With Best Countries like These-

By Codrescu, Andrei | Newsweek, August 30, 2010 | Go to article overview

With Best Countries like These-


Codrescu, Andrei, Newsweek


Byline: Andrei Codrescu

Why cold, dark, small, and depressive nations top the rankings.

I used to eat at a Scandinavian cafeteria in San Francisco that called itself a "smorgasbord" and advertised its reindeer meatballs over pasta as superior to the Italian meatballs at the U.S. Cafe next door. This place was just outside Chinatown. It also had Swedish meatballs, but if there was a difference only a Finn could tell for sure. After the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing Gypsy music from Slovenia under the direction of a Japanese conductor in Salt Lake City, this is my second-favorite example of the great American smorgasbord.

The word may have originated in Sweden, but looking over the metrics for "best -countries"--where Sweden is No. 3 and Finland No. 1, Norway No. 6 and Denmark No. 10--I find it hard to imagine just how much variety that Northern European buffet holds. Why is it that the Nordics always dominate such lists, anyhow? Since it's dark and cold outside for most of the year, the smorgasbord itself must be an attempt to offset tedium, angst, and monochromatism. Even so, there couldn't be that many kinds of pickled herring, smoked fish, dark rye bread, and mustards on the smorgasbord, be-cause we know from the 1987 movie Babette's Feast that a French woman on the run in Scandinavia after the Paris Commune turned the austere locals into insane bons vivants by means of spices. Also, as Ingmar Bergman's movies and Stieg Larsson's novels show, Scandinavian angst is nothing to laugh about. Pass the vodka, the incest, and the noose.

Still, metrics are metrics, and art is subjective, so let's try another tack. Intuitively, one would think that people who are warm most of the year would be better off than people who are not. Yet Finland is in the No. 1 spot, and tropical Burkina Faso dead last at 100. The link between freezing and a high ranking becomes more explicable when the following dots are connected: a heated classroom is better than being outside chopping trees, hence education is important; moving briskly is good preventive medicine, thus health is robust; quality of life improves immensely when one must get as close to one's beloved as possible to fend off the chill; the political environment is likewise better when governance is kept simple and equitable because it's too cold to fight in the streets; and finally, economic dynamism is bound to be high among peoples who have learned to combat frostbite with a maximum of movement and the least expense of calories. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

With Best Countries like These-
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.