Scandinavian Heavy Metal Sumo Knitting and the Death of Non-Comformity

 

In the late ’80s I was living with a Swedish girl who lived in Hedenaset – just across the border from Finland, way up north above the Baltic Sea. Yes, winters were cold. And dark. But summers were nice. And she was gorgeous. So there you go.

We would go to discos over in Finland and it was quite the scene. This was in the era of the ’80s outrageous androgynous colorful metallic fashion, and Euro-synth-punk music. In northern, rural Finland. It was, well, it was quite the scene. I’d be sitting in a corner booth, watching colorful flashing lights over the dance floor filled with some of the strangest looking people you’ve ever seen.

I grew up on a hog farm in an Amish community in southeastern Ohio. I was wearing jeans, boots, and a denim jacket. These people looked like David Bowie on a bad acid trip. I, of course, sat there calmly and tried to appear bored, like nothing unusual was happening. Even as an 18-year-old farm boy, I somehow intuitively understood that the more absurd one’s behavior, the more seriously one tends to take oneself, and the more violent one’s likely reaction to ridicule. So I played it cool.

I was reminded of my time in ’80s Finnish discos when Finland recently made the news by hosting the heavy metal knitting world championships. Scandinavian heavy metal is even worse than other heavy metal, although for some reason it’s not quite as bad when accompanied by sumo wrestlers and intense knitters wearing odd costumes. Although I shouldn’t make fun, because come to think of it, I’m not sure what one is supposed to wear when knitting on stage between a heavy metal band and sumo wrestlers.

The YouTube video below is well worth 90 seconds of your time. You’ll want the sound on. You never know – you may learn something! Well, you probably won’t. But it’s still worth 90 seconds of your time:

This video may seem a bit odd, to you. You may be thinking, “Those Finns must drink even more vodka than I thought they did. Before breakfast.” But I was unimpressed. After my experience in the discos of northern Finland in the era of ’80s androgynous metallic fashion, I found this video to be a bit, well, a bit boring, frankly. These people are obviously trying to be crazy and bizarre. Because apparently, none of them were at the same discos I was. If they had been, they would stop trying to appear strange. Strange is a moving target, and it only moves in one direction. And it has already moved way past these people, way back in the ’80s.

This increasing difficulty experienced by those who endeavor to appear strange paradoxically makes increasingly strange behavior appear increasingly boring. We become jaded, and those who seek our attention tend to get ignored.

And people willing to do ridiculous things to attract attention to themselves really can’t stand being ignored. The woman at left demanding congressional respect while wearing a vagina costume must wonder why nobody is paying attention to her.

I feel bad for them, really. This has always worked before. A man wearing mascara in 1986 attracted attention. Now, he has to surgically mutilate his genitals to attract attention. And even that is becoming blasé. Again, strange is a moving target. And it only moves in one direction.

Which presents a problem for the left, who present themselves as champions of the outsiders of society. Even those who go to great lengths to make themselves outsiders. Would the heavy metal knitter from the video who dressed up as a Viking bride (I think) have a chance at being nominated to President Biden’s cabinet? Probably not – she is still white, after all. On the other hand, she’s obviously putting a great deal of effort into conforming with the non-conformity which is so trendy now, so maybe Assistant Secretary of Education or something?

I don’t know. It’s complicated. President Biden is doing his best. Under difficult and ever-changing circumstances.

Joe Biden recently nominated Dr. Rachel Levine to become the first transsexual something-or-other to serve as federal something-or-other in the Department of Health and Human Services. GLAAD praised this courageous choice by President Biden, pointing out that 19% of trans-sexuals have no health insurance. Which obviously explains Mr. Biden’s selection of Dr. Levine. I mean, there you go.

On the other hand, it’s also possible that he’s less interested in transsexual health insurance than he is in the perception of diversity in his administration, which these days, has become much more complex than having a certain percentage of blacks in every photo-op.

Is Dr. Levine sufficiently diverse? I don’t know – he or possibly she is still white, after all. On the other hand, she or possibly he is obviously putting a great deal of effort into conforming with the non-conformity which is so trendy now, so maybe Assistant Something-or-Other in the Department of Health and Human Services is reasonable.

I don’t know. It’s complicated.

