Irreverence

Some weeks ago I was recommended a trilogy of books by Paula Aidan that re-tells the story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. I finished the first book, An Assembly Such as This, about a week ago and on the train on my way home from work this afternoon, I started the second book called Duty and Desire. It is set after Darcy and Bingley quit Netherfield and starts out with a scene of Darcy in church. He is listening to the reverend’s reading when Colonel Fitzwilliam arrives, late. And oh my goodness, that bit of writing made me laugh out loud! The train wasn’t full, but the burst of giggle did earn me some questioning looks. Here is that passage that made me laugh…

Duty & Desire excerpt

This kind of irreverence I love!

There’s humourous irreverence but there is also serious irreverence. The blatant, serious irreverence shown by that bumbling excuse of a US president can not make me laugh at all. I cringe and fear for the future. First the man makes an ass of himself in the Middle East and Europe, alienating European allies, looking like the stereotype of the garish American tourist (I truly cringe for my American friends when I see this, I know how mortified they are)…

… and then he decides to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change in such an act of selfishness that I just can not comprehend it! We’re 4 months into his presidency, how will the world survive 4 years of this shortsighted, selfish ignorance? I truly see him as a menace to the world. I do take comfort in the fact that there is loud opposition to this man, and I add my opposition here! I have this German magnet here in my house that I have had for years and which nicely sums up how I feel about every single Trump policy so far! It’s my little sign of protest…

dagegen magnet

“Dagegen” is German for “opposed”.

In the meantime I try not to freak out and try to keep hope alive by consuming protest and more irreverence, like in the following video: Graham Norton, Salma Hayek and David Walliams commenting on part of Trump’s foreign trip last week…

… and new French president Emmanuel Macron poking at Trump yesterday in his reaction to the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, calling to “make the PLANET great again!”…

When I see things like this, I just know there must be hope for the future!

I miss him

Yesterday the current US president was welcomed to Brussels amid protests…

… while this morning on German TV former US president Barack Obama is being interviewed for the yearly German “Kirchentag” (a huge yearly church conference) that is being held in Berlin this year…

Obama TV

He was interviewed together with Angela Merkel (who, as I type this, is rushing to Brussels for the NATO meeting with Trump)…

Obama Merkel TV

… and I am painfully aware yet again how much I miss Obama as president!

#MerkelTrump humour

I am not going into a big political argument post here. If you read here, you may have already gathered where my political sympathies lie…

I have been following some of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Donald Trump in the US. I don’t know how the visit has exactly been received in the US, but here it seems to generally have been perceived as Trump embarrassing himself yet again. The internet has feasted on this and I just had to share! After all, the only way I can try to survive this disastrous US presidency is partake in the humour created by others and be grateful that others too keep on seeing the absolute ridiculousness (is that a word?) of this man.

As far as I could tell two events of this visit were singled out in Twitter humour. One is the handshake that didn’t happen in the Oval office. Yes, they did shake hands on other occasions during the visit but on this occasion Trump snubbed her and Merkel gave a little grimace. She does look at him like a mother looks at an over-indulged, spoilt child…

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This one below says “Did you tidy up your room? Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

merkeltrump03merkeltrump02merkeltrump01

And a lewd one…

merkeltrump13

Then there was the moment during the press conference when Merkel did a double take and looked at Trump with a WTF expression on her face…

merkeltrump gif

merkeltrump06

Yep, comments followed on Twitter…

merkeltrump07merkeltrump09merkeltrump10merkeltrump14

I so would have liked to be a fly on the wall of Merkel’s plane home to Germany and hear what she really thought of it all…

United we stand…

… divided we fall! Isn’t that how the saying goes? A new comedy collaboration movement has arisen here in Europe and I love it! To paraphrase a certain orange (our Dutch national colour by the way!) super-power leader:  It will be the best comedy movement in the world! It’s true! It’s huuuge! It’s gonna be great!

Almost two weeks ago this Dutch video (‘America first, The Netherlands second’) was made in reaction to Trump becoming president of the US. It’s gone viral on YouTube…

And now reaction videos to this one are being made in other countries. Germany has made a reaction video and is rallying other European countries to join in (switch on video subtitles if you don’t understand German)…

So, now there’s also a ‘Denmark second’ video. I love how much fun they make of The Netherlands in this one. They make a great point about the name of our country, by the way:

And there’s also a ‘Switzerland second’ video…

And there are more to follow! A website has been set up to collect these videos (although it’s gone down this morning, hopefully it will come back up again soon): http://www.everysecondcounts.eu/

There’s also a Twitter account to follow: https://twitter.com/itsgreateu

Ah, they have even tweeted about the website crashing:

Even the reactions to this tweet are very funny! I’ve screencapped a few…

itsgreat-react1itsgreat-react2

United in laughter we stand!

Feeling sick & being fearless

After a few days spent in a cocoon with happy family celebrations I emerge again to the world and I feel sick at what I see. Last week there was the horrible news coming out of Aleppo in Syria of the already horrible situation becoming worse than ever! With winter approaching, the need for help only becomes larger. UNHCR accepts donations for help, if you are so inclined (click on image for link):

unhcr

I have been supporting SOS Children’s Villages for over 20 years now and I received a request for help for Syria in my e-mail in Dutch (again, click on the image for more info in Dutch):

sos-kinderdorpen-syria

Or go to the following SOS Children’s Village emergency relief pages, should you feel the urge to learn more and maybe donate:

This morning the news is filled with even more horror. There was a terror attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, with so far 12 reported dead and 48 injured. Awful, awful! I know what happens next too, the far right stands up and proclaims whole groups of people responsible who have nothing to do with this and the mistrust of everything that is ‘different’ grows. Meanwhile in Zürich reports this morning that 3 were hurt in a gun attack near a Muslim prayer center; apparently shots were fired at people who were praying. Of course, this last bit of news is just a footnote because attacks on Muslims are deemed less shocking, I presume. There is the sickening news of a Russian ambassador shot dead at close range in Turkey and horrifically Donald Trump has been confirmed by the Electoral College to be the next US president… Of course, that last bit of news was completely expected. I understand the Electoral College was also founded to stop demagogues from gaining power, but I guess Donald Trump is not viewed as a demagogue…

Yes, I am feeling sick about the news yet again. I have never been as terrified at what is happening in the world as I am now, in 2016. David Bowie died in January and it all went downhill from there… I still very much agree with Paul Bettany’s tweet in June:

bettany-bowie-tweet

Richard Armitage posted his yearly Christmas message yesterday morning on Facebook, addressing the news and fears of this past year. Screenshots here, just in case:

I don’t want to go into a lengthy analysis of this message. The one thing I really can not agree with is the congratulating part in this bit: “there were “Wins” (and I respect and congratulate those who made those choices)”. Doesn’t quite gel with the being fearless part of the message for me. If you are fearless you also need to be able to speak out against choices that go against everything you feel is right and congratulating such choices doesn’t fit. Other than that I totally agree with Richard that “there is a literal and symbolic shift happening in our world” and I like the sentiment of trying to be fearless. He says there is “a narrative of fear out there, which we must resist, or accept isolation and division.”  and I couldn’t agree more.

As much as I want to crawl back under a stone, especially after the heartwarming weekend I have just had, I guess sticking my head in the sand is not helpful. I can subscribe to trying to be fearless, lending a helping hand and I add a personal hope that the humanity Richard mentions will show itself from it’s best side and not from the horrific side we are witnessing now. I so very fervently hope 2017 will be a better year!