we’re all doomed!

It is time to take your money out of the bank. The financial crisis will get you, or at least affect you, one way or the other. And we´re all going down.

The other day I was at the library sharing a small study room with two strangers, an elderly lady and a middle-aged man. Suddenly the man gasped out loud and exclaimed: “I can’t believe this!”. He called on us, pointed at his computer and said: “Look here guys. (Very unusual behavior in Sweden where you are considered crazy if you talk to strangers.) I have been studying the Swedish krona for the past few days. Compared to the euro the value is going down drastically. This is a disaster. LOOK!”

The old lady nodded and said: “I know. Everything is going downhill. It is just like it was before WW2.” Then they looked at me, which was unfortunate because I was smiling, enjoying a critical discourse analysis of their conversation in relation to the financial crises. For a second I was contemplating if I should explain the theory to them, but they seemed upset (holding their breath waiting for me to say something) so I didn´t want to disappoint them. Instead I nodded and said: “Yes, it is all going down.” They sighed, relieved and satisfied.

Normative behavior is still a social force to be counted on. But is it genuine?

2 responses to “we’re all doomed!

  1. The normative is the true way of making sense of the world around. I can imagine how the man and the woman would have felt unsecure if you started to talk about discourse instead of the crisis…

  2. Genuine? It depends! Reassuring? Yes! Especially in a setting where people would resent to “agree to disagree”. Needed? Yes: especially when the set of people involved is homogenous. The less tolerant an environment, the more normative behaviors will be encountered.

    You, (the writer), just happened to be outnumbered, this man and this woman were closer in age therefore of a different culture, (generation gap). That might have been precisely why they unconsciously chose to reaffirm their thoughts about the subject, erasing all doubts that their idea was cross cultural. The dynamics would have been very different if they were outnumbered. So was your behavior authentic? In this situation I would say yes. Yes, it is a paradox.

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