Obama’s praise of Finland’s heavy metal goes viral

Social media reacts after US president says Nordic country’s good governance might be linked to its heavy metal culture.

Obama metal
Social media community shared 'heavy metal style' digitally altered pictures of the US president [Alterity/Twitter]

United States President Barack Obama’s commendation of the popularity of the heavy metal music genre in Finland has gone viral on social media.

Obama’s remarks came on Friday as he hosted the leaders of European Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – at a summit in Washington DC.

Finland has 53 heavy metal bands per 100,000 people, followed by Sweden with 37, while Norway has 27, according to research by a Reddit user, who took the listing of bands by country from the  Encyclopaedia Metallum and calculated the number of bands per 100,000 people using numbers from the CIA World Factbook. 

In his remarks to Finland President Sauli Niinisto, Obama praised the country’s heavy metal culture and joked about a possible link between the music genre and good governance in the country.

“I do want to point out that Finland has perhaps the most heavy metal bands in the world per capita and also ranks high on good governance. I don’t know if there’s any correlation there.”

Following the remarks, some social media users shared heavy metal style digitally altered pictures of the US president.

Some others posted memes showing Obama as if he is in a mosh pit, a kind of dance carried out by metal and punk rock fans at live shows.


The president also complimented the Nordic countries for technological innovations that wield high influence on today’s global popular culture.

“Thanks to Nordic innovators, we share our music on Spotify, stay in touch by Skype, and millions spend what would otherwise be productive hours on Minecraft, Angry Birds and Candy Crush,” he said.

Obama has frequently expressed his admiration for pragmatic, transparent and liberal-leaning political systems of the Nordic nations while also praising the welfare and educational systems of these countries.

“We believe in societies that create opportunity for all people, through education, healthcare, and equal opportunity, including for women,” Obama said at the summit.


“In fact, in a world of growing economic disparities, Nordic countries have some of the least income inequality in the world,” he added.

“There have been times where I have said, why don’t we just put all these small countries in charge for a while and they could clean things up.”

Follow Umut Uras on Twitter: @Um_Uras

Source: Al Jazeera