I just saw a quirky, Norwegian movie called “Troll Hunters,” which opened in 2010 in smaller movie markets across the U.S. It’s a credit to most readers of this blog that they have not heard of it, much less seen it. I went because the local film critic rated it a few stars too high.
Several scenes in the movie reminded me of my former job as spokeswoman for a school district, known otherwise as the “flak.” It’s hard to find a good dictionary definition for this use of “flak,” but I did read “slick spokesperson” as part of one. Whoever wrote this definition never met me.
In “Troll Hunters,” the Troll Security Services (TSS) was responsible for removing vicious trolls from areas where they were interfering with the lives and safety of humans. The trolls went on a bit of a rampage, for reasons that are not important here, killing livestock, destroying farmland and laying waste to forests. Luckily for the TSS, they had a flak named Finn whose boss’s sole instructions were for him to “keep a lid on it.” “Keep a lid on it” is what bosses say to every media spokesperson, meaning, don’t let this story get out, but if it gets out, make sure it lasts through only one 24-hour news cycle and that our organization looks good no matter how nasty or accurate the information being shared about us.
Finn did his job by posing as a farm bureau official, hauling in dead bears from far away places and fingering them for the deaths of other animals. He stood in front of the camera and pointed to a bear that had been trucked in from Poland and bear from Russia, assuring TV viewers that each beast was singlehandedly responsible for the loss of an entire Norwegian herd. He routinely blamed crop and forest devastation on tornadoes, despite the fact that tornadoes in Norway are “rare, rarely powerful and short-lived (a few minutes).”
After seeing this movie I can see why Finn was more successful than I. If I had to do it again, I would make sure I had a prop, such as a dead bear, to pin the blame on.