I’m not sure anybody on the left plans past next week. But if they do, I wonder where they see this going? What will a diverse presidential cabinet look like in 10 years? 20 years? Once David Bowie is president, who the heck do you nominate as Assistant Something-or-Other in the Department of Health and Human Services?

And at what point do people just lose interest in all this, jaded from decades of increasingly earnest efforts at ridiculous insincerity? Will we return to the ’80s, when such people would earn a roll of the eyes rather than a presidential cabinet appointment?

I don’t know. It’s complicated.

Strange is a moving target. And it only moves in one direction.

I can’t help but wonder where all this is going. I wonder if Democrat leaders wonder, too?

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  1. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    Thank you for the dark hilarity!  It’s so good now-a-days, to have something actually elicit a chuckle let-alone a full-throated Ha!  

    And then this:

     “And at what point do people just lose interest in all this, jaded from decades of increasingly earnest efforts at ridiculous insincerity?”

    Dang.  My husband and I are well into our 70’s.  I fear we won’t be around long enough to witness this ennui.

     

    • #1
  2. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    I confess that I could not watch for the recommended 90 seconds. I may never find out who is the champion of the world of knitting in the presence of metal that is heavy. Well, I did fast-forward, if that’s what dragging the slider is. But I was too bored to care.

    My fear is, however, that quite a few people nowadays never get bored with stuff like this. Which is alarming. I have long cherished the hope that yes, at last, boredom will prevail, and make this stuff go away more effectively than any law could. But I really doubt that.  To answer the post’s closing question: no. I don’t think Democrat leaders wonder at all.

    • #2
  3. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    It a good thing they have the meatballs the music will not cut it.

    • #3
  4. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I’ve always heard the cliche that Finns are “melancholic.” But that may go aways to explaining heavy metal knitting.

    • #4
  5. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Glad to see you’re feeling better.

    But, after watching this video, I’m not.

    • #5
  6. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    The left is so ridiculous. It would be hilarious…if they weren’t so capable of screwing up 10’s of millions of regular, honest people’s lives.

    • #6
  7. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’ve always heard the cliche that Finns are “melancholic.” But that may go aways to explaining heavy metal knitting.

    The area of Sweden I lived in was part of Finland until fairly recently – after WWII, I think.  I can’t remember why they were moved over, but as I recall it had something to do with a sort of apology after the Soviet Union really pissed off the United States.  But I really can’t remember.  My girlfriend had a Finnish name, not Swedish, as did most people who lived in her area.  The old people there spoke Finnish, the middle aged people spoke Swedish, and the young people wanted to speak English, because it was cool.

    I think a majority of the adults there would be considered alcoholics in the United States.  Very taciturn, few displays of affection or joy in public, very stoic.  When they did smile, it was with their mouth, not their eyes. 

    This was way up north, however.  Southern Finland may have been different.

     

    • #7
  8. Vance Richards Inactive
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Heavy Metal knitting is still better than Urban Contemporary knitting (or is it racist to say that).

     And yeah, as much as I enjoy mocking other countries, when America has people who dress up like vaginas, or pretend to have one, then I guess I have to give the rest of the world a pass . . . and just focus on mocking Americans.

    • #8
  9. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    How come all I see is people dressed up as vaginas?  How come there are no penis people?  I think there’s a serious case of discrimination going on here.  Vaginas but no penises?  I’m offended. 

    • #9
  10. She Member
    She
    @She

    Morons.  They’re all morons. The Finnish word for Finland is “suomi.” Perhaps it’s all just a bad (very bad) pun?  (From the interviews conducted among the audience, I suspect most of the people up on stage are not actually Finnish, anyway.  Sort of like a BLM parade.)

    I don’t want to hear any more from those people who are pretending to knit, using what appear to be drain pipes and ship’s hawser, until they’ve mastered traditional Nordic techniques such as nålebinding, seed-patterning, and techniques from the Korsnas or Osterbotten areas of the country. 

    And I thought Mme. Defarge gave knitters a bad name.

    • #10
  11. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Dr. Bastiat:

    I’m not sure anybody on the left plans past next week. But if they do, I wonder where they see this going? What will a diverse presidential cabinet look like in 10 years? 20 years? Once David Bowie is president, who the heck do you nominate as Assistant Something-or-Other in the Department of Health and Human Services?

