Theater of Cruelty

This is how Lem sees it

Steinar Lem has written a book that goes in well-known tracks, and it is not about his new yes position to the EU.


The little life, Steinar Lem's new book, is a strange printed matter. Though, it is unmistakably insidious from the first to the last page. On page 32, for example, he writes: “What would be the problem with spending luxury billions on vaccine programs for poor children and giving the little life in the rainforest and coniferous forest the eternal existence it is entitled to? There is no lack of knowledge, no money, no other resources. Only the will is missing. The will to limit one's unfolding – a limit that at least goes by the others' right to existence. And since existence is not enough, neither for women in Afghanistan nor the bears in Hedmark: dignity. "

And so it continues, more or less, through 15 essay-like texts or personal / private stories from the author's everyday life – small stories about the small life's raison d'être. In some places the lyrics are self-sacrificing, full of pathos, a bit instructive, but at best they are also ironic and sarcastic about a societal development that this front fighter for the organization The Future in Our Hands never gets tired of pointing out the madness of.

Animal protection

Some of Lem's personal descriptions are larger than themselves, they grow out of the confines of privacy and give us some general insights – or at least questions to think about. Nor should you have read so many of the pages in this book before the voice of the debatable Lem, indignant at the misery of the consumer and shopping society as he always is, tones out in all his moral anger. I think our society should be happy for this voice, no matter what we may think about what Lem has to report. As always, he has a lot to report, but many of us have heard it before.

Are there any common names, some red or green thread, in these 15 stories? Yes, so absolutely. The key word is expensive. The protection of animals, human neglect of all animal species other than themselves, as Lem sees it, causes the writer to become almost as oxygenated as a limb (I can't help it!). And of course the misery of the growth community, a curse that, like the climate devastation that is on the rise, has engaged Lem as long as he has been a public figure (and probably even longer).

But what is "the little life"? Yes, it is the small and defenseless, those who cannot argue for their rights – the tiny little children, the animals and the flowers. Lem is without a hint of irony in his role as a stubborn defense lawyer for these people condemned on earth.

A little pleasure

That it hurts a lot in this world, that our planet is not fair to us who inhabit it, both the undersigned and many with him have experienced long, long ago. Lem writes nothing in the book that changes this realization. There is little joy here. There is not necessarily an objection to the book – rather a statement. It is possible that Lem will defend himself by saying that he radiates a lot of joy and positivity about life as it could have been. And he tries – he should have – but there is always a but, as for example here: «I love Norway, but I am ashamed of the classic diseases of abundance: Pampering, the inflated self-circle, never to be satisfied with their material level, that the need for beauty is more and more absorbed by shopping and shifted to fashion awareness and color choices when renovating. "

Reading this book is almost like running a half marathon. During heavy moments along the way, you consider giving up, but eventually you end up exhausted, tired and happy to the finish. And think that pineapple will be long next time. But inside you know that you want to do this again.

It's easy to become obnoxious after reading. But Steinar Lem is comforted: Anyone who has seen a gap (and I have) can never be completely unhappy.

For private

Lemm's strongest side, also as a writer, is that his thoughts are never indifferent. He forces you (at least me) to take a stand. It is a good feature of a book of this kind.

I am almost as fond of predators as Steinar Lem. No, really, he and I disagree a lot. But in one area, we should be able to negotiate a consensus fairly quickly: hatred of center parties. Though, we have different reasons.

The author has made great changes to his young children, his wife, the home and the place where he lives. I understand that it should give the texts a dimension of love, a tribute to the simple and close. Had I been Lem's editor, I would have deleted a lot of this. The intention is good, but it gave me nothing more than what I could have read in a gossip magazine or in a "home of the Lem family" report. There is a difference between the personal and the private. The latter is rarely good literature. Unfortunately, some of these texts are private. This shadows the main message, regardless of whether the opposite has been the intention.

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