Black and white Marshal Mannerheim

by , under Enrique

Tabloids such as Iltalehti and blog forums like Uusi Suomi have raised passions to fever pitch due to a new movie about Marshal Carl Mannerheim (1867-1951). The issue that they are heatedly debating and questioning is why Finland’s most famous military figure is being played in a movie by a black man from Kenya? 

The producer of the movie, Erkko Lyytinen, told Ilalehti that he has received death threats as a result of the movie, which will debut in Finland on September 29.

So? Black Mannerheim. What’s the problem? Why is it an issue?

Andy Warhol had no problems about painting political figures like Mao in unnatural skin-colors like dark blue and green. The unnatural colors reminded us that these people are human like us.

Warhol saw Mao with green lips and dark-blue skin…

… Marilyn Monroe’s skin changed colors too.  

Since we’re not talking about a serious documentary, picturing Mannerheim as a black man should not raise passions. Isn’t it a good thing that some are using poetic license to understand who Mannerheim was and what he represents today?

Certainly.

Mannerheim is still a controversial figure, who is seen by some Finns as a savior and by others as a scoundrel.

Kalle Kinnunen, a Suomen Kuvalehti columnist, claims that the strong reactions by some Finns about black Mannerheim expose racism.

At the end of the day, is it such a sacrilege to picture Mannerheim and his deeds in a different skin color other than white?

What does it say about our history and how we see ourselves ethnically?

  1. Mark

    Art does not have to kow tow to historical truth. It opens up lines of interpretation. Indeed, depicting Mannerheim as black is a fantastic idea in my book, as it juxtaposes power, status and and cultural identity. It is an interesting experiment done in the name of art, not history. Let’s see what the PS have to say about it, or even Suomen Sisu. I imagine they will be incensed that a military figure and hero is being associated with someone who has such low status in their eyes based on a visual appearance.

  2. Jssk

    Some people see it as defaming or as mockery. I dont think its about racism.

    Go to Turkey and make a movie out of black Ataturk with public broadcasting service money. Or go to Poland and do a movie about black Piłsudski. It wont end well, because great historical figures are respected.

  3. Yossie

    What a revolutionary point of view! Totally taking it to next level! I´m sure this inspires others to this form of art! I´m inspired already:

    Lets make a movie about too mythic icon: prophet mohammed! With a new angle. It could center around him and his many wifes. Since we want a new artistic angle, Moahmmed could be white guy. Maybe long white bearded man with eyeglasses. This would be highlihting that Islam is not only arabic religion. Since green is too normal for our artistic goals, he could be wearing something red maybe.

    Because Mohammed’s relationship with her 9 years old bride can be nowdays seen too wrong, we could reinvent Aisha as more mature… maybe 30 years old, 200 kg african american with huge “ghetto booty”. She would ofcourse be wearing the tightest jean miniskirt possible. This would totally highlight Mohammed’s true feelings and love for her character.

    Also his other wifes could include women of all different “racies” in their traditional costumes. Also the setting for it could be some pacific island with bare breasted women so signify the freedom of spirit and tranquility of Islam and Mohammed.

    What do you think? Art at its best in my opinion!

  4. tp1

    I don’t understand what people have against black Mannerheim. To me it’s totally ok to portray Mannerheim like that.

    But like Yossie said, let’s compare the way different people react:

    1) Black Mannerheim causes few people to talk about it, magazines to write about it, but it ends there.

    2) If that Muhammed suggestions Yossie made would be done, it would cause violent outbreaks and riots and makers of the movie would be tried to be killed.

    Why is it that people from different cultures behaves so differently? Why can’t people just live their own lives happily without being attached to historical persons?

    I don’t live in the past, I live in the present. To me Mannerheim means nothing more than my neighbours dead dog. I have more respect to persons who have invented something that is helpful for all of us, like the internet and a telephone. But still I wouldn’t loose my sleep at night if someone would do a mocking movie about mr Bell.

    • Mark

      tp1

      I agree, it’s not good that parts of the Islamic world is given to that kind of extremism. But you should support moderate Muslims who are working to defuse that kind of extremism, not jump on the bandbwagon and use it to generate even more fear and suspicion of Islam.

      It’s interesting how you two bozos are more than happy to try to deflect attention from the possible racist reaction of Finns to this black Mannerheim to want to talk about Islamic extremism. And you accuse Enrique of opportunism and me of double standards. 🙂

    • D4R

      Yeah but this is reaction of Finns is because the actor happens to be BLACK, Muhammed is totally different subject, he’s a respected prophet amongs moslims, notice moslims can be african, caucasian or asian. In this case Finns took it as offense because mannerhaim is acted by a BLACK man, so this clearly shows that to Finns we BLACKS are inferior to them.

  5. Mark

    Yossie

    Yes, very funny, and not really saying very much except that you have some very negative ideas about Islam and also that you want to try to provoke Muslims by parodying their prophet.

    As to knowing Mohammed’s true feelings, that’s some overreach.

    But I’m sure you think you are being very clever. Says a lot about you though how you free associate around this topic!!

