A somewhat emaciated Central Bank director Davíd Oddsson showed up in Kastljós last night and proceeded to lash out against the rabble who keep trying to oust him from his position at the Central Bank. It was basically a 45-minute rant with the same old tobacco: he was “the only one” who tried to warn everyone “the entire time” about what was imminent in Iceland. He is such a victim, everyone is out to get him – even the interviewer, whose questions were – according to Doddsson – all extremely “distasteful” and sprung from the same mass hysteria that 90 percent of the Icelandic nation is caught up in: the lynching of Davíd Oddsson. To hear Doddsson tell it we – the rabble – are all brainwashed by the “Baugsmiðlar” – the media owned by Baugur Group, which is on a crusade against him. And all those people that show up in front of “his bank” to bang pots and pans in order to demonstrate against his presence there are just “ferried in” by his adversaries.
At times he argued his case with such pathos that I almost felt sorry for him. However – and this is important – I had anticipated that response in myself and so was extremely wary as I sat there watching. The man has an uncanny ability to persuade even the most stalwart nay-sayers – it’s like people lose all perspective when he starts talking, only to come to their senses later. So I sat down to watch the interview fully conscious of the fact that I might start doubting my own convictions – which is exactly what happened. Temporarily.
That said, I noticed a couple of things. First, Doddsson immediately went on the offensive and lashed out at everyone – the new government, the people who want him out of the CB, the Baugur media, etc. while passionately arguing that he’d done everything in his power to avert disaster. Second, he manipulated the interviewer relentlessly. More specifically he shamed him – the most dangerous form of manipulation there is. He accused him of undermining “me and my bank” [!!] and repeatedly suggested that his questions were based on sinister motives. He managed to turn the tables completely, to successfully cast himself as victim and martyr and the interviewer – who was merely doing his job – as persecutor. Faced with this, the interviewer went limp as a wet washcloth. Truly, it was excruciating to watch.
Of course, there is no media appearance by Davíd Oddsson where there is not at least one explosion – this time it was a minor one [or at least not as big as the last one], but an explosion nonetheless. He claimed that in the wake of the bank collapse a number of companies had received “special treatment” by the banks’ resolution committees [the committees entrusted with settling the claims and liabilities of the banks] – and that those were companies owned by prominent individuals in Icelandic society, including politicians. True to form, Doddsson refused to elaborate, leaving his assertions hanging in mid-air for everyone to dance around. Which they did.
Anyway. I’m slightly amazed at myself for writing yet another entire post about Davíd Oddsson and his machinations – because the truth is that I’ve begun to find the entire drama around the man just too tedious. I wish he’d just shut up and leave, already, and realize that he as a person is not larger than the Central Bank, and irrespective of who he warned or how fabulously he conducted himself in the lead-up to the bank collapse and beyond – the simple fact remains that everything went straight to hell on his shift, and therefore he should have had the decency to resign. That’s what people do in countries that value democratic accountability. If he had, I guarantee he would have gone out with his dignity and honour intact. Besides, when all is said and done, there are thousands of people getting laid off all throughout this nation as a result of the mess we’re in – why the hell should he be any different?
Just one more thing – for those of you who read Icelandic and haven’t yet discovered the genius of Lára Hanna’s blog, check out this post, in which she has spliced together in a video all the times in recent history where Doddsson has contradicted himself and exposed his duplicity [it’s the first one]. Stellar.
TEMPS HAVE DROPPED, WIND PICKED UP
I went out this afternoon for the first time in two days [been suffering from a nasty, nasty chest cold] because I could no longer stand it [the only thing worse than being sick is cabin fever; after that, endorphin withdrawal] – I was totally bundled up and had a wool scarf over my mouth and nose, but still it felt amazing to go outside in the fresh air. Walked along the sea – it was windy but not too bad, and somehow it really felt like spring was around the corner – possibly because the sun was out and it’s rising higher in the sky by the day. It’s such a welcome change after a long, dark winter. I’m betting it’s pretty cold out now, though, what with subzero temps and windchill. Currently -3°C [28F]. Sunrise was at 8:49 am, sunset at 6:34 pm.