Jeg ær ikke bange. – or maybe that’s a lie.

Occasionally I get bouts and bangs of inexplicable pride for a culture that’s mine by proxy and blood if not by geography. I’m a half Dane. And despite there being some seriously problematic shit happening in that culture I’m proud of that heritage. Not the intense Xenophobia that’s permeated it since after the German occupation in the 40s, but the other aspects. Many of the other aspects. Despite being so similar to Swedish culture and language we really are miles apart. Whereas one is cold and logical the other is a flowing mixture of continental creolisation and pork. I’m romanticising it, I know. But it’s hard not to when you grow up and have all things Danish be represented by the comfort of your mother and maternal grandparents. Denmark is a land associated with holidays and a legit reason to say “okay I’m not like my friends, but that’s because we’re doing it the Danish way”. The food, the rituals, the celebrations. They’ve all been conditioned to be a source of pride and comfort.

To be honest my pride and romanticising didn’t die when I spent a year living in Aarhus, quite the opposite. I was handed even more reasons to love the country and so many of its cultural quirks. It was magical and bohemian and most of all the propriety that is so rigid in Sweden (and England for that matter) was nowhere to be found. Frankie was definitely a Dane and he was right, relax for fuck’s sake.

Which makes me wonder how this easy-going culture is also one responsible for some of the best crime shows out there. Maybe it’s that juxtaposition of the easy-going “hygge” time and the darkness of the seemingly inborn Xenophobia and the human darkness that makes it work so well. Either way Rejseholdet used to be a real favourite and now I’ve been watching through Den som dræper and I’m once more impressed. It hits the right spots and finds proper balance and ends up being very entertaining storytelling. Only problem is that it brings the darkness a little too close to home. Watching Criminal Minds is one thing, because that show is overproduced Hollywood and set in a culture where owning a gun is a right that trumps a woman’s right to her own body. So it’s hard to emote or relate to any of that. It’s just exotic fiction. But when the human darkness takes place on streets not that far from you and in a culture you both enjoy and are part of it suddenly takes on a slightly new form and a much more sinister one. And suddenly you can find yourself both entertained and a little bit frightened. It’s a good tumult of feelings to feel. All from watching a silly little television show. So in the end I love it. Even if I might have a nightmare or two as a result of it.

Also, and this is the weirdest bit of all. Why am I now suffering intense cravings to go back, to move back? I feel like I should want to run from it, not be drawn back. But I am. I miss Aarhus more than I thought was possible. Maybe I haven’t gotten it out of my system yet. Maybe I need to revisit and immerse myself a little longer. Either as a way of getting rid of the romanticised ideals that do not exist without a much darker flipside or to actually stay and become part of the grey reality of it.


~ by Ape on December 16, 2012.

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