  6. Yossie

    Mark

    Whats the problem? Didnt you just said “Art does not have to kow tow to historical truth” and “It opens up lines of interpretation.”?

    My idea isnt “It is an interesting experiment done in the name of art, not history”?

    Why double standards?

  7. Mark

    Yossie

    It’s a matter of taste and sensibility. You go ahead and create your drama about Mohammad. Good luck with that – sounds very high brow and I’m sure that you can tell yourself the message about ‘free speech’ is important enough to go around insulting religion.

    It’s not double standards. You are free to do what you want. But I’m equally free to like it or not like it. My standard says that seeing a black man portray Mannerheim is interesting, and that kind of historical reinterpretation should not be as provocative as trying to disrespect a religious icon. I’m sure you can see there is a difference.

    But then, I was all for the musical Jesus Christ Superstar too. That stirred up a lot of protest too. It is a shame that some parts of the Islamic world are easily incensed towards violence – but in that situation, for people’s safety, it’s worth just letting them be, unless you are a Muslim and you want to tackle that extremism from within, in which case, you have my full support. But outsiders trying to take advantage just to score political points? Scumbags!

  8. Yossie

    Mark

    Insult religion? How? I´m pretty much using the same twist as they do with Mannerheim movie. Its only insulting in context of Mohammed but not Mannerheim? I certainly cant see difference. Why is the standard different in having black man play white being ok with vice versa is insulting?

    “for people’s safety, it’s worth just letting them be,”

    So basically, if the people who get outraged by this depiction of Mannerheim would start making attacks on filmmakers, you would condemn the movie for stirring up violence?

    “unless you are a Muslim and you want to tackle that extremism from within, in which case, you have my full support. But outsiders trying to take advantage just to score political points? Scumbags!”

    So you need to be insider to tackle extremism? So you admit being scumbag for trying to take advantage for racist extremism in Finland as outsider?

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Insult religion? How? I´m pretty much using the same twist as they do with Mannerheim movie. Its only insulting in context of Mohammed but not Mannerheim? I certainly cant see difference. Why is the standard different in having black man play white being ok with vice versa is insulting?

      Remember, Allah-oho was convicted for drawing false conclusions based on taking historical facts out of their historical context. Your intention seems to be the same. You tell us that you know what Mohammed’s intention was in engaging in a child-marriage, and then proceeding to draw a picture of a sexualised African female in the ‘tightest miniskirt possible’. I’d say that’s pretty insulting towards a religious icon.

      I’m not focusing my argument on the fact you would depict Aisha as a black girl. That’s irrelevant to me, but rather the way you would sexualise that character and assign intentions to Mohammed in regard to her. That’s my beef, and you did your best to ignore it.

      So basically, if the people who get outraged by this depiction of Mannerheim would start making attacks on filmmakers, you would condemn the movie for stirring up violence?

      That’s a bit cart before the horse. I would condmen the violence and those extremists that created it. I would also ask myself how predictable and reasonable was the violent backlash and the motives of the filmmakers in deciding to go ahead with it. It’s quite possible that there would be criticism for all involved. However, criticism is one thing, and legality is another. While a film about Mannerheim would offend some people’s sensitivities, they are unlikely to be illegal. In the case of upsetting religious sensibilities, that might not be the case. Therefore, you have to acknowledge, whether begrudgingly or not, that there are laws in place that give special protection to religious identities. You may not like it, but I suppose you can recognise that a free-for-all attack on religion could potentially lead to far greater insecurity in society. The effect of that unnecessary provocation would likely be even stronger self-censorship and even stronger backlash when individuals choose to rebel against that self-censorship – in other words, an escalation of problems.

      Imagining that somewhere down the line there would be an obvious victory for free speech would be extremely naive, and it’s just as likely that freedoms might be further curtailed, especially if it became obvious that security and social cohesion were being seriously threatened.

      So you need to be insider to tackle extremism? So you admit being scumbag for trying to take advantage for racist extremism in Finland as outsider?

      Yes, I saw that one coming a mile off. I think in the case of Muslim extremism, reform can really only come from within, and if the reform is demanded by 1) the irreligious, and 2) the Islamaphobes, then the chances of some Muslims feeling motivated to towards moderation are slim. That’s being realistic. That’s my point about insiders vs. outsiders.

      For those that are serious about free speech, then I have no beef if they engage sensibly in the debate. For idiots like you who know almost next to nothing about the nuances of the free speech debates, who merely want to use the freespeech argument to ferment resentment and suspicion towards a particular group of immigrants, you are scum!

    • Yossie

      Mark

      “You tell us that you know what Mohammed’s intention was in engaging in a child-marriage, and then proceeding to draw a picture of a sexualised African female in the ‘tightest miniskirt possible’. I’d say that’s pretty insulting towards a religious icon.”

      But this is all art! Not history. Its all personal interpretation. Also inspired by muslims talking about mohammed’s relationship to Aisha. Aisha is like that to polarize the difference to traditional image of muslim woman. Point is to highligh his love to her even if she is( 9 years old 200kg sexualised character) outside. But this is all art and interpretation.

