The Parliamentary Oddball
by Jarno Forssell
Pertti Olavi Virtanen, known to many by his nickname ’Veltto’ (Limp), considers himself the therapist, prophet and awakener of the Finnish identity. Although athletes, writers and actors have been elected to the Finnish Parliament in the past, Veltto’s career development and list of achievements leaves him without a peer. Having tried his hand as a composer, writer, psychologist, hypnotist, troubadour, presidential candidate, parliamentary representative, and master of debate, Veltto is used to breaking boundaries. ”I’m not just a rock and roll man. I believe in flux, current, flow, moving forward.”
Veltto Virtanen’s political career began in the 1970’s, when he was studying at the University of Tampere. After just one term in the student government, he quit. ”After that, I felt that politics had nothing for me. After my stint as a troubadour, I began doing therapy. I was Academic Director at the Finnish Hypnosis and Psychotherapy Center and I provided therapy to everyone from athletes to CEO’s. Then a few years back, after having appeared on television, I was approached about running in the presidential election. I first I was totally against the idea, but then I decided I would go for it. But, one thing was certain: I would never run for parliament. That would be the last straw.”
Nevertheless, last Christmas the Ecological Party asked Veltto to be their candidate, only to find himself a parliamentarian. He had second thoughts after only one week on Arcadia Hill: ”The more you know, the more you suffer. In this case, it means exactly that, the more you learn here about how things are structured, the more you suffer because you can’t respect these clowns. When people call me a clown, I reply nicely that I will not become the clown of clowns. This is, after all, a big circus.” So why continue? ”Above all, I consider this experience a lesson in my own spiritual growth. In order to make my humanity more useful for the nation, I have to develop myself at this level as well.”
The Great Nose
By Heikki Aittokoski
In 1959, three young men: Arvo Salo, Pentti Saarikoski and Pekka Tarkka, met in the New Student House to plan the new Ylioppilaslehti format of the 60’s. Salo had just won the election for Chief Editor over Matti Klinge by 10 votes to 9 and he was among the many who had noticed the ’physical, accurate, and concrete’ writing style of Saarikoski in his poetry collections, translations and book reviews. Salo asked Saarikoski to work as the paper’s new satirical columnist and he eagerly accepted. A few weeks later he proudly divulged his pseudonym for the column: The Nose.
For the next two years, Saarikoski became the inverted Pinnochio in his column: the Nose shot out in every direction – particularly targeting established authorities like the church, the army, older generation writers…conservatism in general. His fire was direct and yet indirect. Saarikoski required a great deal of awareness of his readers, one had to follow him closely to understand the gist of his story. The entire nation followed his column in Ylioppilaslehti, and Salo was later awarded the Eino Leino award, for making the paper ’one of the country’s most imaginative, funny and widely-read cultural political organs, keeping the fire of free public discussion burning.’ Pekka Tarkka recently compiled a collection of Saarikoski’s columns: Nenän pakinat (The Humorous Essays of The Nose) published by Otava.
He Just Doesn’t Get It
By Mari Manninen
Seppo Hyrkäs just can’t understand novels written by women. ”I don’t understand their language. When I finally figure out what is going on in the plot, it doesn’t interest me in the least.” He continues, ”Women are smarter, more multi-faceted. For men, things have to be more simple.”
Hyrkäs himself has written two ’simple’ books: step-by-step guides for beer-bellied, farting real Finnish men who are looking to get rid of their annoying wife, or at least enjoy their neighbor wives. A real man’s idea of the perfect babe in a scantily dressed bimbo who gives good head. Hyrkäs giggles at his own work, ”No one in their right mind could take that kind of stuff seriously.” So why does he write things he doesn’t even take seriously himself? Because he enjoys being the public male chauvinist. What is more, he has always had a perverse attraction for annoying people.
