Boston Blatte

Raised in Boston, remade in Sweden

Archive for August, 2011

Swedish mainstream shop: Alternative lifesytle?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

When homosexual wedding greeting cards are unceremoniously displayed in mainstream shops we’ve shaken the “alternative lifestyle” label tagged on to gay marriage. At least in Sweden.

Same-sex marriages have been legal since May 1, 2009 and registered same-sex partnerships were recognized already from 1995.

I found these cards on display at one of my favorite stationery [chain] stores,
Ordning & Reda
wedding cards.

Now you have all options covered for your next wedding invitation needs.

Just don’t drive yourself nuts by converting the 30kr cost of the card (OK, if you have to, it’s just under $5.)

Oh, and if you’re attending a gay wedding, I highly recommend buying the Leatherman Multitool for the happy couple. Especially if it’s already on their gift registration list.

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Swedes: We just don’t get them.

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

I think I get Swedes. Sort of. Kind of. Still working on it, really.

I’ve been at it for nearly 2 decades and the learning curve has been tumultuous, but any good ride has its ups and down. However, it can be a hit or miss for most “newbies” to Sweden. And if you read the pages of The Local, you’ll find there is often “someone” with their knickers in a twist about Swedes. This popular article on TL comes first to mind.

Now it’s quite true that striking up conversation with the random Swede on the street is not always forthcoming. Swedes are a little skittish and they (particularly 08ers aka Stockholmers) are molded from that normal “big city aloofness” you find in any big city which does make them hard to reach. But reachable they are. Warm and loving too. But yes, also, terse, stoic and reserved.


I’m gregarious. I talk up everyone and anyone and it took me a long while to realize that I’m pretty odd in Boston too. New Yorkers and other Americans regularly complain about us Bostonians being uptight and unapproachable. When I first heard it, I was shocked. Taking a look at it with open eyes I realized that there’s truth to it. Your average Bostonian won’t strike up random conversation, not the kind of polite conversation the people in the article are talking about. BUT, if YOU strike up conversation with a Bostonian and work at it by all the unwritten social/cultural rules of Bostonianism, you can be chatting away for hours.

Stockholmers are like Bostonians: tough nuts to crack (and Swedes have slightly tougher outer shells.) But inside that outer crust it’s all warm and gooey.

I feel sorry for the couple in the above article. They think that because they were brown Swedes didn’t want to interact with them. I’m brown (more so now after a sunny summer) but I chat up Swedes regularly with the fitting success one can ascribe to chatting to Stockholmers.

But maybe I “hear” Swedes better. So much communication among Swedes is non-verbal: a nod of the head, a crook in their smile, a twinkle in their eye.

As for the staring, I have heard people complain of this, but in all honesty I’ve never felt it myself (do Bostonians stare a lot?).

So take heart. If you want to speak to Swedes. Make the first, gentle move. Wait. And then listen…they’re talking to you.

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Crown Princess Victoria is preggers: Baking a royal bulle

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Preggers, Up the Duff, Baking buns. Whichever colorful expression you fancy, Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland (my, that’s a mouthful to remember) will soon include “Mum”to her title.


The official announcementfrom the palace came on Wednesday and traditional and social media spread the news wildfire. I am sure loyal royalists are delighted by baby news (seeing as the last bit of Royal news was scandalous linking the King Grandpa to the criminal underground, sex parlors and brought speculation to his credibility.)

The baby-in-making is welcomed news since in that old-fashioned way, he/she assures the royal lineage. Baby bun will officially become 2nd in line to the Swedish throne after his/her mom.

But heirs to thrones tend to spark raised voices calling for a republic. Though I think, indifferent-to-the-monarchy Swedes, and even mildly motivated republicans are all closetly warmed by the creation of life and the prospects of baby photo ops.

The instigator inside me is hoping for a girl. It’s no secret that if the King had his way, his first-born son (second-born child) Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland, (not quite as long as big sis’ name) would have remained Crown Prince. Calle was born Crown Prince and retained his title for 7 months until January 1, 1980 when Sweden adjusted its Act of Succession and snipped the bit of male preference primogeniture (first born heir-apparent status).

Good luck Vicky and Danny. We look forward to a bouncing baby come March 2012.

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Swedish sing-along”Blame it on the gays”: Not hate inciting

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

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.

gay pride

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.
bögarnas fel
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.

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