Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Waiting to Exhale

This review of a Netflix-released Norwegian black comedy television series called Lilyhammer intrigued me.  The reviewer, Lars Walker, sets it up well enough:
Imagine a television comedy about an American who moves to an exotic foreign country. He utterly refuses to assimilate, flouts the local laws, beats up people who offend him (including, in a scene that shocked even me, a Muslim who simply refused to shake a woman's hand), acts in pretty much every way as the stereotypical Ugly American, and yet comes out as a sort of a hero?  And imagine that this series was produced, not by some jingoistic American company, but by people from that very foreign land?And what if most of their countrymen loved it?  That's the peculiar phenomenon we contemplate in Netflix's maiden exclusive series, Lilyhammer, which set viewing records on Norwegian state television, and whose full first season of eight episodes is now available to subscribers.
So, why do they love it?   Walker wonders, but never quite answers.  He even ends the piece with the lingering question: "Were they really trying to say what they seem to be saying?"

I'll hazard a guess.  Yes, they really were trying to say what they seem to be saying and, what's even more telling, the Norwegian viewers really liked what they heard.

And what they heard was this:  We Norwegians, we proud heirs of the Western tradition, are oh so sick and tired of political correctness.  We may not be quite ready to stand up and fight against it just yet, but we do enjoy mocking its pretensions from time to time.  

Hear me well:  Exactly the same underlying sentiment is alive and well in the United States--even more so I'd say--and the politician (slouching toward Bethlehem to be born?) who can tap into it and give voice to it will, if he or she wants it, be our President one day.  

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