Beating up paramedics, the latest trend in senseless violence


This public service announcement is in English with Dutch subtitles, and when I saw it, I think I responded to it the way the makers intended. However, I did mentally note that the ‘scooter kiddies’ harassing the paramedics at the end were probably not Caucasian, fitting the standard profile of these petty criminals at least in the big cities.

We’ve talked about this kind of advert before and it’s not news, but it is a form of violence that seems to mystify people. The bits I’ve read tend to say that certain ethnic groups do not like being told what to do by paramedics and associate them with the police telling them what to do, but that sounds more like an excuse.

Two weeks ago, the film ‘Doodslag’ (‘Manslaughter’) premiered in Eindhoven, starring stand-up comedian Theo Maassen as a paramedic. He swats ones of these annoying kids blocking his ambulance with a dying baby in it, but then a bit too hard. The big question is: does this make him a criminal too?

The film’s opening shot highlights ‘rude behaviour’ using Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s epic sample of ‘You get real man! Boy oh boy!’ as he answered a typically street-level right-wing quip of ‘Get real, man!’ in Parliament. The Prime Minister’s remarks basically confirmed to the entire country that street language is now commonplace, which sparked much debate and is ironic considering that the big letters at the start of the film quote the PM as saying that ‘we need to take back the country from those ‘jerks’, implying that jerks are running the country. But Maassen says he is convinced that the film will change the way the Netherlands thinks. “It is an exciting, cool film with guns and sex,” he adds.


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