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New hero creates a buzz

In englishPosted by Øystein Wed, March 18, 2015 17:49:17
I posted a comic to Imgur one hour ago. It's got 1400 views already! http://imgur.com/gallery/dkGjOhZ/new

And I put it on reddit as well, because I want to get clicked on.


LAST CHRISTMAS - it's a wrap

In englishPosted by Øystein Tue, April 09, 2013 17:36:37
Just finished repairing the walls and mopping the floor after shooting the final scenes in Torstein Jacobsen and my own co-directorial debut, the comedy horror feature film Last Christmas. An amazing team of 15 dedicated geniuses from England, Sweden and Norway joined us and made this movie. Since the cast and crew lived together for 2 weeks in the same house in Arvika, we got an amazing focus on the product ... and it may actually become really, really good. I don't know, of course, it's all up to the editing, and to getting good sound design (which means we will need more money now) but this 80% extremely practical and 20% magical approach to making a movie has worked out surprisingly well so far. Luck comes to the well prepared, so says the wise Donald Trump, and if that is so, then Torstein and I were very, very well prepared.

Why are TED talks so good?

In englishPosted by Øystein Sun, October 30, 2011 16:32:48
In the age of "anything can be found on the net", perhaps two of the most important skills are 1. mind your own business and 2. ask the right questions. Today, not minding my own business, I got fascinated with yet another TED talk. And then I got fascinated with WHY www.ted.com always deliver such good talks. So I googled "why are TED talks so good?" and from Tim Longhurst's blog I got the answer. All speakers who are invited to do a TED talk get a STONE TABLET delivered, telling them how to behave.

I'll burn these commandments into my brain for my next school visit:

  1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick
  2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before
  3. Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion
  4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story
  5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy
  6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
  7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
  8. Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
  9. Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
  10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee


The danger of mythologizing the Utøya murderer

In englishPosted by Øystein Tue, August 02, 2011 15:31:51
While reading the self-written parts of Anders Behring Breiviks manifesto, I discovered that he had bought 12 custom-made paintings by Coderock, a norwegian graffitti artist and a friend of mine. This was extra surprising, and made Breivik feel even closer to home. I was mainly happy that he hadn't gotten hold of my viking comic, Saga of Olav Sleggja, so I sent a mail to Coderock to say that he shouldn't feel bad, Wagner and Nietszche had some pretty stupid fans too.

However - and this is a scoop, since no-one has actually asked Coderock before ... Coderock has never made 12 such paintings.

I shouldn't really be surprised by this. I shouldn't really be. But when I read the manifesto, in my naiveté, in my blind faith in humans, it basically never occurred to me that what I was reading could be a bunch of lies. Goddammit! Well, it is. Lying about twelve paintings - paintings that I can garantee you, you will never see ... is amazingly crazy, because it's so easy to disprove. And it is a relief. Because for a little while, I was afraid that there would be a glimmer of sanity, of "intelligence" in all this manifesto wordspewery. Even my former blog posts are colored by this.

I, like many others, had a fear for an open trial. All ideas have power, of course, so one should still consider which mind-viruses one allows to spread. But this piece of fantasy should, hopefully be so easy to pick apart that even the dumbest "fans" realize it.

Or am I too full of faith in humans again? At least now you have a new piece of ammunition, if you ever meet anyone, anyone, who says that the manifesto is "intelligent" or "has some points": It is written and compiled by someone who couldn't discern between twelve real paintings and twelve paintings that only existed in his mind.

You may of course meet people who think this is a conspiracy. This sad story shows the danger of being in the conspiracy mindset: Nothing can disprove what they already feel, because that is a conspiracy. And still, the conspiracy theorist thinks that he/she has an open mind. Which allows the conspiracy theorist to be so closed-minded to all new info that after a while, no new opinions can be made.

And in this mindstate, where the conspiracy theorist decides that something is the ultimate evil, it is a logical next step to think: If this is the ultimate evil, ANY action to remove it is justifiable.

