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8th of August, 2003 POST·MERIDIEM 03:18

I was talking to Anders, my Swedish housemate’s Norwegian beau about his perceptions of Ireland a few months ago, shortly after his arrival here. He commented that himself and a few of his friends had encountered some Irish girls in a resort in Southern Europe, and they were getting on famously until they (the Scandinavians) let slip to the cailíní that they has thought the cailíní were English. After that, conversation froze. He thought this was really unfair; why should they, born & raised in Norway, be able to recognise from their accents that these girls would dislike being thought of as English? I responded that we (the Irish) probably assume too much about $random_scandinavians that we meet; their effortless, almost accentless English and knowledge of both Euro-culture and Nordamericano culture implies (to us) they would have had enough exposure to at least UK media to pick up on this.

Now, I’m not as convinced that we’re unjustified in assuming this. Australians would pick up on that issue; so would New Zealanders and Anglo South Africans. A decent minority of Canadians would. A crushing majority of people from the US wouldn’t, but the preconception about them is that they have no knowledge of local issues on this side of the Atlantic, so we don’t expect them to. Illinformedness is not a preconception anyone has about the Scandinavians.

Reading Le Monde’s article on Oscar Wilde at [1], it’s striking what a terrible poster child he is for being gay. He marries a beautiful woman early, joins the bourgeoisie and has two kids in two years (this isn’t a sham marriage, folks.) He falls for an absolute ѕhіt who really doesn’t seem to realise that Oscar is one of the coolest people on the planet at the time, and his pining for this moppet seems to lead him to accept the hard labour in prison as if he were fated to end up there, not making any attempt to escape this fate. Which kills him, in the long term. Eh? Why would anyone, male or female, take from this that men are anything other than arrogant, obsessive idiots, worthy of being avoided more than anything else?

On the other hand, he’s certainly a decent poster child for being a foppish, brilliant aesthete, and I can see where Stephen Fry is coming from there, even if Fry is too wont to appear on book covers in corduroy trousers.

[1] http://​www.​lemonde.​fr/​article/​0,5987,3230--329305-,00.​html

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