      You think I should self-cencor my story so that it.. wouldnt create more self-cencorship? Just sit and wait and it goes away without challengin it yourself? Ready to do the same for racism in Finland?

      “reform can really only come from within, and if the reform is demanded by 1) the irreligious, and 2) the Islamaphobes, then the chances of some Muslims feeling motivated to towards moderation are slim. ”

      Yes, maybe you are true.. In the same way I feel weird when its immigrant crybabes like you and Enrique that are crying for more immigrants to Finland and telling what finns should include and not. Dont be suprised if this blog makes people care less about racism, when here we get told its racism to have a blue eyed, blong girl in an ad.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      You think I should self-cencor my story so that it.. wouldnt create more self-cencorship?

      I haven’t asked you to censor your idea. I’ve reminded you that there are legal issues here and that deliberate provocation with religious sensibilities could easily backfire and produce the opposite effect, i.e. lead to more self-censorship. Your goal appears overtly political, not artistic, and as such, you have little credibility to challenge reactionism in the Islamic world. That just goes without saying. It’s not about trying to defend your right to be an artist – you are not an artist, unless you want to include piss artist.

      Yes, maybe you are true.. In the same way I feel weird when its immigrant crybabes like you and Enrique that are crying for more immigrants to Finland and telling what finns should include and not.

      I am not crying for more immigrants, that’s just your paranoia. I have called for respect of immigrants and a fair and honest representation of immigrants’ situation, something that does NOT happen sufficiently in Finland in my view. But hey, get off on your macho crap calling me a crybaby. Nothing wrong with crying, mate, if it means that you care deeply about something and recognise that can also be a source of pain.

      Dont be suprised if this blog makes people care less about racism, when here we get told its racism to have a blue eyed, blong girl in an ad.

      The only people who care less about racism after reading this blog didn’t care much for it before they visited. Enrique’s point about the ad was that the demographic picture of Scandanavia was not represented at all on the site, not that there was a picture of a white blonde woman – there were no other pictures on the front page representing the real diversity within Sweden.

      While not the strongest example, the point Enrique was making was nevertheless valid. For someone looking for ANY reason at all to dismiss racism, I’m sure it was fuel for the fire. That’s how it goes.

  9. JM

    Mark (and to anybody else too, starting from the 2nd paragraph)

    I understand how you are concerned that Yossie and tp1 are trying to “deflect” from the topic at hand by mentioning how Muslims would react to something similar or Turks with Ataturk, but their comparisons or analogies aren’t necessarily incorrect either. That being said, I sometimes hear the more serious right-wingers in some European countries try to justify their ideologies because they have reasoning somewhere along these lines: “if (some, though they don’t say some, they say all) Muslims are allowed to be prejudiced and undemocratic, why aren’t we?” I hope this is not the reasoning being used here.

    Anyway, regarding the actual topic, I don’t really see it as that big of a deal as long as it’s not a documentary. I do not know if this choice of casting is intentional or not to provoke this sort of debate but if it was than evidently they succeeded.

    I remember there was a small bit of controversy amongst the Iranian community when that silly movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time came out a few years ago. “Jake Gyllenhaal” is an Ashkenazi Jew, he doesn’t even look Persian!” they said and others complained about the choice of casting too. Knowing quite a few Iranians though, I find that Gyllenhaal could hypothetically pass as one since the average Iranian does not look all that different from the average southern European (like say, a Greek or a Sicilian) (Gyllenhaal “could” potentially look Italian. However, remember when that movie based on a graphic novel, 300, came out many years ago? They got English people to play Greeks and there were Black people portraying Persians. Now there’s some misrepresentation for you!

    At the end of a day, a movie is just a movie.

  10. tp1

    It’s interesting how you two bozos are more than happy to try to deflect attention from the possible racist reaction of Finns to this black Mannerheim to want to talk about Islamic extremism. And you accuse Enrique of opportunism and me of double standards.

    Excuse me! I was the first one here in Migrant Tales to point out the racist reactions in Finland about the Mannerheim film. So it’s very dishonest from you to even claim that I am trying to deflect attention away from it.

    Now I have to adjust my comparison a little bit, because it seems that makers of the film have also received death threats, which is very disturbing.

    • Mark

      tp1

      Excuse me! I was the first one here in Migrant Tales to point out the racist reactions in Finland about the Mannerheim film.

      Okay, point taken. Although I have to say that I was quite confused as to exactly what you thought was racist. Nevertheless, you did jump on Yossie’s bandwagon as soon as he brought up the matter of Muslim reactionism. Dishonest? Well, not really, just an observation.

      Thank you for the update on death threats, care to share a link for that?

    • Yossie

      If I understand correctly, the producer later admitted that there wasnt any direct threats rather than comments with “threathening tone”. What ever that means in practice…

  11. honrigue

    How about a role reversal with a white guy playing for example Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., or Muhammad Ali? Would there be a public outcry? Personally, I don’t really care. Also, people are complaining that this is made with tax payers’ money, however, until now YLE has been funded with the TV-license, and thus not with taxes.

