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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gävle in flames

Swedes wage “War on Christmas”
By Will Collette

Last year, I wrote about a genuine war on Christmas. Not the phony kind like John DePetro’s wailing about Governor Chafee’s Holiday Tree or Fox News’ concocted Xmas drama, but a real war that tears the otherwise idyllic Swedish town of Gävle in half every year at this time.

The nexus of their controversy is the Gävle goat, or Gävelbocken.

The goat is a forty-foot-tall effigy made of dry sticks and straw that is erected in the town square every year as Christmas approaches.

For reasons only the Swedes (or maybe just the Gävleans) understand, the town then divides into two factions: one half of the town wants to destroy the goat, preferably by fire, and the other half wants to defend it.

Last year, I barely got this important story out to our loyal Charlestown readers when I had to write the follow-up that the goat had been torched.

As humor columnist Dave Barry often observes at moments like this, alcohol may have been involved.

Almost as soon as this year’s Gävelbocken was erected, someone tried to torch it. It was a close call when some passersby smelled accelerant. “The front hoof smells of petrol,” event organizer Eje Berglund reported. 

The Save the Gävelbocken faction have hired private security guards to defend the goat (probably a violation of the rules of engagement, presuming there are any rules).

You can follow this year's capric adventures by reading the goat's blog (I'm not making this up) by clicking here. It's written by the Goat, in Swedish, but comes with an English translation. 

I learned by reading the goat's blog that there's a live webcam that allows you to join with the Save the Gävle faction by monitoring its progress live via the internet. All for all things Gävlebocken, there's a Twitter feed with photos. Truly amazing, especially when you consider that here in Charlestown, we can't even get Clerkbase to work. 

The Gävle goat usually doesn’t survive until Christmas, providing sad proof that it’s easier to destroy than to nurture. Also shows that flamethrowers often win, just like in Charlestown elections. A lesson for us all.

And Frank “Frankie Pallets” Glista – let the Gävle goat be your inspiration this year as you prepare Charlestown’s annual New Year’s Eve bonfire! No more cathedral spires – we want an animal shape. How about a giant squirrel?