Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hat? What hat? I don't have a hat.

JoeI suppose that the national honor is safe once more, as the Swede who won last year's Vasaloppet has just now managed to win it again, beating a Norwegian (who had steadfastly refused to share the lead all day) by less than a second after a 90 km slog. Update: actually, the rude guy turns out to have been a Czech. The best Norwegian placed fourth.

So how does that leave the modern state of Swedo-Nordic relations? Allow me to give a brief survey of yesterday's Expressen newspaper by way of illustration. The headline was "Nya Skymfen Mot Sverige: Northugs Hån På Mållinjen" beneath a picture of the incident itself, complete with an added speech bubble in which Northug insults the King, Björn Borg, and Ingemar Stenmark (he didn't actually have time for all that at the finish line, of course, so the verbal insults had to wait until he was interviewed on Norwegian tv a few minutes later). The front page of the sports section breaks down the five different ways that Northug insulted Sweden on Friday (including making a quip about the wife of a Swedish sports commentator). The coverage then continues for all of the next 8 pages, with second-by-second stills of "the insult."

My favorite part, though, is page 11 of the main section, which is wholly given over to a list of all the ways that Sweden is superior to Norway. In the paper's own words, "Expressen har sammanställt listan som får norrmännen at rysa i sina lusekoftor." The list includes things like "Vi är snabbare i luften," "Vi lever längre," and "Vi inreder era hem." In the name of fair and balanced reporting, they go on to list the things which Norway does better: Norwegians destroy the environment with fossil fuels, and they make nice sweaters, plus Swedes do appreciate Norwegian banana-flavored baby food.

It concludes with:
Poor Petter Northug—he is obviously so disturbed at living in an inferior country that he must act like a fool. Don't worry, Petter—not everyone can live in a country as nice as Sweden.

So, how long do you suppose they've been waiting for an excuse to run that page?

1 comment:

  1. It's probably like the celebrity obituaries - some poor intern has to keep up with the list for why Sweden is better than Norway.