    • Frankenstein

      all peoples in societies the world over have their heroes and great figures, personalities that have defined their history and hence their present… Still, it beats my understanding that a number of Finns will see this representation as ‘defamatory or mockery’? so, what is wrong with being black or dark colored?
      I will respect that this Mannerheim is so god-like that even the true Finns have to fear him and talk about him in hushed tones… but this is art for Christ’s sake… Even Jesus could have easily have been blue, yellow, or purple! wtf! as long as they dont defame the story about it, as long as the production team is giving an honest account (according to them), then they should be given the freedom to express… and the Finnish audience have their own right to accept, reject, otherwise critic without invoking any racial slurs!

  12. JusticeDemon

    The Marshall of Finland film has been made for the R&A festival. That is such a massive clue that only the terminally thick are rising to the obvious bait.

    We can hold a mirror up to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy and see the true nature of all of that posturing about the sanctity of free speech. It seems that some things are Holy after all.

  13. tp1

    Also, people are complaining that this is made with tax payers’ money, however, until now YLE has been funded with the TV-license, and thus not with taxes.

    It’s still the same. That money has been taken from citizens by force.

  14. tp1

    Who forces you to own a television receiver?

    People can have different uses for television even if they don’t watch television broadcasts. For example, I use television as a monitor for my computer and Blu-ray player. I don’t watch TV broadcasts, but still I’m forced to pay the fee.

    • tp1

      And starting next year people are forced to pay even if they don’t what the TV. That is unacceptable and against peoples rights.

    • JusticeDemon

      This is an old, old chestnut. All you have to do is certify that you have disabled the TV tuner. I specifically said “television receiver” above.

      But this was merely willful ignorance on your part again. You are so certain that the law must be wrong that you can’t be bothered to find out what it says.

  15. JusticeDemon

    tp1

    And starting next year people are forced to pay even if they don’t what the TV. That is unacceptable and against peoples rights.

    Yep – exactly the same as paying any other tax. I can’t see the point in publicly financing orthopedic surgery for recreational skiers, snowboarders or competition motorcyclists, but the government forces me to pay for fixing the foreseeable consequences of their reckless behaviour.

    It’s a communications media tax. Do you intend to stop using communications media? If so, then we can put out the bunting now.

    Your view of what is “acceptable” or “against rights” would be more tenable if you had any moral sense or legal knowledge. Right now you have the credibility of a cocker spaniel commenting on the latest trends in microprocessor design.

  16. tp1

    It’s a communications media tax. Do you intend to stop using communications media? If so, then we can put out the bunting now.

    That is not true. The tax is only covering expenses for the TV and radio broadcasting, there are lots of other communication methods besides those 2.

    It’s weird that you are somehow defending this change, because in this change the rights of a minority is violated so that majority would benefit from it.
    (minority = people without TV, majority = people with TV)

    Right now you have the credibility of a cocker spaniel commenting on the latest trends in microprocessor design

    Does it make you feel better or give more credibility to yourself when instead of just discussing the issues, you need to include personal attack against me in your every message? Usually people attack against the writer at the point when they have no more arguments in the discussion itself.

    • JusticeDemon

      tp1

      The tax is only covering expenses for the TV and radio broadcasting, there are lots of other communication methods besides those 2.

      YLE does a great deal more than TV and radio broadcasting. It is the world’s largest Finnish-speaking general media company, with unique content creation services in Finnish, Swedish, Sámi, Romany and Finnish sign language. That content covers a very wide range of educational, cultural and entertainment functions. Yle is far and away the primary vehicle of daily information and entertainment services created by residents of Finland for consumption in Finland.

      Media content production is very expensive, and is certainly not commercially cost-effective in such a small market. There would be desperately little professional media content production in Finland without Yle.

      Can it be that despite all your enthusiasm for Finnish culture, you are opposed to paying for it? That would make you precisely the kind of freeloader that you claim to criticise.

      The Yle tax is merely a new financing model for this public service, replacing an older approach that has become largely obsolete because of technological progress.

      Isn’t it extraordinary that as an immigrant I know so much more than you about the basic institutions of the country we both live in?

      My characterisation of your contribution to this discussion is a cap that fits. You plainly have not done the basic background learning that is required to tackle these questions with any credibility whatsoever, and we call your bluff here time and again. I stand by that characterisation.

      Pigeon Chess

  17. tp1

    Can it be that despite all your enthusiasm for Finnish culture, you are opposed to paying for it? That would make you precisely the kind of freeloader that you claim to criticise.

    This pretty much proves that you have no idea what culture is. Culture is not something that needs to be paid for. It doesn’t require anything from YLE to maintain Finnish culture.

    • Mark

      tp1

      This pretty much proves that you have no idea what culture is. Culture is not something that needs to be paid for. It doesn’t require anything from YLE to maintain Finnish culture.

