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svante! loser.

an interview with noted swedish author and columnist and man about town svante tidholm on the subject of his book and "loser." consciousness.

loser. was published in 1998 in sweden and in swedish only. conversation with svante revealed an important mode of thinking, merging old philosophies and media savviness, so he is here interviewed in english so that stupid americans like me who don't speak much foreign languages can know what this crazy swede is up to.

X-Slacker: I used to sleep all day...
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 00:39:11 +0200
To: justin
From: svante t
Subject: Re: loser!

>so here are questions for you my friend. thank you for hosting me! i hope to see you again this year.

the same. it was really fun that you came...

>what is the word in swedish that means "cultural alibi" ?
it's an expression not especially common used to describe some peoples work with culture. they're trying so hard to make it look real, like if they cared, but the truth is that they have a bad concious about their lifes and not doing anything for the surrounding world. often these people are too rich or just need something to be proud of.
you can also use it to describe some writers or journalists work for a paper. the paper itself sucks, makes lousy reports with a really bad intention, let's say the paper really stinks or even worse - it doesn't care about anything but selling copies. add a creator, a journalist or an artist with a glowing will of establishing communication and a debate and he's that newspapers cultural alibi. i can imagine that you, justin, sometimes are the cultural alibi for a conference or seminar that without you would be nothing but... business!

>you have written a book called "loser." explain the title.

the word loser has the same meaning in sweden as in the us: someone who failed, didn't succeed. and in this fucked up world where everybody's trying to be winners and bigshots there's a really great need of losers - and i mean losers with style, losers who lose because they don't care and know that this world is gonna end in just a minute and that yourself definitely is gonna end real real soon. so why bother - i try to take it easy and take everything for what it is. everything else is distortion and wishful thinking.
i guess the real title should be something like "stop wanting" or something like that but "loser" is more radical and that's needed to make people react.

>in your writing you wish to appear to people as you are, a loser, how do you do this?

i'm telling people the truth. the whole truth and nothing but the truth. most people don't and worst of all most people don't take the reality as reality but a failure. you can never be happy living like that!

in my writing i'm often very sincere and write about very intimate things, like fucking and really embarressing pretentious thoughts about life. that's my way of showing that i'm a human, someone who can't be right all the time and someone who's most of the time lost in this tumbling, hysterical world.

it's first when you can see that nothing means anything that you can see how much everything is worth. that's why you have to lose to win and that's why the world needs people who are not afraid to be losers!

>can you think of other media, music or writing perhaps, movies, that affirm this viewpoint?

now in retrospect i find that buddhism and tao says mostly the same things that i strive for. the chinese poet laotzu writes in his book "the tao te ching":

"the ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
thus he never has enough
the master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone"

and another place

"do your work. then step back.
the only way to serenity"

otherwise... well, you're one of those who work for a world where everything is more pure and spontanious. your website has probably given a lot of people a kick in their ass: stop sitting there grumbling for yourself - start writing and get it out instead!

>what role does technology play in the life of a loser? did it help you find yourself in that way?

yes, it helped me see that what you think and do is disposable. email and websites makes it really easy to communicate in a higher level - instead of thinking for ten hours and writing two words that in ten year will make a great book i can write two pages in ten minutes. that way of handling information has helped me to see the power of always changing and never squeezing your creations in a fixed template.

>did you write the book as a book, or as a series of essays or articles?

the book is a collection of emails written mostly on the road, travelreports to my friends back in sweden. after a year or more i printed the whole shit and found that it was 200 pages or more. so, because of the same reason i started writing and sending the reports, WHY NOT?, i went to a publisher that wanted my book so bad. that was really fun becasue i never really was sure my stuff was good.

>does the technology of publishing a book differ significantly from publishing yourself online? did you have a nice editor?

at the same time you start thinking about the reciever and the media the content is gonna end up in you start blocking your creativity. i try to never do that.

>is there any hope that we might some day see this book translated into english? maybe we could run some software on it and publish it online...

in ten years maybe. translation tools suck today. that's because you'll never be able to replace the human mind! but i'm trying to convince my editor that the book would sell in the states so i'll guess we'll see what happens. i don't think i want to do it myself, i want to leave that stuff behind.

>what are you working on now that you have finished this book?

i write a lot all the time. but as i said, i try not to think about the reciever in any way. so we'll see about that too.

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