Can humor help to change focus?

Trygdekontoret's new character pokes fun at blogger "Fjordman."

Trygdekontoret's new character pokes fun at blogger "Fjordman."

Is it too early for humor in connection with the events that took place on July 22nd, 2011? NRK doesn’t think so.

Tonight a humor program, Trygdekontorer, presents its caricature of the blogger “Fjordman,” whose blog posts Anders Behring Breivik claimed were an inspiration to him.

The season premiere of Trygdekontoret will, in fact, use July 22nd as a backdrop. The name of tonight’s program is “The Angry Young Man Special.”

“The broadcast is really dedicated to the terrorist and aspects of him that are perhaps more universal than we would like to believe,” says program leader Thomas Seltzer to Aftenposten.

Tonight Trygdekontoret presents a new character, Heine Fjordland, a multi-handicapped right-wing blogger. He seems to resemble quite closely Peder Jensen, aka “Fjordman,” whose blog posts were quoted several times in Brevik’s so-called manifesto.

“This was actually a figure we came up with this spring, an extremely hateful blogger that does not see himself completely. The name came after what happened this summer. It has long been a myth that the toughest in the comment fields on the web are those who have the least in life. We therefore wanted to clarify this caricature. There is a huge leap from the reality and who these people are claiming to be. When I saw “Fjordman” in real life, he looked like a puppet who lives under a rock in Portveien 2,” says Seltzer, referring to a Norwegian children’s TV program.

Stand-up comedian Dag Sørås thinks it is past time Norwegians viewed July 22nd with a bit of humor, though he agrees it will not be easy.  “It will seem a bit spasmodic and unnatural. I see no humor in the specific terrorist act, but there is much that as happened around it that one can use. But people will not accept cheap humor around such a tragedy. If you really want to make it really funny, you must also be prepared to go wrong, and to learn from it,” he says.

“It requires fingerspitzengefühl, and an accomplished humorist,” he says to Aftenposten.no.
“I have not tried myself, but it will soon be time. Two months is quite a long time for people who are hurting mentally, who are musing on this, and cannot get it out of their heads. Then I think they need alternative ideas in the skull, and that’s where the humor can come in. It can help to change the focus. There is reason to fear that some will never get this out of their heads, but the humor can help them to push it a little more into the background,” he says.

Humorist Per Inge Torkelsen is of the same opinion. “We must make it possible to ridicule the kind of man that this mass murderer is, a man who lives in a role that does not exist, who believes he is world champion and will rule the world,” says Torkelsen to Aftenposten.

“It requires fingerspitzengefühl, and an accomplished humorist,” he says. “Although I have not tried myself, it is soon time. Two months is quite a long time for people who are hurting mentally, who are musing on this, and can not get it out of their heads. What they need now is alternative ideas in their skulls, and that’s where the humor can come in. It can help to change the focus. There is reason to fear that some will never get this out of their heads, but the humor can help them push it a bit towards the background,” he says.

Source: Aftenposten

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