October 27, 2012
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the berlin wall
The other night I was having a conversation about the early 90s, music was the topic and we were reminiscing about the time when MTV was still worth watching (yes, reminiscing indeed). My conversational partner is a bit younger than I and comes from a different musical background, so I was telling him about the wonders of 120 minutes and getting a weekly input of alternative music. As I was talking it all came back to me, that early 90s vibe of crumbling walls and the European dream. I was 13 years old when the Berlin wall fell and I still remember how I felt when I saw the images on the TV screen. How I looked at my parents with bewilderment and asked them if this was really happening. I wasn’t that old, but I understood that this really meant something, that this would change the world. And it did. And for a few years there in the early 90s it really seemed like a new world was possible. That Europe would now truly become one. In my memories, in the way I understood the world, the early days of MTV Europe was a bit like that; all of Europe in one studio. It was all done in London, that’s where the studio was, but the VJs came from all over Europe, there were even Swedish people, and back then that meant something to me because we weren’t part of the European Union yet, but the fact that we still got to be part of MTV somehow gave me hope. Because I didn’t want to be Swedish, I wanted to be European. Or rather, I didn’t really want to have a nationality at all, so being European at least felt like a better deal. That feeling hasn’t really changed all that much, but back then there were moments were I could feel something almost resembling pride when I though about being European, in spite of all the past atrocities it seemed like being European could actually be an ok identity, but today being European doesn’t induce anything even resembling pride. Not only because of the horrendous political currents surging through Europe right now, but also because the idea of a European identity has almost faded away.
I may be incredibly naive, but I actually think the European Union is a good thing. Not the way it’s actually been implemented, or the way it’s working today, but the idea itself. The idea of creating a unity of nations and have the focus be on working together for everyone’s benefit is good. In fact, it’s brilliant. And if this could be the guiding principle for the whole world, that would be even better – working together to ensure everyone is ok. Not just the rich and privileged, but everyone.
If you really want to do that, make sure everyone is ok, you can’t care about borders or ethnicity because the moment you start focusing on those aspects the basic concept is lost. It’s supposed to be about everyone. Every single individual. And of course that’s an utopian idea, but that’s the whole point of political ideas, they are supposed to be about creating utopia, the perfect world. Anything that has “good enough” as the highest standard requirement is not even worth considering. Stagnation, that’s the end result of such ideals. Only ideas that lead to the best situation for every single individual are even worth considering. Read more of this post
January 28, 2011
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I don’t like prejudices. I know have plenty of my own, but I do my best to challenge them. And I am not saying that just because it’s the politically correct thing to say, I actually mean it. Because I really hate prejudices. And the reason is very simple: plenty have been expressed about me. Based on my gender, nationality, hair color, breast size, tattoos, piercings, opinions, lifestyle choices etc, etc ad infinitum. And I hate it. And don’t care that much what people think about me, but never the less I would very much like it if their opinions were based on me and not the things they associate with certain attributes I have. Because that limits my possibilities. Or rather, I don’t get the possibilities I would get if the things people thought about me were actually a true reflection of my person. Essentially it’s all about accuracy. That’s the problem with prejudices, they are seriously lacking in accuracy. And that annoys the hell out of me.
Most people would probably agree, I hope, that prejudices are a bad thing and that you should strive to challenge them. Like I said it’s the politically correct thing to do, but there seems to be an exception from this idea when it comes to the Romani. When it comes to this group of people it all of a sudden seems ok to state complete an utter bullshit that’s based on nothing but ignorant, racist, prejudice. I may be wrong, but I don’t really recall that type of opinions being aired quite that openly just 15 years ago. Sure racism aired it’s ugly face from time to time, but I don’t really recall it being that frequent. Or was I just too blind to notice? I’m really not sure. But I have been discussing this so many times in the past few months that I feel a serious need to put it all into writing. That way I can just refer people to here when the topic comes up again. Yeah, maybe I am lazy, but I am just so sick of having the same conversation over and over again. Sure I will still say “yes, I think you are a fucking racist for thinking that all Romani are thieves”, but at least I can spare myself the remaining hours of trying to explain why I say that. But I will still say “you’re a fucking racist”. Naturally I’m really sick of having to say that all the time too, but at least it’s short and efficient. Read more of this post
January 24, 2011
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I was talking to my dad yesterday and somehow we landed in the topic of things that are wrong with this world. We often do that. This particular time we were dwelling on the topic of equality. He was going on about all the things that were wrong in the world, about gender inequality and how that was still such a major issue globally, and he ended with saying that he was not convinced that it was even possible to reach a state of total equality. I was listening to his rant, feeling a certain sense of pride because my father hasn’t always had these views, ten or so years ago he would never have talked about this, let alone in the kind of fairly nuanced way he was doing now, but that finishing statement made me think. Is it possible to reach a state of total equality?
