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Smiles of a Summer Night

by techno Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 10:17:16 AM EST

In the fall of 1967, I had just turned 18 and was a freshman at the University of Minnesota.  This was a land-grant school with 45,000 students.  I had lived virtually all of my childhood in villages smaller than 2000 people.  I was in a state of near shock.

It wasn't merely the size.  I was choirboy from a devout Lutheran parsonage.  Literally.  The only organization I joined that made complete sense to me was the university's chorus.  I knew nothing about popular culture--our family didn't have television until I was a high school sophomore, we were not allowed to go to movies, and "rock and roll" music had never been played in the house.

The local campus movie house was showing the films that they thought all good folks should see.  They were the works of the heavy hitters--François Truffaut, Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, and Ingmar Bergman.  One night, a group from my dorm decided to attend a showing of "Sjunde inseglet, Det" ("The Seventh Seal").  I wasn't so certain I should start going to movies until someone reassured me that Bergman was also a Lutheran preacher's kid.  So off I went.

From the diaries - afew


Of course, I enjoyed myself immensely.  As our group left the cinema, there was a lot of pretentious chatter about the deep significance of some scene or other.  When asked for my reaction, I said that the movie looked to me like a stylized version of flannel-board lessons they teach third-grade children in Sunday School.  "I saw this movie as a very clever, very insider preacher's kid joke.  And I thought the joke extremely funny.  I'll bet Bergman wondered about his father's reaction often as he wrote, shot, and edited it.  I see this movie as the statement of someone who dearly wants to piss off his old man yet still wants to be taken seriously by him."

My first movie as a University student.  Now my first movie review.  It wasn't like any of the other "reviews" either.  I had not used the vocabulary of a movie buff and I certainly did not know where educated opinion stood on Sjunde inseglet.  But my review was at least as plausible as any of the others.  Treating a film about death as high comedy designed to poke fun at an institution as staid as the Church of Sweden had gained me an odd respect.

Whatever the flaws of my childhood, they were not going to be enough to keep me out of the intellectual discussions of the day.  This sprawling mega-university suddenly did not look so scary.

I would go on to see most of Bergman's film.  I loved his big-budget later stuff much more than the early art-house pieces.  But it was all worth seeing for me.  Bergman may have been born in Uppsala Sweden while I came from Upsala Minnesota, but our shared experiences with the Lutheran clergy trumped everything else.  Every insight I could borrow from Bergman was one more thing I would not have to figure out for myself.

Over the years, I became a (very minor) expert in my circle of friends on Ingmar Bergman films.  On a cold 1989 February day in Helsinki, I would discover how small was this "accomplishment."  I was in the country to promote a book and was scheduled to be interviewed for a television news show.  

I got to the appointed place on time but the video crew was still setting up.  A bright young man was assigned to take me for coffee until things were ready.  After informing me that his big desire was to make movies, he asked me if I knew anything about Nordic cinema.  Finally, thought I, a chance to demonstrate my very obscure knowledge of Bergman.

When I said I was fan of Bergman, my Finnish handler scowled and said, "I find Ingmar Bergman's films frivolous."  I looked at him incredulously and asked, "You found `Persona' and `Cries and Whispers' (Viskningar och rop) frivolous!?"  As he explained his position that a serious film should be about more than the private psychological problems of the upper classes, I found myself nodding in agreement.  And when Aki Kaurismäki's "Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö" ("The Match Factory Girl") came out in 1990, I became quite convinced that by those standards, Bergman was indeed frivolous.

And why would I not believe this?  After all, wasn't I the guy who thought his treatment of death in "The Seventh Seal" was funny?  And Bergman was about to become a whole lot MORE "frivolous."  And I LOVED it.  My favorite film in all of Nordic cinema is "Goda viljan, Den" (The Best Intentions.)  Bergman did not direct it (that job was given to the brilliant Bille August) but he wrote it.  It is a beautifully shot description of the ridiculously mismatched marriage of his parents.  It would be difficult to imagine a more absurdly personal movie topic, yet it was a compelling tale of class conflict, the death of traditional theology in the face of onrushing science and industrialism, union organizing in a factory town, and careerism in a country with royalty.  Not bad for a director of "frivolous" film.

