Friday, February 09, 2007

Slow Down! Watch Carefully!

Note: The material in this post is rated PG-13, but the linked article and video most assuredly are not. You have been warned!

The other day I remarked that the Danes have a great sense of humor, and some of our Swedish readers felt slighted — what about the Swedish sense of humor?

Danish speed limitOur frequent Danish correspondent Kepiblanc sent along his translation of an article in yesterday’s Politiken, which he thinks demonstrates that Swedes may in fact be somewhat humor-impaired — especially in comparison to those mischievous Danes.

The delightful video referred to in the story can be found here. It will confirm any stereotypes that you might already have about the Danes. [N.B.: the amphibian who appears in the photo at right was not in the original cast. He volunteered for hardship duty in order to help Gates of Vienna keep its PG-13 rating.]

Many male Danish drivers have indeed slowed down since the program started. Some to zero.

Swedes seething over Danish traffic-breasts

Topless girls and traffic security don’t go together, according to Swedish traffic researchers, who filed a complaint to Danish Traffic security Board

A sexy traffic-safety campaign from the Danish Board alerts Swedish traffic researchers

The Swedes are horrified by the campaign which features topless girls flashing traffic signs in order to make motorists drive in compliance with speed limits.
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Viral marketing

The campaign started as an experiment last November when the Danish Board gave it a general release in cyberspace.

The movie “Speed Bandits” pretends to be a news flash, and so far it has been watched by more than seven million people all over the world — even in Vatican City.

After only two weeks on the web it became nominated as the most viral movie on the Internet by the webzine Contagious.

Viral marketing means that users forward the movie to friends, after which it spreads like lightning.

Total silence

Everybody on the net can easily see the humor, but not the participants of a traffic security conference in Linköping [Sweden] when seeing the movie.

“It goes without saying that the silence in the room was deafening”, says Helena Sederström, of the Swedish Road and Traffic Research Institute, to Aftonbladet.

The Institute has now filed a formal complaint to the Danish Board about not being warned about the nature of the campaign:

“To enhance traffic security by means of bare breasts isn’t something we can support. That’s why we’ve expressed our disappointment at not being informed about the release of the movie”, says Helena Sederström,

The campaign works

Danish speed limitThe Danish Board for Traffic Security regrets the Swedish reaction.

“It wasn’t our intention to hurt anyone’s feelings. We just wanted to publicize the test of a new media, namely the Viral-movie, and with great success, at that”, says press councillor Karina Petersen.

“Our research shows that 30 percent of the young males we inquired are more cautious about speed after watching the movie. So we stand behind our movie and are proud of what it has achieved”, continues Karina Petersen.


Dymphna said...

Topless girls and traffic security don’t go together, according to Swedish traffic researchers...

Show me the study that backs up this statement. Does it mean the Swedes already tried it and have the stats to prove it?

Those cuties remind me of my favorite middle-aged joke:

Q: What will a fifty year old woman find between her breasts that a twenty-something never will?

A: Her belly button.

Ah, gravity.

Lighten up, y'all.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

I have the same personal experience.

Most Danes are funny with a good sense of humor, irony and a tuned sense of the ridiculous. They understand Monty Python for instance.

Swedes on the other hand are about as funny as bowel cancer.

Baron Bodissey said...

Actually, I know a good Swedish joke.

Gunnar comes home from work early to find his wife sitting naked on the edge of their bed with her head in her hands.

“Anna,” asks Gunnar with deep concern, “what’s wrong?”

“I have nothing to wear,” she replies.

“Don’t be silly,” says Gunnar. He goes to the closet, opens the door, and begins pulling out clothes.

“See, you have a red dress… and a blue dress… and a pink dress… and a green dress… and Sven…”

Baron Bodissey said...

Of course, I don't know that it was a Swede who actually wrote that joke...

Wally Ballou said...

I have to say that particular campaign would probably make me drive into a parked car. When I see something like that, 100% of my brain's sensory processing power goes to my eyeballs.

I wonder how many rear-end collisions there have been? Nonetheless, hooray for the speed bumps.

kepiblanc said...

Hey, don't forget our friends, the Norwegians :

A Swede, a Dane and a Norwegian are shipwrecked on the proverbial desert island. A genie appears out of thin air, informing them that they can each have a wish granted. The Swede immediately says, "I want to go home to my large and comfortable bungalow with the Volvo, video and slick IKEA furniture." So he vanishes. The Dane then says, "I want to go back to my cozy little flat in Copenhagen, to sit in my soft sofa, feet on the table, next to my sexy girlfriend and with a sixpack of lagers." Off he flies. The Norwegian, after giving the problem a bit of thought, then tells the genie, "Cor, I suddenly feel so terribly lonely here, so I guess I wish for my two friends to come back.

