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[personal profile] marshtide
This evening, we watched a literature/culture show on SVT2. It's called Babel. I'm told it's pretty smart but also entertaining rather than stuffy. It's gender conscious, and also seems really thoughtful; I get the feeling the presenter asks very good questions. I'll go with seems and I get the feeling because of course I only understand bits and pieces; spoken Swedish is difficult for me without subtitles, and this is of course not a show for discussion of simple concepts such as one might find in a picture book*... but Native Speaker likes it a lot, and is if possible even more prone to rage at media than I am, so we're probably good. Tonight they had a male novelist on the show and asked him a lot of questions I think I'd only heard directed at female novelists in the past: about his children, his relationship with them, and how he feels his writing impacts upon his family life. It wasn't focused on to the exclusion of all else, but it got a nice little section of conversation, and oh boy, oh boy, we're actually admitting that family is not just an issue for women to worry about! I'm for this. Then they had a conversation about how the idea of genius can be really problematic.** I think I'm sold. Even with the thing where I barely understand. Roll on, fluency.

To be honest, I feel sort of refreshed by the whole thing. I'm quite used to the idea that culture shows will tend to be a bit patronising about some things, and gender is one of those; possibly I've just been embittered by The One Show back in the UK, which admittedly sells itself as a "magazine show" rather than a culture show and makes no claims to be highbrow, but is a fairly good example of the "entertaining" end of the UK TV spectrum: prone to stereotyping, good at taking ideas very much at face value, etc. More intelectual programs exist in the UK, yes, but I can't think of anything on TV that hits the same balance of smart, non-insulting and actually entertaining. There are some on the radio, maybe, but that's not a direct comparison either. (I also have more respect for BBC Radio at large than BBC TV. I have comparative-coverage-of-tricky-issues type anecdotes but then I'd be here all night, so maybe I'll save them.)

Anyway, oh boy oh boy, I know Sweden still has a lot of problems with gender equality, several of which have irritated me in recent weeks (scandal over female politician taking advantage of laws which allow couples to have the father be the one who stays home with the baby more than the mother, and how this apparently makes her a terrible human being - check. girls' football team getting horribly dismissive and patronising treatment compared to boys' football team run by same club - check.), but all the same. Feels better than home so far.

* By the way, I had never quite appreciated how difficult the language in picture books could be until I started reading them in another language. I'm just saying.

** although Swedish culture discourages people thinking they are too good, too important, or too anything, as far as I can tell - i vårt land så får man inte vara förmer and all that - so this might not be as unusual as it feels to my UK-trained mind.
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