Ingmar Berman died 30 Jul 2007 at 89.  That date happened to also be the 150th birthday of another Nordic genius named Thorstein Veblen I happen to also admire a lot.  I decided to drive out to the Veblen house where I could just walk around and be sad.  I arrived in time for just the sort of spectacular "golden hour" light that those who make movies live for and thought about the nature of Nordic genius.  The people of the North may not have a lot of them, but those they have are damn interesting.

I also wondered how anyone who enjoyed Bergman's "frivolous" movies and read Thorstein Veblen for fun was ever supposed to fit into W's America.  The short answer is, we are not designed to fit in.  For example, my grandfathers were quite dissimilar people.  One was a stout Republican Kansas farmer, a pillar of his community who played in a string quartet and served as a deacon of the Lutheran Church.  The other was a hard-drinking, hard working social democratic steelworker in Chicago.  Yet they had two things in common--both were Swedes and both bitterly opposed USA involvement in World Wars I AND II.

In the film, "The Good Shepherd" there is an incredibly descriptive exchange between Joseph Palmi as played by Joe Pesci and Edward Wilson as played by Matt Damon at the 2:05:48 mark.  (Palmi is a fictional composite of Santo Trafficante Jr. & Sam Giancana while Wilson is loosely based on the life of James Jesus Angleton so we can assume this conversation is an invention of the writer Eric Roth.)

Palmi:  Let me ask you something.  We Italians, we've got our families and we got the church.  The Irish, they have their homeland.  The Jews, their tradition.  Even the niggers, they got their music.  What about you people, Mr Wilson?  What do you have?

Wilson:  United States of America.  The rest of you are just visiting.


Display:
I see this movie as the statement of someone who dearly wants to piss off his old man yet still wants to be taken seriously by him.

I remember watching this movie the summer before my senior year of high school with my two best friends.  We had no idea what to expect.  We quickly fell into a trance as we watched it.  Afterwards, we knew it was unlike any movie we had ever seen, and were frustrated because though we sensed a profound message in it, we were baffled as to what it was.

I would love to read a diary elucidating your cheeky preacher's kid interpretation of the film.

In the film, "The Good Shepherd" there is an incredibly descriptive exchange ...

Yes, that scene, and what Damon's character says at the end of it, hit me hard, too, because at first, it seemed to have the ring of sinister truth to it.  But upon reflection, it strikes me as too pat paranoid-conspiratorial.  Even for that period.  The supremacy of Anglo-Saxons in the U.S. power establishment has been on the way out since the beginning of the last century.  (No doubt it was Eric Roth's intended irony that James Jesus Angleton was half Mexican.)  If there are "Anglo-Saxons" in the upper echelons of the U.S. elite who are still trying to ensure Anglo-Saxon supremacy in their country, they are loons.  They will eventually fade into the permanent irrelevance where they belong.

The strength of the U.S. -- and the West in general -- is in its inclusive diversity.  One generation ago, a marriage between an Italian Catholic and an Irish Catholic in Boston was considered a "mixed marriage".  Today such a notion would be quaint to say the least.  It will take a long time, but eventually the U.S., and the planet, will get to a point where Edward Wilson's mindset of ethnic supremacy and hierarchy will be as outdated as believing that the world is flat.

Yet they had two things in common--both were Swedes and both were bitterly opposed USA involvement in World Wars I AND II.

Was this due to a typically Swedish strain of pacifism?  I vaguely recall a diary or discussion thread that dealt with modern Sweden's traditionally pacificist political outlook (though I may be mistaken).  Is there a conventional wisdom as to where this pacifism emerged from?

