First reactions to the e-mail 

on the Danish welfare state 

from American friends



Thank you so much for reminding me of Denmark and the power of the people.

It made me miss Copenhagen SO MUCH!! I am totally in the American trap-game.. .working pretty constantly to pay back the loans I got to pay for school. I am a nurse but there are no benefits available at the job I have had since September of '96 so I have no health insurance or paid vacation. It is ridiculous, eh! I work in a hospital where many employees have worked 10 or more years and still don't have benefits. It is disgraceful, like you said.

Maybe I shouldn't have divorced my immigrant-danish citizen husband. I am planning to get married in July. To a yank. He is pretty a-political and I can't imagine him EVER protesting or marching or anything like that. I guess he is fairly conservative. Anyway, any idea on how I could get legal permission to move back to DK?

Thank you again Jacob. You have really done some important work in your lifetime. You should be proud of yourself.

Honestly. Kys og knus, Diane xxx


Dear Jacob,

I really appreciate your sending me a copy of your thoughts and explanation of what is going on in your country. I want to respond in a more detailed way, but need to give some more thought to this subject as it does hit a deep nerve, being that I am a long term conservative republican, with many traditional ideas. Your arguments all sound well and good, but something seems to be missing and that is what I need to think about. Many questions come to mind, but I can't put it all together yet. This would be a good subject for face to face discussion.

Talk to you later.

Best regards,



Dear Jacob,

Thank you for such a thought-provoking story. It did not make me defensive, but rather sad. I will share it with as many Americans as possible.

Much love to you. Debra.


Dearest Jacob!

Sit down and edit this immediately!!! You're a very powerful writer; get it as clear and sharp as you can. I'm going to submit it to the New York Times for an editoral. Did you know I've been getting good work from them? And the art director of the op-ed pages is starting to be a good friend of mine. We went drinking til 4am the other day after he won a gold award for his design of the pages. When you're article goes for publication, I'm going to try to talk Nicholas into letting me illustrate it (although for some odd reason, he usually doesn't give me political stories...hmmm)

Do it! Edit it now. I was about to do it myself, but I think you are much better. It's a brilliant piece, and I'm forwarding it (lightly editted) to Ludmila, Partha, Karel (who I don't talk to anymore), and other friends. I read it last night to Raymond.

Get it to me as soon as you can. I would like to email to the editors on Monday. Can you???

I thought the piece is so damn good. And I laughed at how you hoped you could get our goats. The only thing I'm defensive about is that I know I'M the only one Anna spoke to while she was here of your friends, and

HOW did she get the sad impression that I didn't know what was going on?

OK, I didn't. But I was filled with admiration for the crazy Danes, and terribly bitter about the pathetic plight of us because I remember slaving away and not able to ever get vacation because you had to work for a year before you got one week, and I always quit before a year was up. It sucked. Now, I'm in business for myself, and I can't get away at all!!! I also don't want to!

Edit it! if not, I'm going to send the whole damn thing and let them do it. Be sure the tone you use is scolding. That's nice and effective. I don't mind because I know you aren't talking about me.

I read half to Raymond and it is incredibly effective. You really must realize that we being in this situation are often quite blind to how things are. I always knew Denmark was very socialist, had a good welfare system, etc, but I NEVER saw the parallels until you held them up side by side. I always thought, and unfortunately still think, that we here are utterly hopeless, but you, the forever romantic and optimist, ALMOST imbue me with a sense that all is not lost.

I read your email, and really, I felt just that--encouragement, and then hopelessness. And of course, admiration for the Danes. But I wonder what the response would be if you published this piece in America and in Denmark. I would like to then hold up the letters in response side by side, too.

I want everyone to read your article. I don't know why and how it can be that what sounds so reasonable from you in Denmark seems a bit idealist if I try to envision it happening here. The mentality has been for so long so selfish, so corporate. How are you going to knock it down? Well, the tobacco industry is slowly starting to chip away.

I wish I saved this article for you. The ultra rich are taking courses on philanthrophy. I just wish I could let you see their syllabus! The courses are, of course, very expensive, and the roster of students are carefully picked to weed out those who just wish to hobnob with the ultra rich.

By the way, the very rich in New York are not Americans. We seem to be losing apartment bids to fucking wealthy Russians. Unbelievable! And look at the richest people I know here: Swiss, a few Asians, Italians... maybe a few from Connecticut, but...

I love that yeast story, and we hear NOTHING about your pigs, chickens, etc. I have been scanning the paper for anything about your strike, and only YESTERDAY did it show up, a tiny little piece talking about the strike which was in it's nth week (I forgot what it said). It was so uninformative that it could have been something written by me. But today, I could have written it better!!!

OK! I'm so glad that it takes a state of chaos to tear you away from your dusty genealogy books.

love you always, you romantic! Oh, and by the way, did you notice I never sent you any articles on Clinton's penis? just jokes, but otherwise, I was so so so totally uninterested. Anyway, I am immune to anything bad you say about Americans.

love, Christina!

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