Satiren og demokratiet Kometens og Krydserens spydstikk mot makten – og mot avmakten
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHeimen - Lokal og regional historie. 2018, 55 (4), 343-360. 10.18261/issn.1894-3195-2018-04-05
The article argues that the satirical magazines Kometen (1842) and Krydseren (1849–1854) helped extend the range of the freedom of speech and served a democratic purpose in the balance of powers. They did this by mitigating the fear of authority and by ridiculing those who made false claims to political or social superiority, especially within the elite of the capital Kristiania. Kometen and Krydseren also paved the way for allowing manifestly opposing interests to clash in the public sphere. They thus contributed to bursting the straitjacket of consensus, an ideal which had been held up as the ultimate goal of public discussion by the governing elite. This was an important step in the process of the formation of political parties. The flip side of the satirical activity was less conducive to democracy. Contempt for lack of linguistic ability and intellectual finesse led the magazines to attack the provincial press with as much urban arrogance as the one they fustigated in their Kristiania opponents. Even worse, after the democratic Thrane-movement had been crushed, Krydseren relished ridiculing the linguistic clumsiness of the worker’s newspaper. Later on, Krydseren claimed in earnest that insufficient linguistic mastery was the real reason the Thrane-movement had been crushed by the authorities.