If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


19 FEBRUARY 2017

Politics First

DELFT - 'America First' is not a new slogan in the US, although it has been said more subtly before the trolley left the track. Perhaps it is as well to say what is felt rather than tart it up in the tired words that are merely meaningless.

From here in Delft, I've enjoyed the growing number of spoof videos that have come out since Mr. Trump's speech at his inauguration. Naturally, the Dutch could not let that pass and were first out with a Netherlands Second? video. Then suddenly other countries began to do it. Since we merrily panned Denmark and Germany, both in turn gleefully made fun of Holland. Places that seemed least likely did so too: Moldavia, Morocco, Iran. Some made as much fun of their own officials and customs.


"In Mark Forsyth's book 'Etymologicon', he asserts: 'Our word sky comes from the Viking word for cloud.' They must have been thinking of February. The city is a little pale, needs more sunlight, but even a partly sunny day is welcome."

The American election result and ongoing events are well reported in Dutch papers. My partner and I have kept up, somewhat. But to be honest, it is weird and getting boring. It is every day. Over dinner, she came up with the idea: why doesn't the press simply stop asking him questions. Her opinion was they should report what he says, what he actually does and then remark only afterward.

My response was that they should check what he says and confront him. In case, I added, any falsehood wanders into his monologue. She accused me of being sarcastic. However she was firm that no one was to ask questions after he spoke, it just invites more of the same. She also thought the press should ignore his daily bird calls.

It was all done in a fake New York accent in plain imitation of Mr. Trump's way of speaking. How so many US Southerners and Midwesterners could 'get' his East Coast nasal voice is another of those inexplicable things. 2016 is a year for hindsight.

The language used in the videos was as much a mockery as the accent. It was the kind a nine-year old might use. Fantastic, best ever, greatest, huge. Of course, those are real words except they don't mean much - to anyone with a vocabulary.

But the Dutch led the way, showing off their blunt sense of humor. The videos were islands of brightness among many bleak days. Over winter, the Dutch drink coffee in cafes and talk. That is more often about politics these days.

There is an election here in March and others in France and Germany. People do talk of the future of NATO and think it is really time Europe defends itself. As Freddie Fender sang: America 'you're gonna lose your good thing.'

I was not persuaded and said so. She was done with the subject: 'And your point?'. Emotions rising I said he is tearing down, breaking apart the country I spent most of my adult life in. She had enough: the idea someone is first - bad manners and rude.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen