Thursday, May 26

In short, Thursday, January 27th

We collect the newspaper’s short articles in the column «In short». Here is today’s post.

Artists and freedom of speech. Haakon 7. This is today’s short post.

This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.

If researchers are not to be honest, who are they to be?

“61 percent of Norwegian performing artists feel that their freedom of expression is less protected than before.” With this one the claim Professor Tore Slaatta set the stage for a large and also very heated debate on freedom of expression last summer.

I criticize Slaatta’s basis in a post in Aftenposten. He responds with condescending characteristics of me. There are many who experience ruling techniques, but it is a little extra shocking when it comes from a researcher with a professorship.

My point is that the figures in Slaatta’s report “Artists consider freedom of expression” is thin. At least in the part that describes the condition of the performing arts field. There are only 173 people who have responded, and they also belong to a fairly homogeneous group. Very many are members of the trade union Norwegian Dance Artists.

I think this is a legitimate objection to the report, and it would have been nice to hear what the author behind thinks about this weakness. The report and allegations of massive incitement were diligently referenced in almost all major media.

The Freedom of Expression Commission, of which I myself am a part, was sharply criticized so as not to take it seriously. Most people were probably also left with the impression that Norwegian performing artists are having a hard time.

But I never saw Slaatta make reservations, account for methodological challenges or the low response rate, neither in column form nor when the journalists interviewed him. Why did he not do that?

Violence and harassment must be dealt with, and those who have difficulty must receive support. But if the population is to maintain confidence in academia and the story they present about the world, it is important that researchers themselves actively inform about weaknesses in their own material. And the greater the attention from the press and society, the more important this duty of information becomes.

Tore Slaatta does not seem to share my view on this. It is a pity. Also for him.

Anki Gerhardsen, theater critic and journalist

Haakon 7. – a mythical monarch

On January 20, Tor Bomann-Larsen commented on my book «The Hero King Haakon. Symbol of war and peace ». He criticized me for doubting that Prince Carl (Haakon 7.) himself demanded a referendum on monarchy in Norway in 1905. It is not entirely precise. I also write that Bomann-Larsen has proved that the prince was in a referendum before the politicians decided it. There is no doubt that Bomann-Larsen knows this source material better than I do.

We agree that Prince Carl played a significant role in the referendum decision. After all, it was about his own future. The question, however, is whether the prince himself has decided to demand a referendum. I allow myself to ask questions about it, the impulse may have come from outside. I think none of us can finally answer this.

But my concern is another: I have written a book about the myths and stories around Haakon 7. and the significance they have had for strengthening the monarchy in Norway. Not least, the king’s opposition during the occupation was important (“the king’s no”). But Haakon VII’s standard narrative also includes the notions of the democratically elected monarch and king who in 1928 gave the government assignment to the Labor Party against the advice of bourgeois politicians (“I am also the king of the communists”). In short, a people’s king.

It is conceivable that I make the king’s political significance less than it was. But I am most concerned that the symbolic significance has been significant, not least during the war years. And Bomann-Larsen consciously plays on the symbols and myths. Read only from the last volume in the biography: “Since Olav the Holy, Norway had not had a head of state of such dimensions as the resistance monarch Haakon VII”. Nothing less.

Bomann-Larsen is in obvious danger of exaggerating the king’s significance and building on a monarchist ideology.

Carl Emil Vogt, historian and author

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