Category Archive 'Sweden'
13 Jul 2017

Swedish Suburb Burning Childrens’ Classic

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Bruce Bawer, at PJ Media, has the story.

What is Swedish culture? A lot of people who still believe in such things would put Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002) at or near the top of that list. During her lifetime, Lindgren was beyond question the most beloved figure in all of Sweden. Her books, about Pippi Longstocking and other characters, were translated into countless languages.

I didn’t grow up on them, but millions of children did, not only in Sweden but around the world. After I moved to Norway, I caught up with the wonderful television series Emil i Lönneberga, based on her novels about a rambunctious farmboy, and came to appreciate Lindgren’s distinctive humor and charm, her skill at handling both the harshly realistic and the extravagantly fanciful, her ability to touch one’s heart without being treacly and sentimental, and her striking combination of delight in subversiveness and respect for moral responsibility.

Lindgren’s influence in her native country was immense. When she revealed in a 1976 article that her income tax rate as a self-employed writer was 102 percent, it brought down the Social Democratic government that had been in power for forty-four years and resulted in an overhaul of the tax system. In 1979, spurred largely by a speech by Lindgren, Sweden became the first nation to make it illegal to strike children.

Despite her role in bringing down the government in 1976, Lindgren was, like pretty much everyone else in Sweden’s intellectual and cultural elite, a committed Social Democrat. And when her books were first coming out, they caused a degree of concern among cultural conservatives.

As the Washington Times noted in its obituary, “Pippi Longstocking was an instant hit among children” but “parents often were shocked by the unruly Pippi, who rebelled against society and happily mocked institutions such as the police and charity ladies.” One admirer, author Laura Pedersen, told the Times that Lindgren’s books had a “wonderful subversion. … She talked about breaking the rules … we often see rules that are wrong, and they should be broken.” But not everyone approved.

In 2017, however, it’s not conservatives who are criticizing Lindgren. The other day came the news that the library in Botkyrka municipality, on the outskirts of Stockholm, had burned older editions of one of the Pippi books, Pippi in the South Seas (1948), because local officials have decided that they “contain racism.”

After this action came to light, the municipality issued a press release acknowledging that the books had indeed been destroyed because they contained “obsolete expressions that can be perceived as racist” – but that they had been replaced on the library shelves by a 2015 edition of the book from which those expressions have been carefully scrubbed.

Since Lindgren died in 2002, of course, she was not around to grant anybody the right to fiddle with her prose. Her publishers had simply taken it upon themselves to do to her work what a lot of people would love to do to, say, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Like Mark Twain, Lindgren was the very opposite of a racist. But her use of language in Pippi in the South Seas, like that in Huck Finn, violates the Left’s current ideological tests.

RTWT

27 Feb 2017

New Volume in Classic Series

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19 Feb 2017

Fake News

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Memeorandum’s lead item at 1:15 PM EST on February 19, 2017. (You can look at a later point in time by filling in the correct time and date.)

So at Donald Trump’s rally yesterday in Florida, Trump said anent Muslim immigration:

“You look at what’s happening. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”

Trump is obviously alluding to extraordinary and absolutely appalling outbreaks of violent crimes and sexual assaults perpetrated by Third World immigrants and refugees accepted into European countries. But those clever journalists on the left play pretend that Trump has to be referring, not to robberies, rapes, and criminal assaults, but (mistakenly, out of his stupidity, confusion, and general inferiority) to some non-existent, entirely fabricated by Trump case of a mass terrorist attack. And they gleefully get to point out that such a mass terrorist attack has not (so far) occurred in Sweden, and therefore: Gotcha! Ho! ho! ho!

How stupid do they think Americans are?

Trump was obviously referring, not to a single terrorist attack, but to the unfortunate state of Swedish public safety with respect to crimes by Muslims against Swedes.

For example: Muslim Statistics — 5 Nov 2016:

Sweden’s Muslim problem: Half a million women sex attacked in a year

This now puts Sweden in the top position for sex crimes in the world.

Put this into perspective to see how horrific these figures truly are: The total Swedish population is only 9.6 million people. In 2009 a US report stated that there are 450,000 to 500,000 Muslims in Sweden, around 5% of the total population. Out of the 500,000 Muslim migrants in Sweden, half or less are men. In other words, there is roughly an equivalent to two sex attacks to every Muslim male in Sweden. These sex attacks are not committed by the natives.

or this example (Daily Wire 16 Jan 2017):

Scores of Swedes took the streets of Malmo, a southern city in Sweden, on Monday to protest an epidemic of violence that has taken the lives of far too many young people. The last victim was 16-year-old Ahmed Obaid. He was killed last Thursday after an unidentified gunman unleashed a salvo of bullets.

“Our kids should sleep well, play at play parks, feel safe,” Housam Abbas, the victim’s cousin, said, according to the Local.

