Friday, May 06, 2005

Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Apology 

Just wanted to mention that there's English-language coverage of the Prime Minister's apology here.

Hash War Coverage 

B.T. has apparently started an online "Kampen om Pusher Street" ("The Battle for Pusher Street") section. It's really just a directory, and the most recent article therein is currently dated April 30, but if you're just dying for information on the Hash War, it's probably a good first stop.

Meanwhile, no new news on Jaguar, Jared Heller, or the Hash Wars.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

"It Happened in Nørrebro..." 

I was just watching a little television with Trine and we flipped over to Text-TV to see what the hell we were watching. A headline caught my eye (Tekst-TV gives you channel listings, news stories, weather, airport flight information, sports results, and so on, all of it in a difficult to navigate, horribly fonted, time-consuming format): "20-Year-Old Shot Down in Copenhagen."

Basically, a 20-year old man was shot tonight in Copenhagen. He admitted himself to the Bispebjerg Hospital ER with shots to his back and stomach. He still had a bullet in his body. He told police "that he can't recall where the shooting took place and has no idea who was involved." The police know the guy from a circle of immigrant youths in inner-Nørrebro.

"Jeg nåede at tale lidt med ham, og han sagde, at han gerne vil snakke med politiet, men at han simpelthen intet kunne huske om skyderiet. Så vi mangler et gerningssted, men regner med, at det er sket på Nørrebro," siger den centrale vagtleder for kriminalpolitiet i København.

"I managed to talk with him a little, and he said that he'd like to talk with the police but he simply remembered nothing about the shooting. So we don't have a crime scene, but count on it: it happened in Nørrebro," say Copenhagen Police.

The police say that there's no information at this time about a possible relationship between this shooting and the recent Hash War violence.

It was the first beautiful day of the year in Copenhagen. Bummer of a day to get amnesia, much less take a couple of bullets...

Goodbye Primogeniture 

A new Danish constitution in 1953 allowed Margrethe, the eldest daughter of King Frederik IX, to succeed to the throne upon the death of her father in 1972. It did this by specifying that the eldest daughter of a monarch should succeed to a throne in the event that she had no brothers. (That's not the exact wording, but you get the idea.)

Queen Margrethe's son, Crown Prince Frederik, is the elder of two sons and consequently the current heir. After him, the throne will fall to the little bean swimming around Mary's womb right now—if it's a boy. If it's a girl, she'll only be a Crown Princess so long as she remains without brothers. Under the current consitution, a younger brother would supercede her in succession.

This chafes at the Danish egalitarian streak, and the law may very well change.

According to a recent poll, 77% of Danes think the crown ought to pass to the firstborn, regardless of its sex. This opinion breaks down by gender into 84% of Danish women and 69% of Danish men—an enormous majority on both sides.

The argument that the laws of succession ought to change to accomodate Danish public opinion, however, has its flaws. By changing the monarchy to suit their tastes, Danes are demonstrating the very impotence of the institution they hope to be "modernizing." A monarchy at the whim of public opinion isn't a monarchy, but a spectacle. And the titular head of that spectacle isn't a monarch, or even a "figurehead," but a very expensive spokesmodel.

As an anti-royalist (and an opponent of gender apartheid outside of locker rooms and toilets) I therefore support the changing of the laws of Danish succession. If you can't get rid of your monarchs by swift and sudden action, then leech them slowly of their power by whatever means possible. Legislate them into superfluity.

[It's probably worth noting that the story isn't being "headlined" accurately in all the media: DR (Danish Radio), for example, which gets the story right, runs it under the headline, "Flest danskere vil have kvindelig arvefølge." Which means, "Most Danes Want Female Succession." That's not true. The study indicates no preference for queens or kings, just a preference as to the laws of succession. I don't know if this reflects any editorial bias, but it seemed to warrant observation.]

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Jaguar in the Midst? 

I heard a rumor this afternoon that Jaguar actually popped into a Danish club last Saturday night (April 23) and was immediately recognized by enough people with cellphones that the police arrived moments later... by which time he was gone.

I heard it from a credible source, as real journalists like to say, but regardless of whether that particular story is accurate I can't help wondering if there aren't going to be a lot of bogus Jaguar sightings in the future. You know, popping up here and there, now and then, to this one and that one, like Elvis, or Harvey, or the bogeyman, or the Prime Minister of Canada. (And how are you, Wilson?*)

I also just noticed a two-week old article in Ekstra Bladet: apparently some kids painted severed arms and legs on the sites in town where they were found. The graffiti was immediately erased, but it's been immortalized on film:

"Under all these circumstances there are people here in the quarter who... feel that our area is now attracting psychopaths," says one Søren Langkilde.

* If you haven't seen or don't remember "Harvey," never mind.

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