Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)

Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)
"A curious and wonderful work of great human value by a Danish master." Sebastian Barry, Man Booker finalist (Click on the picture to go to the book's Amazon page)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No, Oprah, Danes Aren't Happy. We're Godless Patriots on Painkillers

It's old news now.

Danes are the happiest people on earth. That survey came out in June, 2008, and just a month ago Oprah dedicated a TV-show to us happy Danes. What's our secret? Why are we always so goddamn happy? Even when we shop for carrots we're the Embodiment of Bliss. And when we throw poor refugees out of the country, we smile because we live here and they don't.

So what's up? Are our expectations lower than others? Are we happy because our welfare state works (kind of), or do we simply take pride in the fact that we invented Lego?  If you've ever played with Lego, you know it makes you happy, right? Well, that's what we Danes are all about, supposedly.

But are we seriously happy?  No, we're simply patriots. That's what the survey reflects. We suffer from The Small Country Syndrome. We're tired of being taken for Swedes or Germans. We want to come out of our Southern Scandinavian closet; we simply want to be seen!

That's what the coming UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen is about as well. See us, appreciate how much we do for the environment, admire us. But happy? No, how could we be? Most Danes don't believe in anything, not even in ourselves. Our only God is the welfare state. That has become the church we worship, and the walls of the church are crumbling down.  The recession will see to that.

So Oprah, next time you come to Denmark, please continue to celebrate us, because we do have a great little country with socialized medicine. And Denmark is still the kind of fairy tale place where it makes national news when a gang member fires a bullet into a park bench.

But if you walk around Copenhagen on a cold November day, you won't find much happiness. You'll see people in their own comatose world, walking to and fro with plastic bags and briefcases, not saying hello to any one, not smiling through their painkillers, just going about their business in the dreary drizzle.

Strangely enough, if you want happiness, you  see more of that in a poor village in India or Bali - maybe because they have 52 million gods to help them with their pain?

Read my award winning blog entry, Denmark for Dummies: A Superficial Introduction to the Happiest Country in the World.

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