Swearing here in Helsinki is a national pastime like a male game of ice hockey with fast fouls and a lots of noise. Many Finns enjoy swearing, while others enjoy faulting those who swear. This is where the secular and the religious meet and dispute what is right and what is wrong.
Last week there was story in the media about young 12 to 14-year olds using the Finnish swear word cunt. Sympathetic psychologists thought that these girls were desperately trying to identify themselves as adults, while older ladies were concerned about the need to wash the girls’ mouths with soap!
Last week our Education Minister suddenly accused the True Finns leader of talking “bullshit” in a Parliamentary debate when annoyed by his some shoddy criticism of the government. She actually used the Finnish word shit, just like your correspondent’s headmaster once said before the whole school: “excreta/excretae” – the latin word for shit – when that substance was spread on the wall of the boys’ loo.
The holier-than-holy opposition leader was shocked by such language. He seemed to forget that members of his own party has recently been calling immigrants “animals” just a few weeks ago. He refused to censor this behaviour by saying that MP’s are entitled to speak their minds freely in Parliament. He did not see that such speech could incite others to violence…
The “times are a’changing” – Trump has managed to use a ‘hell,’ ‘ass’ and ‘bullshits. In Florida he threw 10 ‘hells,’ three ‘damns and a ‘crap.’ The audiences did not seem to mind. They cheered and applauded.
This last outbreak of swearing combined with dishonesty by Trump is not mirrored here in the Nordics – at least not by the big majority of our representatives who sit in Parliament.
Swearing is a normal human reaction to something that is seen as patently untrue. It is a valve that releases tension – used frugally it can add colour and spark interest in politics.
Wouldn’t we rather have honest folks debating honestly with reasonable limits on tough language rather than having extremists like Trump, Salvini, Le pen, and Höcke attacking the democracy on which the western world is built.