Swedish Parents can't name their kids whatever they choose.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Stelliform, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    Those freedom-hating Swedish ba$!@rds! Let's add them to the axis of evil. Candy fish will henceforth be known as Freedom Fish. :D
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #3
    Yeah, I know. It just doesn't seem to rise to the level of an offense that requires any more response from the rest of the world than for Sweden to be the butt of many jokes over it.

    Pass the Freedom Meatballs please. :p
     
  3. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #4
    Americans continue to have little understanding of countries with homogenous populations. The only parallel I can think of in the US is the habit of extremist religious types who only give their kids biblical names. Anyway, Sweden is not merely a country but a culture and an ethnicity, there's nothing wrong with maintaining that culture especially when the poor little ankle biter would have to endure a name that is impossible to live up to.

    You've posted a number of similar articles, the french headscarf ban comes to mind, and I wonder why? The US is rather unique in its cultural makeup. Just because we do things a certain way doesn't mean that the rest of the world has to or even should follow suit.
     
  4. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #5
    That's it, no more Volvos for me.

    Wait a sec, I've never owned a Volvo. Whew, that was close!
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #6
    Keep calling them Swedish Meatballs, at least that way you'll know for sure why their population is losing their balls.
     
  6. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #7
    don't know what's so special about that..it's common practice over here (yes even in switzerland)
    normally they are generous with foreign names etc but if somebody tries to give a kid like 41 names ,'funny' names,or naming them after famous celebrities they don't take it ...

    sure superman sounds funny _now_ but the kid has to live with that name after all...

    come on i saw names in the newspaper like "Kevin Fußenegger","Chris Mäser" and other ridiculous ones... not only does it look ugly but it soudns ugly as well

    i remember the kid who was named
    "Sue Köpfle"
    the american "Sue" combined with the (vorarlbergian) name "Köpfle" sounds exactly like the dialect word "Suköpfle" which means "Pighead" ... i wouldn't have allowed that

    (luckily my parents choose good names for us kids: Carmen,Markus, Michael)
     
  7. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #8
    Europeans think they're homogenous, but I saw just as many Africans in Rome as I do in any American city. Americans have tried to preserve a false homogeneity in the past, only to see it blow up in their face. Hmm... I think Europeans tried that once or twice, too, come to think of it.

    This family might be scarring their kid for life by naming it "superman," but the government is setting a worse precedent by demanding conformity. We know what happens when when people are oppressed: The American Revolution and Civil War, World War II, the American Civil Rights movement. And the list goes on.
     
  8. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #9
    Maybe its the American in me talking, but I agree wholeheartedly. A culture so insular and protective that it can't take a little outside influence is a dangerous thing, IMO. Phrases like "preserving culture" make me shudder as they remind me of the religious right in this country trying to preserve "traditional" marriage and other "traditional" morals on the rest of the country.

    Taft
     
  9. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #10
    Personally I'm more concerned about the repression in Darfur than the repression in Sweden at this point.

    If the Swedish government starts repressing people harder I'll take notice, but this is pretty innocuous when you look at the big picture. Sure they're taking away some freedom, but don't all governments do that to some extent? Could the Dutch not say the same about the US vis-a-vis our drug laws?
     
  10. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #11
    I'm not really concerned about this public interest story either. I'm more concerned with Ugg's attitude about homogeneity, which seems to be a rising sentiment in Europe, and which seems to me to be frighteningly similar to the attitudes in Africa that are contributing to the genocide in Darfur.
     
  11. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #12
    What's happening in Darfur and what's happening in Northern Europe aren't really quite the same, similar yes, but not the same at all and I doubt that it would ever happen in Sweden.

    There's nothing wrong with preserving one's culture. Would you rather see the Native American experience repeated in Europe? Certainly France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland are having a tough time dealing with this change but it is important to understand that they are not America or Canada. Even The Netherlands isn't immune from the right wing backlash that is sweeping the industrialized world. Left leaning I maybe but I see nothing wrong with cultural preservation.

    As far as Darfur is concerned maybe what's needed is for Africa and the Middle East to be allowed to settle their own differences in their own way, much like Europe and the new world settled its own. It'll be bloody and horrifying but don't they have the same right of self-determination that we did?
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    From an American point of view, the way some Europeans (and now Scandinavians I suppose) work to "preserve their culture" borders on the ludicrous sometimes. The French have a Language Ministry that manufactures new, synthetic words rather than allow French to be "polluted" with foreign expressions. I believe even the French think this becomes silly at times, so pardon us if we snicker just a little over the frivolities of governments other than our own. By comparison, the Japanese who are very culturally protective (and far more insular than the French in many ways), adopt foreign words with abandon. Some in Japan believe this is fragmenting the Japanese language, but as fundamentally pragmatic people, they're not really trying to stop it either.
     
