What The Orlando Shootings Are Really About (In My Opinion)

14 Jun

So you can call this an act of terror, homophobia or blame it on islam. You can restrict the selling of guns (which I´m totally in favour of, don´t get me wrong), close the gates to foreigners (but mind you, this was a US citizen) or tell gay people to hide a little better (which is insane).

But wouldn´t it be a lot more effective to find a way to prevent people from feeling like killing others? A dramatic explosion of violence like this doesn´t just come out of the blue. Imagine all the anger and frustration that has been boiling under (and apparently above) the surface for years. Reading the papers, I get the idea that this man was someone completely out of touch with his own emotions. Someone who was immensely frustrated (I don´t know in what way, but it isn´t hard to guess, since it always comes down to the same),  but so completely unable to deal with all the negative emotions provoked by that frustration, that he became entirely engulfed by them.

So he projected all that anger and hate onto gay people. And he´s not the only one. Others project that anger onto foreigners, coloured people, women,… You know the stories.

Honestly, the root of the problem is not about gays or islam. It´s about frustrated, emotionally illiterate men who lack empathy and become a danger to society. In some societies they´re kept in check, but given half a chance, they´ll let slip the dogs of war, especially when they´re in a group. In other communities it´s them who rule, hence the institutionalised violence.

If we start teaching children today to become aware of their emotions and how to deal with them effectively, then within two generations this world will be the most peaceful place you´ve ever seen. Because someone who is aware of his frustrations and who tries to find constructive ways to deal with them, someone who is aware of his anger building up and who knows effective, peaceful ways to defuse it, will not grab a gun to make other people pay for his own rage.

But we can only teach our children and youngsters this when we know how to do it ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Reflection

22 May

Like a shy child

covering its red cheeks

he tries to hold back the love

that radiates from his face.

 

But she´s seen it

and beams it back.

Oh, to find your moon

in this infinite space.

 

 

Borgen vs House of Cards

3 May

When I first started watching House of Cards, I was quite impressed. The political intrigues and manipulations that got Frank Underwood, a power-crazed psychopath, into the White House were fascinating to follow.

 

But apart from fascinating, they were also disturbing. Watching this series, it doesn´t seem hard to believe that this is how things work in the real world. And you might even take this line of thoughts one dangerous step further and conclude that this is how things inevitably work, due to the character of the profession. That there is no place for kindness in politics, and that every demonstration of humaneness is a tactical move.

 

Gradually I started to realise that after an episode of House of Cards, I would feel uneasy, skeptical and with my faith in the world at a lower level than it was before.

 

Then I started watching Borgen, a Danish tv-series about a Danish Prime Minister.

 

The main character here is Brigitte Nyborg, a woman with good intentions and high moral standards, who simply wants to do her job well. The series starts when she becomes Prime Minister and shows us the many challenges the job implies: the assertion of her role as a leader, the juggling of different party-lines in her government, the media-strategies, the vultures out to get her.

We are also made witness of the heavy demands that her holding office has on her private life and the many difficulties she has to face while trying to balance work and family.

 

After an hour of Borgen, I feel like I´ve learned something about human life, and that slowly but surely the human race is making progress. (*)

 

I think that´s a nicer effect to have on your viewers and a better message to send into the world, don´t you agree? Because the world will eventually become the way we picture it. I´d rather have the politicians of tomorrow follow the example of Borgen, and not that of House of Cards.

 

And there are more reasons why, in my opinion, Borgen beats House of Cards.

 

The photographical perfection of House of Cards lends the show something so cool and clean that it becomes almost sterile, whereas Borgen shows us a more realistic setting, where we can imagine actual people living an actual life.

 

When it comes to dialogues, half of the time I can´t follow what on earth they´re talking about in that White House, and I honestly believe that has nothing to do with my understanding of English. It is a lot less tiring to watch Borgen in original version (I actually pay attention to the Danish -what a peachy language) and simultaneously read the English subtitles.

 

On a psychological level both scripts have their merit, but here too, Borgen wins. Let me explain why.

