As left or liberal as Americans consider my political viewpoints, I tend to place right of center in Sweden on matters, especially on socio-political matters and even “quite right” fiscally.
In today’s SvD (one of Sweden’s daily newspapers) I read about a report that a case of “incitement of hate towards a populous group” (hets mot folkgrupp)against a humorous and satire-dripping song/performance was dismissed by the committee appointed to investigate the complaint. Apparently the song was performed at the über popular summer sizzling sing-along event at Skansen, Allsång. I don’t think that it’s merely coincidental that the performance took place during the Stockholm Pride Festival.
I had never heard the song, knew nothing of the case and was very curious since this particular law I find…well…hyper-sensitive and too restrictive. The basis of the law is to prevent active, intentional and even unintentional incitement of hate aimed at particular groups of people.
Now I don’t espouse or condone hate or inciting hate, but I don’t really subscribe to a notion that we should legislate against it if there’s no call to act upon that hate (like an incitement to violence.) I just can’t see making a very naturally human condition to be bigoted as something to criminalize. I mean, if I have an unfounded and inflammatory opinion about Blue People, I really should be able to express it provided it lacks a call to hurt Blue People.
So I watched the performance and listened to the text. It is absolutely hysterically funny and so obviously a satirical parody of bible-thumping Christian fundamentalists (probably inspired by the Westboro Baptist Church who once maintained a website called “God Hates Sweden”). The song’s text basically repeats that all of today’s woes, all wars, all problems…you name it, it’s all the fault of gays/homosexuals.
Here’s a link to the YouTube performance. Unfortunately, while the link says it’s subtitled in English, I haven’t seen where the subtitles are supposed to be.
Of course if you take the text literally, it would be deemed in breech of the law, but the committee quickly returned a judgement that it was not intended to be literally interpreted.
It’s good that the discrimination authority had a sense of humor. Not everything can be taken too seriously.