It makes sense. If you know true evil, you can torture, kill, go to war, just to stop it.

What does this mean? It means that the thought of evil is the source of evil. This is the danger of tv shows like "24", where the threat is so big that torture etc is acceptable. Or any tv show that presents human beings as purely evil. Even Breiviks subhuman mind needed to "justify" his acts so that his human heart wouldn't stop him. Remember this. The next time you encounter something that you are told is "pure evil". Remember this, the next time I write that something is "pure evil". Nothing is. We will have faith in that.

Saved by Adolfo

In englishPosted by Øystein Fri, July 29, 2011 19:25:02
I love violent movies, violent computer games, violent music. Dead Prez is a racist hip hop group that I've listened to with a great deal of pleasure. Kool G Raps misogynistic lyrics were a great source of laughs - until his ex-wife released an autobiography. All these things are fun and games until they reach reality, somehow. I fear that they cannot be defended. Yes, they can - the line goes between real-life violence and not violence, but we all have a responsibility for the climate we make with our art and our words. I can pretend that my extremely, extremely violent comics are not part of a cultural discourse where the violence must be more and more shocking to bring with it the pleasure of the new, but it is a lie. I can do like Mark Millar and say "sex should be in the home and not in the comics, violence should be in the comics and not it the home." But to me, it is more like alcohol: We KNOW it has unhealthy effects on society. One out of ten end up having problems with alcohol (this statistic was just made up). Yet we find it worth having alcohol. And to have free speech, one needs to allow for fiction. So where is the line between violent fiction and violent ideas posted in a blog? Should it be forbidden to talk about certain things?

My last post was not fully formed - but it was about that.

I read more after writing it, of course. I usually don't spend all my time on The Psychology of Evil, but our country just all turned into wannabe experts on that topic. All of us who have the time. One commenter said somewhere: The existence of nazi newspapers, Der Stürmer and Vőlkische Beobachter, didn't lead to LESS hatred against jews. Good point. And as if more and more people had accepted that argument, in an optimism-inducing turn of events, new voices in Frp now demands "another way of using language". Even better point. I truly, truly hope this will be the outcome. Keeping an Frp, but changing the Them and Us way of thinking - turning it into "people" and "people". Whatever I wanted to say in my last post, "defending the right to be racist and hateful", was about balancing a knife's edge: I want all societies to allow dissidence, I don't want the label "hatespeech" to be used out of its place to oppress anyone. But REAL hatespeech must be met. Constantly. With patience and reason. It can be the constant little "stabs" at Muhammed as a "pedophile mass murderer". As if Lot in the Bible didn't sleep with his daughters, or Jahveh didn't kill men, women and children in the flood, in Sodom and Gomorrah and so on. The little constant stabs at islam, as if it's more evil in its roots than any other religion, can come shaped like anonymous postings on the internet, can be a grotesque sight - but it has value, as it allows peoples opinions to come out where they can be met with arguments.

And it's about terms: When one is silently allowed to talk about "islam" as if it is ONE thing, the premises of the discussion are flawed. Is christianity "one" thing? There must be a room for discussing islam and all its aspects, but being constantly enraged about it would be like always reminding all christians about the murders done by the inquisition.

When one repeatedly meets - and creates - violent language, it shapes thoughts. It would be truly naive not to admit that. Talking about "a bullet to Krekar", or talking in the same way about specific right-wing politicians ... from now on, one must be kept responsible for one's words, as words are obviously not just words anymore. Article about the murderousness of language - in swedish, here.

Another point: When we meet arguments that "dissent" from humanism, one cannot convince one's opponent unless one uses arguments that use other foundations than humanism in itself. Because some people lack ... well, mirror neurons in their brain.

