Do Swedes have a sense of humour?
Most Danes would probably say that the answer to that question is pretty obvious. When it comes to humour, the Swedes belong in a category normally reserved for the Germans, the Saudis and the Spanish Inquisition.
As it turns out, this conception is completely wrong.
If we are to believe an article in Wednesday’s Dagens Nyheter, Swedish media celebrities have for the past fifteen years operated a secret mailing list committed to slander, unsubstantiated rumours and general mudslinging. All under the watchful eye of the has-been pop-singer-turned-internet-oracle Alexander Bard.
The article gives some wonderful examples of mudslinging at its most beautiful. A debate about the status of female columnists turns into a slanderfest of comments about a particular columnist’s alleged weight problem – the high point is reached when a popular agony aunt writes that the columnist’s photo is manipulated so that she doesn’t appear massively obese. And so on, and so forth.
So, what do we make of it?
In my opinion, there are two possibilities:
Either the story is not true but a cruel, but wonderfully executed joke played by Dagens Nyheter on the expense of the Swedish chickeria. And believe me: They really, really, really deserve it.
Or the story is true, in which case the public ought to sue the tabloid newspapers and the weekly magazines here in Sweden for incompetence and gross negligence. Henrik Qvortrup – he is the editor of Denmark’s foremost yellow magazine Se og Hør – would rather go to jail than not publish any of those saucy stories hinted at in DN’s story.
Oh, and by the way: I’ve been reading some newsletters from Rockwoolfonden and Eurobarometer about Danish attitudes towards immigrants. I’ll return with a post about that subject in the near future.