Excerpts from the last few weeks’ news:
Princess Märtha Louise, eldest child of King Harald V and fourth in line to the throne, announces that she and a friend are opening a school, Astarte Education, to teach people how to communicate with angels (for the low, low price of $2,000 per half-year term); furthermore, she claims to regularly talk to angels and horses, and to have healed her sister-in-law’s (the future Queen’s) kidney condition. Theologians and philosophers whom nobody would normally hear of come crawling out of the woodwork to debate whether this is reconcilable with her place in the Royal Family and hence the Church (I’m just a lapsed Catholic, but it seems to me that just mentioning Astarte is an instant violation of the First Commandment, do not pass go, do not collect $200). Incidentally, this move earns the Princess international recognition, though probably not the kind she craves.
Two of the country’s largest corporations, Statoil and Norsk Hydro, both partially state-owned, are in the process of merging, and since the new company will not issue stock options to management, Norsk Hydro buys back the stock options it has previously issued to its top managers, who altogether receive approximately $35 million in compensation. Norway’s national animal, the green-eyed monster, rears its ugly head and whips the media into a frenzy. The demagogues-in-charge flail about, trying to figure out how to look good to the electorate. The chairman of the board resigns under political pressure. The public, it blood lust sated, turns its attention to the next big thing.
Half Norwegian, half Bangladeshi R&B singer Kohinoor Nordberg is having a picnic in a park in Oslo with her Somali boyfriend Ali Farah and their seven-week-old child when Ali is brutally struck down after an argument over a soccer ball that nearly hit a child. Ali is unconscious for several minutes; the EMTs call him a swine and refuse to take him to the hospital or even provide basic first aid after he loses control of his bladder (a normal symptom of shock and head trauma). Their superiors lie through their teeth, claiming that “procedure was followed” and that the EMTs had reason to believe that the patient was a threat to their safety. They are forced to retract these claims after being confronted by witnesses, including two registered nurses who happened to be at the scene and the police officers who responded. Meanwhile, Ali’s family and their lawyers scream bloody murder and accuse everybody and their dog of racism, despite the fact that the man who struck him is Ghanese, and numerous white people (myself included) have since then testified to receiving similar treatment or worse from EMTs and emergency phone operators in Oslo and elsewhere.