It is stigmatizing and, you know, hate-mongering, but we must have an open mind to the very, very real possibility that some people base their political views on a clinic psychopathy. There are people who genuinely want to do good in all parties. But I think, after finishing the book of Behring (more or less) that one core weakness of it is that it considers all people to be motivated by evil thoughts. Cynicism. Self-righteousness. Fear. Opportunism. He sees altruism as selfishness, as it raises one's status in the social network. And this is not even a very rare thought.

As such, it is an ideology that values "powerful" above "good", and this line of thought is so profundly strange to us as modern scandinavians. But one must be able to see the other side's set of core values, even the absurd ones.

The former post was written while I was in the middle of the terrorist's book. His frustration over not being heard made sense for a while. But as I've now finished the book, it has become clearer that his frustrations were something he worshipped, something he allowed himself to have, so he should be able to do something that put him apart from the world. I don't know if it's worth writing anymore about that single person.

But it is interesting to realize that some people are psychopaths, almost all huge multinational companies function as psychopaths, and - in this case: Some political opinions are based on a psychopathic mindset and can feed back into more extreme coldness.

And then, as I tried to figure out how to meet those political opinions (and religious opinions) that are founded on the worst sides of the human soul, my housemate Adolfo came into the room. He looked at what I was writing. "Are you still thinking about that man? That is what he wanted. Get it out of your system. Evil is not so fascinating. It is very simple ... what do you say, banal. I find it much more fascinating why those children were gathered on Utøya."

The right to hate and be racist is the right to be free - EDIT: No, after some thinking, it's not, actually. Screw you.

In englishPosted by Øystein Thu, July 28, 2011 01:03:48
I know that my last post was probably much more pleasant to read for my friends. Because it came from my gut - and my gut is leftist. But - that same gut also allowed me to feel superior to those whose leanings were closer to the terrorist of Utøya. And that made a certain amount of rage and self-righteousness seep into my text.

I know that Frp does not stand for killing. I was pissed off when the leader of the party panicked and said stupid things - like "it is just as disgusting to link us to this as the actions themselves are." And also my rage against my dear friend Jon - whose friend A. posted "kill all muslims" on Jon's wall minutes after the first bomb.

But as Jon told me in a long, nice phonetalk today: Putting the tag "racism" on every opinion one disagrees with, does not cure any deep-rooted problems. And now, the word "hate" or "hatespeech" is going to be the next "racism".

We live in a democracy. We will retaliate with democracy. And democracy is Freedom of Speech. Even those parts of speech that are full of hate. Of rage. Of racism. Jon told me he used to vote SV - socialst left. He went to Frp because he was pissed off at the way they were treated in the political landscape.

My bodily fibres may react strongly to some of the things Frp politicians say (and I think Jon's reason to join them may be one of the best ever). But a party like that is part of our society. And we want all voices heard, don't we?

I may personally fight against the attitudes and core beliefs that lay at the bottom of certain choices made by Frp politicians. I went through three phases: One - trying to not let the islamic terrorists scare my friends. Two - trying to scold my right-wing friends for using this as a part of their "hatespeech". And three - being pissed off at my leftist friends for freaking out at Frp.

A society without a democratically strong Frp is what the terrorist wants. A society where the discourse is so uniform that all dissidents lose to risk their jobs if they air out right-wing leanings.

The core of the terrorists actions are of course a mystery. A father who left all his four children behind, may be part of his feeling of hatred towards "traitors". But psychology aside, the denial of dissident opinions is not a good reaction to this tragedy. Allowing these opinions to be seen, and yet never letting it be forgotten that they may bear fruits like this ... it is a balance, yet a vital one. I have never talked down to people I disagreed with - I've been pissed, shown it, but I hope this is true. I even managed to keep my rage over Siv Jensen locked in. And it was the right thing. Because that rage was what he wanted. "Choose the dark side ..."

I must say I hate to say this. Because in Norway, my side was winning. We had already won. And ... allowing for more public hatespeech, is letting this terrorist get one of the things he wanted. But the alternative to more public hatespeech, is more hidden hatespeech. More frustration. We can only trust in our own core beliefs, and allow eachother to speak.

