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August 18, 2005 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Rent a minority A swedish library will begin renting out minority groups. [link via Bookslut]
posted by drezdn (37 comments total)

 
Is there going to be an option to buy, 'cause, a little advice, we tried that and it didn't work out too well.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:07 PM on August 18, 2005


The Swedes think they're so clever, but you can rent gay men on 12th and Walnut down in Philly any time you want.
posted by Rothko at 1:10 PM on August 18, 2005


A gay person, an imam, a journalist and a Gypsy will take part in the first stages of the project.

What's a journalist doing in that group? Are they a "minority group" that needs to "discuss issues of prejudice and discrimination"?
posted by Moral Animal at 1:10 PM on August 18, 2005


I gotta wonder: Was this inspired by Chappelle's Show?
posted by LordSludge at 1:10 PM on August 18, 2005


Yet another example of life imitating art 1.

1: I don't really think it's too artistic.
posted by odinsdream at 1:13 PM on August 18, 2005


So, a gay person, an imam, a journalist and a Gypsy walk into a Swedish library...
posted by tpl1212 at 1:14 PM on August 18, 2005


When I saw it was a library, I was relieved. I was worried they were being rented out for parties so that people could show off their "minority freinds."
posted by jonmc at 1:17 PM on August 18, 2005


I can't wait to rent me a Gypsy...
posted by SweetJesus at 1:21 PM on August 18, 2005


A gay person, an imam, a journalist and a Gypsy

When I first read that, I thought they were referring to a single person who'd been quoted in the previous paragraph.
posted by ursus_comiter at 1:41 PM on August 18, 2005


Rent-A-Gay (video)
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on August 18, 2005


Oh, crap! This reminds me: I've got an imam at home that must be, like, two weeks overdue!
posted by trip and a half at 1:54 PM on August 18, 2005


When I first read that, I thought they were referring to a single person who'd been quoted in the previous paragraph.

I can only imagine the outfit he'd be wearing.
posted by jonmc at 1:56 PM on August 18, 2005


I wonder what they charge for late returns.
posted by clevershark at 1:59 PM on August 18, 2005


Doh! thwarted by the browser title again.
posted by clevershark at 2:02 PM on August 18, 2005


A gay person, an imam, a journalist and a Gypsy will take part in the first stages of the project.
What they don't tell you is that that's all one person.
posted by Capn at 2:18 PM on August 18, 2005


I think Gwen Stefani already rented all the Asian girls...
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:34 PM on August 18, 2005


Will the librarian stamp them on the forehead when they come back?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:43 PM on August 18, 2005


Where can I rent a normal person? I've always wanted to meet one.
posted by cleardawn at 2:46 PM on August 18, 2005


(by "normal" I mean someone who is not a member of one or more minority groups).
posted by cleardawn at 2:48 PM on August 18, 2005


define "minority."
posted by jonmc at 3:45 PM on August 18, 2005


Two Swedish links in one day. There must be a full moon.

This sounded a little strange to me - Swedes are not so thick and generally are pretty careful about treating minorities like zoo animals - so I checked the website of the library in Malmö (in Swedish of course) and I don't see anything about this.

It must be Norway. Those Nordic Arabs would do something like this.

Rothko's comment was comic genius.
posted by three blind mice at 3:57 PM on August 18, 2005


A "minority" would be any group including less than half of the population of a given region.
posted by cleardawn at 4:07 PM on August 18, 2005


cleardawn: "A "minority" would be any group including less than half of the population of a given region."
Everybody is part of the group that is composed of themselves, so unless they're alone in the "region", by your definition we're all minorities of one.
posted by signal at 4:34 PM on August 18, 2005


So, a gay person, an imam, a journalist and a Gypsy walk into a Swedish library.
The gay person goes to the men's room to check the glory hole action, the imam starts a fire in the women's studies section, then the journalist sensitively interviews the imam for the local TV news while the gypsy sends her kids through the crowd to pick pockets.
posted by longsleeves at 4:45 PM on August 18, 2005


What these guys need to do is reach some sort of agreement with Netflix. Although Swedes tend to come in irregular sizes, so the envelopes might present a problem...
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 4:50 PM on August 18, 2005


Regarding whether the story is real: Ulla Brohed is the name of a PR person at the library in question.
And the original story was reported by Agence France Presse, which is a reputable organization.
posted by Fracmaster at 4:51 PM on August 18, 2005


Best idea since...well....slavery! Hehe
posted by benkolb at 7:03 PM on August 18, 2005


This just in ...
What To Call A ‘Minority’ Group That Isn’t?
Critics say term should change to match nation’s demographic shift.
posted by ericb at 7:13 PM on August 18, 2005


Well, maybe I'll start by renting someone with brown hair and dark eyes, who is allergic to fish and laughs out-loud.

