Thursday, February 13, 2014

Scandinavia may be an odder place than I thought

From a review of the book "The Almost Nearly Perfect People - The Truth about the Nordic Miracle":
Booth starts with Denmark because he lives there - his wife is Danish and their children study at Danish schools. That gives him an insight into the country that doesn't quite extend to the others, which he has merely visited and researched, his views of them perhaps coloured by his experiences of Denmark. (I would have the same problem. I live in Sweden; when I visit the other Nordic countries I see them through Swedish eyes, and behind them British ones.) He is at pains to point out how different they all are, and how scathing each nation is of the others. I can vouch for that. You should hear my partner on the Danes. She's going to love some of the ammunition provided here. Can it really be true that 'seven per cent of Danish men have had sex with an animal'? (Not the same one, surely.)

One of the major problems with this book is that it provides no sources or references, so we can't rely on everything Booth writes. Much of it is impressionistic, and I have to say that many of its impressions of the Swedes don't accord with mine. On the other hand, Booth is absolutely right to be angry about Sweden's record in the Second World War, which still ought to be a source of shame to Swedes, but which most of them seem blithely unaware of. This may be one of the things that fuels the arrogance that their neighbours detect in them. In Finland, which Sweden refused to help in its Winter War of 1939-40 against the Soviets, it is also apparently seen as evidence of Swedish men's 'gayness' - that and the hairnets that were ordered for the Swedish military in the 1960s, when long hair was fashionable. (Booth is good on Finnish 'macho' culture.)


Anonymous said...

Booth has become a minor celebrity in Japan apparently.


Steve said...

He seems to have a good life...