On Scandinavian stereotypes

Baron Bodissey said...

Kepiblanc --

National stereotypes are fascinating.

In the course of my Scandinavian research, I have picked up a little bit of Danish and Swedish. I notice that I recognize the Danish word for "freedom" (frihed) and the Swedish word for "security" (trygghet), but not vice versa.

Funny about that.

Unknown said...

I expect this confirms Swedes are as boring as the Volvos they drive. This is what happens after a generation of the nanny state. Just writing this makes me compare Swedes with Italians - heh.

togo said...

The Swedes have to be humorless-they are the most relentlessly PC/Multicultist(read:neo-Stalinist) people in the world. Concentration camps would be superfluous, the indigenous Swedes have voluntarily internalized the mentality of the Gulag.

kepiblanc said...

Sweden wasn't always like this. The 'gulag-ization' took place gradually during the 1960-70's. Heck, I remember some really funny movies, like "Âpplekriget" [The Apple War] with Gösta Ekman and Max von Sydow, produced - strangely enough - by a rather leftist group called "AB Svenska Ord" [Swedish Words Ltd.] poking fun of the establishment with disrespect, irony and vivid fantasy. Priceless.

And Sweden once had poets with wit, self-irony and mastering music as well, like C.M. Bellman and Evert Taube. As far as I know, the last time real humor was still alive in Sweden was around 1975 with the completely crazy show "Svea Hund på Göta Lejon" [Sweden's Hound on the Gothic Lion].

I used to love Sweden and the Swedes - and maybe I still do. That's why it saddens me immensely to see it change into a totalitarian one-party dhimmi-state where the slightest blip of opposition or humor is oppressed without mercy. When ordinary Swedes don't have any chance against the 'PC-establishment' some sort of eruption is likely, not necessarily a good one : We all remember the assassination of Olof Palme - Sweden's twin brother of Dhimmuh Carter - and Anna Lindh - Sweden's twin sister of Nancy Pelosi. Of course the 'establishment' tried to blame lunatics, but there was more to those killings than meets the eye. The truth must be wiped away. Sweden is all about facade.

It wouldn't surprise me if the upcoming civil war in Europe begins in Sweden. Think of it as a boiler with the safety valve welded shut with political correctness. When it blows it'll be messy...

annika said...

Danes rock, baby!

X said...

Well, on the one hand I agree with these comments about Sweden, which seems to be trying to do the lutheran thing without the christianity to back it up... but on the other hand, any nation that can produce a film like Slim Susie has to have something going for it.

It's a funny filum.

Subvet said...

Although the Danes bare their breasts its the Swedes who come off as the real boobs.

Just my opinion.

Dymphna said...

Mr or Ms Hartveld:

He's not 86 yet and I guarantee you the Baron is *not* a nun (though I did consider joining them when I was 18. Hormones interfered). I'm also the one with tendencies toward agoraphobia...there are so many people out there in the agora jumping to conclusions a person could get whanged just trying to keep out of the way.

Evidently you don't come by here much or you'd know that home-schooled children visit here for history and culture reading. We promised their parents to keep this a PG-13 blog. And so we do.

Besides, many of our readers click on Gates of Vienna from their jobs because they know we don't post anything that's NSFW -- i.e., Not Safe For Work. These folks need a heads-up that the video definitely *is* something to click on when they're home.

Send a self-addressed return envelope and I'll mail you a clue bag.

Clues, however, will cost you extra.

Damon said...

Here's another Scandinavian joke:

A plane carrying some Danes, Swedes and Norwegians crashes on a deserted island (SAS don't fly to the Pacific, but anyway...)
After 5 years, they are finally rescued.

The rescuers ask one of the passengers how all the groups have been getting on (knowing how much the Scandinavians like each other):

"Well, the Danes immediately broke into the Duty Free locker, and have been having a con-tinuous party for the last 5 years -- things are starting to run down now, they've just run out of beer.

"The Norwegians, of course, are still arguing amongst themselves about whether to go to the party or not."

"What about the Swedes?"

"Ah, the Swedes are still standing over there, waiting to be introduced.”

hank_F_M said...

A while back the road construction companies started changing the flagman to flag girls in bikinis (weather permitting) on the theory that it would get the attention of drivers so they would see the slow down signs. After a bit they decided the girls needed to be more fully clothed. It seems they attracted entirely to much attention from drivers -- compounding the original problem.