In an eight-year-old episode of the Danish drama “Borgen” there is an election campaign. The leading commercial channel TV1 is trying to resist a rival that runs a political debate as a handball match. Politicians have to have the ball for talking time. The host wears the referee’s uniform, blows the whistle, gives a red card for unsatisfactory answers, and sends the ball to the opponents. It’s a mind-blowing game, man. But at TV1, the most market-oriented leaders take the competition seriously. It is not enough to address viewers interested in politics. Others should be tempted with games, entertainment, and drama.
We are fast forward to 2021. There is an election campaign in Norway. “Rock, scissors, paper” is introduced here to decide who will speak first when party leaders compete. Previously, this sort of thing was left, I don’t quite remember, to a court or a notary, at least to a state authorized public accountant. Now it is the games, entertainment and drama that apply.
It’s not quite a handball match on the NRK party leader’s debate yet, but not all politicians seem entirely comfortable with the development. Host Fredrik Solvang at least doesn’t know the rules, according to the Norwegian Society of Stone, Scissors and Paper. The show began with Trygve Slagsvold Vedum losing to Audun Lysbakken. After that, he collapsed into a VG poll.
There are still three weeks of campaigning left. The possibilities are many. Next time, it might be your “bottle spout points,” if you make the party leaders sit firmly on the floor for a while before they get their donuts, soda, and a bag of goodies. The most objective concept is the “whisper game”. For those who haven’t been kids for a while, we can mention that the participants are here in a row, the first will whisper one sentence to the next, and then we will finally hear how the content has changed across the chain.
Here they can start from the far left, where Björnard Moxness whispers “Red wants to end handicap bullying and mistrust, reverse disability reform”, to Audun Lysbakken and then across the political spectrum, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum laughing out loud before whispering softly to a depressed Gauri Melby Sort of, the sentence comes to Erna Solberg, before finally ending with Sylvie Listauge who loudly declared that “the pace of immigration is not sustainable for our welfare model and Norwegian society.”
Norwegian politicians have always found themselves in a little bit of everything. It’s hard to believe that the stress-bag-throwing duel between Kjell Magne Bondevik and Thorbjørn Jagland at Lerkendal in Trondheim in 1999 was something they came up with themselves. Jagland wore a Rosenborg suit. He did not do well in his home in Drammen, as he was excluded from the Stromsgodset fan club. The election campaign is tough.
Eight years later, “Borgen” is finally back with a new season. The question now is whether fiction can match reality. Would screenwriters dare “stone scissors, paper”? Bob Dylan sang, “Even the president of the United States sometimes has to stand naked.” Do you dare to imagine poker clothes?
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