Once upon a time, Iceland was the land of geysers, hot springs and puffin stew. We yearned to navigate its rugged coastline and traverse its fiery interior. We cared not a jot if the price of vodka in Rekjavik's Ice Bar was exorbitant. Because Rekjavik was the epitome of cool. Damon Albarn had a house there. The city's Sigur Rós soundtrack was a trip without drugs. Even Take That's "Patience" video (filmed on the road to the Blue Lagoon) had a kind of craggy, rustic allure that wasn't limited to Jason Orange's facial features.
Then Icesave happened. 400,000 British and Dutch people found themselves out of pocket and not a little peeved as a result. The domino effect of the Icelandic economic crisis saw cash-strapped UK local authorities turn into cash-starved UK local authorities. Iceland the country suddenly had a greater image problem than Iceland the supermarket (whose public face Kerry Katona was simultaneously dominating the tabloids, enjoying a white substance that didn't resemble freezer frost).
Britain's northern neighbor, while not suffering the expected capitulation in tourism, found itself cast as Public Enemy No.1. And unfortunately we didn't take a basic truth into account: Hell hath no fury like an Iceland scorned.
It's a cliché, but it's one rooted in the truth: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Everyone has a different idea of what is beautiful to them. And everyone perceives their own qualities in a different way.
There are few better examples of the terrible power beauty has on the human psyche than this powerful story from Kyung Lah. She introduces us to a 12 year old who thinks the way to gain confidence is to change her appearance with plastic surgery.
After filing the story, Kyung decided to look a little deeper at what beauty meant to people in different parts of the world. She put out a call to friends of friends to hear their thoughts, and while certainly not a scientific survey, their answers are fascinating. FULL POST