Not Wanted Here

Following the anti-tourist demonstrations in Majorca last week comes this new outburst of hatred for tourists — this time, sadly, in one of my favorite cities in the whole world: Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM has launched a city centre crackdown against holidaymakers as anti-tourism riots gather pace across Europe.
Souvenir shops and bicycle hire, as well as fast food outlets boasting ice-creams, waffles and cheese, have now been blocked from opening in the Dutch city.
Officials say the shutdown is in a bid to stop “mass tourism” ruining Amsterdam’s “magnificent streets”.
It is the latest city to hit back at holidaymakers, with rioters and protesters intimidating tourists in Spain and Italy claiming they are ruining the country.
Mayor of Amsterdam, Kajsa Ollongren, said: “Tourists are very welcome, but we want to avoid mass tourism taking over our magnificent streets, canals and neighbourhoods.”

Ms Ollongren added: “We want to make sure the city centre remains attractive and liveable for the residents of Amsterdam.”

Let’s be honest, here. “Mass tourism” is a euphemism for “masses of drunken foreigners, especially Brits” because like Marbella and Ibiza, Amsterdam has become a destination — this time for bachelor parties — with ultra-cheap airfares and ferry fares making it less expensive, in many cases, for partygoers to travel there than to, say, hire a bus to take the party from Manchester to Margate. And with the high cost of hotel rooms in Amsterdam, the drunks don’t stay overnight — at least, not in hotel rooms: they simply drink themselves into a stupor, pass out in the streets and parks (Amsterdam has a very tolerant police force), and then catch the morning flight back to Britain, severely hungover (or still drunk). Here’s an example — and imagine if this happened at your favorite restaurant:

So I can appreciate the Amsterdam government’s point. Like the Balearic Islands, there has to be a point where you draw the line and say, as the mayor did: we’re going to put our residents first. And for those who don’t know this, Amsterdam, unlike tourist meccas such as Paris or London, is actually a tiny city: you can walk it flat in three days — I have — and pretty much see all the sights (unless you’re an art aficionado and spend hours in the Rijksmuseum, as I also have). So yes, it’s easy for the city of Amsterdam to be swamped and overwhelmed by tourists — more tourists than they’ve normally had to deal with in the past — and especially by tourists who act like the foul slobs above instead of like well-mannered guests.

And let’s be clear about this: if the wonderful, civilized and tolerant Dutch people are getting pissed off about these invasions, then things have really deteriorated.

I’m sad about this because in the past I’ve tried constantly to be the absolute antithesis of the above-mentioned unspeakables: I’m quiet, try to fit in by acting like a local, eat the local foods and in general, be a traveler more than a tourist. In other words, I’ve always been aware that I’m not a local, and there under sufferance. But thanks to the bad behavior of some revolting louts, it looks like I’m going to be caught in whatever net the various tourist cities erect to preserve their sanity.

Which sucks.

I love to travel, and it pains me to think that one of my great pleasures in life is going to be restricted because of the baleful outcome of the coarsening of Western society.


Update: I forgot to include the official anthem of Amsterdam. (Okay, it isn’t; but it should be.)

Waste Of Time

So I went for my annual checkup last Wednesday, and caused the usual response from Dr. Whatsit: “Bugger off and stop wasting my time; I have sick people to look after.” (Oh, and I’d lost nearly ten pounds avoirdupois since my last check-up — most, I suspect, since I returned from Britishland and stopped consuming all those pies, fish & chips, Turkish Delight and Wadworth 6X.) But that’s not the topic of this post.

All the staff were wearing pink instead of their normal blue scrubs, so of course I had to ask the (stupid) question: “Why are you all wearing pink?” and met with the obvious response: “To raise awareness of breast cancer.”

FFS: is there a sentient human being living on this planet who isn’t aware of breast cancer?

The PGA golfers (male and female) wore those silly little lapel ribbons; the NFL players, back before they became unpatriotic little shits, also wore them; and the entire South African (male) cricket team wore all-pink uniforms during an international competition a couple years back. It looked like a Mary fucking Kay convention with cricket bats and helmets, not to mention gay.

By now, I think that if you wanted to raise awareness of breast cancer, you’d have to charter a skywriting aircraft to fly over the jungles of Borneo or the Amazon, because those poor ignorant savages don’t play golf or watch football and probably don’t know the first thing about cricket (thus joining 99% of Americans, but that’s a topic for another time).

What Americans do know a great deal about is breast cancer — but basically, that awareness is worth exactly diddly, because as with so much doubleplus feel-goody bullshit, you can’t do anything with that information — other than to give money to the American Cancer Society, which already has more money than the average Central European nation, but which always seems to need more for… what, exactly? It’s not like the ACS owns cancer hospitals (like the Shriners); no, it seems as though the ACS needs more money to “make people aware” of a disease which everybody fucking knows about already. So basically, raising awareness really means “raising money”. I don’t have a problem with this, I just want people to be honest about their motives.

