Virulent Word of Mouse

February 25, 2010

Norwegian humor about encyclopedias

Filed under: Amusing diversions,Computer and Internet Humor,Short observations — Shane Greenstein @ 10:52 pm

A wonderful piece of Norwegian humor came my way from Terje Wiesener, a student at the Sloan/MIT. This is worth sharing.

Terje read my business case about Encyclopedia Britannica. This case focuses on that firm’s crisis in the early 1990s, as it reacted to the introduction of CD based encyclopedias, namely, from Encarta. (If you want to read the case look here.)

That made him think of this comic, which he emailed to his instructor, who emailed me. He is delighted to share with you:

If you do not speak Norwegian, you probably need some help. Ah, here is Terje’s translation, quoted directly from his email:

“Square 1: (Pretty self-explanatory)

Square 2: Hold on… Honey, can you come here for a sec?

Square 3: – Ok, can you please repeat that?
– Uh, well… This great encyclopedia could now be yours for…

Square 4: (On the phone) -Knut, listen to this!
(The woman) – Ency-hahaha! What are we, The Flintstones? (Laughing maniacally)”

(If you care to look, here is the web site for all these comics.)

So what do we learn from this example of Norwegian humor?

First, some Norwegians have a recognizable sense of humor. (Not a surprise, but we have to start somewhere.)

Second, the decline of encyclopedias is a general phenomenon, recognized by comic writers in most of the developed world. That includes Norway. (Also not a surprise.)

Third, well — whatdoyouknow? — most Norwegians have heard of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. (To my mind this latter observation is a bit more surprising than the first observation.) Perhaps there is also something universal about “Yabba-dabba-doo.”

And for good measure, here is a small epilogue: Terje also passes on the following information about the norwegian equivalent, Store Norske Leksikon. They are in bad financial shape. Their ad revenues declined recently after they launched their free web service in 2008. Here is the wikipedia entry about them.  I particularly like the other article he recommend, a Google-automated translation of this Norwegian news article.

Thanks Terje!

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