carl guderian on Wed, 26 May 2010 10:49:12 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> "Critical strategies in art and media" gets it wrong

This is probably as good a time as any to pass along an interesting  
theory, propounded by Rop Gonggrijp, co-founder of and foe  
of bent (or easily bendable) electronic voting machines, about where  
the famous Dutch tolerance for drugs, sex and gay marriage came from  
and where it may be going. It's from an interview in the "ps"  
supplement Het Parool, 8 May 2010. I think the theory has legs.

I'm elaborating quite a bit, so any hyperbole is mine. Basically,  
it's that Amsterdam wouldn't be the hippie Xanadu it was if not for  
all the Europeans, Americans (North, South and Central) and others  
fleeing the collapse or non-occurrence of the Sixties Revolution in  
their home countries. The US also had the draft and the Vietnam War,  
and Europe offered war resisters something a little more exotic than  
Canada. In the Netherlands, with the size and population of New  
Jersey, an influx of cultural refugees (and draft dodgers) could have  
a larger impact than in, say, France or the UK. The battles were  
fought mostly in the 1960s, but, where they were won, the spoils,  
like the first "coffeeshop" or the Wet Dreams Film Festival, were  
enjoyed in the 1970s.

If true, then the cooling of the cultural climate here at least since  
2000 is not surprising. It coincides with ongoing Great Baby-Boomer  
Extinction, and the relatively smaller numbers of newer generations  
apparently unable to do any more than squander the inheritance of the  

Balkenende II, probably the most successful of the four coalition  
governments Pieter Balkenende headed, consisted of the Christian  
Democrats, no friends of the hippies, the People's Freedom &  
Democracy party, which didn't care about hippies one way or the other  
but wanted to privatize everything (and slam the door on darker-hued  
would-be immigrants) and the inoffensive D66 (Democrats of 1966 -  
Provos who donned ties?). The third party could be fed a few crumbs  
or simply cowed into going along with the other two parties, in the  
name of harmony. The VVD I think were far more effective than the CDA  
bluenoses in destroying the fabled Dutch lifestyle by making it  
financially unfeasible except for the well-off. Gutting social  
services, reducing subsidized housing--in short, administering the  
economic solutions of the Chicago Boys, Thatcher, Reagan, Sarkozy, et  
al. to the problem of citizens having enough leisure time to make  
trouble for their sociopolitical betters.

I've known too many bitter old hippies to become one and rail at  
those goddamn kids who pissed away a good thing when they had it and  
the ecopocalypse can't come soon enough, so I'll just conclude that  
the good life in Amsteram may not be doomed but it certainly is in  
mortal danger.


On 25-mei-2010, at 2:08, Michael H Goldhaber wrote:

> I'd like to point out that the 1920's were also an era of "sex,  
> drugs and rock'n"roll" or at least loosened sexual mores, illicit  
> drugs including alcohol, and jazz, which of course also has African- 
> American roots. But as far as I know there was no major leftish  
> protest movement, at  least until October, 1929. The '20's saw a  
> resurgence of the Klan, in fact.
> Half a century later, after 1973 and the end of the draft, the  
> opposition movement faded rapidly, though sex, drugs and even  
> rock'n'roll didn't.
> Best,
> Michael

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