A Norsk look at the US

A-magasinet wonders what happened to our hope—and what’s up with burgers


M. Michael Brady
Asker, Norway

As pointed out in philologist Sverre Mørkhagen’s historical trilogy of Norwegian Americans (review, NAW, April 22, 2015), today there probably are more people of Norwegian heritage in America than there are ethnic Norwegians in Norway. More than half of all Norwegian families are believed to have or have had a relative living in America. One of the outcomes of those connections between the Norwegian and American peoples is that Norwegian media coverage of American themes and news is second only to its coverage of Norwegian ones.

Aftenposten, the leading Oslo newspaper, devoted almost the entire content of the October 28 edition of A-Magasinet, its weekly magazine, to the contemporary America of the 2016 election year. On the cover, the American theme of the issue was framed in the question: “Hva skjedde, USA?” (What happened USA?), with the subtitle “For åtte år siden handlet presidentvalget om håp og forsoning.” (Eight years ago the presidential election was about hope and reconciliation.)

There’s no simple answer to that question. The lead article by journalist and author Helle Aarnes, a profile of Greek-American author and syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, underscored that in America there’s still a way to the top for hard workers. In contrast, two articles by journalist Christina Pletten touchingly detailed the plight of the working class and the struggles of small families to make ends meet. Essayist and former Aftenposten politics editor Harald Stanghelle provided a lucid overview of the imbroglio of American politics of 2016, summed up in the subtitle of his article: “Amerikanerne har gått fra håp til frykt. Det har de gode grunne for. USA har fått et nasjonalt illebefinnende.” (Americans have gone from hope to fear. That they have good reason for. USA has suffered national indisposition.)

Despite the indisposition, there’s a light side. An article on Bruce Springsteen, President Obama’s favorite rocker, is a tribute to the popularity of his music and a respectful evaluation of his personal distance from politics, ending with his remark of the late 1990s upon being asked if he would run for the New Jersey senate: “If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve.” There are two articles on the American penchant for hamburgers, one by expatriate American food blogger Andrea Faith Røed. And there’s an article in praise of California wines.

In the final article, “Vi som hatet Amerika” (We who hated America) by novelist and journalist Vetle Lid Larssen, the love-hate relationship between Norway and America that emerged in the last half of the last century is taken apart with humor, fearful yet true.

Articles on America in the October 28 issue
Most of the articles are available free online at www.aftenposten.no/amagasinet; click first on “Meny” at the upper right; then the title of an article and the name of its author in the “Søk i Aftenposten” searchfield, which will bring up a link to it. In Norwegian only.

• p. 10 “Misnøyens makt” (The power of dissatisfaction), editorial by Guri Leyell Skedsmo, A-Magasinet editor

• p. 13 “Veien til toppen” (Way to the top), profile of Arianna Huffington by Helle Aarnes, journalist and author

• p. 20 “Hvorfor er de så sinte”? (Why are they so angry?) by Christina Pletten, Aftenposten journalist, on the plight of the white working class

• p. 38 “Vi som elsket Amerika” (We who loved America) by Harald Stanghelle, essayist and Aftenposten political editor 2000-2014

• p. 49 “I år må Olivia velge vekk julen” (This year Olivia had to rule out Christmas) by Christina Pletten, Aftenposten journalist

• p. 61 “Sjefen presidentene vil ha på laget” (The boss that presidents want on their teams) by Robert Veiåker Johansen, Aftenposten journalist

• p. 71 “Kriminell roadtrip” (Criminal road trip) by Asbjørn Slettemark, Aftenposten journalist and reviewer, a review of Dodgers, Bill Beverly’s debut crime novel

• p. 72 “Hamburger: Det amerikanske ikonet” (Hamburger: The American icon) by Henrik Henriksen, food writer and chef

• p. 76 “Burgerfri sone” (Burger-free zone) by Andrea Faith Røed, an American food blogger from Arizona, living in Stavanger

• p. 78-79 “Amerikanske tilstand” (American conditions) by Ingvild Tennfjord, Aftenposten wine writer, overview of American wines

• p. 80 “En amerikaner med hastverk” (An American in a hurry) by Torbjørn Ekelund, Aftenposten journalist, profile of famed American pedestrian Edward Payson Weston (1839-1929)

• p. 90 “Vi som hatet Amerika” (We who hated America) by Vetle Lid Larsen, author

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 18, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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