Black-and-white Mannerheim

Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim (1867–1951) was a Finland-born military man, the leader of the victorious White faction of the Finnish Civil War in 1918, the Commander-in-Chief of Finland during WWII, and briefly the President after that. For a large fraction of Finns he’s like George Washington, if George had fought the Communists.

He was a super-posh aristocrat with ancestries everywhere except Finland, and little contact with the “little people”; he served for thirty years in the Russian army (not the separate and less prestigious Finnish army of the Russia-ruled Grand Duchy of Finland, because he got kicked out of that one’s officer school for AWOL), and he was pretty awful with the Finnish language; like Churchill-gabbling-French awful.

No matter; he is the Heroic Anti-Red Marshal and he’s an icon of the sort of backward rah-rah nationalistic xenophobes I’m sure he would have been disgusted by and that I’m sure you have over at your place too; the sort of ubiquitous salt of the earth who think the Fifties or the Thirties were the best time ever. Despite Mannerheim being the sort of rarefied, civilized, cultured Swedish-speaking pansy that the rah-rahs couldn’t handle today as an officer, much less as a wartime leader, he’s their top one special fetish, the one with whose image you do not mess with. (Really. He even went to Switzerland to die. For health reasons. The sort of people I’m talking of would think that treason and good riddance, if anyone did so today.)

(I do realize I may sound harsh. I’ve nothing particular against the man, but I hate this fraction of his fan club.)

Now Yle, the Finnish public broadcaster, is coming out with a biopic of Mannerheim.

This is not the vaporware great big private-industry epic movie that comes up in the news a couple of times each year, mostly to announce that they’ve used all their money, they need more, and they’re almost ready to start filming.

No, this new made-on-the-quiet Yle pic, funded by the public through the TV tax which funds Yle, is something different. It’s filmed in English and Swahili; the latter because the pic has been filmed in Kenya, and acted by Kenyan actors.

Yes, all the actors are black.

Mannerheim included.

The apoplexies of the rah-rah racist-nationalist everymen are like candy.

Like with candy, such great amounts are probably not good, and might result in nausea, but I’m enjoying the outrage of the uncultured as long as I can. (Ooh, that’s a good one: one nitwit is calling for legal action; his charges are “mustamaalaus ja häpäisy”, defamation and desecration, except the Finnish word for the former is literally “painting black”. I swear I couldn’t make up this amount of misguided anti-art stupid if I tried.)

(The makers refer a Bob Dylan biopic where one of the actors playing Dylan is Cate Blanchett; and note that as “Mannerheim was very much not a Finn, this casting might cast new light on his alien nature”. Ke ke ke, it’s a deliciously interesting idea, and a red flag to the backward set, whose are ready to think such things Red already; I love it!)

(Relevant news item in Finnish:

One Response to “Black-and-white Mannerheim”

  1. Henri K. Says:

    Are you high?

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