Malmo, this once quiet city, is now overrun with violence. The culture of fear is so palpable that parents are no longer comfortable sending their children out to play.

“You have to look over your shoulder when you go out at night now. I don’t let my little brother go out at night any more,” said one high school student at Monday’s protest in front of city hall. “I hope that the politicians actually view this as a serious problem and start to solve this in Malmö.”

Trump is obviously right, and the MSM is full of weaselly liars cooking up fake news.

18 Feb 2017

“Old Tjikko” 9550-Year-Old Norwegian Spruce

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Really, it’s a 9,550-Year-Old root system. Vintage News:

The oldest living cloned Norwegian Spruce can be found in Sweden on Fulufjallet Mountain. It is at least 9,550 years old, sixteen feet tall, and is called Old Tjikko.

This tree isn’t the oldest living tree in the world, but it is the oldest living, clonal Norway Spruce. Umea University geography professor, Leif Kullman discovered this tree and gave it the name “Old Tjikko,” after his dog that had died.

During its life cycle of thousands of years, the tree grew as a stunted shrub (krummholz formation) because of the harsh environment in which it lives and the extreme weather conditions. However, during the Earth’s warming that has occurred over the last century, the tree has now begun a growth cycle of natural tree formation, and its transition to a healthy growth structure is due to global warming.

It has been recorded that during the ice age, the sea level was much lower than today, as much as 120 meters lower. So, what is now the North Sea between England and Norway was at that time barren forest land. And during this period, winds and low temperatures made the growth of “Old Tjikko” similar to that of a bonsai tree; under these harsh conditions, a large tree could not sustain the growth to get this old.

The primary reason for the survival of this tree over such an extended period is because of vegetative cloning; this means that although the part of the tree that is visible is still relatively young, it is a part of an ancient root system which dates back thousands of years.

04 Nov 2016

Waltz from Orsa, Sweden

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orsa

played by Bjorn Stabi and Ole Hjorth.

My wife is an enthusiast of this kind of music. She has an on-line reference site. This music for this waltz is #1061 on this web-page.

16 Feb 2016

Laissez-Faire, Not Socialism, Made Sweden Prosperous

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SwedenEconomy

Johan Norberg notes that the Left loves to point out Sweden as a model of Socialism with Economic Prosperity. The problem is that all the prosperity is a legacy from an economic system which Socialism is determined to change.

Once upon a time I got interested in theories of economic development because I had studied a low-income country, poorer than Congo, with life expectancy half as long and infant mortality three times as high as the average developing country.

That country is my own country, Sweden—less than 150 years ago.

At that time Sweden was incredibly poor—and hungry. When there was a crop failure, my ancestors in northern Sweden, in Ångermanland, had to mix bark into the bread because they were short of flour. Life in towns and cities was no easier. Overcrowding and a lack of health services, sanitation, and refuse disposal claimed lives every day. Well into the twentieth century, an ordinary Swedish working-class family with five children might have to live in one room and a kitchen, which doubled as a dining room and bedroom. Many people lodged with other families. Housing statistics from Stockholm show that in 1900, as many as 1,400 people could live in a building consisting of 200 one-room flats. In conditions like these it is little wonder that disease was rife. People had large numbers of children not only for lack of contraception, but also because of the risk that not many would survive for long.

As Vilhelm Moberg, our greatest author, observed when he wrote a history of the Swedish people: “Of all the wondrous adventures of the Swedish people, none is more remarkable and wonderful than this: that it survived all of them.”1

But in one century, everything was changed. Sweden had the fastest economic and social development that its people had ever experienced, and one of the fastest the world had ever seen. Between 1850 and 1950 the average Swedish income multiplied eightfold, while population doubled. Infant mortality fell from 15 to 2 per cent, and average life expectancy rose an incredible 28 years. A poor peasant nation had become one of the world’s richest countries.

Many people abroad think that this was the triumph of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, which somehow found the perfect middle way, managing to tax, spend, and regulate Sweden into a more equitable distribution of wealth—without hurting its productive capacity. And so Sweden—a small country of nine million inhabitants in the north of Europe—became a source of inspiration for people around the world who believe in government-led development and distribution.

But there is something wrong with this interpretation. In 1950, when Sweden was known worldwide as the great success story, taxes in Sweden were lower and the public sector smaller than in the rest of Europe and the United States. It was not until then that Swedish politicians started levying taxes and disbursing handouts on a large scale, that is, redistributing the wealth that businesses and workers had already created. Sweden’s biggest social and economic successes took place when Sweden had a laissez-faire economy, and widely distributed wealth preceded the welfare state.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

09 Dec 2015

Charles XII’s Uniform

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CharlesXIIUniform
Uniform worn by Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Fridrikshald, 1718, at which he was killed.