      Your threshold for ‘burden of proof’ appears to be quite low. I think saying that ‘culture is not something that needs to be paid for’ is naive at best and dishonest at worst. Simple fact is that ‘art’ is commercialised in almost all its forms. Language and its use is likewise commercialised in all its forms. History even is commercialised in almost all its forms. Where culture is a consumerable, it has a price tag. Where culture is a potential, an expression of an individual, regardless of what materials are used or what happens to the end result, then that is something that is beyond the commercial.

      When we consume our culture, we do so probably without thinking constantly about its commercial properties (thought some think about it constantly), but to say they don’t exist is ‘head up your arse’ territory, tp1.

  18. tp1

    The Yle tax is merely a new financing model for this public service, replacing an older approach that has become largely obsolete because of technological progress.

    Then why isn’t it taken from the budget like every other services? Why separate tax? And why regressive tax instead of progressive tax?

    • Mark

      tp1

      Interesting about the licence fee. As a fee, one understands why it is a fixed fee that everyone pays the ‘same’ price. However, ‘same’ is entirely relative. If we both buy a TV and for one of us, it is 100% of their monthly disposable income and for the other it is merely 10% of their disposable monthly income, then you could argue that one of us has ‘paid’ substantially more. But making that payment scheme fairer would require either VAT being turned into a progressive tax system or we do away with the whole concept of a luxury market, because you begin from the idea of ‘universal access’, and therefore you would have to make luxury goods available to low earners – a recipe for bankruptcy for the firm, I’m sure.

      So tp1, while I am generally in favour of more progressive tax systems, I do understand that in many markets, a regressive pricing scheme is necessary in order to create any kind of market at all.

    • JusticeDemon

      tp1

      Then why isn’t it taken from the budget like every other services? Why separate tax?

      Taxation policy is always ultimately arbitrary. In this case the aim is to raise revenues to cover the costs of a national media service operated by a State-owned and State-subsidised corporation. The solution chosen in this case is an earmarked media tax that is in some ways comparable to a service charge paid by residents in a condominium housing company.

      The new financing model was a compromise agreed by all of the political parties in Parliament, including your Nazi sympathiser friends. You can find the justifications for this model in the associated government bill and the report of the Finance Committee of Parliament.

      And why regressive tax instead of progressive tax?

      Please explain what you mean by this.

      If you can.

  19. tp1

    So tp1, while I am generally in favour of more progressive tax systems, I do understand that in many markets, a regressive pricing scheme is necessary in order to create any kind of market at all.

    But YLE tax has nothing to do with creating market. It’s taken from everybody. In real markets those who want something, they pay for it, but those who don’t want that something doesn’t need to pay for them either.

    But to be fair, I don’t think the current TV fee is very equal either. A family of five pays the same sum as a single person. So effectively the price per person for that single is 5 times what it is for the member of that family.

    New system is better in that sense, but to me it’s very unfair for those who actually doesn’t have a TV.

    And part of the money that is forcibly collected goes to private company (Digita), that doesn’t sound very good. In my opinion, if some service is funded via taxation, then the service should be provided but state owned “companies”.

    • Mark

      tp1

      In real markets those who want something, they pay for it, but those who don’t want that something doesn’t need to pay for them either.

      There are a great many public services and utilities that people do not necessarily choose to make use of and yet pay for.

  20. tp1

    If some culture or part of it doesn’t exists without putting money in it, then that kind of culture is not worth preserving.

    Like art for example: If some artists would not paint the picture without being paid for it, then in cultural point of view that piece of art is worth nothing. To me culture is not something that needs to be paid for to ensure it’s existence.

    • Mark

      tp1

      Like art for example: If some artists would not paint the picture without being paid for it, then in cultural point of view that piece of art is worth nothing. To me culture is not something that needs to be paid for to ensure it’s existence.

      What a plonker you are, tp1. A lot of good art work is commissioned – i.e. artist paid up front. This is somewhat necessary given the cost of materials and time. But you think they should do it out of the goodness of their hearts! 😀

  21. tp1

    tp1

    What a plonker you are, tp1. A lot of good art work is commissioned – i.e. artist paid up front. This is somewhat necessary given the cost of materials and time. But you think they should do it out of the goodness of their hearts!

    Yes. If they want to create culture. If they want to make profit, then that’s not culture which need to be funded. How do you define culture?

    • Mark

      tp1

      Yes. If they want to create culture. If they want to make profit, then that’s not culture which need to be funded. How do you define culture?

      You should should join PS Farang, because it’s just this kind of bullshit that comes out of trying to mix politics and culture – lots of judgementalism and stupid and irrelevant generalisations.

      So, unlike the rest of us, artists are not allowed to want to profit from their work? How do you define profit? Over and above the cost of materials? Over and above a salary? If you assume that ‘profit’ is simply a question of added value, then clearly that is the intention of an artistic work, to create value.

      How do I define culture? It’s almost too complex to define. You refer to artistic culture, but wider culture embraces both social, political, personal and historical dimensions. It’s not easy to describe. You can say a beach is made up of a load of stones, but you’d be hard pressed to measure every one of them. That’s culture.

    • JusticeDemon

      tp1

      regressive tax means that person with higher salary pays smaller percentage than person with lower salary.

