mon 02 mar 2009 11:06:35 witte de withstraat
life glimpses in telegraaf
after wikireading over the history of newspaper de telegraaf i decided to click through to the site of the paper itself and have a look. i think this is helping me understand what people mean by "populism".
telegraaf presents several stories about what somebody thinks. that's not uncommon in dutch news in general, there are frequent headlines about someone stating their opinion.
i'm checking this one story from today's telegraaf which says geweld tegen autoriteit amper te stoppen (violence against authority scarcely to be stopped). a professor tavecchio from the university of amsterdam gives his opinion that the people may continue for years disrespecting police, ambulance workers and busdrivers. they refer to an "unknown [unprecedented] violence-spiral". as evidence of the spiral, they cite five or six incidents over the past weekend where police had trouble with ordinary people disrespecting them.
they also refer to something called normvervaging, which i find difficult to translate. the blurring of norms -- where "norms" in dutch usually refers to shared moral values. it's because of normvervaging that people don't respect authority figures any more.
is the degree of violence against dutch authorities really higher than it's ever been? higher than during the jordaanoproer, higher than during the provo demonstrations, higher than during the nieuwmarkt riots over the metro? they don't say. it doesn't seem to matter, because the story is just about what one professor thinks.
what i find noteworthy, then, is how the story hands off neatly to the "reacties". the commenters quickly start making points that the reporter probably wouldn't want to make directly.
someone from loosduinen: "this is mostly about children of non-western-foreign [allochtone] origins, isn't it?" then there's lots of slamming CDA, PvdA, and VVD for "soft" government.
someone from maastricht: "come on people, [those parties] are guests from the 1970s-80s, who live in a history that will never return. think of OUR future! let them whine, they are not of OUR time."
someone from zwolle chimes in that "respect is something you have to earn, you can't compel it with monetary fines". the next one says "what nonsense. if you just step up and make sure that there is severe punishment, that's how you solve it."
a bit later someone from bergen op zoom writes "you reap what you sow. years of tolerance and hugging [geknuffel?] have consequences you can no longer go against. decency and respect are no longer necessary, you have to reckon with culture and background [...] i ask myself, how long yet, before the army has to be sent in to protect the citizens."
a bit later someone from alphen aan de rijn says "just stone-hard step up against this sort of trash. in the US these sort of cases don't happen, there these kind of people are taken directly under shot and if necessary switched off. that's what they have to bring in here."
there weren't too many commenters from amsterdam, maybe five. one of them says "just have a few public beatings, preferably with a bamboo reed on your bare ass. that way the humiliation is possibly worse than the pain."
ok so i started the morning wondering how it came to be that wilders would now have the most popular party. now i'm reading this stuff and i'm getting kinda spooked. i think i'm beginning to understand what people mean by "populism".