Money Talks, But Who Is Listening?
After years of living in the dark, it is so relieving to know that no onein Finland has to go to bed anymore without having heard the daily hex-indexupdate. An financial craze has taken over Finland: television shows andmagazines are sprouting up everywhere to keep the average citizen in theeconomics know. But just how badly does the Average Joe need to know thisreal-time finance information?
Lauri Helve is Editor of Finland’s leading financial newspaper,Kauppalehti. Kauppalehti is enormously successful, with a gross marginof 40%, making almost twice as much money in profit as it requires to producethe paper. Helve still believes that the average consumer doesn’t necessarilyneed indepth information about financial markets. “I don’t understand it.I haven’t seen any need for a boom of this kind,” he says. “Even if someonewere to inherit 150 thousand marks, everything he or she would need toknow could be found in the daily newspapers.”
Helve does admit that people are much more interested in finance onthe whole, but that the data must be appropriately straightforward. “Thebelief that the typical person waiting at the bus stop wants to know moreabout the Emu is a bunch of nonsense. People may complain that they don’tknow enough about it, but then no one reads articles about it when theyare written.”
A growing number of Finns are following finance news regularly, if onlyfor simple entertainment reasons. Nokia and Ericsson battling it out canbe as exciting as the annual hockey match between the respective countries.Tampere’s Esa Reunanen is a researcher of communications, studying”bench investors.” He explains, “They follow finance, even if they don’thave any shares or investments. In conversation they may comment on themarket share of Microsoft and Netscape.”
The five o’clock finance update informs us that the dollar has fallenas a result of Bill Clinton‘s sex scandal. But does it really matter?Riikka Venäläinen is studying to become a finance reporterfor the largest news distributor in Finland, Sanoma Oy. “It is very dangerousto pretend as if the economy is somehow separate from the rest of our societyand that finance has nothing to do with the standard citizen…Take theeconomic crisis in Asia, for example. It could affect growth detrimentallyand take away jobs. It could even be eventually seen in state budget cuts- taking diapers away from the elderly, for example.”Otsikko: Students Protest
On a wet, cold day in late January, the student interest groups of Macondoand Keho arranged a quarter of an hour demonstration against racism. Macondois the representatitive group of students studying Latin American studiesand Keho represents the Institute for Development Studies. Carita Laisi,a student from Macondo, is disappointed that only 200 or so students participated,”It’s depressing that so few students are interested and active.” KatriMakkonen from Keho is however impressed with the turn-out,”Surprisingto get 200 people out here on a day like this when the only thing studentsgather together for anymore is parties.”
Ville Holmberg, a student of medicine, and Aija Salo fromthe development studies institute are glad to be a part of the demonstration.Ville begins, “We are here because the event was so widely advertised…”but Salo interrupts. “You can’t say we are here just because it was arranged.We are here because there is racism in Finland. We were just walking downtownthe other day with a friend of ours from Nigeria and someone shouted, “Niggersgo back home to Africa, don’t sell your fuckin’ drugs.” We went home andcalled the police.” Holmberg adds, “We called the police and someone coldlyasked whether we intended to file a complaint. It wasn’t taken very seriously.”
No More EU Macaroni For Finnish Students
Last year, the Union for Finnish University Students (SYL) received EUaid for Finnish university students in the form of 80,000 kilos of driedand canned food stuffs. The application was very controversial. Did Finnishstudents really need that kind of aid? Whatever the case, all of the 80,000kilos found grateful recipients throughout the country in the differentuniversity cities.
Last year’s board of SYL decided to cut back the food aid applicationto 30,000 kilos, because several of the student unions in the universitiescities indicated that they were no longer interested in participating.Paavo Östberg, HYY’s Social Policy Secretary explains why theHelsinki Student Union no longer took part, even after distributing 30,000kilos last year. “I’m sure that the food would have been just as welcomethis year, but we had a major problem storing it. We don’t have room herefor truckloads of provisions.”
The decision to refuse the aid caused much debate in the HYY governmentlast year. Those against the aid pointed out the extreme difference betweenhunger in Finland and in the developing countries. Others wanted to protestthe skewed agriculture support policy of the EU. This year, however, SYLreceived only 10,000 kilos of food aid. SYL’s Chief Secretary Petteri Orpoexplains that 10,000 kilos would have been too little to divide betweenthe various universities and so SYL decided to donate the food aid to theRed Cross and the Salvation Army.Otsikko:
Not Just Another Famous Prick
John Clayton Holmes was an American porn star famous forhis 14 inch willy. Proving once again that anyone in America can becomefamous, Paul Thomas Anderson has made a Hollywood movie about hislife, Boogie Nights.
In the film, Holmes is renamed Eddie Adams. An exotic film producerJack Horner (Burt Reynolds) hears about the God-given gift of thedishwasher at a local night club. Horner goes on to make Eddie (playedby pin-up rapper Mark Wahlberg), a porno film star. Boogie Nightstakes place in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the golden years of eroticfilms. The characters in the film are miserable cocaine addicts, full oftheir unfulfilled dreams. Holmes himself died of aids after years of cocaineabuse.
There is no straight-out sex in the film, but viewers are treated toa glimpse of the famous weeny (a made-to-scale prosthesis in this case),which is indeed larger than life. Holmes’ colleague Bill Maragolddescribes it best, “I was working with John in a scene from Disco Dollsin 3-D when his prick suddenly hovered over my head. I looked up and thoughtthat if it were to fall on me, it would kill me. It was like the openingscene of Star Wars or something.”
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Valentine’s Day , February 14th, is soon here and with it come kissesfor the sweethearts in our lives. In a random poll, university studentsrecollect some memorable smootches.
Classic swain: “I kissed my fiance six years ago on Valentine’sDay. We are getting married this summer.” Refreshing endearment:“It was a shitty day and I was waiting at a stoplight when someone cameup from behind me and kissed me. I turned around angry to ask what thehell, when I saw it was a good friend. I couldn’t be depressed any morethat day.”
Cruel suckface: I was 13 and we were on the boat to Sweden. SomeItalians had some kind of contest going on. Some guy stuck his tongue downmy throat and then there was another and another. My friend and I ran toour cabin and didn’t dare come out for the rest of the night.” Nuzzleon the cheek : “When I was in Tolouse, I would greet the French witha kiss on the cheek and just say ‘moi’ to a Finn, but kissing a Finn wouldhave been just as superficial.”
Good-night kiss: “My folks will still come give me a kiss beforeI go to bed and I like that.” Experimental making out: “I was ina bar with a guy everyone knew was gay and I kissed him. Didn’t feel strangeat all.” Chivalry caress: “A good kiss on the hand makes me feelappreciated.” Morning peck: “One morning I was so asleep that Ididn’t even return Mikko’s kiss. I had to ask him in the evening if hehad kissed me or not. Pretty pathetic but I suppose that’s what happenswhen you have been together for five years.”