      The Yle-tax tables published by the National Board of Taxes indicate that tax liability will vary according to income. People with an income of less than EUR 7,352 will pay no tax at all. The outcome is far from perfect, but I would venture to suggest that it is far less regressive than the flat-rate TV licence fee.

      In the parliamentary submission debate on government bill no. 28 of 2012 several PS Members of Parliament (Elomaa, Kettunen, Kantola, Turunen) voiced objections concerning the highest rates of the proposed Yle-tax. To the extent that these objections were heeded, the tax in question obviously became more regressive.

  22. tp1

    Mark

    You should should join PS Farang, because it’s just this kind of bullshit that comes out of trying to mix politics and culture – lots of judgementalism and stupid and irrelevant generalisations.

    I’n not mixing politics and culture. I’m simply against forcing people to pay money for ONE certain company that produces TV documentaries.

    So, unlike the rest of us, artists are not allowed to want to profit from their work?

    Did I say that? No I didn’t. That is not culture. You have very twisted idea about what culture is, if you think that a portrait painted by an artist is automatically culture.

    That is not culture. That is art. Don’t mix those up. Citizens should not be forced to pay for art.

    • Mark

      tp1

      I’m simply against forcing people to pay money for ONE certain company that produces TV documentaries.

      More back tracking. You went a lot further than just criticising the TV licence tax, Farang. You shared your thoughts on artists and culture, and told us that if there is money involved, then it ain’t culture.

      That is not culture.

      If there is money involved it’s not culture? You are just impossible.

      That is not culture. That is art. Don’t mix those up.

      Really? Art is not culture? Oh, you are just a complete waste of time, tp1! I really start to tire of you!

  23. tp1

    This is an old, old chestnut. All you have to do is certify that you have disabled the TV tuner. I specifically said “television receiver” above.

    But this was merely willful ignorance on your part again. You are so certain that the law must be wrong that you can’t be bothered to find out what it says.

    So, they would force me to physically modify the device I have bought and possibly voiding the warranty. How do you expect me to later on sell that television to someone else, after it has been modified?

    • JusticeDemon

      tp1

      So, they would force me to physically modify the device I have bought and possibly voiding the warranty. How do you expect me to later on sell that television to someone else, after it has been modified?

      I am telling you what Finnish law is, at least until the end of this year. If you want justifications, then you can scout out the relevant statutes and their travaux préparatoires.

      Isn’t it funny that as someone who stresses that immigrants should respect the law in Finland, you show so little knowledge of it or basic respect for it yourself? Yes, I know that your excuse is ignorance resulting from an epähiket attitude at school, but you don’t allow immigrants the luxury of the same pretext.

  24. tp1

    JusticeDemon

    including your Nazi sympathiser friends.

    Once again, you just had to include something personal attack against me in your message? Why can’t you leave these out?

  25. tp1

    Mark

    How do I define culture? It’s almost too complex to define. You refer to artistic culture, but wider culture embraces both social, political, personal and historical dimensions

    No I didn’t refer to any form of culture. That painting-stuff was just a one example of culture. That doesn’t mean that I am talking only about art.

  26. tp1

    Mark

    If someone creates art, it doesn’t mean that it is automatically culture. Art CAN BE part of culture, but not every piece of art is culture.

    • Mark

      If someone creates art, it doesn’t mean that it is automatically culture. Art CAN BE part of culture, but not every piece of art is culture.

      So, you’re trying to teach me what culture is, now?! Mark shakes his head. So, now you are saying that art can be part of culture. And this was after you said:

      That is not culture. That is art. Don’t mix those up.

      You’re just digging yourself deeper, tp1.

  27. tp1

    JusticeDemon

    1) You still don’t seem to make differnce between law and opinions. If I have an opinion about something which disagrees with some law, it doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the law. I can still have my own opinion how things should be.

    There are also some laws that you are against, but still you don’t consider yourself as not respecting the law, do you?

    2) Why do you expect me to know every single detail of every single law? That doesn’t make sense. I only need to know the law so much that I can live my life without breaking the law.

    Example: I don’t work with immigrants and I have nothing to do with immigration systems or services. That’s why I don’t have to know details on immigration laws, because I am in no business where I need to know those. I can still have my own opinions about immigration, it has nothing to do with law.

    • JusticeDemon

      Ah right – you have opinions. Completely uninformed opinions, of course, that merely reflect the prejudices of a person with no moral compass, but opinions that we must somehow respect because… well because they are your opinions. Opiniones sunt sicut asinum foramina, omnes habet.

      Your opinions on a subject that you openly admit you know next to nothing about are as valuable as the views of a cocker spaniel on quantum mechanics. It doesn’t take much effort to check assertions about Finnish law, history or social organisation before sharing them here, and you could always preface them with a more modest I think… or it seems to me that… when you are unable to find the required reference. While you continue to share completely ignorant and unresearched assertions here, you can expect us to continue pointing out that your “opinions” merely demonstrate how dumb you are.