 

House of Cards grant us a look inside the mind of a psychopath, which is interesting. But the psychopath becomes boring. An egocentric person only thinks about himself, and all he wants is power. Not much more can be told about that. This series misses one of the most important tools in story-telling, which is character development. In the end it´s just about tactics. Like watching a game of chess.

 

Borgen on the other hand has a lot of psychological nuances. Nyborg has to keep testing her actions against her values, and correct herself when she gets carried away by political game-playing. She has to harmonize the needs of her country, her family and herself. This is a tricky balancing act, that doesn´t become boring at all.

 

So thank you, Denmark, for this gem you have given us.

 

 

(*) I have to admit I haven´t seen Borgen´s season 3 yet, but I can´t imagine them suddenly turning the whole thing around.

 

 

 

The Bad Parenting Prerogative

30 Apr

All my daughter has done today is watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And the only time she´s been out of the house, is when I took her to the supermarket. There we bought popcorn, which we had for dinner.

 

In my world, that counts as some pretty bad parenting: no museum visits, no theatre plays, no park, no nutricious three-course meals.

Of course I am not raising my child solely on ninja turtles and popcorn. But today was just one of those days, you know, where you use 15 minute naps to muster up the energy for half an hour of administrative chores.

 

And you know what, I think that´s totally okay. We don´t need to be Super Parents all the time.

 

Besides, on the bright side:

* she spontaneously asked for a tomato after all that popcorn

* she has undoubtedly picked up a lot of (American) English today – and is there anything cuter than a Spanish five-year-old who knows the word “dude”?

 

 

 

One To Make Your day

8 Apr

I had never done a “meme” myself, and then I discovered imgflip.com.

Fun!

Here´s one for you, ladies, whenever you need some Dicaprio to cheer you up (and doesn´t he always?)

 

leo would so go for me

Meanwhile In Belgium

22 Mar

Two noteworthy events happened in Belgium these past 24 hours.

I´m sure you´ve already heard about the most recent one: the bomb attacks in Brussels International Airport. It´s been four days since the main suspect in the Paris attacks was captured in Brussels, so it didn´t really come as a surprise. We´ve been hearing for years how our country is the focus point of unhealthy terrorist attention. I´m even surprised this hasn´t happened earlier. Like a bad migraine breaking through after you´ve been feeling it coming for days.

Belgium has now raised its terror threat level to 4, which is the highest level.

(One of the reasons this is all happening in Belgium, the bellybutton of Europe, is explained here.)

 

The other event, one you might not have heard about, happened yesterday (Sunday 21 March 2016): 25000 people took to the streets of that same beleagered Brussels. Their message was: there are alternatives. There are alternatives to repression, to fear, to cutbacks, to an unsustainable economy, to turning the country into a police state, to mutual distrust, to fear.

 

It takes only a few people with bad intentions to blow up an airport.

But it takes a lot more to mobilize 25000 people to get out of their house on a Sunday. (Especially in a country that only has 10 millions inhabitants and where Sundays are sacred.)

I believe in that power.

May that Good Force be with us.

 

 

You´ve Been… Alfonsified

19 Mar

So I´m working on the computer, while my husband is chasing bandits on the Playstation.
Suddenly he says: “You know, I was thinking…”

“Yes?” I say.

But no answer comes.

I take my hands from the keyboard and turn my chair towards him.
“What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking,” he resumes, his eyes still fixed on the tv screen, “I might go to the supermarket to…”

Then silence again.

“…to…” I prod.

“… to buy…”

“…to buy what?”
Now that I´ve interrupted my work, I might as well get to the bottom of this.

His fingers keep clicking away at the controller, and he´s still intensely gazing at the screen, when he makes another attempt at finishing his sentence.

“… to buy a thing…”

At this point my frustration turns into fascination.

“Really?” I tell him. “You want to go to the supermarket to buy a thing?”

He grins, but the mystery remains.

It takes me three more questions (“What do you want to buy?”, “What´s the message here?” and “Can you please finish your sentence?”) to lead this Echternach conversation to a satisfying conclusion.

“… to buy some wine,” he says at last. “I was thinking a glass of wine would be nice.”

“Yes,” I say. “That would be very nice indeed.”

They say that to keep a marriage alive, you have to keep talking.
Score for us.