Sunday, November 24

Bridegroom - the movie

This was one of those movies I looked up Netflix because I'd heard the title mentioned in another context. I ended up watching the whole thing, even had to hit pause to go and get tissues. Bridegroom is so honest, so strong.
If you need to show someone why marriage should be for everyone - gay or straight - show them Bridegroom.

Sweden has had gay marriage since 2009. My mother is a Vicar in the Swedish Church and she married a gay couple a few months ago. Her only worry was that she would slip and say "husband and wife" instead of "husband and husband".

If you want to know more about what it's like to be gay around the world, Stephen Fry made an excellent two-part documentary called "Out There". I learned a lot and I admire the way he conducts interviews so calm and so well-researched.
You can find it on YouTube.

Saturday, November 23

Brave New Gadget

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Aldous Huxley's death. The author of "Brave New World" feared a future where it is the things we love that will undo us.

Unlike the totalitarian society in George Orwell's "1984" Huxley feared a world where information is drowned in a sea of irrelevance, where we are willingly distracted and therefore do not act when our freedom is taken away.

I live in the time when ten percent of the Swedish population say they will vote for a fascist party and our government just started chipping away at the policies of openness that are a cornerstone of democracy.
I have a degree in political science and journalism. I studied human rights, peace and conflict studies and the history of propaganda.
I never thought I would see history re-enact itself in my lifetime. Not in the corner of the world I call home.

And there are protests - but not nearly what there should be. Have we become what Huxley feared 82 years ago?
Are we docile and sedated by our beloved gadgets? Or can we simply not see what our actions or lack thereof will lead to in the long term?

I am an early adopter of technology and I work in the field - I know why I spend so much time staring at screens. But when I look around and see the entire bus doing the same thing I start to wonder what we are doing. Are we choosing the digital soma (the pleasure drug Huxley describes in "Brave New World") instead of participating in the world around us?

German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller illustrates what happened when the Nazis rose to power and began eliminating group after group. And how high the price will be if we choose sloth and not action.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

We are only free as long as we demand to be. Trading freedom for security is a dangerous gamble.

The Guardian has an excellent article on Huxley.

And this comic explains the differences between Orwell's "1984" and Huxley's "Brave New World".

Sunday, November 17

Dear Attention Whore,

I know it seems like you have the perfect life right now. Women flirt with you, women give you compliments on your body, women want to sleep with you.

And yet there is a piece missing. Why do you put photos of yourself in your underwear on the internet, to be validated by strangers? Why do you chat up every woman who gives you attention?
I know our culture tells us that this is what the best time in your life is supposed to look like. You are desired and you desire. What they didn't tell you is that it's empty.
You are easy and nobody values things that are that easy to get. Your behaviour is hurting others and yourself. Oh but I know you do not see it that way. You're getting laid and women are coming back for more, aren't they?

You are far from the only person I know who acts like this. I know that you are young. In time you will learn and when you know better, you do better.

You don't have to take my word for it. Read Alex James' autobiography "A Bit Of A Blur". He will tell you that he now considers the time he spent hanging out with rock stars, jet-setting and getting laid every night the lowest point in his life.

No dear attention whore, this is not an attempt to change you. Far from it. I doubt you will ever read this and if you do you will not understand what I am saying.
It's not sour grapes.
I am old enough and experienced enough to know that I cannot change another person.
I just hope that one day you will find what you need to change yourself.

Consider this a prayer sent out to the universe. Not just for you but for everyone who is missing the key pieces needed to love and respect yourself.