      I am amazed that our moderator is allowing your obvious trolling to continue.

      asinum foramen

  28. tp1

    JusticeDemon, I just noticed you dodged this one:

    There are also some laws that you are against, but still you don’t consider yourself as not respecting the law, do you?

    Care to comment?

    • JusticeDemon

      tp1

      I just noticed you dodged this one:

      There are also some laws that you are against, but still you don’t consider yourself as not respecting the law, do you?

      Your Gish gallop style of discussion necessitates some pruning to avoid getting sidetracked.

      There is a great difference between informed lobbying for legal reform and merely complaining about a law that you don’t understand simply because it fails to bolster your narrow self-interest or prejudices. It is vital to understand precisely what the statute says and how it operates, how and why it came to be formulated in a certain way, what aims it was originally intended to pursue, what aims it now serves in practice, and what role it plays in the overall legislative framework.

      One fairly recent and simple example of a successful lobbying campaign concerns the single-employer work permit, which was effectively abolished by the 2004 Aliens Act. This practice of binding foreign employees to a specific employer was a hangover from a much earlier and long-outmoded philosophical view of aliens as temporary guests of some identifiable host in Finland. Indeed it was once the standard practice for employers to request work permits on behalf of their foreign employees, and in a very real sense the permission in question was granted to the employer, and not to the foreigner. A similar view was taken of foreigners arriving for family reasons, who were treated as guests of their Finnish relatives, and of foreign students, who were understood as guests of their respective educational establishments. The single-employer work permit was also mistakenly regarded as an instrument of regulatory control of the domestic labour market.

      By the late 1980s the single-employer work permit had become enshrined as a statutory institution in the 1984 Aliens Act. Its consequences in some employment sectors were at best comical and at worst tragic. For example professional business trainers would often have several part-time employers for varying periods, both overlapping and consecutive. Each employment contract would then be conditional on the outcome of a separate administrative procedure that involved visiting a police station in person and waiting some weeks for the decision. It soon became clear to union activists working in these industries that the permit authorities could never have grounds for turning down any of these individual applications, as they were required by law to treat the various employers impartially. Once a foreigner was working for some employer in the labour market, it was not possible for a permit authority to dictate that the labour in question would not be available to all employers equally. A licensing system in which licenses must always be issued on request is effectively no more than a registration system, which in this case was registering information that was already in the system anyway.

      We knew in practice that there was not enough room on the permit stamp to specify more than three or four employers, so it became the standard strategy to collect unspecified job offers from half a dozen businesses and other agencies and insist that the permit should include them all. The outcome would then be a permit that specified the type of work in question and covered all and any employers.

      The tragic cases arose with abusive employers. The dependency relationship created by the single-employer work permit left the foreign worker particularly vulnerable to unfair employment practices and even to intimidation and harassment. This was of particular interest to union activists, as it negated certain safeguards built into employment and contract law. The rights to find alternative employment, to withdraw from an abusive contract and to change employer are among those safeguards. The worst case of abuse known to me personally concerned a woman from the Philippines who had worked as a full-time housekeeper for a wage that amounted to less than the minimum rate of income support for more than 14 years. The single-employer work permit was effectively preventing the abolition of indentured servitude in Finland, even though such practices were no longer permitted by labour legislation.

      It had been mistakenly assumed at the outset that limiting the freedom of foreign employees to change employer would be an instrument of regulatory control of the domestic labour market. In fact any such control requirement is equally well served by specifying the permitted occupation and allowing the market to establish full employment of permit holders. Single-employer permits merely encouraged under-employment, which was the precise opposite of the objective of regulatory control in the first place.

      By the mid to late 1990s it was clear that the single-employer work permit no longer had any open advocates in the national administration. This made its effective abolition fairly simple when the Aliens Act was revised in 2004. Section 77 of the Act now specifies that a worker’s residence permit will normally be issued for one or more occupations, and may be restricted by employer only on special grounds. The detailed justifications for section 77 (on page 168 of government bill no. 28 of 2003) are almost exactly the same as our lobbying statement on this issue during the 1990s, and the special grounds that might justify recourse to the outmoded practice are defined very narrowly. To my knowledge those special grounds have never occurred in practice.

      This is what serious lobbying looks like, Farang. There is no way that this reform could have occurred if we had spent our time airing complaints in suburban drinking dens and neofascist bulletin boards, while blaming everything on an international conspiracy simply because this is easier than doing the work required to understand the issues involved and to show that there is a better overall solution.

  29. tp1

    So, you’re trying to teach me what culture is, now?! Mark shakes his head. So, now you are saying that art can be part of culture. And this was after you said:
    That is not culture. That is art. Don’t mix those up.
    You’re just digging yourself deeper, tp1.

    Now carefully, try to rethink that.

    You were implying that art is always culture. I simply said that is not true. Not every piece of art is culture. And neither all culture is not art. That in no way contradicts with the fact that art CAN be part of culture.

    And I didn’t try to teach you what culture is, just challenged it. But while it seems you are unable to answer that, you propably don’t have so clear idea what the culture actually is.