    And at what point do people just lose interest in all this, jaded from decades of increasingly earnest efforts at ridiculous insincerity? Will we return to the 80’s, when such people would earn a roll of the eyes rather than a presidential cabinet appointment?

    Even Republicans and conservatives still dutifully report on “the first woman” or “the first latino” or “the first left-handed person” to fill some managerial position without an iota of significance. There are no signs of this ending anytime soon. 

    Fictional visions of the future tend to follow one of two models. Either everybody dresses exactly the same in totalitarian fashion or everybody dresses outrageously in total, hideous anarchy. 

    • #11
  12. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Unlike Biden, Bowie had talent.

    • #12
  13. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    She (View Comment):

    Morons. They’re all morons. The Finnish word for Finland is “suomi.” Perhaps it’s all just a bad (very bad) pun? (From the interviews conducted among the audience, I suspect most of the people up on stage are not actually Finnish, anyway. Sort of like a BLM parade.)

    I don’t want to hear any more from those people who are pretending to knit, using what appear to be drain pipes and ship’s hawser, until they’ve mastered traditional Nordic techniques such as nålebinding, seed-patterning, and techniques from the Korsnas or Osterbotten areas of the country.

    And I thought Mme. Defarge gave knitters a bad name.

    She,

    I was hoping you would comment on this quite interesting post.  If you hadn’t, I would have been forced to mention you using the dreaded @whoever technique, which we have been advised to use sparingly and only with the proper intent.  But I don’t think you would have minded.

    This type of silliness happens all the time in New Orleans.  Most of it is just people who want to have some fun.  Mrs. Tim and I are free to ignore it, so we usually do.

    Tim

    P.S.  BLM parades aren’t Finnish either?  That’s surprising.

    • #13
  14. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    I think a majority of the adults there would be considered alcoholics in the United States. Very taciturn, few displays of affection or joy in public, very stoic. When they did smile, it was with their mouth, not their eyes.

    This was way up north, however. Southern Finland may have been different.

    As a person of 100% Scandinavian DNA, I would say probably no different. The old joke goes 

    How do you know if you’ve met an outgoing Swede?

    He looks at your shoes when he’s talking to you, not his own.

     

    • #14
  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    • #15
  16. She Member
    She
    @She

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    P.S. BLM parades aren’t Finnish either? That’s surprising.

    They might as well be.

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    I was hoping you would comment on this quite interesting post.

    Thanks.  I’d have weighed in earlier, if it weren’t for my current adventures in home improvement along with my friends Plumb Bob and Adjustable Wench.  (Oh.  Sorry.  That’s supposed to be Wrench.) Story to follow at some point…

    • #16
  17. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    At first I was worried you were delirious with the title. Now it’s weird that the title aligns with an actual “thing.”

    I was most impressed with the sumo knitter, meditatively knitting amidst the chaos and dissipation. That might be skill, or just the response we should all have for this nonsense.

    I was struck by this, that these days people are “putting a great deal of effort into conforming with the non-conformity which is so trendy.”

    In school smart teachers call this foolishness “A$$.” Attention Seeking Syndrome. And shake head with little response.

    Maybe that is where we’ve gone wrong, by indulging foolishness, and letting it run rampant on kid shows, ads, books, toys and media.

    May it all collapse soon.

    I can’t take it anymore.

    • #17
  18. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Jules PA (View Comment):
    Attention Seeking Syndrome

    . . . sufferers,

    otherwise known as Democrats 

    • #18
  19. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Dr. Bastiat:

    I’m not sure anybody on the left plans past next week.

    I don’t think it’s possible, when history started yesterday.

    • #19
  20. davenr321 Coolidge
    davenr321
    @davenr321

    https://youtu.be/7rwc3VGvlRY

    • #20
  21. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Trink (View Comment):

    Thank you for the dark hilarity! It’s so good now-a-days, to have something actually elicit a chuckle let-alone a full-throated Ha!

    And then this:

    “And at what point do people just lose interest in all this, jaded from decades of increasingly earnest efforts at ridiculous insincerity?”

    Dang. My husband and I are well into our 70’s. I fear we won’t be around long enough to witness this ennui.

    ~dresses up to shock the bourgeois, gets garden-hosed~ 

    Bourgeois: “Get off my lawn.” 

