Sweden is far from its 70s stereotype of a liberated, semi-nudist land of earthy blondes. In fact, as far as social norms go, it seems as, if not more, conservative as, say, liberal parts of the US.
But there are moments when you realize that Sweden is a liberated semi-nudist land of earthy blondes, at least in spirit. Usually these moments are at the library. Yes, the library. Flipping through the bin of books on the alphabet and numbers and new siblings.
And there somewhere is a book with, on page 13 or so, a full-on illustration of a naked man. Then a naked woman. Then the naked man on top of the naked woman. Enlightening stuff for the preschool set, I am sure.
We actually checked this book out once so I could write about it, but then I got all caught up in questions like, Can I scan this? Is it appropriate, even if in a book for little kids in the local Swedish library? Does one book signify anything? Maybe the (very stern and unearthy) librarians don’t even know about it.
But here I am writing about it, and that is because I found another example of Sweden’s, ummm, looser standards.
I found the Crue.
Yep, Motley Crue. I was at the library today, holding a baby, following a toddler, and the featured book in the youth nonfiction section was:
Motley Crue: The Dirt – Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band
Now the youth section includes teenagers. I get it. But it also includes young teenagers, and this is a book about, according to Amazon.com:
Whiskey and porn stars, hot reds and car crashes, black leather and high heels, overdoses and death. This is the life of Mötley Crüe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world.
And lest you think this a mistake, the book next to The Dirt?
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
The thing is, now I want to read both books. I mean, a Swedish newspaper called The Dirt “a modern Canterbury Tales.” I never liked Motley Crue much, in fact I remember when Dr. Feelgood came out in the late 80s and I thought, boy, those guys are washed up and when would this hair band thing end, and in that darkest night, it was actually about to end, for I discovered Led Zeppelin soon after, the Black Crowes came out, and then a year later in college, I had Nirvana and Pearl Jam on constant replay, and the Crue was headed for tabloid hell.
But still, how can I pass up The Dirt now? I love the Canterbury Tales. I see Tommy Lee as the Wife of Bath, Nikki Sixx as the Miller and so on. So thank you librarians of Solna. And if my kid brings this book home when she is 12, you will be hearing from me …