Equality is of course a term that needs some definition, as is the case with most concepts that are used in a political context. A dictionary will tell you that equality means “the state or quality of being equal”. But in a political context there’s a bit more attached to it than that. Different aspects of equality if you will. The most common being gender, race and social. Essentially it has to do with perspective, what you see as the bigger issue. But does that really make sense? Can you really grade it like that? I am fully aware that this has been discussed at length on various arenas and that there have been countless texts written on the topic, but if equality really means the state or quality of being equal there are a few things we must assume regardless of what perspective we choose. Read more of this post
January 21, 2011
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There’s an episode of Fawlty Towers where this phrase, “don’t mention the war”, gets repeated several times. A group of Germans are staying at the hotel and therefore Basil Fawlty, the hotel owner, who at the time is suffering from a head injury, instructs his staff to, no matter what happens, not mention World War II. I have been thinking about that phrase lately. “Don’t mention the war.” I actually think we should. We should mention the war, World War II. We should mention it a lot. Because we seem to be forgetting it. We seem to be forgetting that all of that happened right here on European soil, that this is where it started, that it was people just like us who were involved, who started it. It happened right here and it wasn’t that long ago, in a time not that different from now. We seem to be forgetting all the atrocities that took place. All the unfathomable acts of human cruelty that were conducted by regular people right here, people just like you and me.
World War II has become a symbol of evil, something we swore we would never repeat. It was a wake up call that lead us to form the United Nations and the European Union. We wanted to manifest our commitment to make sure that something like this could never happen again on European soil. Whether we have been able to completely keep that promise or not is a debatable issue, but at least we have never had a war on that scale since. So we must have learned something. But the question is what. Read more of this post
September 23, 2010
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Foreigners. Immigrants. There’s a lot of talk about that these days. About how problematic it is. And sure, it is problematic, but not half as problematic as the ugly, brown stained, so-called far right movement that’s emerging from the sewers all over Europe right now. That’s far more problematic. These people who call themselves nationalists and are all about preserving the purity of the race and culture, they are more than problematic. They are actually becoming quite a significant pain in the ass. They are really fucking annoying. Racist, homophobic, xenophobic, paranoid loudmouths that just never shut up about how the immigrants are ruining Europe. As if they themselves weren’t…
I was watching a comedy show the other night and one of the guys was saying: “with all this talk about immigrants and second-generation immigrants, I’m just wondering, when do you actually get there? When are you done with the whole immigration business and just fucking arrive?” Yeah, when indeed. Let’s face it, we’re all immigrants. One way or another. It’s not like there has never been any inflow in the gene pool, otherwise we’d be a world full of really awesome banjo players by now. Mating with close relatives isn’t good, we all know that and we have known it for a very log time. Read more of this post
September 20, 2010
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The truth. It’s a problematic concept but we like to treat it as if it wasn’t. We as a society seem to have this prevailing idea about the one ultimate truth that can be revealed. Almost like a law of nature. The one truth. Like a holy grail, a sacred quest. The real goal of all efforts, be it in science, in law or everyday life, is to find that one single truth. The one answer to everything. The truth. We like to think that we cherish truth in our culture. That once we see the truth we will immediately and almost automatically be able to identify it as such and thus fully embrace it. Like an inherit mechanism in our culture. We like to think we have a very profound love for truth. Do we really? Do we even know what truth is, what we really mean when we talk about truth? I am not so sure. Read more of this post