The news in the Netherlands these days is dominated by the crash of the Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 yesterday. Although any loss of life is deeply tragic, one is relieved that ‘only’ nine people perished in the accident, with the majority of passengers escaping the accident relatively unharmed.
That doesn’t prevent the Dutch media referring to the accident as an ‘air disaster’ and milking it for what its worth. Every broadcaster has tracked down its own set of citizens who rushed in after the crash to help the wounded. One ‘news’ program even breathlessly announced a ‘reconstruction’ of the accident with the help of taped conversations between the Turkish airliner and the tower, evidently from a spotters radio scanner, but with the relevant portion missing. To add a note of serious investigation to it, they even had set up an interview with an ‘experienced pilot’ in front of a ‘simulation’ of the event that was clearly constructed in MS Flight Simulator ™. Without access to the black flight data box, one wonders what that simulation was based on.
All in all the coverage is as light on information as it is big on hyped up drama, breathlessly announced by journalists who want to see themselves taken seriously. It is like watching the freshly landed fish flopping about in the boat. Furious action with very little result.
The other big news is not Geert Wilders tour through the United States, which carries all the signs of being somewhat of a victory tour. Atlas Shrugs does sterling work covering the tour, as do the Baron and Dympna of Gates of Vienna.
No, the other big news in the Netherlands today is the death of Robert Jasper Grootveld. ‘Who?’, you may well ask. And that was my first reaction to the news as well.
Mr. Grootveld is also known as the ‘anti-smoke magician’. He gained some measure of fame (or notoriety, depending on who you ask) for organizing ‘happenings’ in Amsterdam during the late sixties. According to the news he ‘finally found his feet as an artist in the creative atmosphere of the 1960s’.
As an artist his greatest contribution to the culture of the Netherlands and the world however, seem to be him writing the word ‘cancer’ on billboards advertising brands of cigarettes. The mark of a truely great artist, you will all agree. Sadly, the likes of mr Grootveld would not have the decency, nor the intelligence, to hang his head in shame if he finds himself in the company of Rembrandt and Vermeer.
My sympathies go out to the loved ones of mr. Grootveld. Yet I don’t see why his passing should have made the evening news. An obscure man, with little to show for, except the brief moment of glory during the end years of the 60’s. He was an old, worn out hippie. His contributions may wel have had merit to the few who knew him. But they don’t merit a second of evening news coverage.
Except of course, if you are a fellow old, wornout hippie. And there’s the crux. All those vibrant and nubile youth that slept on the Dam in Amsterdam during those happy and heady day have worked their way through the institutions and find themselves now aged and tired, forced, but unwilling, to hand over the reigns of power. In the time between sleeping on the Dam and now, they have seen their ideals not so much crushed as slowly and steadily being invalidated as the naive and vacuous wishful thinking that they are.
Yet they still cling on to the idea that theirs was the greatest generation that ever lived. That they saw things clearer then their parents and that they see things clearer then their children and grandchildren.
The passing away of mr. Grootveld (may he rest in peace) is of no interest whatsoever. He was an old, worn out hippie who’s contributions to Dutch society were so lasting that nobody knew of them. Except the fellow old, worn out hippies that manage the media, of course. They remember it, and therefor it must be important. Because everything an old, worn out hippie does is important. To an old, worn out hippie.
Just so you know: the rest of us just don’t give a toss. Please, go into retirement already and let us get started on rebuilding the furniture, replacing the carpets and cleaning up the cigaret butts and the wine stains you’ve left your children and grandchildren on this, the day after the night before.