I also wondered how anyone who enjoyed Bergman's "frivolous" movies and read Thorstein Veblen for fun was ever supposed to fit into W's America.  The short answer is, we are not designed to fit in.

The operative word being W's.  America is a work in progress.  We -- you and I, everybody -- are designed to fit in that America, the one that we must continue deliberately to evolve with hard work and perseverance.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Aug 13th, 2007 at 05:43:22 AM EST
One generation ago, a marriage between an Italian Catholic and an Irish Catholic in Boston was considered a "mixed marriage".

Sorry, I should have written "Two or three generations ago".

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Aug 13th, 2007 at 05:52:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this bruno-ken.  Very thoughtful.

I would love to read a diary elucidating your cheeky preacher's kid interpretation of the film.

This would perhaps fill a whole book.  But simply, in Protestant societies, the clergy was the dominant intellectual class for several centuries.  This made it an occupation that provided an entry into the upper classes for young men of ambition--especially in countries such as Sweden with a state church.  Bergman's father was certainly this kind of social climber.  The problem with being a clergyman, however, was that the career advancement wasn't based on scholarship but a reputation for being a stern moralizer.  This fact cannot be hidden from the children.  So the preacher's kids grow up completely comfortable with the language of moral authority and an understanding that this is just a tool like a loan portfolio is to a banker. This leads to an insider's perspective.  I heard my first funeral joke at 9.  Playing chess with death is a sophisticated funeral joke--one that says Bergman understood the implications of his father's careerism.

Was this due to a typically Swedish strain of pacifism?

I think so.  Folks seem to forget how warlike the people of the North once were.  I read somewhere that the Swedish Army still has more captured battle flags than any other on earth.  One effect of this vast experience of warfare is that all illusions of the "glory" of war are eventually shattered.  The other effect is that that eventually everyone who thinks war is a good idea is eliminated from the genetic pool.  Swedes are not pacifists like Ghandi--they are much more pragmatic.  For them, warfare is the strategy of the partially evolved and the extremely stupid.  The fact that war is evil is a trivial argument by comparison.  And because they have the battle flags to prove them, these assumptions are not questioned by reasonable Swedes.

The operative word being W's.  America is a work in progress.  We -- you and I, everybody -- are designed to fit in that America, the one that we must continue deliberately to evolve with hard work and perseverance.

I would love to believe you are correct.  But I didn't fit in well with Johnson's and Nixon's war against the Vietnamese either.  Trust me on this, if my culture had ANY influence in this country, we would NOT be killing people in Iraq, we would NOT have for-profit predatory medicine, we would NOT be having a phony debate on climate change, etc.  (This is not to say Swedes are perfect--the role the Nobel committee has played in legitimizing the nutball wing of the economics profession should be considered a crime against humanity.)


"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 04:00:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedish pacifism developed greatly after loosing the over sea (Baltic sea that is) empire. Squeezed between two emerging greater powers - Russia and Germany - war was for a very long time not an option. Sure there was the late 19th century dreams of reqonquering Finland (from Russia) and uniting Scandinavia under the Swedish kings, but there was no possibility to do so. Sweden went from having a war (almost) every year up to 1814 to not having any wars at all. Thus those politicians and thinkers who scorned war as a mean were succesful, while the warhungry was unsuccesful. I think this left a mental-cultural impression on how to be succesful in life.

BTW, there was some contemplation on attacking Russia in 1914 to get Finland back, but it was deemed impossible given the state of Swedens military. (Good topic for contrafactual history though, given how even ww1 was.) And Sweden sent volonteers to Finland during the winter war (1939-1940), with equipment, officers and all. But Sweden has not been in a formal war since 1814, and that might be some kind of record.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 11:37:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seventh Seal did the same thing to me.

I have an older 'artisitic' sister, who was my guide in what to watch and hear as I grew up in a middle-class nominally Christian family.  I was 16 when I saw my first Bergman. She also made sure I listened to Thelonius Monk in the same year, and Phineas Newborn.

