måndag 1 februari 2010

Hi again!

I haven't written anything since last year. When I was travelling in CA and NYC during my winter break, internet access was a rare luxury. Once you are done with checking out my pictures, I'll get you updated.

Winter Travelling in US - Part 1

Winter Travelling in US - Part 2

Winter Travelling in US - Part 3

So when my friends Gunnar and Erik visited me, they realized I've adapted somehow to match a commoner's style in US. I started to watch sports, mostly NBA, and also Ivy League games cos I'm a Cornellian. I've also noticed the importance of economy to our daily life, following foreign exchange rates using the Windows Vista gadget on my desktop. One night in San Francisco, when I wanted to hide inside a bookshop from the windchill, I found this interesting book. It's called "Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street". In the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis in early 2008, the investmentbank Bear Stearns was among the first to fall. A few months before the financial apocalypse, Bear Stearns stock was valuable, with a prize of $133 per stock. In the end, when the Bear was being purchased, JP Morgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon set a prize of $2 per stock. The Bear, founded in 1923, had seen more than a handful of Wall Street companies rise and crumble. Just like any predator in an unforgiving, merciless process of natural selection, the Bear finally took its last breathe and joined the long list of casualties. Months later, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, pushing the financial crisis onto a whole different level. While this was happening, the common idiocracy in the liberal Sweden was trying to portray US as an empire in its last days, ready to be replaced by the "righteous" EU. What they failed to understand is the way world economy functioned. The American banks are "too big to fail"(a phrase popularized by Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of Fed. Congrats Ben for your second term!). When the big guys fall, they fall hard and crush the small men underneath their weight.

NBA is a good thing. It's the common denominator of Asians and Americans. In China, 9 of 10 guys either follow NBA, watch the game, or play basketball. Those 1 who dont are most likely the social outcasts. Besides, being a national sport in the states, there is no reason you dont know anything about it if you live here and are an Asian dude. Back in Sweden I only cared about World Cup, the Olympics and EUFA. The Swedish television never broadcast NBA games! They only show you soccer, handball and hockey. Hopefully, things are gonna change with one man: Jonas Jerebko, the Detroit Pistons' rookie, supposedly the first Swedish NBA player. (in reality, he's neither the first nor Swedish)

I found this funny article on Aftonbladet, the least credible paper in the world. Take a minute to read it.

If you can't understand Swedish, let me explain it to you in short. The author praised Jonas Jerebko's performance in a losing game, repeatedly calling his first game "an everlasting part of the Swedish sports history", and this guy the first Swede in NBA. The fallacies are:

Jonas Jerebko's father left Syracuse in his early years, moved to Sweden and got married. Ethnically, Jonas is only half-Swedish. Jerebko is not a Swedish lastname. The laughable word they used on Jonas is "
västgöten", it's the journalist's lame attempt of putting him into the same category as the fictional "Arn the Knight Templar".

Per definition, if Jonas is a Swede, then NBA have drafted two other Swedes before Jonas: Joakim Noah and Maciej Lampe. I have nothing against Jonas personally. He played well as a rookie. If this guy keeps up, he'll probably even become a candidate for MVP in the near future. With him in NBA, hopefully the basketball will get more media coverage in Sweden, making it easier for me to talk about it with people once I go back. What keeps getting on my nerves is the Swedish way of enlarging the penis with magnifying glass. Since Sweden is a small country with limited influence, what people do to raise the publicity is pinpointing one or few Swedish figures in any field, where they are either relatively famous, or related to something/somebody famous(the latter case occurs more frequent). In music, we got ABBA, Roxette, and Young Folks. In bussiness, IKEA. We also had Ericsson, Volvo, Saab, ABB, Autoliv, but these companies have more foreign stockholders than Swedish. In Hollywood, Stellan Skarsgard and Peter Stormare have been around for decades and are still playing supporting characters. In fact, when "Mamma Mia" was in the theater in US, Stellan's name didn't even appear in the ad. Jonas Akerlund is a good MV director, however, he's not as famous as his music videos. The archetype of this sentimentality is perhaps the reality show, "Swedish Hollywood Wives", the most-watched TV show when it aired. So if you consider yourself less generic than the Americans just because you are Swedish, take a second thought. Cos we are not.

Considering NBA, when Yao Ming was drafted by Houston Rockets in 2002 as the first-pick, the NBA industry exploded with the billion-class viewers in China. Recently, the zeal of seeing a Chinese NBA player has died down. Partly because it's somewhat trivial now. Since Yao's year, China had sent more players into NBA. An Asian face in the court just doesn't make you feel the same anymore. Conversely, you can say: since US is dominating NBA and FIBA, they wont brag about having Kobe and LeBron. They are just two players of the entire league. The act of exaggerating Jonas Jerebko's role in the Pistons proves Sweden's lack of talent in basketball. If you go on, the list could be made much longer:

IKEA: the only rich, successful bussiness
ABBA: the only famous band
Volvo: the only car people knows is from Sweden
Fugelsang: the only astronaut
Jerebko: Sweden's only player in NBA
Zlatan: the only talented "Swedish" soccer player
Robin Soderling: the only active Swedish tennis player
Bjorn Borg: the only tennis world-champion
J-O Waldner: the only world-champion in pingpong

In the future, this might happen: if Jonas' team is doing good, the Swedish media will focus on the few shots and steals achieved by this guy, calling them the winning stunts. If his team is bad, then either NBA will not be mentioned at all, or the blame will be placed on his teammates, until Jerekbo gets traded. Oh, the last thing I want to mention is: after hearing the Swedish news reporter pronouncing NBA as N-B- "aaaaa" a dozen times, only idiots remain sane.