  13. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #14
    I see nothing wrong with cultural preservation as long as it's not imposed by the government. This is where it crosses the line: the government telling people what their culture should be. Let the people decide on their culture, and let the government support all cultures and subcultures that exist within a country's borders. The native americans were exterminated by colonial powers: this is government imposing culture, and it's wrong. A government requirement of a culturally appropriate name is also government imposing culture, and it's also wrong.


    Sure... just like Rwanda. They're so much better off now, right?
     
  14. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #15
    It is humorous, of that there is no doubt. Some of the French words for technology are so forced that they end up ruining the language IMO. The Germans have taken a similar approach to the Japanese and the language is richer for it. It's easy though for english speakers to scoff at such efforts when english is a bastard language and has adopted words from virtually every language on the planet. Languages are dynamic but also are the basis of cultural identity and I would hate to see the day when all that is spoken is english with regional variations.
     
  15. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #16
    It may be the case in North Carolina that Native Americans were killed off by colonial powers but west of the Mississippi we can thank the American government as well as American citizens along with something called manifest destiny and a belief that a certain god decreed it all.

    Culture is something we are born into and if we all share and revere that culture then the laws we enact will reflect that common ground. There's no way to separate culture from government because governments are made up of people. It can't be done.

    You don't think the US govt. doesn't impose culture on Americans? Language, education, taxes, licenses, religious laws, laws regulating the media, all are elements of cultural expression. Culture cannot, I repeat, cannot be excised from government as long as governments are run by people.

    This topic made me think of that Johnny Cash song, A Boy Named Sue. He makes the case that through adversity he was made stronger. Sky Dayton of Earthlink and a host of other oddly named people here in the US certainly havent' been limited by their names but we are a melting pot, Sweden is not and American ideals should not be imposed on other countries that don't share the US' unique background.

    First you say that Americans aren't responsible for the Native American genocide, then you say that governments shouldn't impose culture on its citizens, that the citizens alone should decide, then you say that Rwanda and Darfur are bad because the citizens of those countries are making their own decisions about cultural expression. So what is it? When is individual cultural expression a bad thing and is it never permissible for goverments to dictate culure even when it could save millions of lives?
     
  16. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #17
    I'm not defending the American government. When I said "colonial powers" I was including the westward expansion of America. I'm saying Americans and Europeans have repeatedly made the same mistakes, and it looks to me like both places are in danger of doing it again.


    I find this attitude personally very frightening. Very 1930s Germany, very 1850s America, very 1490s Spain.


    Language, no--the U.S. does not have an official language. Education, yes, but necessary in a democracy. Taxes and licenses I wouldn't consider to be culture. Religious laws, except for the dangerous precedent set by Bush regarding religious charities, tend to protect religious expression, not impose it. Media regulation is also typically done to preserve a variety of views, and is now being systematically dismantled by the Bush administration.


    Here's our key disagreement. Europeans are in denial about the growing diversity of their own nations. Many Americans are also leaning dangerously in that direction.


    When people are misled into murdering each other because of cultural differences, I believe that is an appropriate point for government to intervene. When people have real cultural differences, I think it is a mistake for government to try to homogenize a population. I think the latter often leads to the former.
     
  17. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #18
    repressing ? how often does it happen that a name is not accepted ?
    a few times per year ? because somebody choose a ridiculous name ?

    compared to 'putting people ,who denied to eat pork on a flight in to the US, on a watchlist' it doesn't seem very bad
     
  18. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #19

    This is a really great discussion, BTW...

    I see where you are coming from, but I disagree. You are right that the government can never be seperated entirely from the culture of the people it governs, but I personally think that it is the duty of OUR government (the US) to not endorse any particular culture as far as it is possible.

    I find your final example not quite on the level in that you liken the government preventing genocide to an enforcement of culture. To me, that is an example of where the line is between cultural freedom and basic human rights. Killing people is a clear violation of their rights. The government stopping that behavior is not an endorsement or enforcement of a particular culture. Rather, it is an enforcement of the idea that all people are created equal.

    You may argue that the idea of "all men created equal" is a product of a particular culture, but I would argue that eventually all cultures will need to share a common set of rules dictating the value of a human life. This is a bit of a paradox in that acheiving common ground would require a shift in SOMEONE's culture. But I guess that is my point: if a culture is so resistant to change that they reject any outside influence, that is very dangerous, both to that culture and its people, and ultimately unmaintainable. The outside cultures will eventually prevail in "corrupting" the "pure" culture with pieces of their own.

    This is a controversial statement, I know. It speaks to the eventual loss of identity of all cultures (to one degree or another). I view it, however, as both good and necessary.

    Taft
     
  19. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #20
    BTW, I'm actually dealing with this idea of "cultural clash" on a small and personal level.

    My brother is currently dating a Jewish girl. My family is Protestant. They are very happy together except for one small detail: her parents are LIVID about their daughter dating a non-Jew. My bro's girlfriend remains steadfast in the face of CONSIDERABLE pressure from her parents who hav done various nasty things to try and stop them from dating, but everyone is very unhappy about how things are playing out.

