Thursday, 12 August 2010


You know how sometimes you have all the information but don't make connections? Well that happened to me yesterday with Norway.

Norway, as we know, has its own really excellent line in Fox's Glacier Glaciers, and fjords, famous for their fjords to the extent that I had no idea anyone else had any until I went to Alaska. This could be partly connected to my baffling and inexplicable hatred for the subject of geography when I was at school.

One of the up-sides of there being very little TV on during the summer, is that occasionally you get to watch some gems you wouldn't have even bothered looking for. And last night, we found such a gem, a programme about Norway.
Now, had I been asked about Norwegians, the only one I could have thought of was a rather odious man I worked for in an office for about two weeks before I went to the Nature Park.

But of course, really I know many others. Who, for example, hasn't read Thor Heyerdahl's 'Kon-Tiki Expedition'? It was almost compulsory reading for my generation. And Ibsen, everyone's heard of Ibsen. Amundsen, and then the Norwegian Whaling ship that rescued Shackleton after he had shown true grit by walking hundreds of miles across the ice in just his gym shoes. Liv Ullmann of course. Alright, so not that many really, but some.

Ibsen's 'A Doll's House', it transpires, was banned at first in Britain, for portraying women and men as equals.
And there's the thing.
The Vikings. Yes, not just a bunch of horned-hat wearing, sea-faring marauders, but actually a very advanced society, and one in which women and men were equal. They took equal parts in the governing of their society, in fact, negotiation and discussion, arguably more female methods of governance, were how it all worked.

So what could possibly have gone wrong?

Christianity. Yep, good ol' not-supposed-to-be, but-turned-out-that-way, misinterpreted Christianity came along and it all went pear-shaped.

Fortunately, with all that Vikingocity in their blood, the Norwegians are back on track again and remain in the top three of the global index of gender parity.
Which just goes to show you can't keep a Norse God down.


dollis said...

" baffling and inexplicable hatred for the subject of geography when I was at school"

Baffling? Inexplicable? No,no, it was all down to the ghastliness of being taught by Miss Dulcie Newell! She really worried me, with the sickly sarcasm she used to mask her spitefulness towards First Years. I never really recovered from being hauled over the carpet for ALLEGEDLY drawing a pseudo-phallic cartoon when I was genuinely trying to reproduce the outline of Italy. Nasty, nasty.

Schneewittchen said...

Ah...interesting, I know she was part of the problem, but over time I had come to believe that my dislike of her may have been 'baffling and inexplicable' too. Being reminded of her ghastliness does make it more understandable. Hmmm.
I wonder if we'd have liked the subject had we been taught by Mrs.Green.

Gail said...

This post made me think of this.

Schneewittchen said...

Hahaha!!!! Plus, I love the idea of poetry that would put Vogon poetry to shame :))