Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Faces of a Danish Tomorrow

One thing that I love about living in Denmark is the relative absence of pervasive advertising. It's all pretty civilized -- you can choose to either have a snappy red sticker on your mailbox stating "Ingen reklamer, tak!" ("No ads for me, thanks!"), or you can opt to have the standard supermarket circulars popped into your box every Tuesday. Commercials on radio stations are very brief and come on maybe twice an hour. Even billboards are sequestered to certain areas and are generally pretty mild and few in number.

Well, it's coming up on election time here on our groovy planet, so guess who's bought our town's few billboards this month?

So, this gang, Denmark's Conservative Party, says, "We're keeping Denmark on track." Okay, simple enough.

And this crew, Denmark's Peoples' Party (and the current incumbents), takes it up a notch. (Incidentally, the DPP is a super right-wing group, the rightest of 'em all.) They say, "Tolerance. We hold fast to Denmark's values." That's nice. But isn't this kind of a paradox? I thought social tolerance was about including, validating and generally celebrating differences.

There was something about these posters that stayed me as I walked by them every so often, asking Danes to commit to their vision and image of the future, deciding what Denmark should strive to be. It didn't hit me until I saw this photo in the local newspaper the other day:

School's back in session, and these kids seem to be the real faces of Denmark's tomorrow. Maybe some politicians could use a little kindergarten refresher.

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