Schuurmudgeon: Sanoma, your ignorance is not sexy

by , under Jos Schuurmans

By Jos Schuurmans

“Hello? This is the nineteen-thirties calling. Can we have our nazi family snap shots back, please?”

How is it possible that Sanoma, one of Finland’s largest, most professional and most respected media firms, gets away with publishing a cosy, three-page family portrait of far-right MP Jussi Halla-aho in its November 1, 2012, issue of Me Naiset, the mainstream human interest women’s magazine?

Headlined, Jussi and Hilla Halla-aho: “Intelligence is sexy”, the article (web-version here) runs photos of Halla-aho and his wife at home and at the diner table with their children. On the cover of the magazine they are quoted as saying:

“Home is a place where one doesn’t need to face criticism.”

Well… tell that to the visible immigrants whose homes have fallen prey to arson attacks from anti-immigration extremists in recent years!

Halla-aho is a contender to the leadership of the far-right ‘Perussuomalaiset’ party. Not hindered by political correctness, his blog writings are crudely critical of immigration and multiculturalism. He has been convicted by the country’s Supreme Court of enticing intolerance.

Yet the article doesn’t go into details concerning his political actions or agenda. The closest writer Essi Myllyoja and photographer Milka Alanen come to touching upon his controversial track record is this:

“(…) Jussi is a man who evokes emotions – even fears. His radical opinions and provocative blog articles have taken him even to court. But when Kerttu jumps onto Jussi’s lap and drowns her father in kisses, what springs to mind is that there is surely also a softer side to the man. (…)”

Excuse me, I feel slightly nauseous. Saisinko vatin, kiitos?

In June 2012, following Halla-aho’s appeals after conviction in lower courts, the Supreme Court of Finland found him guilty of both disturbing religious worship and ethnic agitation. He was sentenced to pay fines as well as to remove parts from his blog.

Halla-aho had remarked that the prophet Muhammad was a paedophile, and Islam a religion of paedophilia, because Muhammad had intercourse with his 9-year-old wife and according to Sunnah Mohammed’s life is exemplary in every way.

He also asked if it could be stated that robbing passers-by and living on taxpayers’ expense are cultural and possibly genetic characteristics of Somalis. This was apparently stated in sarcastic response to a Finnish columnist who wrote that drinking excessively and fighting when drunk were cultural and possibly genetic characteristics of Finns.

The Supreme Court considered the blog posts’ descriptions to be defaming and abusive to an ethnic group. It found the writing in itself to evoke intolerance, contempt and possibly even hatred. (Sources via WikipediaWikiquotesHS.fiMigrant Tales)

Of course the man’s unattractive political accomplishment is very disturbing and a cause of outrage in itself. We’ve known for a while that Timo Soini’s Perussuomalaiset (which translates into ‘True Finns’, although the party adopted ‘The Finns’ as its official English name in August 2011) harbor dangerously right-wing elements and it’s really objectionable that the party leader doesn’t seem to have made any effort to dis-associate them from his movement.

The far-right thugs in this country are receiving way too much air time already and I wouldn’t want to add to that.

But with this article in Me Naiset, the boundaries of what is considered to be acceptable in mainstream journalism are being pushed to a new level. This should not be allowed to pass without notice.

It’s staggering that Sanoma can publish such politically and historically ignorant fluff without causing a public outrage and without repercussions for its insensitive and irresponsible management.

This piece was reprinted by Migrant Tales with permission.

  1. Mark

    It’s useful to draw attention to some of the political and rabble-rousing tactics used and discussed by Adolf Hitler.

    1) he never attempted to talk to the intelligentsia or the scientifically trained, and so he was not concerned with the consistency or rationality of his arguments. On the contrary, he believed that one must address ‘the masses’, and to do this, the message had to be especially crafted. So, he recommended to:

    2) target the emotions. In other words, always draw attention to points that are likely to evoke an emotional response rather than reason.

    3) keep the message simple. He suggested not to get into the ‘many-sidedness’ of arguments, simply because he wanted to appeal to those of little intelligence and not to be trying to develop their intelligence. He even said ” their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous.”

    4) paint the worst case scenario. His reasoning was that presenting horrors and the worst possible outcomes meant that when people came up against such realities, however limited, the sense of ‘truth’ having been spoken by the Nazis would carry far greater emotional impact and would in fact work to create much deeper loyalty. It “likewise reinforced his faith in the truth of his government’s assertions, while on the other hand it increased his rage and hatred against the vile enemy.”