I guess this post will get fewer enthusiastic responses - after all, this is the boring part. This is the part where we actually can't just all feel self-righteous and good in the face of ultimate evil. This is the part where we go on with our lives, and try to be good, and try to listen.



EDIT: Have read a little bit more - allowing for more hatespeech won't solve anything. Ideas based on fear are very hard to get out of the brain when they've gone in. They are extremely, extremely powerful, because our brains are evolved to take extreme note of stuff that may be dangerous. This means that fear-mongering ideas have an evolutionary advantage over logic-based ideas. This unfair advantage must be countered some way. However, it may seem like Frp has realized this, and may be using a more palatable language in their rethoric. If their goal is to be a useful contributor to society, and not just to fish for votes in the dark end of the pool, this should be an improvement, as their arguments would be easier to share ... Frp has complained for years that Ap uses Frp politics in their decisions. Isn't that a pretty cool compliment, though?

The tragedy on Utøya - an attempt to understand

In englishPosted by Øystein Sat, July 23, 2011 09:26:59
Anders Behring Breivik is the man who personally, slowly, cold-bloodedly executed eighty teenagers at Utøya, Norway. I have spent the whole night thinking and reading his writings and trying to understand what drove him. I am in two minds about sharing his writings, because ideas are powerful, no matter where they come from and how tainted they - in the outset of things - seem. I think he was smart enough to know this.

I think he wanted to save the world from muslims.

I think his mind was set on saving the world. Saving the "pure", clean ... norwegianness. For some reason, he was thinking these thoughts first, and then he committed the most disgusting, tear-inducing, awful crime I am capable of imagining. Serial killers act out of a sexual-like sick drive. Dictators kill out of paranoia. Anyone can kill if group pressure becomes a factor, like Zimbardo proved. But this? What is this? What IS this?

He is born in 1979, like me, and he is tall and rather norwegian-looking, like me. His facebook page lists George Orwells "1984" and Kafkas "The Trial" as favorite books. Two of my favorite books. I have family members called Breivik.

Anders B has posted a great deal of texts on the internet, in particular on a norwegian right wing islam-critical christian blog. For me, christianity has a lot of humanistic, wonderful tones. "What would Jesus do" is a beautiful, simple credo that every christian in the world should have tattoed on their bodies. What is Anders Behring Breiviks christianity?

There they are, his words. His mind. He brags that he is rich, that he has had successful businesses that allowed him to live without working, to plan for his great book on how muslims will take over the western world. His values: Protestant christianity. Culture-conservativeness. He is a freemason, whatever one can make out of that. He was, some years ago, a member of the right-wing political party Frp - he claims they got a huge amount of success when he worked for them, because of his great understanding of how to market ideas.

Even more reason for me not to write in this blog. He is marketing. Right now. As I write this, with shaking fingers. Even more. And yet - everyone will write about it. Hopefully this can make him understandable. Do not hate him. Do not fear him. Know him, and think: Are these your thoughts? Do you understand? Would you applaud these thoughts before you knew they drove a man to kill children?

To me, these actions stand as the purest evil thinkable. Executing eighty youths, gathered like fish in a barrel, on an island. They were unarmed, they were young, they were an ocean of human potential. A political gathering. What could have been our future prime minister may have died today. She may be dying now.

I do not know what to think anymore. But: He wanted to save the world from the muslim threat. He was afraid. Fear, fear, sickening fear permeates his writing. It is clever. He is well-read. It has all the good, rational ways of explaining a point of view. He is afraid. Nothing in his writing says it clearly. His fellow right-winger bloggers are as shocked as I am. But I never shared any of his horrible fears. I never shared any of his views. I always felt an unexplainable disgust at the flawless reasoning of my Frp friends. And now, his line of thinking led him to this. He chose to sacrifice a few human lives in Norway to save the world from something he sees as a huge, religiously fanatic threat. And when he started doing it, he was so convinced that the screaming, the pain of human beings, could not make him budge in his decision.

