'd be fascinated. I found one English article about it online: Iceland Review. The translated criticisms mention "fascim", "jingoism", and "chauvinism". Here's a Google translate of one of the Icelandic critiques they cite.

All national football teams skirt a line of nationalism and chauvinism; they're national teams, afterall. It's a huge problem in Germany, say, where nationalistic symbols still make people uneasy. I didn't know Iceland had that kind of baggage though.
posted by Nelson at 6:43 AM on July 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah I mean, it's a national team hype video, of course it's chauvinist (in the patriotic sense of the word) and plays on the "one against the world" trope. And crests very often don't explicitly reference football, so that's not unusual at all.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:04 AM on July 3, 2020

That giant looks like he's sipping champagne after saying something really shady.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:16 AM on July 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

you know what i regret the art school thing. there's this tendency among americans especially to not take iceland seriously as a real place, and specifically as a real place that can have problems with jingoism and nativism and racism that are analogous to the problems that other european nations have.

like from an american perspective it's too easy to think of it in reductive terms as a pure utopia, as this stunningly beautiful hypereducated hypercreative superfeminist social democratic paradise with no serious problems. which uh is a blinkered perspective, especially given that there are in fact hard-right nationalists there, and especially given that reykjavik is being hit by a housing crisis, and especially since so much of the political leadership was so recently tangled up with the corruption exposed in the panama papers. (holy shit sometimes i forget that someone on this very site was instrumental in exposing the panama papers)

i mean i would definitely give my eye teeth to move there, don't get me wrong. and it's a credit to the country that people are skeptical of this video. but memo to self: iceland is a real place with real people. it's dismissive to think of it as perfect. and it's definitely dismissive to think of it as cute.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:54 AM on July 3, 2020 [26 favorites]

...so I shouldn't link to this excellent documentary about Iceland?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:40 AM on July 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

This video has been received extremely poorly in Iceland, as it plays with nationalist imagery in really problematic ways. People like the logo, though, which I find rather bland, to be honest.

In my freshly-awakened and pre-caffeinated state this morning I found it to be a bit over-the-top and cringey, and shrugged it off as just the latest instance of Iceland playing itself up to the foreign market. But I mentioned it to a few friends and relatives back home over the course of the day, and the consensus was the same: none of us liked it.

If you take away the football context, the nationalist elements are pretty clear. High-speed flashes of black-and-white clips of the 'good old days' with impassioned voiceover espousing solidarity, harmony, and unity in the face of hardship, heroes prepared to fight in defence of their 'home ground', the mythological protectors watching over chosen people ... it's, a lot. And the simplified idealisation, of course, ignores the negative and problematic aspects of those characteristics. (Strip away the sport imagery and it wouldn't surprise me if this video were an advert for Sigmundur Davíð's Miðflokkurinn party, though that may just be evidence of my cynicism bleeding through.)

The more I think about it, the less surprised I am that comments are disabled on these videos.
posted by myotahapea at 9:56 AM on July 3, 2020 [19 favorites]

This video has been received extremely poorly in Iceland, as it plays with nationalist imagery in really problematic ways. People like the logo, though, which I find rather bland, to be honest.

I got to spend a week in Iceland last summer and this news really doesn't surprise me. While watching the video I kept thinking, "Yeah this is intense but also nothing about Iceland struck me as having this sort of attitude?"

Everywhere I went & everyone I met was chill and friendly and pleasant. It was a non-stop experience of wishing to god America wasn't so ridiculous, because other places are really nice.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:50 AM on July 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

There’s a mix of things at play in the negative reaction of many Icelanders to the video. The first is the obvious thing that various nationalist people in Iceland use the Norse heritage for propaganda. Icelandic nationalist and racists will use various motifs from and references to Norse culture and medieval Icelandic works of literature. Seeing them used in a nationalist context like this reminds us of the worst parts of our country, culture and government.

This is especially galling because Icelanders are in general fairly proud of the fact that the reason the Norse heritage is preserved was largely because of the work of medieval Icelanders who wrote down old myths and stories about their ancestors, which also meant that various customs and traditions got recorded as well.

One good example of this pride is that many sports teams use names of Norse deities (e.g. Þór), mythical characters (e.g. Fjölnir), or even historical figures (e.g. Skallagrímur). Icelandic self image is closely interwoven with this heritage. So it’s not that people object to the heritage being used in the context of sports, or any other context, but there are ways of doing it wrong.

The problem with the Norse and medieval Icelandic heritage is that it was stripmined for symbolism and propaganda first by the Nordic colonial empires Denmark and Sweden, and then by German nationalists, and eventually the actual Nazis. Not all Icelanders are hyper aware of this, of course, but very many are. To give an example, one commentator on the video invoked the Ahnenerbe, a Nazi institute that provided academic propaganda for the SS.

After the Second World War, various parts the heritage were rehabilitated. The sagas have mostly emerged unscathed, for instance, and so have Norse myths. But lots of other things are still tainted. For instance, the Icelandic pagan revivalists have to constantly deal with Neo-Nazi neopagans who claim them as spiritual leaders, even though the Icelandic neopagans are basically a bunch of communists. Staking a claim to that part of the heritage is a constant struggle with white supremacists.

How this plays into the specific case of the national soccer team is that it has been one of the few ways that Icelanders have been able to feel patriotic in a communal, mostly unproblematic way in recent years. Following the 2008 financial crisis, the lesson it was easy to draw was that nothing good happens when Icelanders try to take part in global affairs, when we try to play the game the populous nations play. So the success of the Icelandic national team in the latter part of the last decade was a way for Icelanders to feel an uncomplicated sort of pride and togetherness. We too can play the game.

The emotional reaction that this video therefore evoked with many was: “Oh no! Not this too. Don’t take this away from us, racists!”

Was it a bit over the top as a reaction to a video that is, essentially, fairly silly?

Yeah, perhaps it was. But being an Icelander means having to live in the worry that racists will lay claim to our heritage, so I understand the reaction.
posted by Kattullus at 11:23 AM on July 3, 2020 [84 favorites]

Thank you so much for explaining all that Kattullus.
posted by Nelson at 11:35 AM on July 3, 2020

Flagged as fantastic, Kattullus.

To add a bit of anecdotal shading to what Kattullus already pointed out: a lot of Norse mythology and symbolism gets co-opted by right-wing/neo-Nazi types, many of whom choose to equate 'Viking' with some idealised vision of white purity. My tattoo artist is a Dane who works primarily in large-scale original Nordic-style pieces, and he regularly has to screen potential clients and turn down these types, lest his work be used to implicitly support hateful agendas. I had some sessions with him shortly after he posted this and IIRC he said he lost about a thousand followers off the back of it (which pleased him to no end). It's a persistent and widespread misconception.

Couldn't help thinking about that when I saw how heavily merchandised the new KSÍ logo is, and whether those jerseys, water bottles, pins &c would turn up in the hands of similar people.
posted by myotahapea at 12:24 PM on July 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

I like the logo, but the video left me cold. It felt a lot like a Marine recruiting video with bonus mythic animals.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:36 PM on July 3, 2020 [7 favorites]

my favorite antifascist neopagan slogan is “he’s the allfather, not the somefather.”
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:43 PM on July 3, 2020 [12 favorites]

I love this, I want the earrings!
posted by Oyéah at 6:08 PM on July 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Can we please all stop with the 'I visited country X for a week, which means I truly understand the society and culture of this place'. You don't.
posted by Megami at 12:13 AM on July 4, 2020 [12 favorites]

I had no idea that I was an Iceland football fan! But it seems I am!
posted by Savannah at 7:45 PM on July 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

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