I became a denizen of the tiny Cameo cinema in Leicester that showed a very catholic mix of movies and saw just about every advanced French movie up to and including New Wave. I also subscribed to 'Sight and Sound' and 'Movie' and 'Cahiers du Cinéma' (which was a struggle with my schoolboy French). I also got into Sam Fuller ('Merrill's Marauders' was a special favourite - probably because my father was in India during the war).

It was the camerawork that facinated me - Henri Decaë, Greg Toland (Welles) and later Richard Leacock, the Maysles etc. But my defining moment was the release of The Eclair silent synch 16mm movie camera that turned me from a passive observer into active participant.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Aug 13th, 2007 at 05:46:40 AM EST
On occasion, make certain you tell your sister how much you appreciate what she brought to your life.  An introduction to Ingmar Bergman and Thelonius Monk is a serious gift.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 04:02:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have told her frequently ;-) We are very close.

I have tried to follow the same process with my daughters - introducing stuff to them that has moved me, without any lecturing or directives. But happy to answer their questions afterwards, if they wish.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 04:25:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I went to Catholic schools in western Pennsylvania and then to a liberal arts college in the American Midwest, where I saw my first non-Hollywood films, mostly in the monthly student-run Cinema Club screenings.   It took me at least a year to understand the basic film language those movies employed, although I was fascinated from the start.  Bergman was of course always on the Cinema Club menu, along with the French New Wave, Italian films,a few Japanese films.  I had a slightly different take on "The Seventh Seal" but it did also remind me of doctrinal discussions, and the portentiousness of sermons, especially during our high school retreats (some of which were straight out of "Portrait of the Artist...") Nevertheless I was taking these issues very seriously my first few years in Illinois, as college was causing those familiar "agonizing reappraisals." Eventually I also started writing about film.    

Last year I sought out the DVD of "Wild Strawberries," another Bergman film full of summer, which I first saw that first or second year of college.  It's a wonderful movie, and the DVD has some terrific extras, including a long interview with Bergman at 80.  It's worth checking out...What if we'd had DVDs in the 60s?        

"The end of all intelligent analysis is to clear the way for synthesis." H.G. Wells "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." Bob Dylan

by Captain Future (captainfuture is at sbcglobal dot net) on Mon Aug 13th, 2007 at 05:45:06 PM EST
I recently saw Wild Strawberries as well.  About halfway through it, I turned to my partner an remarked, "No WONDER this blew us away--I think this film came out the same year as Beach Blanket Bingo."

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 04:07:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somewhere I came across a movie review site that I recall was called Captain Future. Is this yours?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 04:29:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My (main) site is called Captain Future's Dreaming Up Daily, and I've written about movies occasionally there.  But it wasn't and isn't a movie review site exclusively or even mainly, so maybe it's another site you found.

"The end of all intelligent analysis is to clear the way for synthesis." H.G. Wells "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." Bob Dylan
by Captain Future (captainfuture is at sbcglobal dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 01:51:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...but Bergman was a nazi supporter. Sorry about being blunt, but sometimes bluntness is the only way. Actually he was quite open about that he had supported the nazi regime up until 1946 and viewed the reports of concentration camps as propaganda from the allies. I think he said in some intervue that he cried when he heard that Hitler had died. Later he regretted his support for the nazis.

This does not - in my view - detract anything from the quality of the movies.

The reason I raise this is partly beacuse it is generally omitted even though Bergman was open about it. And I think this omission is part of the view of the nazis as (unhuman) beasts and the Holocaust as a singularly evil event which can only be perpetrated by beasts. If we fail to see why it happened we learn nothing.

There is nothing surprising really in Bergmans support, he came from a middle class european home and in those days supporting the nazis was a common thing among middle class europeans. Not that everyone did it, but it was common. Another young swedish man who was a nazi supporter at the time and went on to become famous was Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA.