    I can honestly admit that there are lots of cultural things that I am not even aware of. I have only somekind of view of what culture can be and what it’s not.

    And common sense is always welcome. If I take paint and draw a picture, I think everyone can say with their common sense that it’s not culture. So, it doesn’t take a genius to understand the fact that not every piece of art is culture.

    • Mark

      tp1

      You were implying that art is always culture.

      It is, in my book. The fundamental difference between yourself and me appears to be that I take a descriptivist approach and you take a prescriptivist approach.

      For me, all artistic expression (as one facet of culture), whether good or bad, is a reflection of our culture. Even a few squiggles on a page is deeply embedded in culture: For example, the paper and the pen are products of our technologies, and even a naive manipulation of them for the purpose of either expression or experimentation are in every way, a practicing of culture, of our human abilities and capacities to produce e.g. artifacts, music, ideas, or even chaos.

      But while it seems you are unable to answer that, you propably don’t have so clear idea what the culture actually is.

      It is not that my view of culture is vague, it is merely that it is extremely broad, and so trying to fit it neatly into a box or give you a one-sentence definition is not easy or anything I see as immediately useful.

      I DID point out to you that culture has among other things political dimensions. That is relevant to discussions of immigrants because one sense (dictionary definition) of the word ‘culture’ restricts culture to an expression of identifiable characteristics, so that cultures are perceived as ‘differentiating’ between groups of people. This is using the idea of culture to define a political identity. I find this definition restrictive though, because of its prescriptive qualities and its attempts to understand culture only as a political tool, i.e. something that is used to construct a national (or ethnic) identity and to include or exclude people from groups.

      I have studied culture at university level over a period of many years from several perspectives, tp1, from the point of view of art history, sociology, anthropology, the media, linguistics and gender politics. I have achieved the grade of distinction in almost all of my studies. The key thing is that the more you know, the less inclined you are to try to put everything into a neat box, a one-size fits all. My view of culture is very similar to my view of ‘the social’ or my view of language culture: There is nothing that we can do that sits outside of it. It can only be approached meaningfully as something holistic.

      Everything we do makes sense only within a network of meanings and relations – we do not exist as discrete entities, in the same way words do not exist as discrete definitions. To understand one thing naturally demands that you understand many other things at the same time, until at some point, understanding one thing clearly means you need a grasp of the whole, and that requires many years of study and even then, we are very prone to overplaying our knowledge and our perspective on things. ‘Seeing’ culture in its fullest sense therefore is an act of trying to perceive the meaning of something on many different levels, both individual and societal, both as a unique event and as an historical event. Even then, we might fail to grasp the naive sense of what ‘culture’ means to different people. One could easily become too educated about culture that you miss simple things.

      Not every piece of art is culture. And neither all culture is not art.

      There is an inherent contradiction in this statement – a bit like saying, not every digit is a number, or not every letter belongs to an alphabet.

      If I take paint and draw a picture, I think everyone can say with their common sense that it’s not culture.

      You appear to be introducing the idea of good culture and bad culture, and on that you overlay ‘real’ culture and ‘fake’ culture. I do not start from a perspective of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ culture, though some culture I appreciate more than others, as part of my culture preferences (biases). For example, if a Martian came to Earth and saw your painted picture, they would clearly see that as an expression of human behaviour and an outward reflection of our culture, an artifact of our culture. In fact, your intentions or motivations in regard to creating that artifact might be seen as completely peripheral.

      Likewise, I do not see culture as merely the sum of all artifacts or technologies that humans produce. I see culture as including also beliefs, ideas, behaviours, feelings etc. I say that because each of these and much more besides is intricately bound together in the process of creating and consuming culture, and by consuming, I mean mostly observing, rather than paying for something, though monetary value is an important aspect too. We spend a great deal of our time ‘observing’ culture, processing culture and yet even that act of observing is itself a ‘cultural behaviour’ – e.g. art is made meaningful by both producers and consumers.

      The conflicts around culture invariably happen when we start to make certain cultures exclusive and to give them high status, while at the same time working to imply that other cultures are of low status or value. Yet even that practice of assigning value to culture is a part of culture and so a description of culture that only focuses on high culture as ‘real’ culture must be seen as incomplete and reflecting a cultural bias (prejudice) or snobbishness. Culture is intricately tied up in social status, identities and power (through the values added to culture), and as such, it is not surprising that culture can be also a theatre for conflict and competition, or that culture is constantly ‘contested’.

      Maybe this goes some way to giving you a proper insight into my views on culture. Cue the pigeon’s next move! 😀

  30. tp1

    That’s very good Mark. Yes, that gave me very good view on how you see what culture is. I appreciate it, I actually take that as a lesson to learn.

    No counter arguments from me anymore on this debate, I can’t argue about anything in that 🙂

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Culture is anything learned but too complex to group people. Relationships are more important than just saying Finns or Russians belong to culture x. The key, I believe, is how inclusive cultures are. How do we reach a level of acceptance that allows people to belong.

      Many of the definitions used by parties like the PS to define culture are from the nineteenth century, when Europe was using racism to divide and conquer the world.

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