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‘Be patient’ says Sweden to Colbert’s Twitter plea

‘Be patient’ says Sweden to Colbert’s Twitter plea

Published: 13 Jun 2012 15:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jun 2012 15:10 GMT+02:00

The Swedish Institute has responded “not yet” to US comedian Stephen Colbert, who put out a public plea to take over the official Twitter account of Sweden, after the current curator's controversial tweets about Jews.

“I want control of Sweden’s Twitter account next,” said TV host Stephen Colbert on Monday after having been "enthralled" by Sweden's Curators of Sweden campaign which puts the country's official Twitter account in the hands of ordinary citizens.

Footage of Colbert’s plea, aired on The Colbert Report programme, has already swept across the internet.

In the three minute clip, featured below, Colbert asks fans to send emails to “Sweden’s ministry of Twitter” to pressure them into allowing him to “take the controls”.

With his 3.5 million followers, Colbert claims that “mathematically, I am 100 times more prepared for this than the entire culture of Sweden".

However, the group behind the “Curators of Sweden” initiative, the Swedish Institute (SI), has told Colbert to be patient.

“People who are not Swedish citizens cannot take over the account, not yet anyway,” SI media relations manager Sergio Guimaraes told The Local.

“But we would never discard the possibility.”

After this week’s curator raised eyebrows worldwide with her online musings about Jews, Colbert couldn’t resist the chance to offer his own services.

“Sonja Abrahamsson brought some attention to Sweden with her charming question: What’s the fuzz with Jews?” Colbert said, then added:

“I solemnly swear that I, Stephen Colbert, know what the ‘fuzz’ is with Jews."

“Let’s make ‘operation artificial Swedener’ a success!”

The current rules on the official website stipulate that @sweden “currently only accepts applicants who are Swedish citizens, but admit that “this might change in the future”.

When asked how many emails it would take before the institute changed their rules, Guimaraes remained staunch.

“It’s not a question of pressure. We have a very long list already, the queue is huge. We’ll sit down and truly consider the goals of the account before we change anything,” he told The Local.

“This is not a project; we’ve been running it since December. It’s supposed to continue – it’s an initiative.”

When probed about the extra ten thousand followers that have joined overnight since the current @Sweden curator’s tweets have gone viral, Guimaraes beamed.

“It’s terrific that there’s been such a positive response. But we have been happy with each of the 24 curators so far, and have enjoyed the 20,000 plus tweets they’ve posted.”

“The following has been growing fast, and we’re proud to have been engaging so many people since we launched it,” he added.

“But Colbert will have to wait, for now anyway,” Guimaraes told The Local.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:39 June 13, 2012 by Migga
She asked a question, it wasn`t hatefull at all. Some people found it to be upsetting but there will always be people who will be upset by what others say. Is the right way really to judge this woman, Sweden and Swedes for asking an upsetting question? The same people who get upset are the ones who are fast to judge the woman, Sweden and Swedes. People who made comments on the previous article and people like Colbert. He was sure to point out that she is aryan looking. What does her looks have to do with anything? Sad.

And I still think it`s a non story since people saying upsetting things shouldn`t be news. That is if one is open minded, respect free speech and live in a democratic country. I guess some of these others don`t fufill one of these criterias. Saying hatefull and criminal things is another thing but that isn`t the case here. The way she is being called out by some is disgusting.
17:05 June 13, 2012 by NyDag
She didn't say anything out of order. Seems like merely mentioning that someone is a jew or a negro is enough to see you condemned as a racist.
17:26 June 13, 2012 by Emerentia
Why don't he ask to take over the official Twitter account of the US instead?
18:32 June 13, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
Who is Stephen Colbert and why should anyone care about what he says?
18:35 June 13, 2012 by AHA
A stupid man talking to a gullible audience.
19:15 June 13, 2012 by strixy
Well, if Jews cannot complain about anti-semitism, then Middle Easterners cannot complain about racism and women cannot complain about sexism :) Right?
19:42 June 13, 2012 by MeaCulpa
@strixy

well I'de say that she wrote som stupid s**t, but antisemitic it wasn't. She didn't call Jews inferior, she didn't imply some wast Zionist conspiracy, she didn't write that people of jewish faith where Jesus killing baby eaters, or any of the other things that seems commonplace in the antisemitic camp. She did however display a quite significant lack of knowledge about the distinction between a jewish ethnicity and the jewish religion, something I would attribute to the fact that Sweden isn't exactly a hot spot for Jews or their faith*, and that she doesn't seem like the most generally knowledgeable person.

