…Our prime minister has to call an election 21 days before November 13th. Then it’ll be 4 years since the last election – the longest period of time the law accepts between elections. But the law should also state something about not discussing possible election dates until 22 days prior to the event….
The pundits have talked about the forthcoming election for a year now, and all we’ve gotten so far are more pundits talking. As a consequence the not-forthcomming-election has become a joke online.
This blog post is about saying THANK YOU to the great people who came up with the ideas and executed them, when we were all dying for something to happen. We boast of being a country where you can joke about politics, but there isn’t much political satire around except for the cartoons in the daily newspapers – until now.
The first to surface was “Der bliver aldrig valg. Ever“. Which translates in to: “There will never be an election. Ever”. The Tumblr-blog started out as something Jacob Packert, Junior communications officer at the Social Liberals press office, did for fun, juxtaposing old photos of Lars Løkke Rasmussen, with the phrase “there will never be and election. Ever”.
The idea was easy adaptable, and followed the successful concept of the blog “Piktures” – which combines the Danish word for “dick” (pik) with “picture”. The concept? You “dick” an image, changing phrases on city posters, adds and signs from something like “A clean city is a happy city” in to “A clean dick is a happy dick“. You could “get dick” by printing out “dick”-labels from the site, post them around the city, take photos of them and post them on the tumblr-blog (…it’s funnier when you stumble upon the images in the street or online, than reading about it here…).
Like the “Piktures”, “There will never be an election. Ever” became an instant hit. People started making their own versions, submitting ideas to the blog. Then it hit twitter; then Facebook and then the national media, which seem to be the new cycle for new-and-noteworthy things in DK.
Along came “Lars and Helle”
Meet Lars, our current prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen from Venstre, and Helle, a.k.a the candidate from the Social Democrats, Helle Thorning Schmidt.
The Tumblr-blog “Lars and Helle” shows frames from one of their tv-debates, with new soundbites written by fans of the blog. The result is two-to-four frames with a witty tagline and witty lines (speechwriters, take note). A lot of it refers to previous incidents or other politicians, so it’s hard to translate, but for an aficionado like myself, it’s laugh-out-loud-funny. And no, it’s not educating people about where the two stand on the economy, but it does show where people see their strength and weaknesses. And that’s funny.
Again it’s an simple concept; it’s easy to participate in the fun. And like the never-ever an election-blog, it grew through social media.
Unfortunately, the Danish version of the BBC, just tried to stop it due to the copyright of the images used. I hope other people can provide images that are without license or under an open creative commons license, so the jokes can continue to flow from the site.
Two things strikes me as notable (taken the issue of political satire aside): 1. “Lars and Helle” is created by someone who, like Jacob Packert, lives through social media and twitter in particular: Jonas Juhler. 2. it’s pushing Tumblr to a new audience in Denmark, where it hasn’t had a real break through yet.
Last but not least…
On a slightly more boring note: “the election button”. The title refers to the description of the act of calling an election as “pushing the election-button”. Yep, the phrase sounds just a silly in English as it does in Danish. Here people can hit the button, telling Lars Løkke Rasmussen to do the same. 35.000 people have hit the button so far, and latest rumors say that Lars Løkke Rasmussen will do so too on monday August 3oth.
…oh nevermind, there’ll never be an election. Ever.