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September 28, 2008


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Actually, what I said was, word by word, "by the standards of the country that I live in, this would be considered a typical interview of any politician". That's not even remotely the same as "would not have been considered dismal or disastrous".

As I said, there just wasn't anything _special_ about it. Perhaps I should remind the non-Finnish people on the blog once again that the acting president of this country has two speech disorders, and the acting prime minister suffers from developmental stutter.

Listing their usual SNAFUs would take up too much bandwidth, but suffice to say that by now, whenever a Finnish politician opens his/her mouth, I've pretty much come to expect something dismal and disastrous.

Or what the hell, one example. A couple of weeks ago, the minister of labour, Tarja Cronberg (Green), issued a statement on _diversity on the workplaces_. She stated that Finnish workplaces should represent the diversity of today's rainbow society.

I. e., it would be nice for each workplace to have both men and women, as well as a diverse representation of people of various political persuasions, ethnic backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations and so on. This is, of course, a goal that I support completely.

What was her solution? Well, she suggested that it just might be a good idea if the employers could _check_ annually how well the people at the workplace represent the various political persuasions, religions, sexual orientations, et cetera.

I may be old-fashioned, but I find the idea of the employer interviewing me on my voting habits, my methods of worship or my sexual predilections not only intrusive, but also rather creepy. Plus, at the moment, asking those questions would actually be illegal; there's this "right to privacy"-thing, right there in the Constitution.

... so yeah, Sarah Palin's statements on the bank crisis? By our standards, nothing special.

Of course, the citizenry isn't any smarter. According to a poll published today, Finns don't know anything about politics. Three out of four people don't even know which political parties are included in the current government coalition (seriously). Considering Noel's deliberately sarcastic comment, I suppose that he's aware of this poll.

(Of course, as Noel well knows, all people everywhere are experts in all sorts of policy, at least in their own opinion. And Finns are no exception to this rule.)

However, my first instinct would still be to blame the politicians. Given the quality of the people who exercise political authority in this country, one can hardly blame the population for not bothering to pay attention to them. Most people just don't care any more; although obviously there are also those who are willingly ignorant and stupid.

Lack of credibility, and lack of alternatives. Sometimes, this can generate a populist backlash, when people are ready to seize any alternative; this is a phenomenon known across Europe, as testified also in the recent Austrian elections.

But in Finland, the consequences are likely to be different. As I've said before, I think that over here, we're witnessing the actual dissipation of the democratic system. As in so many other things, Finland seems likely to be the first one also in reaching this goal.


J. J.

What's alarming is that the SNL skit bears no resemblance to the debate, let alone the funny parts. It is a toothless satire. Some, like Twain, would see it as lacking a mouth.

Jussi; once again, I'd take your politicians over mine. Not just for the socialist workers' paradise and snazzy nokia phones, but because yours are authoritarian overlord by accident, not design, nor, as far as I know, do they cheer/hope for the imminent WalmartJesus apocolypse

The resident left-wing parties (... fine, ditch the plural; the resident left-wing _party_) would be extremely astounded to hear this country described as a "socialist workers' paradise".

I'll take the statement as a demonstration of the widening cultural gap between this country and the rest of the world.

Of course, I've experienced it personally, every time that I've traveled to Poland. By the Scandinavian standards, I'm something of an old-fashioned, pragmatic value conservative. But as soon as I set my foot on the beautiful Sarmatian soil, I suddenly become a goddamn _liberal_, if not an outright, dangerous _radical_!


J. J.

Perhaps, that is, Jussi, because sarcasm doesn't translate too well into the internet.

Though Finland is functionally far left of the norms of the United States(and, let's face it, all your norms are belong to us) it is hardly socialist, or elysian...

Apparently things are getting lost in translation at a steady pace.

I don't know how the word "left" has been mangled across the Ocean these days, but in my opinion, never mind _how_ the term is used, the country that I live in should not be considered "functionally far left of the norms of the United States" by any measure.

Of course, as I've said before, the politically active people in the United States place a great deal of importance on issues which, over here, have ceased to be issues. Such as, you know, unisex toilets.

I don't consider that to be a case of one country being "functionally far left" and another being "functionally far right". I consider that to be a case of one country having advanced politically further than another.

(This is a cue for Noel to call me a "nationalist". Before he does that, I must add that the label is not true. I hate the country that I live in just as much as I hate America, ha-ha.)


J. J.

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