Media (241)


The Vulgar President

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

For a pathological narcissist like Donald Trump everything is always about him.  He considers himself the most impressive person in the world and an infinite source of wisdom.  Therefore everything he says or does is important, in fact the most important thing that’s being said or done at that particular point in time.  Trump has that trait in common with other narcissists, although he’s the most visible of all of them and his mental disorder is on constant public display, but there is more to his condition.  The President of the United States also lacks severely in cultural development and interest, and, as a result, is a very vulgar man.  We had already learned about the depth of Trump’s vulgarity when the ‘pussy-grab’ tape came out, but during the last week it came to full fruition in a political context, on numerous occasions when he made public statements or when information about his behavior leaked out of the White House.  Since Trump cannot change, and nobody controls him effectively, this is what we’ll get the next four years.

On the occasion of Black History Month, Trump – as Bill Maher observed – had brought all the black people he knows together in one of the smallest rooms of the White House.  Seated between Omarosa Manigault and Ben Carson he somehow brought up the nineteenth century black scholar, writer and educator Frederick Douglass, a former slave, about whom he clearly knew nothing.  Douglass, in Trump’s words, had done ‘an amazing job,’ for which he was ‘more and more’ being recognized.  There was a lot of cringing in the US that day, and probably even in the White House, although Sean Spicer repeated Trump’s characterization of Douglass during the official press briefing.  At the announcement ceremony for his candidate for the Supreme Court, Judge Gorsuch, Trump could not help but start his remarks by pompously mentioning that he had just attended a ‘very impressive’ event, without providing more details.  Later it became known that he had witnessed the arrival of the dead body of a Navy Seal at Dover Air Force Base.

Apparently Trump felt that his presence at that ceremony enlarged him, although some modesty would have been more fitting since the Seal’s death resulted from a botched operation for which he had given the go-ahead.  He took his vulgarity to the next level at the National Prayer Breakfast, which he opened by bragging about his own ratings when he was still presenting ‘The Apprentice,’ and by suggesting a prayer for Arnold Schwarzenegger, his successor.

The inappropriateness of Trump’s remarks at those three occasions was complemented by his phone call with the Australian prime minister, during which he bragged about the crowd at his inauguration and got angry about an existing agreement between Australia and the US concerning the transfer of eleven hundred refugees, which caused him to abruptly hang up.

Since then the president threatened his Mexican counterpart to send troops into his country to go after ‘bad hombres,’ called a federal judge a ‘so-called’ judge, and accused unnamed Americans of being killers in the mold of Putin.  And it’s only been two weeks now.

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Who Caves?

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Donald Trump’s actions of last week are discussed in many places, among others the waiting room of a doctor’s office where I had to spend some time Friday afternoon. Trump had no fans in that room, and the conversation jumped from issue to issue: his childish distorting of the crowd size at his inauguration and his insane suggestion that between three and five million illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton, his calling the press, with the exception of Fox News and Breitbart, the ‘most dishonest people on earth,’ his executive order to initiate the building of a wall on the Mexican border, and his at that point just announced ban on immigrants from a number of Muslim countries, including Syrian refugees.  It was too much to cover, and at some point one of the women in the room said: “You have to focus your resistance on a few things, trusting others to resist his other policies and support them as much as you can, because you cannot take on his whole agenda, which not only threatens American institutions like voting rights and a free press but also the planet.”

She had a point, so I’m focusing on ‘the Wall’ and the Muslim ban, as well as health care, entitlement programs and infrastructure policies, because these are issues where Trump and the Republicans in Congress don’t necessarily see eye to eye.  Until Trump became the GOP nominee both his intention to build the wall and the Muslim ban have been thoroughly criticized by Republicans, the former for practical and the latter for principled reasons, but on both issues Republicans in the House have already caved.  The wall will be built with American taxpayer money, and Muslims from seven countries have been banned with the full support of Speaker Paul Ryan.  The question is if the Republicans in Congress will get something in return from Trump.  In an executive order on health care he instructed that Obamacare be repealed and replaced, for which both the House and the Senate took the first steps, but during the campaign Trump also emphasized that nobody would lose coverage and that he would replace Obamacare with ‘something better.’

