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I’ve been feeling like this for a while:

Molly Shattuck gets hygge

which sounds pretty wild, but in reality is probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on.Hygge  In fact, I’m sure she wants loads of hygge right now.


this post is hygge.

The reason I mention this is that I have mentioned misunderstandings as an explanation for her current situation.   I think her saying she wanted to have a hygge weekend is in line with her going to the beach tweet, but could be taken the wrong way by someone who has no idea of the concept of hygge.

Hygge is not an easy word for non-Danes to pronounce: it sounds sort of like HYU-gah. It’s hard to translate as well. Hygge has no direct analogue in English, and related words like “coziness,” “togetherness” and “well-being” which only cover a fraction of its nebulous definition. Hygge can also be used as an adjective by converting it to “hyggeligt” (HYU-gah-lee).  The Lonely Planet Guide to Copenhagen has a whole page devoted to hygge.

Usually it is translated as “cosy” but hygge means much more than that. Hygge refers to a sense of friendly, warm companionship of a kind fostered when Danes gather together in groups of two or more, although you can actually hygge yourself if there is no one else around. The participants don’t even have to be friends (indeed, you might only just have met), but if the conversation flows — avoiding potentially divisive topics like politics and the best method to pickle herring — the bonhomie blossoms, toasts are raised before an open fire (or at the very least, some candles), you are probably coming close.


a woman looking hygge.

Some hygge hashtags from twitter can give an idea of what people consider hygge to mean.  Here are some translated examples:

“Arrived at the cabin, sitting in front of the fireplace with a book and biscuits.” — @JohanneBoat

“Grandmother, grandfather, mother and father for coffee and cake in an hour.” — @NinaVindel

“Will spend as much as possible of my day off Friday under the blanket with books, magazines, movies and tea in gallons.” @LiseRoest

“Taking a coffee and a walk with someone from work.” — @ojholb

In fact, hygge isn’t sex and pink lingerie–it’s more like a Faroe Island sweater and jeans a la Sarah Lund. Sofie Gråbøl, who played Sarah Lund in the Forbrydelsen series, says these sweaters are very hygge (ref Patrick Kingsley’s How to Be Danish: A Journey to the Cultural Heart of Denmark).  “That sweater”, says Gråbøl, “was a sign of togetherness.”   Troels Hartmann would probably also say a clean, freshly pressed, blue Oxford shirt was hygge.

Going to the beach and getting comfy and cozy with your family on a bank holiday is hygge.  Despite the image of Scandanavia, it can also be very family friendly.

Did the War for Independence begin with an Intellectual Snub?

I wish I had bookmarked the site where it was alleged that Benjamin Franklin’s desire for American Independence began with his being told he was intellectually inferior to the British when he was sent to Britain in 1757.[1] Benjamin Franklin stated that ” to be an England-man was, of itself, a character of some respect” but he lamented that his non-colonial cousins did not regard them as fellow Britons as if they were “unworthy of the name of Englishmen, and fit only to be snubbed”. Considering that Franklin was instrumental in creating The Academy and College of Philadelphia (later to become the University of Pennsylvania), The Library Company of Philadelphia, and American Philosophical Society, that was truly an insult. Franklin worked at promoting intellectual life in the North American Colonies, but those attempts were deemed inferior by the Europeans.

Thomas Jefferson also encountered this snobbery with the idealization of Americans as Rousseau’s “noble savages” stirred European sympathies for the United States during the War for Independence, but the European emphasis upon savagery over nobility stirred resentment among Americans. One of Jefferson’s more emotional moments in Europe was his encounter with the pejorative opinions of French intellectuals concerning the American character. His Notes on the State of Virginia was a response to those Europeans who shared the views of the naturalist Georges Buffon that animal life in America was inferior in size and strength to that of the Old World. Jefferson’s response went beyond a literary effort; Buffon received skins and skeletons of American animals sent to France at Jefferson’s behest to prove the equality, if not the superiority, of life in the New World.

Even more galling was the charge of the philosophe Abbé Guillaume Raynal that human life degenerated on the American continent. This observation contained aspersions on American virility as well as on American genius. Jefferson countered this assault with a spirited presentation of Indian virtues. He labored valiantly, but under obvious handicaps, in pointing out poets and artists, mathematicians and scientists, to match the products of Europe. Benjamin Franklin and David Rittenhouse were not the equals of Galileo and Newton.

The vigor of American ripostes to perceived insults to their nationality inspired more derision than respect among Europeans of this period. None was more devastating than the Reverend Sydney Smith, a Yorkshire wit who reacted to American claims to being “the greatest, the most enlightened, the most moral people upon earth” by asking rhetorically, “In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue?” So much for the pretensions of American nationalism. A sense of inferiority in relation to older civilizations seemed to have given rise to a hyperbolic style of self-defense that invited ridicule.

America thrived on its newness and break from Europe, but the question remained regarding American culture how close are its ties to its origins? Was one of the legacies of the War for Independence this desire for total newness and a break from its roots?

The problem was there was a cultural elite in the early republic, the traces of which still exist, but anti-intellectualism is becoming the rule in the US. People in the United States have moved down a path that rejects logical, rational thought. In its wake, we can easily see the rise of a lot of negative things.