I think part of the reason why it is generally omitted is partly because so many were nazi supporters in those days. But there is also the aspect that Bergman admits it freely, but does make retribution the focus of his life. It was stupid, he did it, he went on with his life. Just as millions did. And that might be the hardest part to square with our myths of what the nazis were.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 11:57:23 AM EST
Yes, I read how he had been a nazi supporter in his youth.  Young people can often make mistakes.  The fact that he spent his adult life refuting those mistakes is so much more important.

Another point worth mentioning.  While most of the world staggered from the effects of the Great Depression, Germany was the first to recover.  This was such an accomplishment that many people were willing to over look the rest of the problems the Nazis had inflicted on their own society and soon on the rest of Europe.  This misplaced admiration was not confined to the middle class kids of Sweden--Time Magazine made Hitler their "Man of the Year" in, I believe, 1938

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 01:25:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Often the picture is not clear, especially when it is stage-managed. I believe there are many in the US who will later find themselves distraught at their former support for the Bush vision of the Homeland.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 01:31:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I HOPE you are correct.

I am still disappointed by how few people in USA are sorry about what we did to the people of Vietnam, or Afghanistan, or Iran, or Chile, or, or.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 03:54:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I AM prone to overoptimism ;-)

And maybe I talk out of the top of my hat. I've never lived in the US, but been on extended movie production visits quite a few times up to about '86. And I have quite a few ex-pat US friends in Scandinavia.

Perhaps Europe is more of a 'forgive and forget' area, with far more cultural turmoi, and that has lead to the sort of robustness that comes from intellectual diversity. We Europeans have done, and are still doing, terrible things to each other at the SE edges (and elsewhere).

It is looked upon now more as hooliganism - we don't like it, we don't understand it, but since these people come out of the same 'system' as us, then we have some responsibility also. Does this make sense? I am not trying to put any bi-polarity into it - it is a nuance of difference between US and EU. It could also be about pride.

By and large, imo, Europeans are not very proud of Europe as an entitiy. "It's OK, but it could be so much better" There is an acceptance that it is not the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is however, better than what has gone before. We can all agree that we have just had too much fighting.

I have the sense that this feeling is not prevalent in the US - the feeling that the current US is better than what went before. The cosmetic pride that you see everywhere in the US presents a classic Bateson double-bind when contrasted with a perceived failure of progress.

Everyone on this planet is motivated to greater effort by the feeling that things are getting better. This is the sub-text of all Bush speeches. But they also have to actually GET better, otherwise the effort fades.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 04:24:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody in America believe Bush any longer, except his Fundamentalist core.  The poll numbers show that something like three-quarters of the public believes the country is going in the wrong direction.

But it's true that the idea of living peacefully as a value has not even been spoken about in recent years.  

"The end of all intelligent analysis is to clear the way for synthesis." H.G. Wells "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." Bob Dylan

by Captain Future (captainfuture is at sbcglobal dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 01:56:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We can all agree that we have just had too much fighting.

This is the big difference. People here know people personally who lived through war - meaning those who lost everything while their home cities were pounded into rubble and had to try make a new life with just a suitcase and whatever survival urge they could muster.

In the US, war is a Hollywood invention. The bad guy falls off a burning balcony yelling 'Arrrgh!' Cut to end credits. It's entertainment and mythologised machismo. No one is made homeless and people don't really die, because - look - they're back in a different movie six months later. And have probably been through a very public marriage/divorce/rehab in the meantime.

There are always a few traumatised muttering vets saying war is bad. But for all the flag waving and drum beating, no one has much time for them, because they're a gruesome reminder that the fantasy isn't real. So - ignored.

The US won't change its collective mind about war until most of the population has first hand experience of it - and that really won't be a fun thing to live through.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 07:09:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would give you 10 "4s" if I could.  Excellent.

I like to say that in USA, war is treated like a football game.  The same terminology is used down to where an all-out pass rush is called a "blitz."

