Friday, June 11, 2004

Surprise conservative

Looking through a copy of University Review, a magazine I published at Melbourne University in the late 1990s, I came across an item about the Icelandic pop singer, Bjork.

Bjork is probably better known these days for her eccentric fashion sense. Back in 1998 she made the following comment, surprising for an "out there" pop star:

I think I am a conservative bastard and lucky because I was brought up in a society that has been the same for 1200 years ... When we get drunk we scream in each other's faces poems that were written 1000 years ago.

Bjork is not right in a literal sense: Iceland has not been the same for 1200 years, and conservatives wouldn't want it to be. However, it has preserved its ethnic tradition better than other European countries. So it's understandable for Bjork to feel lucky that she belongs to an unbroken national tradition, in which people still feel a close connection to their own past and their own culture.

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