September 25, 2017

Misspelled Dunglish city slogan for Hilversum

Filed under: Art,General by Orangemaster @ 11:38 am


In 2012, the world-famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam decided to adopt the improper use of a space between words and go with Rijks Museum, which was ‘designerplained’ as “everybody already says ‘Rijks’ as a nickname, the spelling just codifies it”.

But now Hilversum, Utrecht has gone one step further and used dyslexic-looking Dunglish spelling to make a point that falls flat with most Dutch folks who have commented on this marketing move.

Firstly, using some sort of English instead of Dutch to try to be cool and international while sadly rejecting one’s own language like a piece of trash will never win my favour. Secondly, ‘live’ could be live (verb) or ‘live’ (live television), which has a different pronunciation. You’re now confusing people for no reason. ‘We live here’ is a clear message, but not by playing jumble with the letters making up the word ‘Hilversum’ and then putting them back right for the URL. And the URL should read hilversumlive and not livehilversum, ideally, to make a strong point (or something like livefromhilversum).

A quick poll on the source link below says 77% of people thought it was shite. The problem remains that you cannot rewrite English to suit non-English people and expect English speakers (they said they wanted to appeal to visitors), people with English as a second-language other than Dutch speakers (imagine Japanese) and Dutch speakers to read this without getting a headache. If 77% liked it you could call it a success, but that’s not the case.

(Link and image:

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December 20, 2011

Dutch magazine calls Rihanna a ‘niggabitch’

Filed under: Literature,Music by Orangemaster @ 10:39 am

Not only did Dutch glossy Jackie totally mix up their cultural and racial slurs, they also failed to do their fact checking. Before I hack into the ‘N word’, the magazine said Rihanna was from Jamaica when in fact she’s from Barbados. But countries with a predominantly black population all look alike too, apparently. Tsss.

The article reads: The Niggabitch. She has street cred, a ghetto ass, and a golden voice. It goes on to call Rihanna ‘the ultimate niggabitch’.

My gripe about using this highly offensive and incorrect racial slur is that many Dutch people in the media have no clue what they are actually saying when they use English. They think they do, but they have no proper understanding of the context. And when confronted by natives like myself, they plead ignorance. How colonial.

If the Dutch found it offensive, imagine the buzz around the Internet at a time when anything remotely foreign looking is not very popular in Dutch society. And the piss poor excuse is typically Dutch in a bad way: they usually know exactly what they’re saying, but as soon as someone confronts them about it, they’ll tell you you’re too sensitive and that it wasn’t meant to be offensive. Case closed, it’s your problem. They’ll call that a ‘misunderstanding’, too.

In fact, ‘bitch’ is a nice thing to say sometimes in Dutch although it’s still offensive, just like women being called Radio Bitches. The Dutch context differs from the English context: swear words in a foreign language are never as bad as in your own. However, if you use English words, you will be judged according to how those words are used in that language, not your own, which is what happened here.

Part of the English apology goes, “It was naive to think that this was an acceptable form of slang — you hear it all the time on tv and radio, then your idea of what is normal apparently shifts — but it was especially misguided”. The fact that the magazine claims they didn’t know that calling Rihanna a ‘niggerbitch’ was a bad thing just shows that some Dutch journalists should not use English at all.

It’s like a small child running around with scissors.

UPDATE: Assuming that it is Rihanna twittering, read what she thought of the article.

BREAKING: Editor-in-Chief of Jackie Eva Hoeke has stepped down as a result of the commotion surrounding her bad choice of words.

(Link: theybf, Photo of Phone app by jpdefillippo138, some rights reserved)

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November 2, 2011

Being a radio bitch is not what you think

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Dutch radio presenter Frederique de Jong of BNR (Business News Radio) has decided to refuse her nomination for this year’s ‘Radiobitch’ Award. The ‘RadioBitches Award’ (yes, all in Dunglish, I can’t help it) are serious radio awards for female presenters, with a jury and not public awards. They also have ‘BackstageBitch’, ‘NewsBitch’ and ‘TalentBitch’.

Questions from the audience?

1) Nope, the men don’t have Radio Jerk/Asshole/Douchebag awards. They have serious awards too with boring normal names.

2) That’s true, swearing in another language is not as blasphemous sounding as in your own. Bitch sounds cool and a little more neutral to the Dutch. It’s more like being a tough and cool person than a nasty person. It also proves many people don’t understand that it’s a bad word and related to a female dog. Frederique de Jong doesn’t want to be a ‘radioteef’ in Dutch, either.

3) Yes, other people have had issues with the name and want it changed, but the media people in Hilversum (where all the media is) can’t be bothered. The women have not protested much or else the name could change, but hey.

So if women complain they’re not playing the game and if they say nothing, they’re just being female doormats. It’s a lose-lose situation. I think it’s not an empowering name for an award and doesn’t sound serious at all: having to make sure we know it’s a serious award proves how inappropriate the name is.


