Not Cool, Iceland
We know that financial crisis stories are pretty dull, but do you have any idea how monumental Iceland’s downfall is? These guys--reputedly genetic super‐humans--have balled it up so bad their country is literally barfing. We didn’t even care that much about the whole volcanic eruption thing, until we started to feel claustrophobic.
For years Iceland had kind of been that obnoxious cousin the Undertones sang about who was super-successful and always showed up at your parents' place in a nice car and could talk about things like "markets" without sounding like a first-year sociology student who'd skimmed a few chapters of Marx. Now it's more like the second-act Hollywood variant of that cousin who totally breaks down as soon as your folks go to bed and tells you he's got a huge gambling debt plus a drug problem plus thinks he felt a lump on his left testicle in the shower a few mornings ago. And it makes you feel good, at least until he moves into your garage.
Iceland ca. 2005 (still from Sigur Rós’ Glósóli video)
The epic nature of Iceland’s crash follows a direct chain from the unheard of cool‐ooze that engulfed every aspect of their country at the beginning of the Zeroes, when everyone was tripping over themselves to go to Reykjavik and Icelandic business‐tycoons, in turn, traveled the world buying up whatever chunk of it they could get their pale, slender hands on. When Iceland’s entire economy collapsed no one had really seen it coming and since then they’ve been desperately trying to negotiate extensions on their billion-dollar loans and debts. Just a month ago the Icelandic Parliament, The Althingi, outlawed stripping, which is probably the most depressing sign that a full-on depression is taking its toll on their depressed citizenry. Now this volcanic eruption has topped it all, shutting down most major Northern European airports, flooding the locals and sprinkling hazardous ashes over a country that so very recently had the whole world simultaneously chanting Hopelandish gibberish. We don't know what enchanted pony/narbeast they ran through the sausage maker to incur this kind of apocalyptic wrath, but for once in the last century, we feel sorry for you, Iceland.
Iceland today (still from Sigur Rós‘ Untitled #1 video)