    5) state all things as absolutes. Make no ‘half statements, because the idea of the task is “not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it [this strategy] favors the enemy, and [or] then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.”

    6) repeat the message constantly. [Propoganda] “must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” His belief was that the more often a statement is repeated, the more likely it is that it will then be perceived as the truth.

    Food for thought.

    In regard to Allah-oho, I would say that he targets the emotions, repeats the same worn out and crude stereotypes about foreigners, particularly Muslims, uses ‘tradition’ as a means to create a bedrock of unity among the followers and as a means for generating a sense of threat. This is done to advance a political agenda that in its essence has little do with patriotism and everything to do bringing cultural control back into hands of government and imposing on society an authoritarian and monocultural ideology built on feeding on social divisions.

  2. Farang

    I think the original writes has lost it. He is seriously looking for system where people are divided to approved and disapproved people and he wants to take away the basic human rights from those disapproved people. He wants to exlude those other people from everything in the society.

    And yet these people all calling others fascists… Shame on them.

  3. Jssk

    That article reeks of totalitarian power-lust.

    Firstly, the article on MeNaiset indeed does not go deep into the politics, because its not even supposed to take sides. Therefore i dont see why should they demonize or promote Halla-aho’s political opinions in the magazine.

    I dont see how Halla-aho is accountable for the arsons against immigrants. I dont even think he has commented on that. Of course some will say he gives his “silent acceptance” to those acts or some other trivial bullshit.

    Perussuomalaiset translates into “Basic finns”, not “True finns”. Schuurmudgeon lies on purpose here.

    What does Schuurmudgeon count as “dangerously right-wing elements”? Elements that are dangerous to the public or elements that are his political opponents? Seems like he would want to silence immigration criticism and exclude his political opponents from media.

    “This should not be allowed to pass without notice.”
    Just because they made an article about the wrong person? What next?

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –That article reeks of totalitarian power-lust.

      Exaggerating a bit, Jssk? I think so.

      The question is why is Halla-aho interested in showing his “human side.” I am certain that his image in Finland of a local Geer Wilders will never leave him. He said too much, insulted too many with his lust for fame. He forget, however, that his drive to become a household name in this country will follow him like an eerie shadow for the rest of his days. He’s burned his fingers and too many bridges to recover from his self-imposed Finnish Geert Wilders/Alfred Rosenberg image.

      Halla-aho is, however, trying to portray himself as a “nice sensible guy” these days. It’s like taking a blood-thirsty dictator of Latin America and trying give him a new image of a liberal-minded democrat who now respects human rights and respects people. Halla-aho portrayed himself as he is, a far-right Counterjihadist. Nobody did that except himself.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Perussuomalaiset translates into “Basic finns”, not “True finns”. Schuurmudgeon lies on purpose here.

      The official name of the Perussuomalaiset party in English is the Finns Party and used to be the True Finns.

      Nobody wants to silence constructive debate. It’s the destructive and reactive debate that Halla-aho has brought. He used it to capitalize politically in the most opportunistic manner possible.

      He now wants to change his image because the image he created of himself is out of touch with political reality. Only in a dictatorship or in a fascist state would his rhetotic about immigrants find a home.

  4. Farang

    Jos Schuurmans

    Well… tell that to the visible immigrants whose homes have fallen prey to arson attacks from anti-immigration extremists in recent years!

    Could you give an example of this kind or arson attacks?

    I think we can all recall the arson in Tampere, where immigrants started the fire on purpose and as a result 3 Finnish people were killed.

    Why do I get the feeling that you don’t care at all about this kind of incidents, where immigrants are guilty of causing death of Finns?

    Yet you make accusations that Finns are doing arson attacks against immigrant, without any proof about such incidents.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Could you give an example of this kind or arson attacks?

      There’s been some arson attacks on immigrants’ cars in my hometown.

  5. Farang

    –Could you give an example of this kind or arson attacks?There’s been some arson attacks on immigrants’ cars in my hometown.

    Jos was talking about homes, not cars.

    And about those burned cars, there has been no evidence that exactly immigrants’ cars were targeted. Similarly also finns’ cars have been burned.

    We can’t just draw conclusions that if something bad happens to immigrant, it must be because of racism.

    I’m still waiting for the data about immigrants’ homes being set on fire.

    • Mark

      It’s ironic humour, Farang. Why, do you think I should have a problem with it? I don’t.

  6. Farang

    It’s ironic humour, Farang. Why, do you think I should have a problem with it? I don’t.

    Ok, my false assumption then 🙂 In this light it’s very strange that you condemn Eronen’s sleeve badge joke…