    From my perspective, this type of insular behavior is unacceptable. Maybe it is my American upbringing (we are the melting pot, after all, and parents enforced that belief in me). Maybe it is the fact that I am dating a Jewish girl myself and have a wonderful relationship with her parents. Maybe it is just how small minded this girl's parents are. I don't know. But I'm not happy with them right now.

    And I can't help but "connect the dots" between the attitude of her parents and the attitude of "preserving culture." A big part of the reason her parents feel so strongly is because they are quite religious and dedicated to the Jewish faith and its people and want to see their traditions held. This, in and of itself, is quite honorable. But where is that line between respecting your past and your culture and being racist or "culturalist"? I don't have an answer to that.

    Taft
     
  20. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #21
    What about that attitude is so frightening, the parallels you draw are vague and seem to indicate that I am some sort of fascist, slave owner, inquisition type. I think you're over-generalizing. History can show us parallels but it doesn't accurately reflect what is happening today.

    Culture does evolve. It is evolving in Sweden, France and Germany. Europeans are having a difficult time accepting the fact that the immigrants from outside of Europe have in many cases, radically different values and cultural standards. Whose are more important? Should immigrants be held to the standards of their new country or the country they came from? What language should they speak? Should they be allowed to retain their own misogyinist policies? Should they be able to kill their daughters when they choose to marry without parental consent? Are de facto immigrant ghettoes a way of maintaining the cultural identity of the immigrants or do they just increase the separation between the immigrant and the new country? These are questions that they are asking themselves. Once again by applying American/Canadian solutions to European problems, you are showing a marked intolerance to cultural differences.

    Once again, culture is not something defined by art, sculpture and religion. It is a basket containing many different things. Language is the basis of any individual culture, whether that culture be that of an Ivy League School or the culture of California surfers. It is not necessary to have an official language but it is through language that we define our culture and issue our laws. Licenses are definitely a product of culture. When do we issue driver's licenses, when do we take them away, who is eligible for them, what restrictions for different types of vehicles etc. Taxation is undoubtedly a major way of defining culture. Churches are tax exempt, families with children are given exemptions, people who adopt can write off the expense, etc. Culture is every aspect of who we are. Once again you cannot separate culture from government. It is innate. What is important is to realize that and accept it for what it is.

    Europeans are not in denial but they are having a difficult time accepting the changes. Switzerland's failure to pass a recent referendum on granting citizenship to people born in Switzerland is scary but Switzerland has almost always refused to see itself as a part of a larger Europe. The US is experiencing the same problems and it's just as troubling to see so many arab americans demonized and refused entry based on their culture.

    Ok, if you encourage government intervention then why the hell aren't we doing anything in the US? One in three black Floridian men have been incarcerated. Or is it ok to overlook genocide in America today.......
     
  21. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #22

    hm such things happen here as well especially in the critical case of christian guy + muslim girl (with brothers and religious brothers) ..there are very often ases where it ends in violence (aka.the her brothers/parents ) which end in front of court (->newspapers)
    but the contary situation makes problems as well because of religion

    i think that things happen all over the world
     
  22. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #23
    We are constantly imposing our culture on Americans and non-Americans. Yes, in theory we shouldn't but this endless "we will bring freedom and democracy to the world and our fellow Americans through capitalistic economies" is a major cultural imposition. It may not be all bad but we are doing it and to a certain extent we can't help it because it is, for better or worse who we are.

    Human rights are another cultural impostion, once again, not necessarily a bad thing but....

    As far as losing our culture for the betterment of mankind, I agree that it is the only way forward. But, we don't have to lose all of it.

    I think the EU is a good place to look at what happens when cultures begin to mesh for the common good. It's been a 50 year process and for the most part gradual although the last ten years things have accelerated. Going slow isn't a bad thing and while cultural evolution is inevitable it doesn't need to happen overnight and by forcing it we only end up with more conflict.

    My favorite city on the west coast is Vancouver, BC. The mix of cultures is incredible and the Canadian ability to coexist peacefully is something that America, Europe and Japan would do well to emulate. I love diversity and I don't want to live in a homogenous society. Nothing appalls me more than a whitebread kind of existence; it doesn't mean though that I am going to give up my own unique cultural background nor do I want to force other people to give up theirs, BUT once you emigrate there are a different set of rules to play by.
     
  23. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #24
    "The freedom enjoyed in England and the United States as to the kind of Christian name which may be given to a child is somewhat limited in France and Germany. In France, by a decree of the II Germinal, an Xl., the only names permitted to be recorded in the civil register as Christian names (prnoms) of children were those of saints in the calendar and the names of personages known in ancient history. Even at the present day an official list is issued (revised from time to time) containing a selection of forenames, and no name of a child will be registered unless it occurs in this list. A limitation more or less similar prevails in Germany and other European countries."

    from here:
    http://73.1911encyclopedia.org/N/NA/NAME.htm
     
  24. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #25
    hm what exactly are "christian names" and more important what do they have to do with this discussion ?
     

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