So my post from the other day about the CBC’s preoccupation with the Icelanders’ alleged elf fixation garnered a fair bit of attention. There were a lot of referrals, some social media sites picked it up, and predictably most of the attention came from Canada.
Seeing as how the tone of the post was, um, slightly critical, I was somewhat surprised to receive a friendly email from one of the producers of The Current, Kristin somebodyorother, last Sunday. She had read my post, and wanted to ask if I would be interested in being on their show next Thursday [yesterday] to, and-I-quote, “critique or [sic] elf segment and to talk more generally about Iceland’s economy.”
You know, I was delighted, and very pleased that the CBC was willing to exercise in a bit of self-critique. However, before going further I thought I had better listen to the original programme, which I just hadn’t made time to do before then. So at the first available opportunity I settled down in front of my computer with my tea and knitting [no, really] for a listen.
And … *oh, groan*
First they had that guy on from the elf school who I’d never even heard of before Howard somebodyorother called me and told me about him. Then they had some older man talking about his experiences with hidden people as a boy, and finally Terry Gunnell from the U of I who — with all due respect for the elderly man’s beliefs — tried to impart a modicum of dignity into the discussion.
What really irked me, however, was that they kept re-hashing that stupid bit from the Vanity Fair article that claimed Alcoa had hired someone to inspect their land to make sure there was no elf habitation there before they started construction.
OK. How many times does this have to be said: that did NOT happen. Even without confirmation I knew it hadn’t happened, but just to double-check I asked Jonas – who wrote that retort to the VF piece in New York Magazine, if he had checked with Alcoa’s rep. And he had. And she had said precisely what Jonas writes in his article, to wit:
As for Alcoa, their rep believes Lewis is likely referring to a law regarding environmental-impact assessments. The assessment includes an archaeological survey to ensure no important artifacts or ruins are destroyed, and the site’s history is also surveyed to see if it was ever named in any Icelandic folklore. And yes, some of that folklore involves elves.
And the CBC’s producers knew this. In fact, Howard SBOO and YT had had this conversation when he originally called me up. And yet during the programme they persisted in going over it again and again – how Alcoa had hired someone to make sure there were no elves living on their site.
So I wrote an email back to Kristin SBOO and said I’d be happy to be on their show. I also gave her kudos for inviting me despite my public criticism of their earlier programme. And I expressed my surprise that their host had repeatedly gone over the same old chestnut about the Alcoa thing when their producer was fully aware of the fact that it was false.
And guess what? – I never heard from her again.
I must say, I’m not surprised. But I am a little disappointed because I would have liked to have told their listeners a little bit about why I think the Icelanders developed these beliefs, what it is in the landscape and the climate of this country that facilitated this folklore. Ah well. Happily for me, I have this little blog — meaning, dear readers, that this is not the end of our elf discussion. Stay tuned.
A gentle, springtime rain – just delightful. I haven’t been out yet but something tells me it is amazing out there – that moment before the flowers poke their heads up out of the earth. Temps are 9C [48F], the sun rose at 6.38 and sets at 8.35.