That is not the intention of Tom Price, Trump’s choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services, who as a congressman for years has peddled a plan that would take health care away from the most vulnerable Americans and mostly benefit the category of doctors that he himself belongs to.  Price consistently speaks about the right to have ‘access to health care,’ meaning that those who can afford it can buy coverage, and those who cannot, not.

So when it comes to healthcare, either Trump or Price will have to cave.  With regards to Social Security and Medicare, it is Paul Ryan’s life’s mission to dismantle and privatize these programs, which would lead to a massive reduction in benefits.  Trump, however, has promised that he would leave them untouched, so it’s either he or Ryan who will cave here.

On infrastructure, finally, Trump has promised a trillion dollar investment to rebuild America, but Republicans in Congress have opposed similar spending all through the Obama years.  It would be good for the US if they caved here, but probably not for Paul Ryan’s career.

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Narcissism Squared

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

So far the Trump presidency is a fascinating experiment in psycho-pathology.  For months pundits without much understanding of narcissistic personalities have predicted that at some point Trump would tone down the self-aggrandizement, the aggressive rhetoric and the blatant lies to become a measured and ‘presidential’ individual.  The question is: why would he?  People with Trump’s mental disorder believe that they are perfect in every way and destined to do the greatest things.  They have no mechanism to process information that would suggest they are less than perfect, and they cannot accept facts that contradict their vision of greatness.  Therefore they live in a world from which a significant part of reality has been removed and replaced by a background created by their own imagination.  If and when a person like Trump is elected President of the United States, it can only enforce his hallucinations and make him distort reality even more, because the mere facts of his election and inauguration seem to confirm that he understood himself all the time.

The consequences of what I would call squared narcissism have been painfully on display the last couple of days.  Trump started his conquest of Washington, DC, with a visit to his new hotel, where he blurted out that it must have been conceived by ‘a great man.’  At Thursday night’s pre-inaugural concert he revisited his primary contests and eventual victory in the Electoral College, as if to assure himself once more that he had rightfully earned the honor that was about to be bestowed upon him, by mobilizing his exceptional talents.  Still in the same mood he gave his inauguration speech the next day, repeating the themes of his campaign and painting a picture of America that invoked imagery of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road,’ in spite of the fact that Mr. Trump has never heard of that book.  And then the real work started.  On Saturday he visited the CIA headquarters, where, in his own tweeted words, in a ‘packed house’ he ‘paid great respect’ to the wall that memorizes fallen CIA officers, and received ‘long standing ovations’ from ‘amazing people.’ ‘WIN!’

Conveniently forgetting that two weeks ago he had compared the intelligence services to Nazi Germany and falsely blamed them for leaking information that had already been publicly available for six months, he declared that ‘nobody respects the CIA more than Donald J. Trump,’ and blamed the dishonest press for insinuating that there was friction between the president and the intelligence community.  And that was only the beginning.

Later on Saturday Trump elevated his beef with the press to the next level by sending his embarrassed Press Secretary to the White House briefing room to declare that newspapers had doctored pictures of the inauguration crowd to make it appear smaller, while this had been ‘the largest inauguration crowd ever.’ After this statement no questions were taken.

There has been some speculation that Trump deliberately created this distraction to direct attention away from the demonstrations that dwarfed his inauguration crowd on Saturday, but it is more likely that he is getting crazier by the minute.  And it’s only been two days.

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Gedreven & karaktervol

Beste collega’s

Karen de Bok is er niet meer. Dat was het immens trieste bericht dat wij gisteren te horen kregen van Emile Fallaux, de man van Karen.
      Zij heeft een uitweg gekozen uit een depressie die haar zwaar raakte, vertelde Emile. Dat bericht kwam als een mokerslag. En liet ons verbijsterd achter.
      We komen vandaag in de tuinkamer samen om elkaar te steunen en te troosten. Je bent vanaf 13.00 uur welkom.

Dit bericht werd vandaag verspreid bij de VPRO. Het zorgde voor een enorme schok.