    • #21
  22. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Nitzer Ebb 1, Pearl Jam 2. 

    • #22
  23. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Weird is not free.

    Weimar Germany saw more young women turning tricks in Berlin than were in Bangkok or Tijuana. The shock of Europe’s first gay rights march and an artistic and philosophical attack on the normals made a lot of people actually believe that Hitler could be the cure for weird.  Weird turned into  a sick, evil caricature of normal values almost overnight. 

    The left’s bizarre perception of the Capitol rioters seems to be part of an intuition (fear) that they have called into existence a reaction that will not be some future Romney-like POTUS making mild adjustments but the next Trump taking the form they always imagined the first one would take. 

    Christopher Lasch speculated that a general absence of fathers living and enforcing a code of life would cause adolescents to fill that void with a distorted monstrous superego image ready to judge and condemn. Thus the trend that the greatest sin was to be judgmental and/or endorse traditional morals as in league with the monster.

    There is such a thing as natural and I think we are programmed to seek correctives. I think of John Walker Lindh who joined the Taliban probably in reaction to his father’s decision to leave his family for a male lover. What and who else do we have waiting for us in the next generations?

    • #23
  24. It's TGS with Cat III! Member
    It's TGS with Cat III!
    @CatIII

    Stupid competition is stupid isn’t the revelation I think you think it is, though I’m not sure what it even has to do with leftism. Finland has many metal bands, and their scene is hardly notorious for being progressive. Impaled Nazarene, a band more famous, influential, and important than any participating in this knitting nonsense, was targeted by leftist groups for their anti-communist song “Healers of the Red Plague” as well as nationalistic, anti-Soviet tracks like “Total War – Winter War”.

    Dr. Bastiat: A man wearing mascara in 1986 attracted attention. Now, he has to surgically mutilate his genitals to attract attention.

    So we get to the actual point you’re making. Is it really so hard to imagine people are transgender for reasons other than seeking attention? There are, of course, bearded men who don’t wear feminine clothing or modulate their voices, but demand to be treated as women, and those claiming to be non-binary, a term so loose it can be adopted by anyone at anytime. Call those people attentionwhores. But when someone puts in the money, time, and effort to get hormone therapy, change legal documents, undergo extreme plastic surgery, and possibly face ostracism from their families and community, I don’t doubt their sincerity. Also note that the trans people you’re most likely to be aware of are those who want to be noticed; those who who keep a low profile, who lead normal lives go unnoticed, but they’re there.

    No, I don’t expect the future Harris admin to have a sideshow for a cabinet. I expect them to, like Biden’s picks, be horrible philosophically, possibly incompetent, and to enact dangerous policies, but I realize that’s not as pressing an issue as pointing at the “freak” with mock horror.

    • #24
  25. It's TGS with Cat III! Member
    It's TGS with Cat III!
    @CatIII

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    There is such a thing as natural and I think we are programmed to seek correctives. I think of John Walker Lindh who joined the Taliban probably in reaction to his father’s decision to leave his family for a male lover. What and who else do we have waiting for us in the next generations?

    In a society more accepting of gays, Lindh’s father wouldn’t have bothered getting into a loveless marriage in the first place. Also, worth noting that heterosexual couples cheat on their spouses, too. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I seem to recall a former president and his personal lawyer doing such a thing.

    • #25
  26. Randy Webster Inactive
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    “the first left-handed person” to fill some managerial position without an iota of significance. There are no signs of this ending anytime soon. 

    This is hitting pretty close to home.

    • #26
  27. Randy Webster Inactive
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    She (View Comment):
    Morons. They’re all morons.

    • #27
  28. Randy Webster Inactive
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    She (View Comment):
    adventures in home improvement along with my friends Plumb Bob

    For most household projects, levels work better than plumb bobs.

    • #28
  29. Randy Webster Inactive
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    It's TGS with Cat III! (View Comment):
    But when someone puts in the money, time, and effort to get hormone therapy, change legal documents, undergo extreme plastic surgery, and possibly face ostracism from their families and community, I don’t doubt their sincerity.

    Nor do I.  I do doubt their mental health.

    • #29
  30. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    When he discovered the act wouldn’t get him the section 8, he became a…….bitter Klinger!

    And he’s got a gun!

     

    • #30
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