Old Culture vs. New Culture

Finnish speed skier Häkä Häkkinen told in a recent interview, that the Finnish cross-country-ski-obsessed Olympic Committee prevented his participation in the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 1964, because “downhill is not a real sport” – even though he was then one of the fastest skiers in the world.

We’ve had the same question asked even in 2013, when the TV hosts of the Finnish Independence Day gala asked the old cross-country hero Eero Mäntyranta, “if he considers snowboarding as a real sport” (after quite a few World Championships won for Finns). Of course he did, thank god.

The same attitude seems to apply for culture – there’s the “real culture”, and then the suspicious new stuff, which probably is not real culture.

Tove Jansson, the creator of the Moomins, was born a 100 years ago, 1914, and was remembered in the Finnish MTV3 news on January 10. The newsflash told us, that Moomins are the biggest Finnish copyright-based export ever.

Well, Moomin Characters made a 6 million € turnover last year. The biggest Finnish game companies made 153 M€ (Rovio) and 78 M€ (Supercell) – and that was before Supercell went really through the roof. Currently, Supercell makes in each week the same amount in profit than the whole turnover of the Moomin Characters in a year. Rovio – the owner of the Angry Birds brand – makes half of their turnover through licensing, just like the Moomins.

But I guess games don’t count, because they are not real culture.

I'm bigger than any birds, I am!

I’m bigger than any birds, I am!

3 thoughts on “Old Culture vs. New Culture

  1. From the top of my head, I can spot half a dozen Finnish game companies with bigger turnover than the Moomins.

    Maybe it’s time for the Moomins to come out of their shell. And for the Finnish media to face the music; we make culturally, artistically and financially relevant digital content business in Finland. With or without You.

  2. Culture from the top down scares the hell out of me, big or small, that’s coming from an American who has spent a dozen years divided between Sweden and Norway. The world need’s cultures that produce “Elon Musks” at a much greater ratio than today…to get there we need to reverse engineer our societies towards disruptive innovation via principal based policies, that are shaped dynamically via fusing democratization of data input and said data’s scientific analysis.

    Today, I watched 1000’s of fish from a variety of species swim together in a massive tank. Even though the tank was artificial, nature provided a blueprint for all the creatures to adapt and co-exist in what seemed orchestrated movements when observed for even a short length. To me, it was a visualization of what a culture that is able to innovate disruptively would look like…all the creatures intermingling and utilizing the space how they saw fit but with dynamic boundaries and thresholds.

    I think society can reach such a state by approaching the challenge from the bottom up, from the sides, and in partnership with the top… and emerge from the event horizon having evolved our societies and ourselves, in part, by openly acknowledging the transformation that our societies and ourselves will both becoming aware of one another – where the noble lie is replaced with the shared truth.

    • Good thinking, thanks! Apologies for the delay, this was somehow buried in my dashboard. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the opportunities of crowdsourced culture and information. The dilemma is, that at the same time as the Internet seems to give us equal opportunities, it also creates monopolies really fast. How to find the balance there, that’s the question.

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