The Bosnians of Salt Lake City and the best Balkan quote ever


A rather wonderful illustration of how the earthiness of Bosnian culture confounds assumptions about a puritanical Islam is provided by Ed Vulliamy in his book The War is Dead, Long Live the War.

He writes about the surprisingly large community of Bosnians in Salt Lake City. It is replete with examples of how the earthiness of the Bosnians contrasts with the clean cut mormons. This is wonderfully summed up by a welder named Arnel Begovic who says:

“Mormon man is crazy man. He is Christian, he have five wives and do not drink. I am Muslim, I have one wife and I want a drink!”*

You can read much of what Vulliamy has to say in this article though not alas Begovic’s quote.

*Mormons don’t really practice polygamy anymore but the quotes still funny

The story of my favourite blog post

depression xalt

My favourite blog post ever is Hyperbole and a half’s wonderful explanation of what it’s like to have depression. Salon carries an interview with its author Allie Brosh.

Having known several people who suffer from depression, I know it’s a hard thing to talk about — let alone share with the world. Why did you write about depression?

I thought a lot about this, and I think that putting it out there was sort of my way of owning it. You know, taking this scary thing, the worst thing that has ever happened to me, and just looking at it, and examining how absurd it is, was really liberating.

I’ve been working on [the post] for a very long time. Probably over a year. Once the depression got bad – my way of sorting through things and finding out how to progress during a difficult time in my life is really to think about it. I’m sort of a self-fixer — where if something’s wrong I just go into my head and just think about it and think about it until I find some way to either fix it or deal with it mentally, and in the process of that, I do a lot of writing, just to sort things out. So I’d written part one, and I thought it was over after I’d written that, like, “Oh yeah, that was my experience with depression and it’s done now!” That was not the case. Very much not the case.

What kind of feedback did you get?

I got a lot of feedback – depression is such an isolating experience, and because of that it’s sort of surprising to see how many people sort of feel the same way or identify with this totally isolating experience I went through. And yeah, I like seeing how helpful it was to people; there were some people who didn’t even realize they were depressed, and they got help because of it. People who wouldn’t have felt comfortable talking about it, were coming up and talking to me about it. So it was helpful, it was helpful to me to see – as it would be helpful for a reader to see this and think, I’m not alone, it was helpful for me to get that feedback from people.