Do you understand his thoughts? Would you feel comfortable inside this man's mindscape? Why? What is it that it gives you? I do not want to judge. I have always loved my Frp friends. I will not delete them from facebook, even when they used the first bomb to say "Get out of my fucking country, you fucking fucks" or "time to check out the "against islamization of Norway" website". I believe that we all need friends with different worldviews.

And I have always been a bit embarrassed by the fact that I am by nature ridiculously politically correct. I do believe in non-violence. I do believe that NOT sending the famous Mullah Krekar out of Norway, because he could be executed in his homeland, is a strong signal to send to the world. Both to the east and the west. "Okay, you guys may still want to execute prisoners, but then we'll let him walk freely around in Oslo, because WE happen to believe in something called the sanctity of ALL human life, even the life of this guy who is an obvious terrorist fundamentalist." I am endlessly proud of my tiny country, who has the guts to appear "soft" and "kind" even when the rest of the world pressures us to be "hard".

And I am proud of the fact that we arrested this murderer alive. How would that have played out in USA? Even in this situation, norwegian police was able to catch him alive. It is horrible to have to talk about this. If a sniper bullet could have saved a single life more, of course that would have been immensely much better. But somehow, he was stopped without being killed, and if that happened without risking any more childen's lives, yes, that is a good thing.

My bodily reaction was a sudden wish to have him torn apart by horses. But that is my feelings. Fear. Rage. Disgust. This rage for vengeance is not what makes us human. It is the victory of abstract thought, of faith, that makes us human. The faith that any human can be something different tomorrow than they are today. To him, maybe killing children gave him a physical reaction. For his own sake, I hope he is a complete psychopath, if such a thing exists. If he really did this just to bring attention to his thoughts, and he will now have to face it like a human being ...

If he really cannot feel this, he is colder than anything I have ever known in any work of fiction. Our imaginations have been outreached. But if he WAS able to feel this, and yet persisted, systematicaly killing eighty young people for the sake of drawing attention to his cause, feeling their pain in his mirror neurons, but persisting to tell the world that muslims, muslims are scary ... if this is possible. If faith in one's own justification and perfection can be so over-riding, so much stronger than the sight of another human in pain, even "cold" cannot describe what he is.

This man will be locked up. After 21 years, he will be examined by psychiatrists. They will decide wether he is well enough to get out. But: I can assure all you justice-hungry people out there, it will be decided that Anders Behring is highly intelligent, calculating, and at best, a psychopath. And that he cannot be let out. This is how our "gentleness" works. We give our prisoners hope forever, while locking them away forever. Because we say that maybe ... maybe. If you become a better person. If you don't fight the guards. If you behave nicely. And we mean it.

And it saves us money and makes us look good, and the prisoners are locked away forever, but without going mad and becoming a liability.

In Frank Millers "The Dark Knight", the Joker gets out by pretending he is all fine, and starts a killing spree. So is this "norwegian" way wrong? No. It is this naive trust in people, this faith, that makes Norway a country that even islamic fundamentalists have kept their hands away from so far. I believe that it is impossible to say that a country is "the great satan" if it executes no-one, if it tortures no-one, if its politicians silently, and secularly, say "what would Jesus do?" before they make their decisions. We are all a bunch of atheists up here. But we have faith in democracy. And in humanity. On a day like this, nothing is more impressive, more steadfast, more Jesus-like, than maintaining one's faith in Humanity. And yes, this is what a huge amount of my 913 facebookfriends did. Okay, they're mostly cultural elite people, they direct theater and make movies and write books, and maybe not so many from the right wing, but it really, really felt good to see their maturity. I like my friends. I even like myself today, as my politcal views were clearer to me than in a long time, and as every absurd prejudice I had about freemason-conservative-right-wing-monsters from the rich, blonde upper class became grotesquely true, as if life had turned into a Stieg Larsson novel.

