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<nettime> Dutch shocklogs revisited
Patrice Riemens on Sat, 10 Mar 2007 13:43:57 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Dutch shocklogs revisited



Pity the Wikipedia entry about shocklogs was deleted (repeatedly!) and
became the subject of a somewhat artificial controversy, also on this
list. The issue at stake deserved better, as can be seen from recent
developments, in the Netherlands at last.

But first I wish it to be stated that the entry submitted was very
deficient in itself, as it did not provide adequate context and
(cultural) translation. I hope to remedy it somewhat with the folowing
recent story.

This morning issue of the Dutch national daily 'De Volkskrant'
(progressive-lite) had an interview with the director of the
(provincial) high-school where the latest 'shocklog' related
incident and subsequent scandal took place: a pupil had convinced
his classmates to all bring the Hitler salute and filmed it on his
mobile phone. The clip was then placed on 'Geenstijl.nl', 'enjoyed' a
vast audience, and the ceiling came down on the allegedly peaceful,
tolerant, non-fascist etc. Dutch society.

('Geenstijl' can be inadequately translated as 'Not Done', 'No
Cricket' of maybe best, in Malaysianglish: 'Faktap, lah!'. Other
'shocklogs' sitenames, left untranslated in the contentious wikipedia
entry, are 'Volkomenkut.nl' = totallyfuckedup.nl; Retecool.nl =
asscool.nl, and a few more I can't remember - but you can got idea)

As far as I know, 'shocklogs', which enjoy a tremendous popularity,
are a uniquely Dutch thing in their local manifestation. With gory
pictures, cranky quotes, weird videoclips and assorted mud-slinging
at anything that moves, 'respectable' or not, they reflect the
solidly ingrained Dutch tradition known as 'kankeren' (litterally
'cancering'). 'Kankeren' is a heightened form of complaining, can be
very violent in its (verbal) manifestation, but is in no way intended
to address, even less to redress, the issue it refers to. Its sole
purpose is to vent grievances everyone knows one can do very little
about - Dutch culture is famously fatalistic in its own way, the
economy being seen as a meteorological phenomenon, social hierarchies
are perceived as divinely ordained, and "Nobody gets handed out the
programme of life's concert beforehand". Now that the new media are
not that new anymore, the digital version of 'kankeren' is carried on
'shocklogs' with gay abandon.

Shocklogs are probably part of what Ms Mabel van Oranje, wife         
of the Royal Johan Friso and advocacy director of Soros' Open         
Society Institute, defines in an interview with the same paper as     
'irresponsible media'. This must be read as 'responsible to no one,   
and also not to society at large', the same thing the high school     
director complained about (he approached Geenstijl.nl to get the clip 
taken of, or at least publish a rejoinder, without success).          

Due to their popularity, 'shocklogs' however, can also work in a
more positive way. An instance I know about is the campaign against
voting computers launched by a group around Rop Gonggrijp (of Hacktic/
XS4ALL/ Cryptophone etc fame), which got a definitive - and defining -
popularity lift of when the (filmed) hack of the Nedap voting computer
was broadcast (indeed, 2,5 lakh downloads!) on, again, Geenstijl.nl
Nedap and the government were thoroughly 'put in the piss' as the
Dutch expression goes, and that was, of course, prime 'Geenstijl'
stuff.

'Shocklogs' have evolved into a fact of life in the Netherlands, and
like so many other idiosyncrasies, one has make do with them, for
the worst (they demolish your cause and your friends) and for the
best (they show no more respect to your ennemies and their f$# {AT} ^&*ing
ideas)

cheers, patrizio and Diiiinoooos! 



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