27 Jul 2015

Swedish Museum Contains 1185 Skeletal Remains From 1361 Battle

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VisbySkull
Armored skull from Visby Skeletal Collection in the Fornsalen Museum

Strange Remains:

The Visby skeletal collection at the Fornsalen Museum contains the remains of 1185 people who died at the Battle of Visby in 1361 and is the largest battlefield skeletal collection in Europe. Anthropologists from all over the world come to examine these battered bones to study medieval battlefield injuries. Here’s how these bodies ended up in a museum.

In July of 1361 the Danish king Valdemar IV decided to invade the island of Gotland, Sweden because it had a diverse population that included Danes, was populated with wealthy inhabitants, and was strategically located in the Baltic Sea. A legion of Swedish peasants tried to repel the Danish invasion near the city of Visby, but the inexperienced Gotlanders were no match for the Danish soldiers and many of them were slaughtered during the battle. The fallen Gotland soldiers were buried in three large mass graves, with their armor and weapons, near the city walls. After the Gotlanders surrendered, the island became a part of the Danish kingdom for a short period of time, until the Swedish crown reclaimed it in the early 15th century.

In 1905 Dr. Oscar Wennersten exhumed one of the graves and unearthed 300 bodies. Archaeologists Bengt Thordeman and Poul Nørlund recovered more bodies during additional excavations from two mass graves between 1912 and 1928, bringing the total bodies recovered to 1185.

04 Mar 2015

Sweden Changing Racist Names of Birds

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Herons

The Washington Post reports the latest case of European PC insanity.

Bird watching has long been a popular and seemingly harmless weekend activity in Sweden. Its innocence, however, came to an abrupt end when many of the country’s bird lovers were suddenly confronted with allegations of racism.

For centuries, it has now been revealed, the Swedish had given birds some names that now could be considered offensive to certain groups. One species, for instance, was called “gypsy bird,” whereas another was named “negro.” The insult “caffer,” which was used by white against blacks in South Africa, also resembled a Swedish bird species called “kaffer.” There were other offensive bird names in Sweden, such as “Hottentot” — apparently inspired by the name of the language of an indigenous southwest Africandem Changi tribe called Khoikhoi, yet also a derogatory term for that tribe.

Despite the prominence of bird watching among Swedes, the existence of these names and others like them had sparked little outrage and publicity until recently. When Sweden’s Ornithological Society completed its first-ever global list of all 10,709 Swedish bird names two weeks ago, the organization also announced some awkward name changes.

In the process of categorizing the names, staffers had raised concerns over some that had a potentially offensive nature. As a result, several of them have now been changed: “negro” bird, for instance, will now be called “black” bird. “When working on the list, it became obvious that some older names no longer were appropriate,” Anders Wirdheim, Communications Officer at the Swedish Ornithological Society told The Washington Post.

19 Jan 2015

Gustav Vasa’s Helmet

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GustavVasaHelmet
Burgundian helmet belonging to Gustav I Vasa, King of Sweden. 1540.

Hat tip to Collections & Recollections.

19 Aug 2014

Sandby Borg, “the Swedish Pompeii”

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Solidus
Some warrior dropped this Roman solidus into a posthole on the floor.

Archaeological investigation of Sandby Borg, a Migration Era fort on the island of Öland has been underway since 2010.

Habitation of the fort seems to have ended with a sudden 5th century massacre. Researchers discovered the remains of at least ten unburied individuals.

Most recently, a gold Roman solidus was discovered. The coin is thought to have been part of a looted hoard, dropped during the sack of the castle.

Although the sack of the fort and murder of its inhabitants occurred 1500 years ago, local memories cause residents of the fort’s vicinity still to shun the site. Archaeologist Helena Victor stated: “There are still memories 1,500 years later of these events, it’s a dangerous place. Parents tell their children that they can’t play there because it’s a dangerous place. They don’t remember the history but they remember it’s dangerous.”

13 Aug 2014

155-Year-Old Eel Dies in Sweden

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eel
The eel in 1959.

Sweden is in mourning, and not for Robin Williams.

The Local.se reports:

The world’s oldest European eel just died in its home, a well in a southern Swedish fishing town, aged 155. …

In 1859 an 8-year-old Swede by the name of Samuel Nilsson threw the eel into the well. While the act may be reminiscent of children throwing strange objects into toilets in modern times, it was in fact common practice to throw an eel in your well.

Many towns didn’t have public water systems until the 1960s, and eels ate the flies and other creepy crawlies, keeping the house’s water supply clean .

Since its drop into the dark in 1859, the eel has been featured in books and documentaries, and made multiple cameos on Swedish TV.

Read the whole story.

In Pennsylvania, where I grew up, farmers often kept a brook trout in their spring house for the same reason.

If you believe the story, I guess Lamarckianism must be true.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers, Gawker, and Bird Dog. I guess everybody likes an old eel.

21 Jan 2014

Not Perhaps the Ideal Pet

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Despite the “moose” reference, this seems to be from Sweden where they’d call that an elk.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

12 Sep 2013

Nordic Cuisine

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

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