This isn’t the post I was planning on writing this week, but it’s the one you’re getting. In light of the many, many news cycles this past week which have been taken up by the videos of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin dancing at a party, I’ve decided to comment on the scandal – or rather scandals – here. There is, indeed, scandalous behavior being displayed, although it is not on the part of PM Marin or anyone else in the videos.
Rather, the scandal is two-fold. One scandal is on the part of those who decided to leak and weaponize the videos, while the other is on the part of the media.
Starting with the former, while it is not known who leaked it to the public, it is known that a lot of the speculation around the contents of the videos stem from Finnish neo-nazis. Their claim that the first video features someone saying “flour gang” – interpreted by them as “drug gang” – is entirely on them, and I hasten to add that it is not only speculative, but also an apparently debatable interpretation.
Other than that, the first video – the one where PM Marin and friends are seen dancing – shows us one thing, and one thing only: Adults having a party. While the details of the party may not be the way you prefer to party, that is irrelevant. The second video – the one where PM Marin is seen with a man who critics claim is kissing her – also appears to be benign and lacking in clearly inappropriate behavior.
Is he kissing her? Is he talking to her? Honestly, it’s impossible to tell – and I think it’s also irrelevant. A kiss on the cheek is a common enough practice that I don’t see how anyone has any call to criticise it. However, let’s assume it wasn’t a debatable kiss on the cheek, but a full-on snog. Would it be problematic to the public? No, it would not. In case you hadn’t heard, there is such a thing as consensual non-monogamy.
Sure, consensual non-monogamy might not be the mainstream way to live one’s life, but it exists and it is entirely valid. It’s valid in the same way that being in a homosexual relationship is valid. It is valid in the same way that being in a inter-racial relationship is valid. It is valid in the same way that being in a inter-faith relationship is valid. You may feel free to disagree, but know this: You are wrong.
I will also add that the whole premise of the criticism falls flat on its face when you apply the inversion test. What would happen if a male PM did the same? We don’t have to ask; we know. This would be – entirely – a non-issue for a male PM, so why should it be any different with PM Marin? It should, of course, not be.
That deals with the first scandal of this whole debacle. The second scandal – which I think is the more serious of the two – is that of the news media and political opposition allowing themselves to be used in a poorly founded campaign of relatively transparent Kompromat. It should come as no surprise that this shows up shortly after the Finnish government – under the direction of PM Marin – apply for NATO membership.
Journalists and editors of news media should take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask themselves how this became an issue at all. If they were to report on it – and I honestly don’t think they should have done – it is at best celebrity reporting. It doesn’t belong on the front page, and it doesn’t belong in political reporting.