on blogging

Yesterday I got a surprise visitor who came by to invite me to walk another couple of streets of Oslo that I had not seen before. Yes, you guessed it, it was the French walker who visits me every now and then. He is the type who does not like walking streets with bars and so we usually walk through residential areas instead. Those are not very hard to find in this city though. And with everyone gone and the streets not yet cleaned since the snow melted, much of Oslo certainly looked the closest to what I’d imagine the abandoned areas around Chernobyl t look like. One could stand right in the center of an intersection with 5-6 floor houses on all four corners and extending quite a bit in either direction. And there would be no-one. No cars, no person, no sound, no nothing. Amazing, quite amazing. My co-walker immediately commented on it as if it were some common trait of all Norwegians: “They don’t ever talk to anyone. They talk to their parents and their siblings and their boyfriend or girlfriend. But that’s it. You almost need to have known oneanother since kindergarden if you are to talk with oneanother.” He also commented on this blog (which he seems to be reading extensively): “You know the stuff you write is like a 16 year old girl. You write on where you go and what you think about this and that,” he criticized. “So what should I write then?” I inquired, “should I just write like these hard core political blogs that people like [ANONYMIZED] have? What’s the point with that? I can read the newspaper if I want the news, or I’ll post something on a news site if I now something new [in addition I’m discussing politics on various email lists]. You know, I’m trying to use the blog to try to give a ‘human face’ to the hard-core politicized Johannes who people tend to ‘know’ me as being. “But the things you’re writing, about what you feel and what you think about and so on; Norwegians would never write anything like that,” he continued, “they’ll think ‘what’s wrong with you?’ and ‘Is he lonely or something?'”
ow to a certain degree he is of course right. This is not a very Norwegian styled blog. Most Norwegians wouldn’t write this kind of stuff. But the fact that I choose to do anyways is not that I do somehow not feel such standards or that I do not think it is weird to expose myself in this way — rather it is that I feel I have a mission to _change_ the way people think about these things. If we ever are going to establish a society with less privately controlled property and more held in the common (and Norwegian society anno 2006 is extremely focused on the private: even food at common meals are usually held in the private), we also need to be able to break down some of the unnecessary boundaries as what one can talk about publically and what one ca not. Of course, there will and should always be social boundaries on some level, but the concrete manifestation of these are much less ‘hard-coded’ into any culture than people tend to think, I am strongly convinced of. Just looking at the way the older student houses are built and how they must have been used with common showers and kitchen for up to 8 students — unthinkable to live in for many young Norwegians nowadays.
So if you are one of those Norwegians wondering what the purpose of this blog is: view it a cultural experiment. View it as a way of trying to change the culture i am myself a part of.
However, the fact that this blog is so infrequently updated is exactly that I do usually not have much spare time at all… so I guess that goes somewhat against the earlier mentioned theory of Norwegian generally being isolated. Oh well. How do you like the new header picture by the way? Also check the footer (there are only two of them though) I finally got the HTML/CSS fixed so that it shows correctly in IE, Firefox and Konqueror. Or it least it has done on all the browsers I’ve checked so far… please report any problems you might find.

One thought on “on blogging”

  1. Ah – The French Connection! 🙂
    I must say I wonder about the same thing as my French friend.

    On your blog you are Mr Nice Guy, whilst in real life you are the Black Panthers and the Werwolves combined…

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