Oh, and get this: death rates from breast cancer are down 39% since 1989 (from the ACS website, no less). No doubt it’s because of increased awareness of cancer, not vastly improved medications and treatment. (And yes, I know the ACS funds research into the thing — I just think that they could fund even more if they stopped all these timewasting “awareness” drives.)

Cancer is a horrible, lousy, terrible disease. We all know this — some of us, like me, from first-hand or immediate second-hand experience of it — and honestly, I think we can stop with the childish pink ribbons and such because we run the risk of trivializing it.

And by the way: death rates from breast cancer among women are about 21.2 per 100,000.

For men, the death rate from prostate cancer is about 20.1 per 100,000 — statistically about the same as female breast cancer — yet I’ll bet that more people are “aware” of breast cancer than of prostate cancer. I wonder why that is?

Simple Question For The NFL

…and in fact for all the people who are refusing to stand for the National Anthem:

If you don’t stand for the National Anthem, what DO you stand for?

And I mean that in every sense of the word — because my immediate reaction is: you don’t stand for shit. Also, I don’t want to hear any bullshit about your First Amendment right to protest. This nation’s Constitution proudly protects that right — and the very least you can do is acknowledge that protection by showing respect to its anthem.

This picture turned my stomach:

…and today, after wearing it proudly for thirty years, I will be throwing my Dallas Cowboys coat in the trash because that’s where it belongs.

So you listen to me, Jerry Jones, you arrogant, bloviating fuckwit: you’ve just lost the right to call yourself “America’s Team” because you don’t get to have it both ways. And that goes for the preening, pampered and overpaid prima donnas who call themselves your “players” as well, may they all die from football-related concussion. You’re nobody, you’re nothing, you’re dead to me: you, your team, all the other teams and the whole fucking NFL.

You don’t exist anymore. Fuck Off And Die, the lot of you.

Great Moments In Stupidity #1,254

I remember once going to a class at university, and after the very first lecture deciding that this class was not for me because the professor was a.) a self-righteous do-gooder and b.) clearly incompetent, so I was not going to learn anything from the class and it would be a waste of my time. So I quit the thing and found another professor more to my liking who taught the same course. But I didn’t make a fuss about it — note how in the above story there are no names, no course titles and not even a specific college mentioned. It was a personal decision.

So you can imagine how I felt when I read how this journalista published an article about why she didn’t want her two-year-old child to be taught by fatties in kindergarten, and was then shocked — shocked! — when the fatties and their camp followers responded with vitriol.

Frankly, this little saga just gives me fuel for my forthcoming work, “Why Journalists Should Not Be Allowed To Vote” (a four-volume set, publishing date TBD).

Let’s ignore for a moment her specious reasons why she wouldn’t want a fattie to look after her kid, despite said fattie being “clearly a lovely woman: kind and great with children”, but equally clearly (to Mommie Dearest) a Bad Influence On An Impressionable Young Mind Because Fat. (I have no argument against this attitude because I’m also a fattie, and I’m sure a lot of women wouldn’t want me to teach their Precious Little Darlings either, albeit for slightly different reasons. Unless they wanted little Tyffenny to learn how to shoot, of course.)

No, what gets up my nose is that this priceless moron had to blab to the world about her silly philosophy — i.e. going to great lengths to shame fat people (and yes, she was doing precisely that), and then being bewildered when the reaction turns nasty.

Why couldn’t she simply have taken her kid out of the kindergarten and shut up about her reasons for doing so?

I dunno what it is about the modern world: why people do stuff like make decisions about situations, and then seek some kind of attention about that decision — for approval or validation, maybe? — by telling everyone about the reasons for that decision?

I know, I know; maybe Our Intrepid Scribe thought she’d be giving a voice to all those other people who want to snatch their children away from The Great Fattie Influence, and maybe she has. I’m sure a lot of people (mostly skinny, censorious busybodies, I bet) were nodding along in agreement with her original thesis. Well, I guess they aren’t as numerous (or at least as vocal) as the International Fattie-Symp Set.

Myself, I’m just enjoying the show: people who think that obesity is not only unhealthy but also a sin, versus people who think that everyone has a right to be obese, that “Fat Is Beautiful” withal, and that judgey people are Literally Hitler.

A plague on both their houses.

You Mean “Unwise”

Some old codger offers advice to some wannabe mercenaries, and I can’t argue with a single thing he says. Sample:

“You’ve got no idea what road you are starting down. Romance and idealism wears off really fast when you’re lying in a pool of your own blood trying to stuff your intestines back into your torn abdomen.”

It’s the thing which sometimes keeps me awake at night: not that I’m the guy on the ground, but that I might be the cause of it.