The Local's founder Paul Rapacioli. Photo: Sofia Runarsdotter
The Local co-founder Paul Rapacioli writes about why Sweden's image evokes such a strong reaction in a new essay for the New York Review of Books on Thursday.
"Because, generally speaking, people don't know that much about Sweden, they have no way of assessing the credibility of information that they receive about the country. The Sweden they see says more about their own beliefs than about the country itself," he writes in the essay
, which follows the release of his book 'Good Sweden Bad Sweden'.
'Good Sweden Bad Sweden'
explores the mechanisms of twisted facts, viral content and the immense power of bad news. It shows how the country's image is being used as a weapon in a global clash of values in a world where truth and falsehood are merging.
One year after Donald Trump's infamous "Last night in Sweden" speech, the world is still talking about Sweden, its values, politics, policies on crime and approach to integration.
But this focus on Sweden did not start with the US president, and it will not end with him, argues The Local's founder, whose book has been reviewed by media such as dailies Dagens Nyheter
, Svenska Dagbladet
and broadcaster SVT
– and most recently in Donald Trump's own home country and home town in the influential New York Review of Books
In the essay, published on Thursday, Rapacioli writes that Sweden serves as a country-sized Rorschach test – it is a mirror in which people's own biases are reflected. Sweden's progressive values make it the perfect symbol in this battle, caught in the crossfire.
"When the march of progressivism seemed inexorable, Sweden was happy to play poster child and humbly let uninformed outsiders label the place a social paradise," he writes. "Now that the spread of progressive values around the world is facing its stiffest test in decades, Sweden finds itself on the front line."