Jim: Do you know what I was thinking?
Selena: You were thinking that you’ll never hear another piece of original music, ever again. You’ll never read a book that hasn’t already been written or see a film that hasn’t already been shot.
Jim: Um, that’s what you were thinking.
-28 days later
I was just thinking. I really enjoy finding fresh new voices. I love hearing a new perspective, learning something about which I have no knowledge, having a familiar concept taken apart. I like it when I hear something I agree with best of all (obviously!) but I also like hearing things I do not agree with. If the argument is made particularly well, it might even be enough to change my mind. Or at least confirm why I am right about everything.
Recently, I have been reading a lot more about abroad. My home country, other English speaking countries, countries that I do not have much in common with. I have even been reading about the past. Maya Angelou surprised me. I thought I was going to read something like The Color Purple all over again and it just wasn’t like that! She said things I had no idea had been said all those years before I was born. Good writing and good discussion changes the circuitry in your brain, it makes you think differently. I think that feeling of discovery feels extraordinarily good.
I just realised. I have lived in Denmark for four years almost and I have heard every original thing about Denmark that exists and will ever exist. I had the realisation whilst reading some comments (that I happened to agree with), on a news website by some Swede I do not know. And I was nodding and agreeing and feeling good. But then I was thinking “I must know this person because she is saying EXACTLY what I think!” Uhhh. No. She’s saying exactly what I think because there are maximum 12 points of view here, so law of averages sort of dictates that I will bump into ideas exactly like mine.
Conversations about Denmark are circular whoever you talk to. If you talk to the militantly pro-Denmark people, it’s one set of conversations. If you talk to the militantly against-Denmark people, it’s another. If you talk to newbies, it’s another set of topics. If you talk to Danes, it’s another one again. The people in the middle, take from all those categories.
There is nothing more to hear.
Jante. Taxes. Welfare state. Rudeness. Institutionalisation. Bikes. Design. Attachment disorder. Racism. Irony/satire (misunderstanding the meaning of). Integration. Poor spacial awareness. Mohammed Cartoons. Language barriers. Free speech. The workplace. The right wing politics. The new left wing politics. THE GODDAMNED WEATHER.
I have heard it all before. No one is going to burst onto the scene with some fresh new beats the kids can dance to. I remember getting really excited when a new foreigner opened a blog and it was AMAZING, fresh insights, clever takes on things… and then they got settled and stopped posting. If they do say anything, it’s about what they had for dinner or about sweet cultural differences that I already knew about. (This has happened so many times, if you are thinking I mean you, it is possible but I might be talking about a half dozen other people and not you at all, so you will literally never know. No, you’re right, I was talking about you. Where do you blog again? Oh yeah! Yeah, you count too.) This goes for grumpy bastard bloggers like me and more cautiously optimistic bloggers like the majority. The fount runneth dry.
So, I generate my own content, in the fervent hope that some new thinking will pop up and instead, I get arguments offered to me that I have heard before. I honestly do not mind when Danish enthusiasts take up the cause but I feel like that Greek dude vs the Hydra. Except there aren’t two new heads growing back, it’s just the same one. Over and over. It’s got so fucking predictable, I am able to place refutations to common arguments before I press publish. When I read someone else on the internet NOT covering themselves for “worse in North Korea” or “you’re just negative”; I cringe. Then the zombie commenters come out, biting and moaning. We are all going through the motions. I can refute common logical fallacies in my frigging sleep now and that has been achieved through hours of grinding. When a friend made a bullshit bingo card, it took a day of brainstorming and is instantly recognisable even to newcomers.
The same goes for the people I hang out with (who I love because they’re my people), but we say the same shit every day. Same thoughts, same reactions. Nothing changes here, so neither do our reactions.
Honestly, I am bored. I am bored with hearing how it would be the same in another country. I am bored of hearing how it would be worse somewhere else. I am bored of hearing about Denmark’s failures. There’s NEVER any progress, there’s never change, so it’s the same failures on a constant repeat.
The only two solutions open to me are moving away or trying to change things. Neither of those things are exactly easy on any scale.