Susan Jacoby writes about the American brain drain in a article titled The Dumbing Of America. It has the subtitle “Call Me a Snob, but Really, We’re a Nation of Dunces”. I couldn’t agree more with this premise. From the article:

Americans are in serious intellectual trouble — in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.

This is the last subject that any candidate would dare raise on the long and winding road to the White House. It is almost impossible to talk about the manner in which public ignorance contributes to grave national problems without being labeled an “elitist,” one of the most powerful pejoratives that can be applied to anyone aspiring to high office. Instead, our politicians repeatedly assure Americans that they are just “folks,” a patronizing term that you will search for in vain in important presidential speeches before 1980.

And from the article’s conclusion:

The problem is not just the things we do not know (consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth); it’s the alarming number of Americans who have smugly concluded that they do not need to know such things in the first place. Call this anti-rationalism — a syndrome that is particularly dangerous to our public institutions and discourse. Not knowing a foreign language or the location of an important country is a manifestation of ignorance; denying that such knowledge matters is pure anti-rationalism. The toxic brew of anti-rationalism and ignorance hurts discussions of U.S. public policy on topics from health care to taxation.

There is no quick cure for this epidemic of arrogant anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism; rote efforts to raise standardized test scores by stuffing students with specific answers to specific questions on specific tests will not do the job. Moreover, the people who exemplify the problem are usually oblivious to it. (“Hardly anyone believes himself to be against thought and culture,” Hofstadter noted.) It is past time for a serious national discussion about whether, as a nation, we truly value intellect and rationality. If this indeed turns out to be a “change election,” the low level of discourse in a country with a mind taught to aim at low objects ought to be the first item on the change agenda.

As Susan at Liberality put it: “Two hundred years ago the founders of the republic would have been deliriously happy at the idea of Americans able to be informed by the sheer volume of available facts the digital information age would produce. The fatal assumption was that Americans would choose to think and learn, instead of reinforcing their particular choice of cultural ignorance.”

The founders would be appalled at the trend toward anti-intellectualism which has become a national characteristic in the US.

Read more:

[1] Found the cite at

Franklin’s situation in London now became uncomfortable; he was deprived of his office of deputy Postmaster-General of the Colonies, which he had held since 1753, was virtually discredited, and generally snubbed. His presentation of the petition afforded an opportunity for his being publicly insulted at the hearing appointed before the Committee for Plantation Affairs, while the press denounced him as a fomenter of sedition. His work in England was done, and although he remained there some time longer, on the chance of still being of possible use, he gladly availed himself of an opportunity, early in 1775, to return to America. Before his departure, however, Lord Chatham had come to his rescue when he was one day attacked with bitterness in the House of Lords, and pronounced upon him this splendid eulogium: “If,” said the great statesman, “I were prime minister and had the care of settling this momentous business, I should not be ashamed to call to my assistance a person so well acquainted with American affairs,—one whom all Europe ranks with our Boyles and Newtons, as an honor, not to the English nation only, but to human nature itself.”

From this time, 1775, no one accused Franklin of partiality to England. He was wounded and disgusted, and he now clearly saw that there could be no reconciliation between the mother-country and the Colonies,—that differences could be settled only by the last appeal of nations. The English government took the same view, and resorted to coercion, little dreaming of the difficulties of the task. This is not the place to rehearse those coercive measures, or to describe the burst of patriotic enthusiasm which swept over the Colonies to meet the issue by the sword. We must occupy ourselves with Franklin.

Just curious about Geoffroy Thiebaut’s character in Braquo.

tve96082-2853-20091019-0Was the Braquo character Roland VogelJal001 modelled after the character Jal (in On the Frontiers) from The Christin-Mézières series Valérian: Agent Spatio-Temporel? I’ve got to admit that Geoffroy Thiebaut looks a hell of a lot like Jal prior to the third series of Braquo. I seriously wonder if somebody is a Christin-Mézières fan sneaking in a reference here.

Est-que le caractère  Roland Vogel a Braquo été modelé d’après le personnage de Jal (dans Sur le Fonrtiers) de la série Valérian: Spatio-Temporel Agent par Christin et Mézières? Je dois admettre que Geoffroy Thiebaut ressemble comme Jal avant la troisième saison de Braquo. Je me demande sérieusement si quelqu’un est un fan de Christin et Mézières placer  une référence ici.

I did send a message to Geoffroy Thiebaut’s official site asking about the similarity–will post any response.

See also:

Phrase du jour

je n’en ai rien à foutre

Je ne pouvais pas à foutre

Vigilante Graffiti Grammar-checkers operating in Quito.

It seems there is a team of vigilante graffit grammar checkers operating in Quito.B6DYv4pIMAATs1J

Posted 06/02/2015 by lacithedog in graffiti

Tagged with , , ,

50 years of Dogmatix/Idefix

Dogmatix2015 is the 50th anniversary of Dogmatix/Idefix’s appearance in Asterix and the Banquet. He is Dogmatix in the English translations. The original French name is Idéfix, itself a pun on the French expression idée fixe (fixed idea) meaning an obsession.


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