It was supposed to be a form of praise.
The problem I have with people describing Iceland in this way is that it creates an 'other' of Iceland. Iceland is an oft stereotyped country and its people are perceived in light of the stereotypes. Case in point, recently, with the Global Financial Crisis, when the people of Iceland ejected their Government and refused to pay back the debt of the scoundrels who bankrupted the country, it was explained away by suggesting something like that could only happen in Iceland (as if it has never, before, happened in the history of people on this globe).
There is a very strong focus on the landscape being 'other worldly', not of this world, but that is simply not true. In summer Iceland looks a lot like New Zealand or Hawaii, or any other volcanic island. Yes, it is cold in Iceland, but not as cold as it gets in the most of the rest of Scandinavia. Don't let the name fool you. Iceland gets down to around -10 in winter, but Norway, even in the South easily get down to -25, and in the North -40. It is windy in Iceland all year round, but that's what it is like on most islands. Islands tend to be quite windy - it is hardly other worldly.
|This may look other world, but this is the beauty of Earth, let's claim it|
(and protect it, please)
Photo by David Clapp
So, it would seem Iceland actually has very little in common with the moon, or any other alien planet, for that matter.
The problem with creating an 'other', or more pointedly, a 'not us', of any country or nation, is that it sets that country or nation apart. It exoticises that country or nation. Think about exotic for a moment. Things that are exotic often become the pawns of tourism. Now tourism offers a lot of benefits for poor countries (Iceland relies quite heavily on tourism since the Global Financial Crisis), but it also has dark side. You see, when a culture is forced to sell its exoticisms, it can become further entrenched in stereotypes. Once stereotypes become 'the norm', countries and people and growth and diversity and progress become less valuable.
|The City of Reykjavík|
|Icelandic people - not actually alien, or lunies...|