the international best-selling “the millennium trilogy” and its author, swedish journalist stieg larsson, are making headlines again, after his life partner of 30 years revealed that larsson left behind an unfinished fourth novel when he died unexpectedly in 2004…without a will, and leaving her nothing except an ongoing bitter battle with his father and brother over his now-considerable estate. gee, thanks dood!
better known as “the girl with the dragon tattoo” series, the first book (in swedish) was originally called men who hate women…
…by its author, a lefty-liberal journalist who died before his first book was ever published. the heroine “lisbeth” in larssons books and their movie adaptations, as well as larsson’s fixation on writing about misogynist violence was apparently inspired by a real-life gang rape that larsson witnessed when he was 15. according to larsson’s wiki entry,”[Larsson] never forgave himself for failing to help the girl, whose name was Lisbeth – like the young heroine of his books, herself a rape victim, which inspired the theme of sexual violence against women in his books.”
oh, poor larsson! and, oh really? he witnessed it, and knew the victim well enough to know her name…okay, so what was he doing there? in what sense was he a “witness” and how did he come to “witness” it? what did he see? and more importantly, what did he do *instead* of helping her? did he participate? did he report it? wiki doesnt say…but does provide a link. footnote 22 to be exact.
so i clicked on it, and learned this:
The [gang-rape] happened in 1969 at a camping site in northern Sweden. Three of his friends assaulted a 15-year-old girl as Larsson watched.
‘Her screams were heartrending, but he didn’t intervene,’ writes [Larsson's friend] Baksi in his [own] book. ‘His loyalty to his friends was too strong. He was too young, too insecure. It was inevitable that he would realize afterwards that he could have acted and possibly prevented the rape.’
[Larsson tried later to apologize to the victim, but] Larsson’s apology fell on deaf ears. ‘In the north of Sweden, nobody forgets,’ said Baksi.
yeah no shit dickwad. but heres something that should really bother him (but clearly doesnt): its not just in the north of sweden. rape victims never. forget.
meanwhile, larssons friend has apparently dedicated his life to avenging the victim and the gang-rape that haunted him…but unfortunately, old baksi cant seem to figure out the rapists identities. curious! considering that the rapists were larssons “friends” you would think he couldve just asked larsson while he was alive, or that larsson himself would have come forward with that information if it was so important to him that the real lisbeth be “avenged” and her rapists punished:
‘[Creating "Lisbeth" and writing about misogynist violence] was his way of apologizing,’ said Baksi, who is devoted to avenging the gang rape that haunted his friend for so many years. So far, he hasn’t found their identities, but has pledged to continue the search.
‘I don’t even know if Lisbeth is alive,’ said Baksi. ‘But it’s very important to me.’
Larsson, in real life an investigative journalist who was a tireless advocate for women, died of a heart attack at the age of 50 in 2004.
a tireless advocate ay? yet he couldnt be bothered to pick up the phone and identify the real lisbeth’s rapists to the cops. okay! and its interesting, isnt it, how larsson and his friend are made into some kind of womens-rights champions (or at least anti-gang-rape champions?) in this story for doing what, again? nothing? thats what i thought. actually, what larsson did was *worse* than nothing wasnt it, when he approached the victim and demanded (or expected) her forgiveness afterwards? expecting and demanding shit from rape victims! thats rich.
but anyway, moving onto “the millennium trilogy” itself, its interesting, isnt it, that when these works were translated into english, the title was so drastically changed. no longer are consumers of this material supposed to consume it within a framework of misogyny, and illustrating misogyny and criticizing misogyny, which is apparently how it was intended by its author. (a man who was creatively-inspired by witnessing a real-life gang rape, and never bothering to turn in the rapists he was friends with. did i say that already? good.)
no, we are supposed to consume it with the issues framed thusly: sexxxay individualistic girl has some experiences. how post-modern! how porny! and indeed, this *is* how the first movie played out to this viewer (me!) when i watched the first film. i didnt know what it was originally called, for the first 3/4 of it, until i looked it up. and i have to say, the movie made a lot more sense after i realized the intention with which it was written. i mean really. every single man in the film was either a rapist, a kidnapper, a murderer, or at the very least a PIV-entitled prick — even the male protagonist, a womanizing journalist who larsson himself was apparently envious of. (gah, it burns…)
of course, if we were to imagine that every film, every book, every everything in popular culture were entitled “men who hate women” everything would look differently wouldnt it? everything would start to make sense. and that we simply cannot have.
individualistic and porny it is, then. meanwhile, “we” all wait in breathless anticipation of the american-film remakes, and the mysterious “unfinished fourth novel” that larsson tapped out on his laptop at the very end of his life…when he couldve been writing a will, to protect the woman who stood by him for 3 decades in life, from the men in his own family, who he mustve known werent going to protect her or compensate her financially at the peril of their own inheritance, after he was dead. now thats good misogyny.