Karen was pas 22 jaar oud toen zij voor het VPRO-programma Het Gebouw bijdrages ging leveren vanuit Rotterdam, waar zij in dienst was bij Radio Rijnmond. Ik was toen eindredacteur van dat programma. Vanaf het begin was duidelijk dat zij een gedreven, talentvolle en betrokken radiomaakster/journaliste was.
Wij vonden al vrij snel dat zij fulltime bij de VPRO moest gaan werken.
Vijf jaar later was het zover.

Zij werkte bij Het Gebouw voornamelijk op de binnenlandredactie en had een voorkeur voor culturele onderwerpen.
      Zij deed ook enkele marathoninterviews. Onder meer met Hella Haasse. Daar was ik direct bij betrokken, omdat ik de tussenteksten bij dit interview schreef voor Cor Galis. Zij had het interview zeer goed voorbereid en deed dat voortreffelijk.
Na de Gebouwperiode werd zij eindredacteur van het radioprogramma Michelangelo. Daarna ging zij naar de televisie en was ondermeer actief bij het filmprogramma Stardust, bij de themavonden en bij Zomer- en Wintergasten. In 2008 werd zij hoofdredacteur televisie.

Vorig jaar had ik nog even empathisch contact met haar, nadat zij zeer terecht de keus had verdedigd om Abou Jahjah als zomergast uit te nodigen.
      Het is bijna onverteerbaar dat zo’n gedreven en karaktervolle vrouw voor zo'n eind heeft gekozen.



Nostalgische correspondentie

Van mijn oud VPRO-collega Theo Uittenbogaard ontving ik deze correspondentie en deze leuke foto’s.

Hallo Theo,
In juli 1965 interviewde jij mij, de voorzitter van de Nederlandse Beatles fanclub, in het programma Rooster. Er zijn tijdens de opnamen foto's gemaakt door Emanuel Damsteeg. 
Ik verscheen met gemillimeterd haar voor de camera omdat ik in militaire dienst zat.
Ik kan me niet voorstellen dat jij je nog iets van dit interview herinnert, maar toch .... en weet je of er van die uitzending iets bewaard is gebleven? Logboeken of oude videobanden?
In bijlage een foto van de uitzending. 

Har van Fulpen


(Theo rechts)

Is het niet geweldig die foto?
...Ik weet sowieso niet meer wie ik verder interviewde of waarover het allemaal ging. Ik was veel te opgewonden dat ik als middelbaarscholier, uberhaupt 'op tv' mocht. 

Ik weet nog wel dat bij één van die Rooster-uitzendingen de PLOEM-PLOEM-JENKA als nieuwe dans voor de jeugd werd geïntroduceerd, en dat daartoe mede-presentator Rob Klaasman volstrekt onzinnige hupjes moest maken met een andere presentatrice. Misschien wel Marjan in't Hol. Waar het studio-personeel weer verschrikkelijk om moest lachen bij de aftiteling, en -ik schaapachtig- mij de reden van hun hilariteit moesten uitleggen: "U keek naar Rooster en Marjan in't Hol". Haha.
Het enig concrete wat ik nog weet is, dat het voor het AVRO-jeugdprogramma Rooster was, geregisseerd door Gerrit den Braber (met Kees Boomkens als assistent), onder muzikale leiding van Joop Stokkermans (zijn kuif rechtsonder in beeld), in Studio B te Bussum -of was het toch in Studio Irene? 
Het was 'live'. Of zoals men destijds zei: 'rechtstreeks'. Er kon niks opgenomen worden. Want video-registratie bestond nog niet. Soms, heel soms, werd iets via 'telerecording' vastgelegd; dwz een filmcamera werd tijdens een live-gebeurtenis op een klein elektronisch beeldschermpje gericht en aangezet. Maar dat gebeurde nooit bij zo'n programma als Rooster. Veels te duur. 
(Netzoals AMPEXbanden in een later tv-stadium veel te duur waren (2000 gulden per 10 minuten) en dus voortdurend hergebruikt, waardoor veel unieks ook toen al werd gewist) 
Dus jij en ik zijn destijds zonder enig spoor rechtstreeks de ether ingeblazen.

Theo Uittenbogaard

Luister HIER naar de Ploem-Ploem-Jenka van Trea Dobbs




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