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Sweden 'amused' by new Twitter plea from Colbert

Sweden 'amused' by new Twitter plea from Colbert

Published: 20 Jun 2012 13:13 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Jun 2012 13:13 GMT+02:00

US comedian Stephen Colbert has put out a second plea to take over Sweden’s official Twitter account yet has only succeeded in making the Swedish Institute “very amused”.

After his first video, which took issue with former curator Sonja and her infamous “Jew tweets”, US comedian Colbert claims to be unhappy with Sweden’s response of “be patient”.

On Monday night’s episode of The Colbert Report, the TV host made a second plea, in which he bragged of being solely responsible for doubling the number of followers of the @sweden Twitter account from 33,000 to 62,000.

“Sweden – I do not do patience,” he said in response to the Swedish Institute (SI).

“And the people of Sweden are clearly behind me.”

He pointed out that both his hashtag “#artificialswedener” and “#StephenColbert” were both trending in Sweden, replacing the Swedish trending topic of “Norwegians are a Degenerate Race of Herring Molesters”.

Previously, Sergio Guimaraes, SI’s media relations manager, told The Local that Colbert would have to hold on if he wanted the reigns of the account.

“People who are not Swedish citizens cannot take over the account, not yet anyway. We have a very long list already… Colbert will have to wait,” he told The Local last week.

On The Colbert Report, the comedian quoted these exact words with an “appropriated image” of Guimaraes – a screaming Viking complete with a horned helmet, and exclaimed that it was high-time that Sweden gave him the account.

For the time being, however, Sweden is holding out.

“We are very flattered with the attention, and very amused,” Guimaraes told The Local in response to the new video.

“I personally thought it was a lot of fun – though it wasn’t me of course in the video – but I take it all with a pinch of salt. There is a lot of responsibility to be referred to as the spokesperson for a whole country.”

In the first video, Colbert claims that due to his 3.5 million Twitter followers, he is “mathematically… 100 times more prepared for this than the entire culture of Sweden".

These sentiments appear to have resonated for Guimaraes when he shared details of the flood of fan response the institute has received.

“We’ve had a lot of emails, some 2,500 so far. According to my mathematics, that is some 0.07 percent of Colbert’s Twitter fans.”

“We are impressed, but remind Colbert that in the last national elections, 86 percent of Swedes voted. But our expectations are high, in any case, and we look forward to seeing if there is further interest.”

But as for the potential rule changes, Guimaraes remained resolute.

“We haven’t changed our stance. The rules still stand, though we’d never say never.”

Meanwhile, the former curator Sonja who featured heavily in Colbert's video, is excited about the possibility of the comedian curating.

"I don't know Colbert so well, but he seems like a fun guy some times," she told The Local.

"If he became @sweden, I wish he could actually come visit Sweden during that week. I could be his Swedish contact-person and helper!"

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Oliver Gee

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Your comments about this article

14:48 June 20, 2012 by StockholmSam
If the Swedish Instituted does not act fast to take advantage of Colbert's celebrity and his team of writers, he will move on and it will have been a missed opportunity. This is HUGE! Imagine what Colbert and his team could do for Sweden over the course of a week. Millions around the world who have no idea about Sweden would suddenly tune in and learn something, even if Colbert's sarcasm gets lost on a few of them. If Colbert never gets control of the account, Sergio Guimaraes (SI's media relations manager) should lose his job because he is obviously not qualified to make the right decisions. This is a golden opportunity, a media relations manager's wet dream. Don't blow it, Sergio.
15:15 June 20, 2012 by Åskar
Who is this Colbert person?
15:27 June 20, 2012 by Iraniboy
@StockholmSam

It is more than clear that he is not going to do any favor for Sweden or improve Swede's image(If Sweden even need it!). He is outraged by the level of apathy in Sweden but he is in no position to change that. It is also very clear that SI will never do what he has asked for and they are just playing with him in Swedish style!
15:50 June 20, 2012 by comentatir
His humour is dumb! He is drunk with paid audience applause. Pathetic!
16:12 June 20, 2012 by Shibumi
I watch Colbert a lot and his style of comedy is sarcastic and irreverent. He is likely to spend most of the week tweeting tired Swedish cliches about the Swedish bikini team, socialized medicine, suicide rates and Bork! Bork! Bork!

