These colorful “clandestine clowns” set out to keep “the streets both safer and hilarious-er for all people.”
Jonathan Swift once wrote, “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” But in 2016, after the Western world’s reactionary rhetoric against Middle Eastern refugees, we might say: “When a true dunce appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the clowns are in confederacy against him.”
This new maxim is certainly true in Tampere, Finland, where the anti-immigration group Soldiers of Odin have been “on patrol,” supposedly protecting the citizenry from terrorists. What these jokers didn’t count on is that they would be met by some real jesters—the Loldiers of Odin, a group of “clandestine clowns” who are out to keep “the streets both safer and hilarious-er for all people.”
The Yle news website first reported the story after Loldiers of Odin posted a video of their prankster street action on YouTube. It shows the Loldiers—a portmanteau of “laugh out loud,” in internet speak, and “soldiers”—joining the Soldiers of Odin’s patrol and mocking the latter’s veiled neo-Nazism with a flag that reads “Sieg Fail!”
Odin is a mythological Germanic god, much revered by neo-Nazis; the Soldiers of Odin’s name signals the group’s nationalist politics. And, as the BBC reports, the group’s street patrols have garnered the “qualified support” of the country’s nationalist Finns Party. Loldiers of Odin are having none of it, though.
“Loldiers of Odin showed the way with their jolly behavior as they bounced, leapt, crawled, cavorted, skipped and hopped through the city center,” the group wrote on their website. “At the same time in town, there were sightings of members of another street patrol.”
“Rumor has it that patrolling the streets is really trendy nowadays and it’s for the best of all people and animals alike, so we, too rounded up our own, bumbling and clumsy elite troops,” they added. “[W]e are the red noses and huge ears of the police, and we fill their boots with our extra toes. Our numbers vary from zero (0) to a hundred (100).”
Now, if the Loldiers of Odin could just come over to America and protest this country’s nationalist demagogues and their followers.