"There's somewhere around 20 000 Jews in Sweden and only a third of those are members of a Jewish congregation.
20:03 June 13, 2012 by Enjoyourlife
Can I know why jews are treated so special? Blacks who were enslaved and died in their thousands en route to the US are not treated special. it is not right to say anything against the jews, but it is ok for the jews(their PM) to call blacks cancer of their society. what a world!!
20:19 June 13, 2012 by towns
@ Enjoyourlife (#8)

I haven't heard that comment by their PM, does it have anything to do with this?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/06/12/israel-african-migrants.html
20:27 June 13, 2012 by Mina08
yanks are so stupid, i mean come on the USA has only been around for 236 years and Sweden.....
20:30 June 13, 2012 by rfmann
The question in question wasn't 'hateful' (or 'anti-semitic') as much as is was demented and silly and indicative of someone who has lived a rather sheltered existence in an ethnic monoculture. It deserved to be made fun of, along with the silly concept of a national Twitter account, and it was. The only sign of someone being upset, as far as I can tell, is this here parade of hurt Swedish egos that let their herd instinct make them get behind the most inane nonsense if it is the target of some well-deserved fun-poking by a non-Swede.

Get over yourselves, folks.
20:40 June 13, 2012 by samspur1
obviously another dumb... absolutely gorgeous girl...
21:22 June 13, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Wow! She's a babe! Sweden FTW!
22:25 June 13, 2012 by jamesblish
Of course they should let him do it, he'll get a million followers right away. It's brilliant marketing.
01:51 June 14, 2012 by Noturningback
For those wondering who Stephen Cobert is, he is a very popular American political satirist/comedian. He has a show called The Cobert Report. He got his start on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. For all you people who are either bashing Americans or have your knickers in a twist, remove the stick from your rear orifice - It's a joke - lighten up.
04:29 June 14, 2012 by Marc the Texan
What the fuzz, people?
08:48 June 14, 2012 by RobinHood
A fair deal would be Colbert gets the Sweden account for a week, and a Swede gets control of Colbert's account the next week. I bet he wouldn't agree to that one; the suits and lawyers at Comedy Central would go nuts.
09:35 June 14, 2012 by texaslass
Echoing #15, this is merely a satire. Nothing is sacred on Colbert's show- he typically pokes fun of Americans and American politicians. He just happened to find something odd in Sweden to poke fun of.

Satire is rarely used in Sweden- I have been told by many people that it is considered mean and most Swedish people do not find laughing at other's foibles funny. However, satire is hugely popular in the States. So, it is merely a difference in humour. No big deal.

I did not find Sonja's comments to be anti-Semetic, just merely ignorant. To her defense, Sweden has not been a multicultural society and Sweden has a Christian foundation (evidenced by so many Christian holidays that are very important to Swedes). So, there most likely is a lack of familiarity about non-Christian faiths. Most of my Swedish friends did not attend bar mitzvahs and Hindi debuts whilst growing up, they are only familiar with Christian confirmations.
10:45 June 14, 2012 by Youdee
@texaslass: Well put. Most of my Murcan friends have not attended events such as bar/bah mitzvahs and sweet 16 parties. §;-D
11:49 June 14, 2012 by comentatir
I think the saddest part of the story is Sweden and Swedish people are being mocked by Americans on intellectual grounds! When people said to me that Sweden is becoming quite alike US, I wasnt taking it seriously. Wow!!
21:11 June 14, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
Agree with other posters here: a basic lack of education/intelligence on the part of the Sweden Twitter woman. Casts Sweden in an embarrassing light actually.

And yes - Stephen Colbert was being 'satirical'/tongue-in-cheek. He riled a few people on here though! Lol!
08:20 June 15, 2012 by Onivan
How 'bout reducing the fuzz by having Colbert interview Ms. Abrahamsson.
16:44 June 15, 2012 by Vermaldeehide
Thank you, these comments have been very entertaining. It's so funny watching two groups of people misunderstand each other after having pointed out repeatedly that they misunderstand each other.
16:52 June 16, 2012 by MikeyV77
He's just doing this to get attention. He's an idiot. Everything is turned into a race thing here. They always do it. Must normal people here don't care, but the tries to spin it the other way.
09:11 June 20, 2012 by Trenatos
I like #17s idea!

However, it's true that what she said wasn't very enlightened, it also wasn't anti-anything and people need to get over themselves.
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