It’s about Denmark this week.
Five years ago or so, I moved to Denmark. I was already blogging about the stuff I was getting up to as an attempt to make me accountable for actually doing stuff. As I went through culture shock and all that stuff, I got much more critical.
The more I wrote about the things that annoyed me (from the not-serious areas around culture shock all the way to the most-serious areas around the Northern European political landscape), the more people would either love me or hate me.
Shit man, it is storm in a teacup stuff. But still. I either had people carrying me on their shoulders and lauding me for Telling it Like it is or bashing me and telling me I was a negative piece of shit for having opinions they did not like. I got more and more entrenched especially since the people that liked my work became my friends in real life.
If anyone says anything ‘positive’, everyone says they have “drunk the koolaid”. Or if you do not say anything ‘positive’ for a while, you get called unbalanced and bitter and deserve all your problems. These two ideas spread like poison and most people stopped talking publicly on the internet about Denmark. Not me though.
I started to feel the pressure though, so I just went for pure politics and translated the news or said what I thought about issues of the day. During this time, a friend of mine suggested to the editor of the English language newspaper in Denmark that I should write an opinion column. He took me up on it and I have been writing for them.
At first, I stayed on politics and then I wrote a bit about the culture. Never anything particularly bitter or out of order. Just the sort of stuff you might expect in a newspaper opinion column: immigration, Danishness, cultural weaknesses, political fights, representations of minorities. That sort of thing.
The editor got in touch to ask if I could widen my scope a little bit, so I have written most recently about the trend of weakening protections for workers and trolls online.
Anyway. Whatever. This week, I wrote about what I had learned in five years of living in Denmark. Nothing particularly controversial, just talking about how it feels to ‘go native’ but I knew this time I would catch flak.
And as I feared, the usual suspects are out in force criticising me for being ‘positive’. It’s not my friends or fans (if you can call them that). It is the people who criticise me for being ‘negative’ or a ‘dane-basher’. They are invested in me being an enemy so that they can be a victim. So that they can feel persecuted instead of really evaluating what I have to say.