This is so fucking heavy handed it will even bore the Swedes, a nation that watches nightly panel discussions on yestersday's panel discussions on Swedish identity. (And I say this as someone who actually likes Sweden very much).
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:20 PM on August 18, 2005


This is exactly the type of thing the "nordic arabs" would expect from their insane cousins to the east.
posted by fondle at 7:37 PM on August 18, 2005


Yes it's true. The Malmö city library will be doing this for two days during the city festival. From the library web page:

"Borrow a prejudice - and get rid of it
Borrow a living book for 45 minutes. Take a cup of coffee together and get a new outlook on life. "

You may borrow a Danish man, an animal rights activist, an imam, a journalist, a homosexual, a moslem woman, a Gypsy, a "traveller" or a blind man.

Someone must have been brainstorming...
posted by Termite at 10:51 PM on August 18, 2005


Personally, I can see why this could be good. It provides an environment where people can be candid in their curiosity. Since lots of prejudice is fear of the unknown, this allows the unknown to become more known.

As a gay teen in the early 70s (outed), I encountered many people who simply wished to ask questions in order to understand what it was about. But in those times, it was a part of popular culture to understand the 'other'. It was a healthy time in that regard. Nowadays, it seems more popular to single out a minority to hate.
posted by Goofyy at 10:51 PM on August 18, 2005


...You may borrow a Danish man...
Not mine! I ain't never returning him! *guards Dane jelously*
posted by dabitch at 12:56 AM on August 19, 2005


So, a gay person, an imam, a journalist and a Gypsy walk into a Swedish library...

The librarian looks at them and says "Vad er den här? En skämt?"

I'm here all week, folks.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:38 AM on August 19, 2005


I'm with Goofyy. My first thought was that this was an innovative idea and I find it strange that everyone here is (essentially) responding sarcastically - or at least mockingly. I could imagine everyone from school kids doing projects to well..just regular folk with latent curiousities partaking of the opportunity. It also encourages a culture of seeking more information about groups and I think that can only be a good thing - even if someone doesn't necessarily participate in the program, they see how being openminded and questioning about esoteric peoples is a normal thing - because an institution like the library is reflective of 'societal norms' to at least a degree - makes it mainstream.

Perhaps it would give rise to internet forums where questions can be expressed (yeah, I know it exists to one extent or another but by a normal library doing it in the flesh to start with, it cultivates a sense of questioning or inquiry rather than a culture of ignorant prejudice for those not net savvy) without peer ridicule or fears about standing out kind of thing. I like the idea and would be interested to see how it pans out. Thanks drezdn.
posted by peacay at 3:00 AM on August 19, 2005


Metafilter: We're all minorities of one.

signal: that's exactly the point I'm trying to make. Perhaps it's a bit more subtle than is immediately apparent.

At the risk of laboring the point, I could say that all forms of prejudice are based on the erroneous expectation that there is something in the external, physical Universe which is not Other.

A moment's precise examination, however, should suffice to demonstrate that even one's own consciousness, in fact, is terrifyingly Other. How much more so is everyone and everything we meet in the external world.

Nevertheless, our minds tend to cling to the erroneous perception that something other than Otherhood actually exists, and indeed, that it is almost all that exists - that is, that the "majority" of real experiences and real people can be confidently expected to be non-Other.

This delusion is the template to which we attempt to map our perception of reality, and as a result, we are perpetually surprised and disappointed by the continual reappearance of Otherhood wherever we happen to be looking. ("They're everywhere these days! It's not right!")

That recurrent cognitive dissonance is the basis of the fear and hatred of the Other which lies at the root of the problem. It's that basic error which needs to be addressed if we are to overcome prejudice itself.

Talking to a gay man, as suggested by this worthy Swedish project, might help me to challenge my prejudice against gay men, but I'll still be prejudiced against various other groups.

If I want to overcome prejudice itself, I must first realise and accept how fundamentally alone and different and vulnerable I, as an individual and flawed consciousness, really am: A minority always of one.

At that point, my attitude to other people (and to the external world in general) changes markedly.

I lose my former hostility towards difference, together with my former eagerness to judge the failures of others to live up to my false expectations.

I gain, instead, a deep and sincere gratitude for any kindness they happen to display towards me, and a profound admiration for any successes they happen to achieve.
posted by cleardawn at 4:56 AM on August 19, 2005


Dadgumit! I went to my library this morning and all the cute appliance repairmen were checked out already. The only thing left on the shelves was left-handed Rotarian insurance salesman from Dubuque. The librarian assured me that they were expecting in a shipment of atheists in the afternoon, however.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:41 AM on August 19, 2005


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