Having said that, he is also capable of doing deeper, albeit tongue in cheek, reporting on what the USA could learn from Sweden, but that would take more time, more cost, a lot more wit and would not get the cheap laughs. I doubt it will happen.

In conclusion, I think giving Colbert the @sweden twitter account for a week has too high a risk of backfiring on Sweden. And there's something comforting about knowing that Sweden will not cave in to pressure from an American celebrity.
17:02 June 20, 2012 by jomamas
A) Colbert is the smartest comedian on Television - in the world.

B) The lack of concern from Sweden over the 'masturbation' and blatantly ignorant 'Jew' tweets (and yes, I use the word 'antisemitic' very sparingly - but this was borderline antisemitic) - shows how completely out of touch Swedes are.

Giving the Tweet to normal Swedes has shown what a ridiculously uncivil place Sweden can be - and it does the OPPOSITE of what you are trying to be. Many people will find those tweets utterly repulsive, defying your objectives. God knows what would happen if they gave the national Tweet to anyone in the US - but they're not that stupid.

C) The Swedes should go with Colbert - he would bring massive attention - and do it in a fun, irreverent but respectful way. He would multiply the followers 10x, and generate fun headlines around the world.
18:21 June 20, 2012 by StockholmSam
Most people cannot point to Sweden on a map, much less describe any Swedish cultural characteristic with any remote accuracy. This is a chance to get people to discuss Sweden, discover it and perhaps even consider visiting it. There is no such thing as bad press. As long as it brings attention to Sweden, then it achieves the goal of the Twitter account. It could not be any worse than ignorant tweets about Jews and Nazis.
18:40 June 20, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
#2: I too would like to know.
18:58 June 20, 2012 by Mark S.
Stephen Colbert is an American comedian. He hosts a television show called the "Colbert Report" - pronounced with French rules, so it sounds like "cole bear" "re poor".

The character of Colbert is a satire of US far-right media. The general idea is 1) I am always right, 2) data that conflicts with my opinion is wrong, a lie, or just doesn't exist, 3) it is not important to maintain a consistent position on an issue, if you can blame the liberals for something, 4) everything that goes wrong is the fault of the liberals, ... you get the idea maybe.

Colbert will not promote Sweden. He will promote Colbert. This is the * character * of Stephen Colbert in the show.

(The real Stephen Colbert is not much like his fictional television character.)
19:13 June 20, 2012 by fikatid
I always love his show. He is hilarious. Sweden should definitely take advantage of all the attention from his show. Just lighten up.
01:25 June 21, 2012 by SOIS.COM
The response from SI is the sober, rational, cautious Sweden. Colbert should wait to ask in the later part of the evening of Swedish midsummer...after a few jiggers of snaps and some drinking songs the suppressed Swedish Tiger will gladly romp in the tall grasses with him.
05:36 June 21, 2012 by Marc the Texan
Come on Sweden. Man up!
07:56 June 21, 2012 by RobinHood
I suggest a simultaneous exchange of Twitter accounts. I'm sure Sweden has some excellent comedians who would enjoy access to Colbert's 3.5 million followers for a week. Under the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, neither would tweet anything too disrepectful or outrageous about the other, for fear of instant reprisal.

Even better, they launch into the twitter equivalent of "thermo nuclear war" and tweet each other to death. I would pay to see that.
11:06 June 21, 2012 by Shibumi
RobinHood- that is a brilliant idea! I too would pay to see that.
11:34 June 21, 2012 by AmericaninStockholm
I'm an American and I've been visiting Sweden for the past 2 months and I think Colbert would do a great deal of good. Giving the twitter account to Swedish citizens hasn't been extremely effective. I look at the tweet and they are simple, bland tweets and most of the time the tweets are aimed at Swedish citizens.

The purpose of the project was to promote Sweden's tourism. As I said before, I've been here for 2 months and the tweets that I have read don't do this country any justice or make anyone feel like they should travel here.

Honestly, I think having a person currently traveling in the country would be a better method of promoting tourism and if the account holders could get Colbert to come and stay here for a few days while tweeting, it would do wonders for this country. I love this place, but the account doesn't do anything to show the excellent cultural values in Sweden (Currently the account is tweeting about fake strawberries or something...who cares?)
16:12 June 25, 2012 by valswan
#artificialswedener curating the account would be brilliant; he is very funny and has billions of followers
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