Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is this really journalism?

I know our shooting has been big news all over the world but The Times really hit the rock bottom.

Roger Boyes writes his Analysis with the title:

Similarities to other massacres - but this was a very Finnish affair

He starts his article:

In the old days Finns used to believe in the dark power of Tuonela, the mythical land of the dead. Now they believe in YouTube, the land of the virtual living.

After that he finds the similarities with the Virginia Tech massacre, but then continues:

Yet despite the common features with other massacres, the shoot-up in Tuusula was a very Finnish affair.

Finland is a land of wide open spaces, between 16-17 people per square kilometre. Lakes often separate neighbouring farmsteads. At this time of year it is sunk in almost permanent half-light and Finnish families count the days to their winter holidays when they can flee to the bright sunlight of south-east Asian resorts.

Clinical depression is high, the suicide rate too. But above all the Nordic winter isolates the young in the small towns: they arrive at school in the dark and leave it in the dark, travelling long distances to their homes. Friendship in the traditional sense is often a summer luxury.

And so friendship becomes virtual. The social networking sites are switched on the moment the Finnish teenager returns home. YouTube substitutes for television, which is regarded as dreary and middle-aged. About 75 per cent of all Finns use the internet. And Finland, the cradle of Nokia, has some of the cheapest mobile phone rates in Europe. Kids as young as 6 take mobiles to school; a child’s first text message is a matter of parental pride. None of this is unusual for modern Europe, but in Finland the high-tech world has become a normal, rather than an exceptional, substitute for the world of human contact. A youth isolated at school sinks even deeper into isolation when he has left the school gates: a recipe for trouble. Even more so in a country where guns are so readily available; Finland has the third-largest per capita ownership of handguns in the world.

The youth who ran amok signalled his intentions using the codename Sturmgeist89. The word means “storm-spirit” in German and probably refers to a Norwegian heavy metal band, but it provides a marker of sorts: when he took the gun in his hand he seems to have imagined himself as a hero, a corrector of wrongs. There is nothing very modern or YouTube-ish about that self-image. In ancient times the Finns used to worship Ukko, the mythic god of the sky and thunder.

After that he states what happened and has added a part of the manifesto the murdered published before his act.

Very hasty analysis without any background info, I would say!

One of his errors I just have to correct. We may have the third-largest gun ownership per capita but that is because each gun owner has about 2.5 guns. The main reason for having them is hunting. I personally don’t know anybody who owns a gun, but I live in a city.

Boyes got 217 responses to his article becoming one of the most read writers on Times online.

Most of the comments were from Finnish people but here is an example of a response from John, Helsinki:

To all Finnish.

As an UK citizen who lives and works in Finland I have to say Im sorry for mr. Boyes words. Ive been living in Helsinki for 10 years now and I've discovered that Finnish people are kindest, most open hearted people I've ever met.

Times used to be a quality paper but this article is so sad and show of poor journalism that first time in my life Im embarrassed for my countryman.

Roger, not a good show. Shame on you.

Because of the huge amount of comments Roger Boyes wrote a response to the comments. The commentators opinion was that he had never been here but it turned out that he has been here a lot, for 30 years. Maybe it is too long for a Brit because even his response is offensive. This explains why he did not consider the safety of UK.

He also lists the best 4 comments:

Oh yes, when I heard of this tragedy, I instantly thought of the dark powers of Tuonela and the mighty Ukko. I would like to call my friends and talk about this but I can't, because it's already dark and I'm feeling depressed. All I can do now is wait for the summer and just hope that my friends are still alive when it arrives. Thank God I still have my YouTube. Riikka, Tampere, Finland

Still upset about F1, are you Mr Boyes? Karolina, Helsinki, Finland

I'd really like to get closer look on this article but it's time for my monthly nightswim. Mr Boyes, if you ever visit Finland I have a free bed for you. Maybe we can go shooting wolves or something. Janne, Hollola, Finland

At least we Finns know how to GOOGLE! Katri, Suomi, Finland

Maybe it is time for me to go shoot the polar bears from the back yard. They are disturbing my hibernation!


Anonymous said...

I flipped over to the artice expecting something more than the breeze through he gave it. An article like that - it's funny it should be in the "Times Online".

Leena Helttula said...

I was totally amazed since it gave so few facts and really, it seemed like he never had been in Finland. If it was meant to be a joke it was not funny...