Another step forward for the nanny state! My old nemesis the Stockholm Transport authority (SL) has brought in a mobile telephone ban in some of the carriages in the metro and some parts of the buses. We are informed of this fact by this friendly little sticker:
On their homepage SL claim that this is for “health and social” reasons. They also explain that there is no punishment or fine for disobeying the great almighty lords of stupidness, but instead hope that we all will keep an eye on each other and be nice.
Hands up those who think this is a good idea. Now hands up those who think that I think this is a very bad idea and am therefore about to pour sarcasm upon SL and their minions. Everybody? Good, let’s get started then!
This is a typical half-arsed Swedish solution, designed to avoid the chance of conflict by actually enforcing any laws and regulations. So now we have to act as “mobile police” for each other while on the tube? This is worse than that little text at the movies that encourages us to watch out for pirate copiers. I make a point of looking around in a suspicious manner and pointing at random when this text comes up—but really, can’t the cinema, who have just taken my 10 euros, do their own fucking police work and leave me out of it?
If you have a regulation like then you enforce the bastard by putting in mobile jammers or beefy security men with electric cattle prods; if you don’t do this the whole thing will completely fail and just make us all more pissed off at each other than before. And the funny thing is that even if this regulation actually works it will just make things worse and not better.
How, you might ask? Well, if people do not answer their phones on the metro then the phones will continue to ring. And the ringing is a good deal more irritating than the talking—that idiot cacophony of animals sounds and beeping noises and piss-awful songs that burst forth whenever a moron is contacted by another moron, elsewhere.
This all goes to prove one thing about Sweden, that if you ban enough stuff and treat people like kids then they will act like kids. First alcohol, then headache pills, then tobacco, and now public speaking. What next, a ban on Velcro in public? No reading of books published before 1971? No fruit on the buses? No ankle-socks in November? Who knows where it will all end?
From now on I will make a point of always answering my phone and talking loudly in the vicinity of one of these stickers, and I encourage you all to join me. Free fucking speech, man! We have nothing to lose but the soft and tumour-prone parts of our brains!