Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Swedes are stupid ...

… or at least that's the received wisdom around here. We Norwegians are – often affectionately – prejudiced towards our big brother to the east, and one of the main allegations against Swedes is that they're less intelligent than we are. But reading articles like this one, you gotta wonder who's the stupid one – the Swedish criminal or the Norwegian judge. >:-)

Brief recap of the article: the Swede tried to cross the Swedish-Norwegian border with 1600 kilos of meat in his car. He was tried for smuggling, but has now been acquitted. Why? Because he is illiterate (he claims; and witnesses have backed up this claim, enough of them to convince the court), and because of this, he – get this – didn't understand that he'd crossed the border.


Sure, I've just read a short newspaper article and of course there will be soo many details in this case that I'm not familiar with. But on the face of it, doesn't this just sound too weird?? I don't have a driver's license, but I do know that you have to pass a written test to get one. At least in Norway; I'm sure it's the same in Sweden. How did this guy pass that test? Did they read the questions to him and write down his replies? (Did he have a friend take it for him? This actually happens every so often in this country. Bad news if you're caught, though.) Even if he passed it that way, why on earth did they give him his license?? Don't you need to be able to read traffic signs in order to be a safe and responsible driver??

But OK, even if he really is illiterate, I'm guessing it's safe to assume that he isn't also blind. Apparently he crossed the border at Svinesund. A lot of you who read this won't ever have been there. But I promise you, you've got to be pretty visually challenged to not see that this isn't just a regular bridge. Did he not see the customs building on the Norwegian side? Did he not see the customs officers in their uniforms and yellow high visibility vests? Did he not see that all the traffic signs were suddenly very different? Did he not see that his own country's flags on the one side of the bridge were replaced with flags belonging to another nation??

And even if he is blind, here's another thing to make you wonder: guess where this guy lives. Guess which town is his hometown. Yeah – Strömstad. :-D Seriously: even if he is illiterate and blind, no way does he live in Strömstad and not know where the Norwegian border is. We're talking about a distance of a few kilometers. :-D A person in that situation I do not believe could ever understand how to operate a car.

And in any case, what was he doing driving around with 1600 kilos of meat in his car … ? That’s not what I would call a joyride …


Paz said...

What I cannot believe is the friends that went under oath for him, can you imagine asking a friend to be a witnesses in a court case to verify that, Yes, you are as thick as a plank and yes probably are far too stupid to know that that Norway is down the road.
thanks for sharing this made a crappy day good

Leisha Camden said...

Good point - what did his friends think when he called them up to ask about that? :-D And what a day in court when they testified. 'Sure, your honor, this guy is the dumbest idiot I ever met! All he did in school was pull girls' hair and sneak off behind the gymnasium to smoke. He probably never even heard of Norway!' :-D

I'm sorry you're having a bad day :-( but glad I could cheer you up, at least.

SJ said...


Anyway just because someone is illiterate doesn't mean they are also stupid. Anyway in many third world countries including mine the undereducated become drivers or cabbies !

Leisha Camden said...

SJ: Hi there! A new 'face', [almost] always a pleasure. ;-) Thanks for stopping by. :-) As for the guy in the article, whether or not he really is illiterate, I certainly don't think he's stupid. Actually quite the contrary. ;-)

And I'm not saying that you need to be able to read in order to be able to drive (although if you can't read at all, how safe you are on the roads is open for debate ;-) but I don't think the ability to detect whether or not one is in one's own country or in a neighboring state is so directly connected to literacy as this guy seems to have been claiming.

Like I said, you'd think he'd have picked up on something when the flags suddenly changed. ;-)

Paz said...

Michaelok said...

I agree, seems like the lawyers or someone dropped the ball on this, I mean how easy would this be to prove? They could send him a lottery ticket telling him he won something, see if he replies. Maybe that would be entrapment.

I think this guy has what's called Chutzpah. Didn't know where the border was either? Reminds me somehow of Reagan's "I forget" strategy during Iran Contra. Brilliant. I'm surprised every defendant since then didn't use that.

By the way, in the States we have Ole and Lena (and Sven) jokes, very popular, although probably a small audience I'd guess: