Moral standard weirdness: Violence ok but no sex VS. sex ok but no violence; Puritan Norway

The L.A. Times has an interesting article on the standards of game censorship in different countries: How sex in video games is off-limits in the US but violence is OK, whereas sex is OK in Germany but violence is not. (Famously, the human soldiers in StarCraft became androids in the German version and their red blood became some kind of green guck.) Germany of course has a special history, but there is a general tendency (exception below) where sex in Northern [Protestant] Europe is seen as less awful than violence, whereas in the US it’s the other way around. Which is one of those situations where Northern Europe is clearly right. (Thanks to Zhan Li for the link.)

In related news, the Norwegian department of culture wants NRK, the Norwegian state television network, to remove two, well, sexually oriented & wildly ironic games from their web site. (Norwegian language article,
short English article.) Feel free to see for yourself, the language barrier shouldn’t pose a problem: 1 and 2.
Here in Boston, everything bad (bars closing early and such) gets blamed on the Puritans, and people tend to assume that Scandinavia is this wildly free and progressive place, but Norway clearly has its own kind of puritanism.

7 thoughts on “Moral standard weirdness: Violence ok but no sex VS. sex ok but no violence; Puritan Norway”

  1. “there is a general tendency (exception below) where sex in Northern [Protestant] Europe is seen as less awful than violence, whereas in the US it?s the other way around. Which is one of those situations where Northern Europe is clearly right.”

    Ary you using the word “clearly” ironically or sloppily?

  2. …….nah, Jesper……
    Norway doesn’t have “it’s own kind of puritanism”. We’re just purely delightful, but you knew that. Shame on you for making fun of us just because we’re so nice and let that woman, Valgjerd (the chair of the department of culture) live in our country for free and call herself a Norwegian. I bet she was born in Denmark. Her parents were probably the main characters in Axel Sandemoe’s “Janteloven”. Yepp! That’s what I think.

  3. It is weird in the U.S. Clearly, the powers that be have it all backwards, but the general population is much more divided. There is a deep cultural rift here that was very evident in the last presidential election, and has gotten worse since then (if that is possible). W, or “monkey face” as some of my friends refer to him, is clearly trying to pretend to be open while still being true to his ultra-conservative base (and his true beliefs).

    BTW, a story from Denmark was in the news (well, on public radio), about the self-governed enclave that the conservative government wants to eliminate more or less by “urban renewal”. Christina? or something like that. Indirectly related to this posting.

  4. Sadly, Norway is one of the relatively few countries in the world to have a democratically elected prime minister who’s a priest. Well, he didn’t get the majority of the votes. But he’s prime minister.

    Valgerd, who was upset about the masturbation games, is the current minister for culture and church affairs. Unsurprisingly she’s a Christian Democrat, like the Prime Minister, and of course they’re the party who decided that culture and church go together so well.

    Norway also taxes alcohol ridiculously highly because of the Christian Democrats and their puritanism.

    But at least gay couples can get married. Mind you, practicing homosexuals can’t be priests in the “democratic” state church where something like 90% of the population are members. And children are forced to learn about Christianity at school. They don’t have to say the prayers, but they have to learn them by heart. Great stuff, huh?

    I spend so much time raving about the wonderful parental leave scheme, the social welfare system that is so infinitely much better than what most countries have, the fact that we still have a free education system and relatively good equal rights for women and men that I tend to forget about these stupid sides of Norway. Blah.

    Mind you, that cock-sucking game doesn’t really sound like a huge loss for mankind.

  5. I think Baudrillard said that people in the U.S. tend to believe that they live in Utopia (due to the infinite wisdom of the founding fathers etc.).
    The same thing seems to be true for the Scandinavian countries – we tend to see ourselves as perfect countries due to our welfare state, progressive (whatever that means) politics etc. while denying that there could conceivably be anything in our societies that isn’t optimal.

  6. Well, Scandinavians do live in ‘better’ countries, not ‘perfect’, when you look at the factors welfare, progressiveness, politics, etc..

    I think that denial is pretty much opposed by the ongoing critique in danish media of the health sector, pension systems, all the the basic welfare services..

    Nice weblog :-)

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