5 kommentarer:

  1. Den här kommentaren har tagits bort av skribenten.

  2. I'm not much into sports myself, but I have a social excuse ... I'm a woman =P In this society is acceptable that women don't know much about sports and the thing is some of us do know alot about sports and are good at it! Sports have always been related to guys and women are somewhat discriminated. What you normally see on TV is male competitions ... female teams and competitions are normally undervalued.

    I've only been 6 months in Sweden and during the time I was there I haven't watched TV so not going to comment about sports in Sweden, but in Portugal I guess we have a good dose of sports that we display. The sport most guys follow here is obviously Football (or Soccer as you call it upthere in the US). The country almost stops when 2 of the 3 biggest teams play (Benfica, Sporting and Porto).

    Other sport that people follow here is Formula 1. I remember so well the times when, after lunch, my dad didn't let me change the channel so that he could watch the races. Tennis is also displayed, rarely they show some Roller Hockey (we don't have ice rings for ice hockey so, instead of playing it on ice we play it on regular floors with roller skates lol Portugal is pretty good at it), some Handball, some Volleyball, the "Paris-Dakar" Rally, Beach Football, the Bicycle Race around Portugal (bit similar to the "Tour de France").

    Those are the main sport events we have here that are displayed on national TV (we have a cable channel where they display sports 24/7 and there they display way more sports and where they show NBA events ... but you have to pay for it). When it comes to athletes we have a few known people, most of them football players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Figo, Pauleta, Rui Costa, the amaizing and cocky football coach José Mourinho lol, Tiago Monteiro in Formula 1 (the plays there but didn't win anything), Fernanda Ribeiro that won the gold medal in the marathon of the oylimpic games, Carlos Lopes that also won the gold medal in the marathon when he was on his 40s, Michelle Brito on tennis (daugther of emmigrants, but is still portuguese), Portugal also won some silver medals in Judo ... those are the ones I can think of right now.

    Sweden, by what you said, hasn't got that many sport events on tv and has famous sports people, but that doesn't mean the rest of us europeans are uninterested or bad at sports or that americans know more and are better at sports. We just have different attitudes towards it I guess and you know there are some sports where americans suck ... like football lol Americans don't know everything and are good at all the sports. Also, sport competitions might have a different dimention there because America is a big country (or as my dad used to say "the USA isn't a country ... it's a continent") and americans need to comepete more than in the small countries of Europe lol

  3. Ok i wasn't in my best mood when I wrote the blog entry... My point is not antagonistic against Swedish sports or glorifying the American sports league. The Americans watch quite a few sports that are not viewed anywhere else in the world, like American football. BTW, Super Bowl is about to take place this weekend, I'll watch it, hopefully the New Orleans Saints will win.

    In Sweden, NBA is underrated. It's not shown anywhere, even if you pay for the cable-TV. The reason why Swedish television broadcast handball but not basketball is probably because Sweden is bad at basketball. Since basketball got no coverage, few people know how to play basketball. Then again, it gives more reason of why you don't show NBA, cos nobody knows basketball! When you say Portugal is good at soccer, you think of the famous Portuguese soccer players such as Figo, Ronaldo, Rui Costa, and the coach like Mourinho. But when the Swedes say Sweden is good at soccer, it usually comes with one name only. Before it was Fredrik Ljungberg, now it's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is Slavic. This is the same thing everywhere, if Sweden has one famous name in any field people pretend they own the place. Before Jonas, NBA has no prestige in media and is treated like shit. Now that Jonas is there, suddenly the news speaks all about him and NBA, as if Jonas is the new Michael Jordan and NBA is Swedish National Basketball Association. It's ironic if you ask me. My irritation is directed against this Swedish sentimentality, I don't imply anything against Europe as a whole.

  4. Sweden is doing quite ok for its size and population :-P
    Afterall, happiness is more important than real achievement, so there is no need to rob the people of their pride and joy for their first NBA player.

  5. Only with its size and population in considerations. Conversely, you can argue China is doing horribly bad with its size and population. The Swedish media once accused China of stirring up nationalism among its citizens prior to Beijing Olympics, while failing to understand they are doing the same thing themselves. That article on Aftonbladet is a propaganda. Anyway, if someone with dark skin commits crime in SE they point out his immigrant background. If he's doing good like Jonas Jerebko or Zlatan, they omit this simple fact.