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Monday, December 6, 2021

What Are Icelanders Talking About? The Continuing Saga Continues

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Published February 12, 2021

One of the most talked about stories in the Icelandic press right now is the shooting of Reykjavík Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson’s car. Police have apprehended a suspect—who is a former cop himself. The suspect has an even more checkered past, having been convicted of sexual assault and subsequently having his name cleared in a complex process known as “restored honour,” wherein your civic reputation, but not your criminal record, is expunged. The shooting has prompted a wider discussion on political discourse, the implication being that heated discussions can lead to or contribute to acts of violence. That at least was the takeaway of all this that Left-Green MP Kolbeinn Óttarsson Proppé has, telling Parliament earlier this month that he would refrain from “telling people to go f*ck themselves in public”. Good on him.

In lighter news, a class action lawsuit is being filed against an American company for alleged false advertising. One of their products, described as “traditional Icelandic skyr,” is the subject of the suit, as the plaintiffs contend its packaging gives the false impression that this is an Icelandic product. This, they allege, led them to buy a product they would not normally buy, or at least, not for the price that is charged for it. However, the packaging also states that the product is made in Batavia, New York, so this lawsuit may be quite the battle. Only time will tell.

If there’s one thing Reykjavík residents feel strongly about, it’s the use of studded tyres in the winter. Contrary to what you might think, streets in the greater capital area seldom, if ever, ice over in the winter. However, this doesn’t stop a great many Reykjavík area Icelanders from using studded tyres on otherwise ice-free roads, which contributes heavily to air pollution in the region. As such, Reykjavík City Council has asked Parliament for permission to ban studded tyres altogether. This has not been well received by more conservative members of city council, who are proposing instead more frequent street cleanings and parking discounts for those who forego studded tyres. Well, at least they all agree that air pollution in Reykjavík is a problem, right?

Icelanders have been diligently subtitling and voice dubbing cartoons for years now and that includes a lot of Disney feature films. Oddly, though, when one signs up for a Disney+ account, none of the Icelandic subs or dubs are available. Minister of Education and Culture Lilja Alfreðsdóttir hopes to change that, having sent a formal request to Disney that they include this material in their streaming services. Happily, Disney agreed to honour that request, so Icelanders should be getting their beloved subs and dubs streamed to them soon.

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