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June 28, 2008

There is such a thing as illegal downloading, says judge

Filed under: Film,Music,Online by Branko Collin @ 4:14 pm

In a case that at its surface did not seem to have much to do with the legality of downloading music and films, a three-headed court in The Hague has declared that downloading from an illegal source is itself illegal (Dutch). The court baffled observers (Dutch) by failing to specify why it would be illegal, other than referring to a three step European Union test that downloading apparently fails.

The Netherlands has an exemption to copyright that says that copies made for private use are not infringing, regardless of whether the author was paid or not. Originally this law applied at a time when ordinary people could not easily make exact copies, and when negotiating a contract with every author about every copy would have been too much of a burden on all concerned. With the advent of the personal computer and the internet as perfect copying and communication tools this law has come under fire, even though studies show that for instance the average musician suffers no ill consequences from downloading.

In order to pay authors for supposed losses they suffer from private copying, the law allows for authors’ organisations to collect levies from users, for instance by having users pay extra for blank media. These levies are then distributed to the authors. This law suit centered on levies: a rights organization was sued by makers of blank media over the way it calculated the height of levies. One of the questions put to the court was: is downloading a form of private copying? If it is not, then rights organisations have no legal right to raise levies for it. That though for some strange reason was not a conclusion the court was willing to draw. If a law becomes so out of touch with the times that even the professionals don’t know how to apply it anymore, what chances do mere mortals stand?

(The three step test is in Directive 2001/29/EC, paragraph 5: “The [private copying] exceptions and limitations […] shall only be applied in certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work or other subject-matter and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the rightholder.”)

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March 10, 2008

Director fakes rampant racism, gets sacked

Filed under: General,Religion by Branko Collin @ 2:20 pm

Last week, a director working on a fake TV news item about racism in the Netherlands got caught with his pants down because a competing station happened to have a crew nearby filming the whole thing. The director had set out to film a piece exposing rampant bigotry by showing that people in Amsterdam will not stop and help a woman in need if dressed in a niqab.

In order to measure this bigotry, the crew’s reporter would drop a bag of oranges and see who would help her pick them up. After a while she would change to a niqab, a garb worn by some Muslim women that covers everything except the eyes, and repeat the exercise.

And it seemed the crew got exactly the sort of result they expected. When dressed as a Westerner, people would help the reporter pick up her oranges. But the moment she switched to the niqab, help was no longer forthcoming. The cold eye of the camera registered a forlorn woman, crouching in the middle of the street amidst her belongings, while passers-by took a wide berth around her.

Except that it was all staged. Local TV station AT5 was there, and filmed the whole thing. People who wanted to help the woman in the niqab were shouted at by the director who told them to move on. Even then that did not stop some of them to actually help. After 101 had streamed its program, AT5 contacted them for commentary. Originally, the youth channel denied that anything shady had been going on. They thought the attention was exaggerated, and that people only started to help when they saw the AT5 camera crew. But the station must have smelled a rat, because it later examined raw footage, after which it came out with a full retraction. Apparently, people had been trying to help the niqab-clad woman the whole time. “We ended our collaboration with this director,” the press release concludes.

Even in the segment there are hints that not everything is as it seems. The host says that she herself has family members who wear a burqa except of course that she is not wearing a burqa but a niqab.

Via Wij blijven hier (Dutch). Source images: AT5 and 101.

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January 23, 2008

Tony’s Chocolonely punished after all

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 12:29 pm

Last year journalist Teun van de Keuken failed to get convicted for complicity in slavery, as we reported back then. But now Van de Keuken’s campaign has led to at least one indictment, although probably not of the kind he was looking for: the Dutch Media Authority (Commissariaat voor de Media) has fined his broadcaster for illegal product placement.

Van de Keuken set out to raise awareness for the fact that the people harvesting cocoa, the raw material of which chocolate is made, are basically slaves. He did this by turning himself in after eating a bar of chocolate, making him complicit of slavery. The case was dismissed because the court held he was not an aggrieved party. Van de Keuken also produced his own brand of slave-free chocolate, Tony’s Chocolonely, which he talked about on his show.

Product placement is illegal on Dutch television, and the Dutch Media Authority is the watchdog that tries to ferret out any instances of it. It does not matter whether the placed products are for a good cause, but the fact that petty issues trump major ones must be bitter for those who want to see new forms of slavery banned. The DMA had some pity though, and in recognition of “this unique and experimental program” reduced the fine to EUR 20,000, the lowest in its ‘range’.

(Via print magazine De Journalist. See also Molblog (Dutch))

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October 13, 2007

Free newspaper delivered to the office

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 4:14 am

There are three free newspapers in the Netherlands: a Dutch edition of Metro, Spits (by the publishers of the Telegraaf), and De Pers. In the fight for market share the latter has now come up with a new scheme: free delivery to the workplace. Any office that has more than 50 employees can request free delivery of a free newspaper. And of course for De Pers this is a nice opportunity to figure out where the companies are that can afford to advertise.

Via Dagelinks.

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