Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wait, Finland isn’t in the Western Hemisphere?

File under “xenophobia makes people stupid”. From a PR release about a band from Finland that’s releasing an album in America.

If you live in the Western Hemisphere, chances are you won’t understand a single word Regina sings, and that’s OK. The Helsinki-based three-piece band sing in their native language of Finnish, lending a surreal, otherworldly quality to their distinguished blend of electronic beats, folk and world music, wild percussion, and slightly hazy melodies.

Um, I’m sorry, I’m confused. I was under the impression that Finland was in Europe? Which is in the Western Hemisphere? I mean, you can catch a ferry from the UK to Helsinki. Apparently it’s the world’s first long-distance ferry, capable of crossing multiple oceans?

Note that languages that are not English are “surreal” and “otherworldly”. You know, if you’re incredibly, embarrassingly parochial. Also, is there some community of people in China or India that would automatically understand lyrics that are in Finnish? I mean, since people in the Western Hemisphere obviously wouldn’t understand them (OMG the words are so long! With so many vowels!), I’m assuming this implies that people in the Eastern Hemisphere would be more likely to speak Finnish? Because all places that seem “foreign” to a (stupid) American are all just one giant homogenous mass.

Who wants to place a bet that the person who wrote this would also identify, say, Mexico as being outside the Western Hemisphere, even though it’s geographically located directly south of the United States?

Xenophobia doesn’t just make people assholes, it also makes them really really stupid. In fact maybe that’s the way to get people to modify their behavior – since clearly they don’t care if they’re being assholes, maybe pointing out that their xenophobia makes them sound like fucking morons is the way to get them to think twice about what comes out of their mouths (or keyboards).

1 comment:

Grrr said...

Third culture kid here - and living in Finland, if you can believe it. It's interesting to see this othering happening to such a white nation (not that they deserve it any more or less to any other nation, just that it's interesting.) Although I admit, 9 years on and I'm still not even close to mastering Finnish. It's so friggin hard to learn.