There’s a news article about Roger Hallam that I’m looking at right now. If you don’t know him, you’re probably older than 25. He’s one of the founders of activist group “Extinction Rebellion”.
The article is about him saying relativistic things about the holocaust. How, compared to other genocides and war crimes, it falls into standard human behavior and how he calls it “just another fuckery in human history.”
He also said that if a democratic society acts amorally, democracy itself becomes irrelevant. The climate is more important than democracy.(more…)
People have weird turn-ons. Some get off on hands, or feet, or other various extremities that may or may not be present from birth, and may or may not be literal. Some are attracted to intelligence, some to confidence, some to silence.
Me, I have the weirdest fascination for things outside my perspective. It runs deep. Queer things in all senses of the word. Experiences I have never considered, aspects of life I never visited, points of view that come from such a fundamentally different basis, that I’d have to go back to my essence to fully grasp their line of thinking, if I ever could to begin with.(more…)
Alright, let’s pull up something that’s been on my chest for a few years now. Those usually don’t look very good, so bear with me. It’s about feminism, and when a white guy regurgitates stuff about feminism… Again, it won’t look good. Just… Y’know.
Since I’m raising a little hybrid, it is my job to teach him his heritage. On one hand, I consider love for one’s country to be utterly wasted, on the other… I am shaped by my environment, which in turn was shaped by its history. The path of my people -if there even is such a thing in these parts- is my own, and it’s identity, part of mine. Valid or not, I am proud of my heritage and I hope he will be, too.
A large part of the above revolves around language. While technically Dutch speaking, we wouldn’t be Flemish if we wouldn’t overcomplicate matters until no one can make sense of it anymore.
Only just a few hundred years ago, western Europe was basically a large collection of city states. Ghent was governed by the Spanish, the Dutch, the Germans, the French, and I’m sure the British too got their noodle wet in the great cluster fuck that is Belgium, but most cities and especially Ghent, well known for its hard-headed citizens, had always maintained a high degree of autonomy.
It was a privilege we would abuse, until Charles V lost his patience and forced the elite to parade the streets with a demonstrative noose around their necks. In folklore, we Ghentians are known as the “noose bearers” ever since.
My name is Maarten and I have a problem. One that never once in my life, I thought I’d have.
Early on in life, I started to feel a most peculiar thing when involved in some project, sometimes given the most mundane and repetitive tasks: I felt useful. I never really fit in at school so being someplace where people were happy to see me, was quite novel. Little by little, I began to see labor as my merit to others, and because I got good at it, conveniently used it to measure my worth.
In the end, I managed the ultimate success: I made my hobby my job, and I never worked another day in my life.
What they forget to include in this woefully simplified slogan though, is that you’ll find yourself fresh out of hobbies.
If you are working towards this state, good. It’s a wonderful life and I hope you get there. But it’s not all great: As your job grows to be a part of your personality, it gets increasingly hard to separate one from the other. Already I define myself as a “stage technician” more than anything. I take my work home and I am at home at work, until the two become hard to distinguish.
The rule was simple: No politics. As in life, there aren’t many rules when it comes to writing.
As in life, the first one is: Break rules. So here goes.
Yesterday or the day before (who cares) elections were held for the Flemish parliament or some such (who cares). Our most popular and very right-wing party lost a few points or seats or whatever (who cares), giving way to the current #2: An even more right-wing party! And if you hear the despicable nonsense uttered by the big heads of party #1, you’d be surprised there even is one.
As I am generally surrounded by leftists, my social media channels and life are filled to the brim with political messages. Messages of frustration, of regret, but also hope. Hope that there is a better future to look forward to. Any day but today, when we lost. We lost.
I’d love to be the good guy in this story. I assume, so do you. It seems easy enough: Don’t be a dick, a feat easily accomplished by not doing dickish things. It isn’t.
Our minds, yours and mine, not only wants to be the hero, it must. For some reason it has a hard time coping with any exception, which I noticed first hand when I realized I was the mean ex in the story of my girlfriend and her new lover. It was a tough nut to swallow.
The first boarding school I went to -I’m looking at you, OLV Ledeberg- was nothing short of a well-constructed prison and you will never hear me say a good word about it. It’s a place where childhoods come to die.
But lock up a group of individuals long enough and somehow, someway, they’ll start to build a small community. One with a hierarchy, a culture, and norms. In its dynamics, it rewards certain character traits (in this case, for example, an unhealthy dose of sadism) and punishes others. Given enough time and social skill, you learn to play the system and rise through the ranks.
So I grew up with a certain sense of community and I caught myself being sensitive to it. Growing up, I always wanted to learn some useful skill that would allow me to be of use in such a group, and given time (not so much social skill), grow not only accepted, but respected.
I am a big proponent of electric vehicles. I pushed the company towards selling our old diesel truck and buy a share in our local electric car sharing cooperative. It was our collective decision but I brought it up and did the research.
Similarly, I am doing the same for a change to LED regarding our theater spots. I am hoping to bring down our stage power consumption down by about 3/4ths.
I love the idea of clean energy, of short-chain economy, of lab-grown meat and biofuels but I strongly believe none of these things is going to save our planet. None of them will put a stop to our current trajectory until it’s too late. (more…)
Riding a bike in a kilt ain’t easy, I know that now. I learned it in the American deserts, where stoner rock was born, and dust eaten for lunch. But I was enjoying myself to my full capacity, taking a break in the literal middle of nowhere. I had spotted a tent in the distance and wanted to check it out. Now that I could see that it had ‘ADVICE’ written on it, I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to approach. But what the heck, I figured. It’s what we’re here for.
He didn’t look up when I set my dursty bowler hat on the table and sat down, as if he didn’t care what I looked like. Not as much as the sight of the mountain range in the distance. I mirrored his look until he greeted me. Hey.
“I got a special one for ya,” I began without the frills of an introduction. I noticed I was picking up the local accent. I didn’t mind. He laughed, but only a little. I’m sure he could see that I was dead serious. (more…)