Sunday, January 24, 2010


Anyone who uses the internet is aware that while knowledge is now available to more people than at any previous point in human history, there is also much more paranoid nonsense that ropes in the weak-minded.
Just because you find it on the web does not mean that it is true, believable, or even sane.

The Netherlands is on par with the United States as far as being connected is concerned.
As many Dutch as Americans have access to the internet, and make energetic use of that access.
Predictably, the same proportion of them are quite as sensible and well-grounded as Americans.

By which I mean that a fair number are loopy, many even barking mad.
Utterly insane.
Stark ... raving ... gaaaaaaaaaaaa!

[Unbalanced Netherlandish.]

Consider this lovely comment underneath an article about the danger of an imminent Al Qaeda attack in De Telegraaf:
"Allemaal lariekoek! Propaganda van de corrupte Amerikaanse regering. Bin Laden is een nepfiguur. De Ladens waren kennissen van de familie Bush. Al-Qaeda is de CIA! Dus aanslagen worden gepleegd door Amerika zelf onder leiding van de nieuwe wereldorde! Dit allemaal om de wapenindustrie draaiende te houden en oorlogen te kunnen voeren!"

[Translation: Complete poppycock! Propaganda from the corrupt American government. Bin Laden is a figmentary figure. The Ladens were acquaintances of the Bush family. Al Qaeda is the CIA! So attacks are committed by America themselves under the leadership of the new world order. All to keep the weapons industry running and to wage war!"]


There are a number of other comments there which echo this meshune fantasy. The usual anti-Americanism is present in the comment string, as well as a leavening of anti-Semitism (the only pan-European ideology since communism).
Also evident is a justifiable cynicism.
But the dominant theme is that it is all manipulation anyhow, and that Americans planned the attack on the World Trade Center and subsequent acts of terrorism.

As this lovely opinion makes clear:
"Misschien blazen de Amerikanen weer een paar towers op."

[Translation: Maybe the Americans will blow up another pair of towers.]

One commenter perfectly expresses modern European paranoid skepticism:
"Heel het terrorisme gebeuren is een complot van het Westen en Amerika om zo geld te kunnen verdienen. Bin Laden is een produkt die door de Amerikanen op de wereld is gezet. Islam terrorisme bestaat niet."

[Translation: The entire terrorist happening is a plot of the Western World and America to make money. Bin Laden is a product that the Americans brought into the world. Islamic terrorism doesn't exist.]

Another comment forcefully emphasizes that point:
"Typisch Amerika, om valse angst/paniek te zaaiën!"

[Translation: Typical (of) America, spreading false panic!]

Not all of the comments reflect that sour attitude of disbelief - though, typically Dutch, they are nevertheless sour:
"Heeft Bin Laden de aanslag op Haiti ook al opgeeist ? Wat moet die zuurkoolbaard nu nog doen om in vergelijking hiermee nog een beetje indruk te maken?"

[Translation: Has Bin Laden claimed credit for the attack on Haiti yet? What does that sauerkraut-beard have to do in order to make any impression in comparison with that?]


Despite the prevalence of terms such as New-World Order, Illuminati, Bush Conspiracy, American Propaganda, and CIA, however, it isn't all anti-Yank agitation underneath that article. A fair number of comments are either pro-American or anti-Moslem, several are quite rational (!), and small number express sober apathy.

The most salient characteristic of the nearly one hundred comments is that many (most) of the writers are guilty of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, as well as throwing syntactical misapprehension around like a pimp spreading nooky.
Likewise, capitalization and punctuation are as missing in action as logic.

If this is the fruit of a modern education, the noble language of Brederode and Vondel is in serious trouble. There may not be enough critical mass to keep it alive.

[I will freely admit that proper spelling, grammar, syntax, etcetera are not my constant companions. But an at-least passing adherence to the rules makes one's assertions more palatable than the appalling lapses and lacunae which the paranoid commit.]

While one might make similar observations about English-language internet commentary, the situation is not entirely comparable. A greater tendency to recognize crap and call the creators on it, as well as a massive influx of talented foreigners deserting their native tongues for English, ensures that Shakespeare's language will continue to thrive. Our bookshelves are littered with non-Anglo-Saxon nomens, the possessors of which have vastly enriched our knowledge and literature by writing in our language.

The same of course can be said for Dutch bookshelves..... a surfeit of foreign authors and their books in English.



Multiple errors in the Dutch texts cited above have been corrected - spelling and capitalization in particular. This was done to improve readability.
Syntax, grammar, and logical flaws have been scrupulously undisturbed, as it would be dishonest to improve upon the thought processes illustrated, and doing so might even be considered a form of censorship.
We do not censor. Stultorum infinitus numerus est, as their own words must show.


skeptically amphibious said...

"As many Dutch as Americans have access to the internet": that can't actually be right, except proportionately.

Anonymous said...

Very much enjoyed as always Sir.


Search This Blog


Thanks to a friend and fellow pipe smoker, I shall henceforth associate Robert Frost's poems with Greg Pease's Haddo's Delight, ...