Basically: Coupled with healthy realism and a solid police force the faith in humanity is a valuable thing in itself. It says: Our justice system believes blindly in justice. We will not kill, because killing is wrong.

I know I sound awfully politically correct, as i am relentlessly soft, multi-cultural and left-wing.

But after today, as the worst human being in Europe is hard, mono-cultural and right-wing, it will be very, very, very hard to tease anyone for being too "politically correct".

Hove 2009

In englishPosted by Øystein Sun, June 28, 2009 00:47:04

The shopping street in Hove music festival.

The lovely people at Sovjet Soup Kitchen, making cheap and amazing carrot soup with cayenne.


Well hello, my friends and readers! Sorry for writing in english, I just want everyones attention, including Colin Cowlam, yes you, Colin, and Jayme Winston in Bronx, and Seth Piper, I want you to read my blog. Om du vil ha ein nynorskblogg kan du gå til Tone Damli Aaberge sin, eller vente til eg vert lei av å henvende meg til imaginære engelske lesarar. (That last sentence was a long insult and curse upon people who don´t read norwegian. Your sheep will now bear no-headed lambs.)

I´ve just been to the Hove Festival in Arendal, the worst place in Scandinavia. I´m sorry, two amazing people in my life are arendalites, and they have confirmed my suspicion. I have been there for the excellent Hove Festival three years in a row now, twice as journalist for Rocky magazine and this year as "resident comics artist". Cool. But as i said: There is a problem with me and Arendal. This year, the pending disaster was particularly close. The reason is: I have for some reason always found bodybuilders funny. Maybe it´s envy because I can´t really get a bicep bigger than a roll of spaghetti, or maybe I just loved Chip from Son of the Beach. So on my final night, I was walking around the festival camp, looking for a particularly weird and horny guy I´d heard rumors of. Now, laughing at bodybuilders is never a good habit. But in Arendal it is INSANE. Arendal was a smugglers route in the old days, containing all criminals in the country. Maybe that proud ancestry is why there are now more steroid-fueled bodybuilders per square foot in Arendal than anywhere else in the world. As a particularly large specimen walked by me, bare-chested and orange from self-tanning lotions so strong they would have ripped the skin of weaker men, I could not help but blurt out a snicker. The second it got out, I regretted. It is really rude to laugh at insecure people in the street, just because they spend enormous amounts of time and money to flaunt their insecurity. The fact that they can rip your limbs apart like a pink ant does not make it more morally acceptable to laugh. It does, however, make it more tempting. Luckily he kept on walking by me, and I thought I was safe. He was four- five paces past me when he stopped. Two kilos of neck muscle cooperated, and his reddish-orange head turned around. "Are you one of those smart guys?" he asked. "No, I´m not", I said. "You look like a smart guy to me," he said. Then, however, my brain disconnected, and I had a stroke. Of genius. I walked up close to him, so close that I believed his chest muscles would crash with his biceps should he try to grab me. (This would buy me a precious 002 seconds, which I would use to convert to christianity.) I asked him the same question I´d asked everyone else: "I´m around here looking for a guy with "The Pussyfucker" tattooed on his entire leg. Have you seen him?" Orange-faced giant started to snicker. "No ... is there such a guy?" "Yes, we´ve heard rumors. Someone´s always seen him, but then he´s gone. Possibly to pussyfuck pussy, I don´t know. He is this camps abominable snowman."

"Well," said the bodybuilder, and suddenly I thought I could see a glimpse of sadness his eyes - "... he sure sounds like a smart guy."

Then he turned and left.



For no reason: Our fantastic model Daga, wearing Anon glasses and the larva from my private t-shirt shop.

And here, Daga and Martin. Martin is wearing an Elvis shirt hand-made by a friend of mine ... website coming soon. All this wheeling and dealing with t-shirts would be shamelessly commercial, were it not for the lucky fact that we just do it to not have to wear stuff other people have made. Other people´s creativity, bleuch! Our motto should probably be If you buy our t-shirts we secretly laugh at you.