Filed under: Literature by Branko Collin @ 8:05 pm
I just got back from the Onze Taal (‘Our Language’) congress in Utrecht, where the word ‘twitteren’ was elected Word of the Year 2009.
The word, which simply means ‘to twitter,’ was chosen over Koninginnedagdrama, the deeply racist kopvoddentax, Mexicaanse griep and vuvuzela by 600 of the attendants. Another candidate was mama appelsap, for a misheard lyric. Mama appelsap literally means “mother apple juice,” but is Michael Jackson’s misheard lyric “Mama-se, mama-sa, ma-ma-coo-sa.”
The 27th congress featured talks about language by Princess Laurentien, writer Kristien Hemmerechts, and performances by comedians Paulien Cornelisse and Kees Torn.
Najib Amhali is the country’s funniest ‘stand-up’ comedian, followed by Herman Finkers, according to a poll held by Intomart for Comedy Central. The two comedians switched positions in the Netherlands Humoronderzoek 2009, with Finkers leading last year, writes NOS Headlines (Dutch). Hyperactive comedian Jochem Myjer came in third, and fourth André van Duijn, who is the most famous Dutch comedian with a 98% recognition score.
What I call stand-up here is for lack of a better English word. Although stand-up comedy Anglo-Saxon style is performed in the Netherlands, the most popular theatrical form of comedy and the one performed by Amhali, Finkers and so on is called cabaret or kleinkunst, which typically means one, two or a small group of persons on a large stage telling jokes, complemented with songs and serious moments, all the while sticking to a story line.
The funniest TV show was held to be De Llama’s, which is funny indeed because the show stopped last year.
The Dutch appreciate family friendly jokes the best. Jokes about minorities or jokes that are insulting are held in the least regard. According to the report that Intomart will release in about a week, people also indicated they feel humour to be more important than sex, good food, or economic security. Only health and family are considered to be more important.
The following is Jochem Myjer showing that he’s quite capable of impersonating eight different people in two minutes:
Last Wednesday a trio of judges held that quacks are responsible for their diagnoses, and can therefore be prosecuted when something goes wrong. The case was brought by the Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (Association against Quackery) and the Stichting Skepsis (Skepsis Foundation) against the public prosecutor, after the latter had decided to drop prosecution against two “alternative” physicians and “faith healer” Jomanda. The alternative healers had been accused of leading comedian Sylvia Millecam to her death in 2001 by steering her away from regular medicine. Millecam had been diagnosed with breast cancer, from which she died.
The court held (Dutch) that the association and the foundation had standing, and that care givers have a care duty, even if they are not accredited. This means that quacks who were able operate in relative safety in the Netherlands will now have to face the criminal consequences of their “healing” practices gone bad, just like regular physicians.