Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The shit has hit the fan

The last couple of days were full of politicians' talk about how horrible it is that Perussuomalaiset won, and whose fault that was.

This, however, is pretty unbelievable:

Tuija Brax, the Minister of Justice, says that the ministry will start teaching chairpeople of the city councils to censor anti-immigration, anti-immigrant and anti-minority speech (in the council meetings, I assume, not in the city streets).

First of all, speech inciting against racial, ethnic and religious groups is already banned by the criminal law. The law bans all public speech of the "kill the X" kind, and also of the "all Y are disgusting smelly assholes" kind. I am not sure whether or not city councils are "public" in the sense meant by the law, but what I want to know is whether Brax thinks that a) the elected city council members will say things mentioned above, or b) the elected city council members will say things like "I think we should also collect crime statistics by the country of birth of the perpetrator", and that this should be censored.

In general there has been a lot of discussion about the horrible things that Some People (tm) say about immigrants in general or some ethnic or religious groups in particular. Usually the discussion has deteriorated into claiming that these things are not true, but IMO a more relevant question to the people who think that the new anti-multiculturalist council members and their opinions are horrible would be: what kind of negative things, in your opinion, can one say about an ethnic or religious group, assuming that those things are in fact statistically true? (For the purpose of this question assume that the facts are presented in a neutral way.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"And no nukes, while you are at it"

I came back from a trip to Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau last week. A more detailed report is forthcoming, but one thing I noticed is the amount of interesting warnings, bans and advice. "Please see a doctor if you are sick", "Please drink water to avoid heat", no discharging missiles in the park and a lot of other stuff, etc.

The most mysterious, however, was this, in Tapgol park in Seoul. Why two pictures of people throwing trash? What do the head and the hand mean? Do they really mean "don't set fire to the buildings" in one of these? And what the hell is the fourth one from the left in the top row (a closeup)? My first guess was "don't measure chipmunks' temperature anally", as good an advice as any, but then my friends also came up with "don't abuse chipmunks in the butt with a sparkler", "don't give chipmunks pregnancy tests", and many other creative ideas. If any of my readers know any Korean, please shed some light on this mystery.

"Eek! Eek! People elected the wrong candidates!"

The municipal election is over. Congratulations to Jussi Halla-aho, and everyone else whom I wanted to win and who won.

It is probably a law of nature that after an election the winners loudly declare that The People Have Spoken, and the losers try to come up with polite ways of saying that the people were mistaken, brainwashed or simply damn stupid. This is especially the case when the winners happen to be elitist (appeal to the people who earn more than the journalists) or populist (appeal to the people whom journalists consider lower-class but who still earn more than the journalists).

The keyword, however, is "polite". Helsingin Sanomat's reaction at first was anything but. Then somebody more sensible woke up.

I understand HS's shock when Jussi Halla-aho, who is just a guy with a blog who criticizes the current immigration policies, gets 2916 votes, and Astrid Thors, the actual immigration minister, gets 2450. This is no reason to call him an opponent of immigrants (they fixed that later), or to wring hands and wonder what went wrong and what kind of bad things happened to people that they want to vote for Halla-aho. Maybe they should rather read his writings, he's been writing for a while now about the bad things that have been happening.

On a lighter and snarkier note: in all my years in Finland there has been only one person who refused to talk to me on account of me being a foreigner, and it certainly wasn't Jussi.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am back

Survived the vacation, looking forward to getting some sleep.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I ain't dead

I ain't dead, or even studying the current crisis, just busy. Not gonna write anything sensible for a week or two.

About the current economy crisis: wow and ouch!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Goals for tonight

Goals for tonight: wash all the underwear and not get too drunk.

I know this sounds kind of pathetic, but I am actually in a pretty good mood.