Thursday, November 18, 2010

Norway's dumbest publisher?

I don't know if it comes as any surprise that this title may well go to Arve Juritzen of Juritzen Forlag. I don't know the man, never will, but anyone who can say what he is quoted as saying in today's Dagbladet (p.16) probably has a brain that isn't functioning properly. It's an article about Einar Gelius and how various celebs think he shouldn't be fired. Gag me with a spoon. First of all, this whole concept is so completely stupid - I really despise this approach in 'reporting'. There's a news item presented and then there's a sidebar with the heading This is what the celebrities think (actually a literal translation). They know the guy, but how the fuck does that make them qualified to have any opinion worth hearing on this?

The situation itself isn't the point of this post, but just so it's said, this is really very simple. The Church of Norway is an employer like any other - the fact that it employs wizards and pays them in tax money doesn't change this. As such it has the right to determine what it expects of its employees, and if there are employees who cannot or will not conform to these expectations, their employment may be terminated. How on earth can this be difficult to understand?

Well, it's too complicated for Juritzen, clearly. He says, and I quote, the following (my translation): That a differentiated view of the bible in 2010 can lead to a vicar losing his job and being kicked out of the church must mean that we no longer have religious freedom in Norway.


So, if I wasn't so lazy, this is what I ought to do. I ought to write a book on ... some interesting topic, let's see ... eugenics. I'd write about how some people are good, valuable citizens and others are not, and it's a damn shame that these days the latter group is breeding so much more than the former. That's a very bad thing for our society, so we ought to change this - we shouldn't be letting these useless people reproduce themselves and their problems like that. Of course I'm not a racist, so this won't be based on race or anything obvious like that. Naturally! I'd come up with some really scientific procedures to sift out the unworthies. Personality tests and so on. But we really need to weed out the trash and improve our society without their trashy genes. I ought to write that book ... and then I ought to take it to Juritzen and ask him to publish it. Which of course he wouldn't do.

According to his logic, that would then mean that we no longer have freedom of speech in Norway. o_O

Of course I'm not going to actually write such a book ... that'd be crazy, and like I said I am a really lazy person. It'd be a lot of boring monkey work just to make a point. Naturally I'm not going to actually do that. And just as naturally, Juritzen's logic is completely flawed. Of course we have freedom of speech in Norway. But the crucial point to understand - often missed by angry bloggers and commenters in online debates - is that my right to express myself freely does not equal Juritzen's or anyone else's duty to publish. I am completely free to say what I choose, but no one is bound to give me a forum to vent my crazy ideas and no one is obligated to listen to my rantings. We absolutely do have freedom of religion in Norway - too much of it, if you ask me - but what far too many fail to understand is that this is a rather limited freedom. You are free to believe what you want without being persecuted for your beliefs. That's it. That's all there is to freedom of religion. You are not free to do what you want just as long as you call it religion ... and you are not free to be excepted from reactions and/or punishment for what you do just because you claim that you think your god told you to do it. And what's most important in this context, you are free to be a Christian in any way you want, but the Church of Norway is not obligated to pay you a salary for it if they don't agree with your views.

Gelius has no doubt signed an employment contract. If he doesn't hold up his end of that contract, he's out. It really is just that simple. Just because the Church doesn't want to pay Gelius for the privilege of using their clout and influence to espouse his ridiculous views, that doesn't mean that anyone is restricting his freedom of religion. To think so is quite simply utterly stupid and shows an ignorance of basic concepts that from someone in Juritzen's position is actually rather worrying. You wouldn't catch William Nygaard saying anything like this.

And for those who think that the Church pushing Gelius out into the cold is rather cruel and hateful, well, wake up and smell the coffee. The Christian ideology is cruel and hateful. Don't pretend like you're surprised.


On an unrelated note, here is something else I despise in the media. Quote: Swedish 62-year-old admits to killing daughter. ... blah blah, knife, honor killing, blah blah ... the family came to Sweden from Iraq six or seven years ago. FUCK THAT SHIT. This is newspeak, it's disgusting. That guy is not Swedish and he never will be. Although, judging from the article, there may be hope for the son.


Calyx said...

Hear, hear. The idea that freedom means freedom from unpleasant choices seems to be very popular - it can be applied to just about any freedom. On a similar note, see this story, .

An islamic student organisation segregated the audience by gender during a lecture. They were using a Oslo University College auditorium for free, and had promised beforehand there would be no segregation. Since they intentionally broke their promise, the Rector has decided that they will no longer be allowed to use the college's auditiorium.

The spokesperson for the student organisation claims that not segregating is offensive, and discriminatory towards women (Lord, how much bullshit do we have to listen to?).

In any case: 1. The organisation broke their promise. 2. The state (i.e. tax payer money) is not obliged to support their religious beliefs, particularly not when these are offensive to the majority. They can segregate all they like in a mosque or in a space they rent, but not when they are being supported financially by the state.

Apparently the college is offending them. Fascinting. They ought to pay for a space of their own, like other organisations. Then they won't have to be offended. Life is hard, no?

Leisha Camden said...

Oh, don't remind me ... !! That story was on the news at 11 and it just made me want to smash the TV set. Exactly why I have this blog!! ITA agree with everything you said in your comment, but also, my main beef with the whole thing:

That bearded loser claims that it's discriminatory towards women to force us to sit next to men if we don't want to. Well, it's just as discriminatory towards men to deny them the opportunity to sit wherever they want. Are men some second class citizens, worth less than women, who have to sit at the back of the bus?? ARGH ... !!!