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War and narcissism

Kristopher Schau has now drawn the essence of his anti-humanist project. Particularly interested is finding the complete contract for the sale of Schaus's soul at the online auction QXL in the book. A Norway at War thematizes human evil, despair, stupidity and general ugliness.


[Radiobok] In December 2004, the radio program Et Norge in War was taken off the air after only one season, and the three broadcasters Kristopher Schau, Øystein Karlsen and Morten Ståle Nilsen lost their contracts with NRK, despite the fact that during each broadcast they had drawn 100.000 Norwegians to the radios . The program aimed to be "a summary of life as it really is." It should show reality "seen in a life-affirming and anti-humanist perspective." However, for the NRK leadership, this became "too negative, dark, dead and gloomy", and after four months, the daily blackout was stopped, reportedly by broadcasting director John G. Bernander personally. There is now a selection of texts taken from the program in book form (dedicated to John G.).

Belgium, Faust and Hollywood. On the basis of the texts in A Norway at War, it is difficult to derive any clear message or idea. The anti-humanism that the authors have advocated lies in the fact that the book's seven chapters all in one way or another thematize human evil, despair, stupidity and general ugliness. Belgium, this European abomination that only seems to nurture bloodthirsty colonialists, pedophiles and bizarre pop culture (we are presented to singing, lesbian nun Soeur Sourie and Scrabble-playing punk Plastic Bertrand) has its own chapter. The same has the Faust myth. For the particularly interested, here is the complete contract for the sale of Schaus's soul at the online auction QXL. In the chapter "Hollywood Fates" we can read about the rise and fall of more and less famous actors. The pattern is the same for everyone: fame, money, alcohol, baptism, death. These chapters are evenly entertaining, at times funny, but without the power to arouse either the utter excitement or the outrage.

Norway, fighter's country of birth. "Norway" is the book's most relevant chapter. It presents a kind of alternative Norwegian history, a corrective to the 100th anniversary of the "orgy of well-bred complacent patriotism", which focuses on "the most bleak and shameful chapters" in our recent history. It begins with Samson Isberg, "Norway's best executioner" who during his career performed 15 neck cuts and continues with "Norway's Doctor Mengele", Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen who discovered that leprosy (leprosy) was an infectious disease by conducting experiments on people who had by no means given their consent. And from there it goes beating: racial hygiene and forced sterilization of Tatars, the press's tribute to fascism in the 1930s, Norsk Hydro's cooperation with the Nazis, and later during the Korean and Vietnam wars with the American war machine, and finally Aker Kvaerner's contract on maintenance of the Guantánamo base.

Everything is done away with in 21 pages – phui! (Where, by the way, what happened to the Jewish section, the Sami and the homosexuals?) Although none of this is directly unknown material, I do not disregard the fact that such a sweep throughout history fulfills a certain enlightenment function. The concise, anecdotal form sometimes makes the representations more than simple and sensationally hungry, but let it go. The chapter is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather a quick suppository for the average Norwegian where he sits squeezed against the TV screen while he tries to figure out how to vote for the Norwegian of the century.

Freak show. The chapter "Power" is dedicated to leaders who have achieved unlimited power despite personalities characterized by megalomania, disturbances of reality, cannibalism and floor-driven sexual perversion and consists of a series of mini-portraits – a freak show? of dictators and heads of state through the ages. About Hitler we can read, for example, that his "greatest pleasure was to curl up on the floor, naked, while a woman or several kicked, hit, pissed and turned on him." With Idi Amin, it was the other way around. He preferred to be in charge of the beating himself and is said to have on one occasion beaten his then wife, Medina, the fourth in a row of a double-digit number, so severely that he broke his own wrist. That she was pregnant with his own child did not play the slightest role.

The "power" chapter is one of the chapters that has withstood the transition from radio to book. Such a portrait may provoke a listener who is accustomed to hearing commercials, list pops and traffic messages in a state of unease and upset, but read one after another in book form, the effect is rather the opposite. The portrayed end up in an unfortunate competitive relationship with one another where they are vying to outdo each other in cruelty. Eventually, wife banking is ordinary, genocide rule and cannibalism at best “interesting”.

At night's end. The book's strongest part can be found in the last chapter, "The End." Here the authors deal with the West's last taboo, old age, for fear is no longer associated with our dying, but with our aging, aging until we become unrecognizable, ugly: “Like a slashed, washed-out serk, the skin hangs around the bony porous and Your defective skeleton, adorned with liver spots, varicose veins and warts. ”Against the youth worship, the authors set an interview with the then 31-year-old and cancerous Synøve Meshé Dueñas Whist, which was made in the program's last broadcast, 43 days before Whist died. Transcribed verbatim and no additional comments or explanations afterwards, the interview is devoid of all sentimentality. Schau, who is in charge of the interview, avoids any kind of hypocritical feeling and only lets Whist talk about what it's like to live with death as close as she does. I dare to say that Whist here puts words on Schau, Karlsen and Nilsen's project and lets her get the last word: “Everyone around me started talking about how unfair it was when I got cancer, and I think I will be a so flat things to say. For who the hell is it that said life is fair? "

Reviewed by Olaf Haagensen

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