22 October 2009

Oprah in Copenhagen

Oprah was in town to try and help Chicago win the 2016 Olympics. Didn't go so well, but she had a programme last night about The World's Happiest People. There are bicycles in it, but it's an interesting portrait of the Copenhageners.

"Less space, less things, more life" is what Oprah took away from her visit. Also it should be 'fewer things', but hey. Our relationship to the bicycle is not mentioned, but it applies. Simplicity. Ease of use. Practical. Efficient. The bicycle appeals to the Danish mentality for all these reasons. We like good design that is also functional.

The bit about Copenhagen starts at 2:00 into the clip. The Youtube clip may die at some point, so you can also see the full clips on Oprah.com

Here's part 2.


dukie biddle said...

Boy, there is nothing more endearing to Americans than to correct their common use grammar when they're singing your praises. You should tour American cities and explain to them what is rude about their culture. Oh wait, you do that.

Mikael said...

That's amusing. If you'd actually viewed the clips you'd know that it was a Danish chap who provided her with the quote.

She was merely quoting him. It's a charming quote.

I merely included it the text because I know from experience that someone would comment about it.

Anonymous said...

Acceptance, tolerance, trust, less junk, ... it all makes sense but not in places where more junk, less trust, etc. are a cultural norms. My wife once left our sleeping baby son in a carriage outside a bakery (it did have a large picture window). Soon a woman walked in and yelled at her for being so irresponsible. That's life in America.

JPTwins said...


Oprah puts Denmark on quite a high pedestal and makes it look like a paradise (not that it isn't, but i can't exactly vouch). I was wondering how that makes you feel? from all your posts, it's obvious that you love the place, but as far as summing up the culture there, how close was she?

Thanks for posting this. i never watch Oprah, but she was like a starry eyed kid in a toy shop. very fun!

Boston, MA

Mikael said...

it is what it is. a little too hyped and glossy for my taste. you'd think that it was a tourism advert.

it shows life in copenhagen more than denmark at large, especially the flats the women live in.

the target group is women viewers and oprah highlights the positives, with sugar on top, to probably inspire women.

the tourism value of this programme cannot be measured. ABC morning show was in town a few years ago and the tourist office tried to calculate what it was worth in dollars. They couldn't do it. It was too massive.

So I regard it as a kind of tourism advert, although all the societal things mentioned - how women (and men) get long maternity leaves, kids sleep outside cafes in their prams, our family values, etc., this is just everyday stuff for us.

i watched some of the other clips from other countries. by and large it's always good to learn about other cultures and vice versa.

Dottie said...

Denmark already has everything I wish America would - universal healthcare, free education, guaranteed maternity leave, real unemployment benefits, no control by religious fundamentalists, bike infrastructure, taxes that actually work for the people. Sigh.

MamaVee said...

what dottie said.

Scott said...

Americans: monoglots who can't even speak our own language properly. I don't know what "common use grammar" is, but, to quote a wise man, it ain't right.

Jonathan Dickerson said...

I have some friends from Ohio who just returned from Copenhagen and gave the city rave reviews. They felt as Oprah concluded, that life is for living, not for drowning in work and material things.

Or, as their postcard to me said, "We believe in love again!"

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed with her segment because she didn't show typical Danish homes...they emphasized a lot of stereotypes: tall, lean and blond Danes.

They should show a real side of Denmark where nothing is "free" because residents pay the highest income tax in the World. She should also present some social issues such as gang shootings, drunk teenagers...etc.

It was very sugar coated and I hope the rest of the world doesn't think Danes live in all white apartment.

Anonymous said...

"They should show a real side of Denmark where nothing is "free" because residents pay the highest income tax in the World. She should also present some social issues such as gang shootings, drunk teenagers...etc."

Oh, we Americans have gang shootings, drunk teenagers, etc. as well ... PLUS compounded homelessness, unemployment, manipulated fears of all the above, etc.

Oprah's presentation may be sugar-coated, but it also has relevant truths Americans need to hear.

Mikael said...

i don't get the 'nothing is free' thing. it's mentioned in the clips that yes, we pay the highest taxes in the world but most people don't have a problem with it.

Every country has crime. We just less of it.

Oh, and most people I know have white apartments/homes.

Here's our old flat.

Here's our new flat (the floors have since been painted white.)

echo chamber maid said...

You all may want to know that at the same time she praises the Denmark nanny state, Oprah Winfrey lives in California only part time in order to avoid paying high tax rates...hmmmm.