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2_3_ScanMagazine_Issue_81_Oct-Nov_2015_Scan Magazine 1 15/10/2015 21:37 Page 127

Scan Magazine | Humour | columns

IS IT JUST ME...

By Mette Lisby

Who has had a change of heart regarding Facebook’s ‘dislike’ button? At first I welcomed the thought of it. I mean, you can’t ‘like’ everything your friends post. After all, the purpose of Facebook is to expose you to what every single person you ever met in your entire life is doing all the time, so how are you supposed to agree with or like everything everybody posts? But why stop there? What about the ‘I don’t care’ button? The ‘I find this highly irrelevant’ button? The ‘My God, that baby is ugly’ button? Or the ‘For heaven’s sake, stop bragging!’ button? You know the friends who keep updating casually from first-class airport lounges around the world, but never from the places they actually travel to unless it is expensive to be there. As if life is somehow greater because you spend it in an airport lounge. ‘Look! We are in a first-class lounge!’ Yes, well, I am at home, which at any given time I much prefer over any airport lounge. I too can drink all the alcohol I want, and I can avoid looking at ugly carpets. What about the ‘Are you sure about this?’ button? You know when your friends upload

pictures of themselves that they clearly find flattering although they are not? Or the simple but, I’d imagine, highly effective ‘Really????’ button for any picture or statement you find dubious, annoying or mildly stupid. Simplifying to a ‘like’ or ’dislike’ button – that kind of ‘thumbs up’, ‘thumbs down’ attitude towards the world, towards other people, is just not healthy. And going over comments to various Facebook updates, there doesn’t seem to be a lack of opportunity for people to vent their negativity. Or if there is, it doesn’t hold anybody back. On the contrary: negativity thrives very well there. It really doesn’t take a lot of information to really annoy people. So on second thought, if ‘like’ or ’dislike’ are the only options available as far as buttons are concerned, I agree more with the old sentiment: if you’ve got nothing positive to say, then don’t say anything at all. I hereby dislike the ‘dislike’ button.

Rules We Swedes like to think of ourselves as well organised and orderly. We like rules and regulations so much that breaking them seems not only inadvisable but almost impossible as a concept. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than at the passport renewal office at the Swedish embassy in London. The first thing to remember about this highly concentrated bubble of Swedishness is the strict opening hours. There is no point being early – the doors will remain locked until the official time. There is no point in being late, because HA HA, ARE YOU INSANE?! Once the doors open, you are confronted with the obligatory symbol of Swedish civilisation, displayed like a proud effigy in the entrance hall. This of course is a queue ticket dispenser. A Swede without a numbered ticket is like an Englishman without an umbrella in November. Once inside, there are rules to follow. If you do not automatically comprehend what these are, you might be tempted to ask, but then that would involve

Mette Lisby is Denmark’s leading female comedian. She invites you to laugh along with her monthly humour columns. Since her stand-up debut in 1992, Mette has hosted the Danish versions of Have I Got News For You and Room 101.

By Maria Smedstad

incorrect form of ID. This did not compute with the Swedish consultant. “No!” she told the man. “This couldn’t have happened.” “But it obviously did,” he tried to argue, “… as proved by the fact that I’m standing here.” The consultant looked blankly at him and then did what any quietly panicking Swede would do. She pressed the button for the next number in line, thus making the difficult concept of rule breaking disappear, thanks to the silent display of some orderly numbers on the wall.

human interaction without the relevant ticket, so you probably won’t. When finally your number is called, efficient, unflappable service follows. Unless of course your business is somehow irregular, as happened to a man during my last visit. The man in front of me needed a new passport after he had entered the country using an

Maria Smedstad moved to the UK from Sweden in 1994. She received a degree in Illustration in 2001, before settling in the capital as a freelance cartoonist, creating the autobiographical cartoon Em. Maria writes a column on the trials and tribulations of life as a Swede in the UK.

Issue 81 | October 2015 | 127

Scan Magazine, Issue 81, October 2015  

Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Swedish singer Ane Brun.

Scan Magazine, Issue 81, October 2015  

Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Swedish singer Ane Brun.