I’d been thinking about St. Lucy’s Day. Having written about it before, I wondered how much further down the PC/MC hole those Alice-in-Wonderland bureaucrats in Sweden might go this year. Would they mess over an ancient and lovely tradition?
I had no intention of looking for trouble — picking on another politically correct Purgatory is not my idea of Christmas fun. However, my idle speculations were answered by an email from a Swedish reader. His answer: yes, they did indeed fundamentally mess with the holiday. He sent a link to a video of the depredations visited upon the viewing public by Swedish television. But guess what? Whoever put up the excerpt of this trivialization of St. Lucy’s Day has had to take it down. Swedish TV obviously doesn’t want the world to know what they did.
However, the same email that brought the now-darkened space where recently the p.c. rap version of Lucia had been performed also provided an alternative, traditional Lucia from Finland. I’ve read that the Christianization of Finland changed an old pagan festival into a celebration of the Italian Santa Lucia. As you can see, this modern version has returned to its pagan roots, the celebration of light and of young virginal winter beauty. The girl chosen for this role plays it with wonderful self-assurance, the kind that can only belong to someone flawlessly young and newly aware of her beauty as a power to inflame.
This one is surely the epitome of young maidenhood. The memorialization doesn’t require us to look past her lovely façade:
There are lots of Saint Lucy’s festivals on You Tube. Some of them bow painfully to inclusion by making boys also carry candles whilst dressed in awkward costumes. Those don’t work well. Celebrations of male virility and beauty have their place, but it’s not in the feast of Saint Lucy, that Scandinavian virginal martyr/ice queen dripping with light.
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I’m glad to see there’s a Swede who agrees with me. One Mats Dagerlind, of Avpixlat, has some choice things to say about what Swedish state television foisted on its
prisoners viewers [this is a loose translation of part of the editorial. The emphases are mine except for the writer’s indignant CAPS at the end —D]:
Only an idiot does not understand why the role of Ray Charles did not go to Meryl Streep
Only an idiot can fail to see the elaborate political correctness behind choosing a rapper with an immigrant background from the ethnic million enclaves for the Swedish Lucia celebration. Now if you unconditionally want to renew the tradition … there is a lot to choose from… why not invite Yngwie Malmsteen doing a neo-classical guitar solo? Heavy metal is big in Sweden. Why not some country-twang or dance butter?
The answer is, of course, that the initiative was not about the general willingness to broaden the repertoire for the Lucia celebration. The choice of a suburban rapper was a political pronouncement. Just as those representing the politically correct discourse about Sweden as a multicultural country of immigration have in the past [done this to] other Swedish traditions and celebrations such as National Day, Midsummer, graduation in the church, etc. now they have taken on themselves the Swedish Lucia celebration. Only an idiot does not understand that SVT’s mission in broadcasting a Lucia celebration for Swedish viewers means taking responsibility for arranging this tradition in a respectful way. It is not about finding more political provocations…
A Lucia with African appearance then — what can be your objection to it? Several, I think.
Whoever is chosen to portray Lucia plays a role. Lucia was a young girl in Sicily who was executed by the Romans for her Christian faith, was martyred and canonized by the Catholic Church. She was European, not African, Asian or South American. She was young, not middle-aged or old and she was a girl, not a boy. It is therefore reasonable that in an audition to fill this role one takes into account age, gender and ethnicity.
Choosing someone with European appearance as Lucia is no more racist than it is sexist to choose a girl or age discriminatory to select someone who is young. Instead, there are three obvious qualifications for the role.
To illustrate this argument and to refute accusations of racism we can take some reverse examples. I’m a big fan of jazz musician Charlie Parker and R & B musician Ray Charles, both African-Americans. Both of these musicians’ lives have been made into biographical film versions, with Forest Whittaker and Jamie Foxx in the lead roles.
Only an idiot does not understand why the role of “Bird” did not go to Robert De Niro. Only an idiot does not understand why the role of Ray Charles in flashbacks from his childhood as a little boy did not go to Meryl Streep. It’s not about racism, it’s not about gender or age discrimination. It’s about having the right skills for the role and that gender, age and ethnicity in some cases can be basic ones [of identity].
… Arguing that no one knows how the real Lucia looked or if she even existed in real life, or that she came from southern Italy and therefore presumably was not blond and blue-eyed but rather dark-haired and brown-eyed is [beside the point]. You can get some more freedom in terms of the role of Lucia, but not so great that she becomes African, Asian or South American.
Moreover, the choice in this case, as with the ghetto-rapper, is so obviously motivated by the desire to make a political statement for the new multicultural and immigrant Sweden. They did not choose Agda, 83, from among the elderly to play Lucia, nor did they choose, Borje, age 39. Only an idiot does not realize that the organizers chose Astrid, 14, with her African appearance because ethnic diversity is the discourse of the day. Had the purpose been to publicly challenge ingrained stereotypes they could have, of course, also experimented with sex and age.
I’m not racist, but I am in some respects culturally conservative. I want my Lucia young, female and European just as I want my Ray Charles male and African-American. I want understated and evocative vocals with Lucia; and the rhythm and blues with Ray Charles. I am not alone in this. The Finns wanted their national hero Gustaf Mannerheim to be Finnish not Kenyan — as the director of the film about Mannerheim’s life, with rash idiocy, thought was a bold move. I, and probably a majority of Swedes — even we who appreciate influences from other cultures — want our traditions left alone. But political correctness is UNABLE TO LET THINGS ALONE.
Only an idiot does not respect this.
Right on, Mr. Dagerlind. I hope you’re up high enough in the spheres of the MSM elites that they’ll permit you to live after uttering these rank heresies. I’ll say a few prayers on your behalf to St. Lucy.
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In a bit of synchronicity, just before the Baron asked me to look at that email, I had been viewing a piece about Frederick Douglass’ life as relayed by a middle-aged white female professor who speaks in admiring terms of his courage. This is an excerpt from a series put out by The Claremont Institute, “Black Intellectuals and the American Cause”. The latter series appears to be a subset of a quite ambitious undertaking, one which has its own page, The American Mind.
I wandered there quite by accident. The Claremont Institute’s magazine was one of my favorites back in the day when we did things like order subscriptions. I, like Hermes, am an autodidact. I shall die with a book in my hand.
But why Frederick Douglass, and why now? That will be for another post, one which seeks to raise the level of debate from the debased cellar into which it has been thrust by ignorant young men of color whose only claim is fame, who lack all sense of civility and decorum. These strutters and strewers are Obama’s sons, and they know it. They have an errant sense of noblesse oblige because they speak the hatreds they know Obama wants to hear.
All of them, from Obama on down, have no use for the courage of Frederick Douglass. In fact, they have become the overseers: they hold the whips but they can no longer hold in the heady rage for which they were trained. This is their moment. And because they have no sense of history, they cannot know it is only a moment…
…Frederick Douglass lives on in his singular courage, the virtue that transcended his justifiable anger. All we know of his overseers are the things he chose to tell us. Otherwise they are gone.
Saint Lucy lives on in her cold and virginal winter light. She can be no other. There will always be room for both kinds of mythos, even after the self-inflicted Swedish multicultural monsters have stormed the elites’ bridges and moats and left them weeping in their halls.
Good intentions turn evil as they tramp that yellow brick road to a Hellish reality.