On the Animal Night Shift
By Miska Rantanen
Studying the Humanities can have its advantages: when you get tired of studying, you can head home or go for a beer. Students of Veterinary Medicine don’t have it so easy. The country’s only 24 hour veterinary clinic is located at their faculty and when students work a shift, they must be prepared for anything. During the day, most visitors have to make reservations and things are busy but clear. At night it is a different story. Future vet Anna Huttunen explains, ”Every night shift is a leap into the unknown. Anything could happen. There are very few quiet nights. There’s steady work up to about two a.m., after which there is some chance of getting some shut-eye.”
Each veterinary student has a obligatory internship at the clinic, separated into clinics for large and small animals, to be completed in phases somewhere between their fourth and sixth year. In addition to two students, a veterinary doctor is always present on the shifts. ”In theory, we take care of incoming patients under the doctor’s supervision, but with difficult cases, the doctor takes over and we watch and learn,” says veterinary student Katja Hautala. She continues, ”The hardest thing is to have to put animals to sleep, but various situations are difficult in different ways.”
Library Funding Plummets
By Jarno Forssell
According to a recent study, the acquisition financing of the General Undergraduate Library has shrunk over 87% from its 1992 level. The course book situation has not essentially changed, but funding for periodicals and scientific publications has completely bottomed out. The Undergraduate Library, currently located in Domus Academica, is gradually becoming simply a loaner of coursebooks.
The study, conducted by Eeva Peltonen of the Social Science Faculty Library, shows that in 1992, funding for periodical publications was approximately FIM 190,000, while funding last year was merely FIM 42,700. The corresponding amount for the same time period for scientific publications fell from FIM 46,000 to 36,000.
The general loaning section of the Undergraduate Library has been forced to cancel subscriptions to the majority of their magazines: 118 domestic and 88 foreign magazines and newspapers have been discontinued, leaving only 80 at this time. Faculty libraries are concerned that the cutbacks in the General Loaning Library will increase demand at faculty libraries extensively.
Fox Farm Terrorists Tour Schools
By Jarno Forssell
Mia Salli and Minna Salonen, environmental activists that made the news last summer by breaking into a fox farm in northwestern Finland and setting the foxes free, held a presentation last week about fox farming in Finland. The educational package they prepared was sponsored by the ”Our Friend the Fox” foundation and is directed to schools and study circles.
The twelve page handout distributed during the session with information and pictures of fox in the fur farms and in the wild contained no list of sources, causing some to question the origin and reliability of the information. Helsingin Sanomat reporter Mattiesko Hytönen tried to steal the show, waltzing into the presentation with a fox fur coat and asking, ”What kind of fox is my coat made of?” Salli was quick to reply, ”I recognize animals better when they are alive.”
An ’L’ for Lukka
On September 14th, 20 year old Tuomas Lukka became Finland’s youngest doctor, receiving his official title from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Lukka’s doctoral dissertation ”Some Studies of Molecular Vibration and Vibration-roration Hamiltons” was complimented by his dissertation opponent, Professor Kevin Lehman of Princeton University, as cultivated and profound. His work was awarded the highest grade of laudatur.
YO-Lehti Delay for First Year Students
Mailing of the Ylioppilaslehti to first year university students has been delayed this year due to problems in the University of Helsinki’s registrar. The computers in the registrar’s office broke down under the strain of the student registration rush which took place in early September. New students should begin to receive the paper by issue number 14. Ylioppilaslehti buys a list of student addresses annually in the fall from the University, but any changes of address during the academic year must be reported to the paper’s secretary Tarja Muhonen, tel: 1311 4233.
Student Government Elections Soon
On November 7 and 8, students will once again choose representatives to the student government. Voting locations can be found at the Old Student House, Domus Academica, the University Main Building, Porthania, and a few other departments such as the Viikki A building, the Veterinary Faculty, the Kouvola translation department and the University of Vaasa. Voting is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. All registered University of Helsinki students are eligible to vote. Nothing prohibits anyone who meets these requirements from running for office. Register with Merja Toivonen at the HYY office on the 2nd floor of the New Student House, Mannerheimintie 5A , tel: 1311 4213.
Translation Pamela Kaskinen