Not surprisingly, Bush the Dim was once a cheerleader.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 12:44:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sports is the medium in which is cultured 90% of what's wrong with western society...

that good ole 'team spirit', kill, kill, kill...

you're right about the words they use to describe sports in the usa.

the cubs strangled the bears...

the lakers destroyed the whatever....

when the tv turns to sports i feel the air around it start to go 'duuh'!!!

well, sometimes athletic performance has aesthetic value, and good teamwork is a joy to behold, but these are just the icing on a very ugly cake, that of what happens to critical thinking, and of how large crowds wipe it away, in favour of the bellowing herd instinct.

it's an excuse to go barking mad, in public, with strong incentive to remove all forebrain activity and go completely limbic*...

aaah, regression, nothing like it! feels so good and 'normal' to be 'just like everybody else'....

and the morons annihilated the braindead...

*(...or 'postal' as the yankees put it.)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 05:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US won't change its collective mind about war until most of the population has first hand experience of it - and that really won't be a fun thing to live through.

Being as it is that I don't believe anyone is in the mood or has the firepower to invade the US, it's going to have to be another civil war. And I think that's a very long-term prospect.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 06:16:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say that the German economic recovery was used more as a counterexample against the booming Soviet economy of the era.

While there might be some issues with whether the actual growth numbers were real, the Soviet economy was doing marketly better than the capitalist west during the Great Depression, something that had wide repercussions on views about the role of the state and on economic control.

by Trond Ove on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 05:28:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have read a lot of the USA economic literature of the 30s.  There is barely any mention of what was happening in USSR.  Of course, a LOT had to be happening--how else does one explain Magnetogorsk or those tanks and guns that won the battle of Kursk?

On the other hand, the German economy was studied extensively.  And much of it was on public display--i.e. air shows, auto races, etc.  Therefore, when folks discussed strategies for coping with the Depression, it was usually the German example that was used.

Thanks for your comment.  

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 12:40:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where did US economic literature get into the picture? I thought you were talking about Bergman and his middle class background.
by Trond Ove on Thu Aug 16th, 2007 at 08:31:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My older uncle (who was a teenager during the much of the 1940s) told me that Finnish youngsters idolizing the German airforce pilots and regarding them as heroes wasn't particularly uncommon during WWII. They didn't have a clue as to what went on in the concentration camps, of course.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 05:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The link Finland - airforce led me to check up the Finnish swastika:

I knew it was used by the Finnish airforce during ww2:

And this is the story behind it:

The Swedish count Eric von Rosen gave the Finnish White government a Thulin Typ D aircraft.[...]

Von Rosen had painted his personal good luck charm on the Thulin Typ D aircraft, which was a blue swastika. This was to become the insignia of the Finnish Air Force. The white circular background was created when the Finns tried to paint over the Thulin air academy advertisement.[3] The swastika was officially taken into use after an order by Mannerheim on March 18, 1918. The FAF had to change the swastika insignia after 1945, due to an allied control commission decree, where all swastikas had to be abandoned. However, the original swastika can still be found in regimental flags and medals, especially in the air force.

wikipedia of course

So it predated the German one. Swastikas was just one of those things that were popular during that period.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 10:04:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And here is another tidbit from wikipedia

The United Kingdom declared war on Finland on December 6, 1941, but did not participate actively in the Continuation War.

Which is a perfectly good falsification of the thesis that democratic nations don't have wars with each other.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 at 10:42:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While i'm smiling on one of the few summer nights we've had this year... and digesting comments about this Wild Strawberry character and Nazis and the depression economy... and thinking as always about the language of film, its vision and misuse in a commercial age... i can imagine that Mr. Bergman might want to rest a bit before returning here to finish some of the projects for which he didn't have the experience to finish.  He'll probably be a bit distracted by Woody Allen's unrequited love, but he'll still have the moxie to spurn Spielberg.  The next few bardos might do him wonders, but i'm lost trying to imagine what he would do if born today, and especially if he was reborn in amurka.

Funny (in a swedish way), it's raining now.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 at 06:25:25 PM EST


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