[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 07 October 2009]
For those of you blissfully unaware, raggare is a term used to describe a Swedish subculture of people who really, really like America in the ’50s. Really, really like it. Rockabilly music, big cars, greasy hair, Confederate flags … the whole shebang.
Back when I was growing up—which for anybody new to this blog was in a small town in Sweden in the ’70s—raggare were EVERYWHERE. Their modus operandi was to:
Drive huge, ratty American cars around and around in the center of the city;
Kick anybody’s ass who looked different from them.
There was no step three.
Which meant that basically everybody I knew had been either assaulted or accosted. Yes, we’re talking about stuff like four drunk guys jumping out of a car and pounding you for being a “snob” or “faggot.” (The criteria for falling in either of those categories was not wearing a jeans jacket.)
Which means I don’t feel particularly charitable to their little miserable subculture.
The raggar culture did its recruiting from the deeper ranks of the provincial working class, so book learning was never exactly à la mode. Which could explain the deepest irony: I never met one of them who could speak passable English. So you’d hear things like “Buick” pronounced “bee-YUCK.”
And now, according to guardian.co.uk, it seems they never went away, but have been flying under my radar for a few years, waiting and watching, ready to roll up on me the next time I’m walking down a Swedish street.