Fjordman’s latest essay has been published at Vlad Tepes. Some excerpts are below:
Why I Chose the Name Fjordman
I have previously written a brief review of Bruce Bawer’s latest ebook The New Quislings: How the International Left Used the Oslo Massacre to Silence Debate About Islam. I am now preparing a longer text with some comments about the subjects the author discusses in his book, but will first say a few words about why I started using the name Fjordman. Bawer has some nice things to say about me, which is appreciated, but also a few critical comments, among other things about my writing under the pseudonym Fjordman.
Bruce Bawer thinks that my pseudonym is “silly.” He is, of course, well within his rights to think so. I have been asked several times why I picked that pen name, and the answer is that there is no particular reason.
I opened my old blog in February 2005, when I was already very familiar with the world of Internet websites related to Islamic issues. I even did my master’s thesis at the University of Oslo in 2004 on the subject of English-language Iranian blogs and how communications between Iranians in exile might affect the debate behind the censorship wall of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The government of Iran has copied some of the censorship measures employed by Chinese authorities. I have also seriously toyed with the idea of writing a PhD on Internet censorship, but even if you are accepted this takes years. One has to be 100% motivated before starting on something like that.
The reason why I picked the name Fjordman is partly coincidental. I wanted something that was short, easy to remember and vaguely Norwegian. I have lived next to fjords for most of my life, with a few exceptions such as the years I spent in the Middle East. I grew up in the town of Ålesund on the west coast, which has a high concentration of Art Nouveau or Jugendstil architecture due to a major fire in 1904, after which the entire town center was rebuilt in stone over the period of a couple of years. Ålesund is situated on a fjord close to the Atlantic Ocean, and has a long and living maritime history. The spectacular Geirangerfjord, one of the most famous among tourists, is located in the same district.
I began my studies at the university city of Bergen, which is a famously rainy but also very beautiful city. Founded nearly a thousand years ago at the end of the Viking Age, it was Norway’s most important city until the nineteenth century, and was a Scandinavian center of trade for the Hanseatic League in the Late Middle Ages. It, too, is situated next to a fjord. The Oslofjord may be less spectacular than some of those on the west coast, but it’s still a scenic one with plenty of nice islands to go along with it. Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream (Skrik) shows an agonized figure with the Oslofjord viewed from Ekeberg in Oslo in the background.
It was thus natural for me to pick this name. I may be critical of my country’s politics sometimes but I have a deep appreciation for its natural beauty, at least when it’s not too cold or dark.
Read the rest at Vlad Tepes.
For a complete archive of Fjordman’s writings, see the multi-index listing in the Fjordman Files.