Corona is een te lichte waarschuwing gebleken…

De linkse partijen leden gisteren een enorme nederlaag. Partij voor de Dieren wist op te schuiven met één zetel naar in totaal zes, maar met 3,6 procent van de stemmen is pijnlijk duidelijk dat weinig Nederlanders de noodzaak zien tot een fundamentele koerswijziging.

In haar boek Dieren kunnen de prest krijgen, en dan? schrijft partijleider Esther Ouwehand van de PvdD over het ontstaan van de coronacrisis en andere infectieziekten van de laatste tien jaar. Wopke Hoekstra noemde corona destijds een Zwarte Zwaan, een totaal onverwachte gebeurtenis met enorme impact.

Dat van die impact klopt, maar een Zwarte Zwaan is het absoluut niet. Corona is een zoönose, een infectieziekte die is overgesprongen van dier op mens. Net zoals eerder gebeurde met SARS, hiv/aids, MERS, ebola, zika, Mexicaanse griep en Q-koorts. De Nederlandse melkgeitenhouderij maakte duizenden mensen ziek, bijna 100 mensen overleden en meer dan 500 mensen worden nooit meer beter. Net zoals bij corona het geval is, worden we bedreigd door een ziekte die is ontstaan door de ongezonde manier waarop de mens zich tot de dieren verhoudt.

Regeringspartijen VVD en CDA weigeren de bio-industrie – die ook heeft geleid tot de stikstofcrisis – aan te pakken. VVD vanwege de economische belangen en CDA omdat de boerenlobby de baas is bij de partij. Het ligt zeer voor de hand dat VVD en D66 met elkaar gaan praten over een formatie na deze verkiezingsuitslag. “Maar ik heb al eerder gezegd dat we ook graag met het CDA samenwerken”, zei VVD-leider Mark Rutte woensdagavond.

Dat betekent ruim baan voor de bio-industrie en de vrije markt. Slecht nieuws voor dieren, natuur en klimaat, maar natuurlijk ook voor de mens. De vraag is namelijk niet of er een nieuwe ziekte-uitbraak komt, maar wanneer die komt. De hoop is gevestigd op D66 om het kabinet nog enigszins te doen beseffen dat het nu aan het dweilen is met de kraan open.

En dat dweilen kost een hoop geld. Een van de meest schokkende verhalen uit het boek van Ouwehand gaat over de nertsenfokkerijen, een sector waar jaarlijks miljoenen dieren vergast worden voor hun vacht. Er was allang geen draagvlak meer voor deze wrede industrie, maar na een aantal corona-uitbraken moesten de fokkers eindelijk hun deuren sluiten. Uiteraard moesten zij wel rijkelijk gecompenseerd worden en dat deed het kabinet door ze een kwart miljard euro!!! (250.000.000) belastinggeld mee te geven. Ook multimiljonairs Jos van Deurzen en de gebroeders Rien en Pierre Leeyen kregen een miljoenenbonus uitgekeerd.

Het kabinet vond het niet nodig om voorwaarden te verbinden aan het geld, zoals dat het niet mocht worden gebruikt om massaal andere diersoorten te gaan fokken en ophokken. Vrije markt hè? En dus, op 19 december 2020 interviewde de Leeuwarder Courant twee voormalige nertsenfokkers die een nieuw bedrijf aan het opzetten waren. Waar hadden ze de afkoopsom in geïnvesteerd? Geiten. In Friesland, de provincie die in 2012 werd getroffen door een grote uitbraak van de Q-koorts. Noem het cynisme. Of gewoon: te bont, schrijft Ouwehand. En dus stevenen we af op een volgende, mogelijk nog veel dodelijkere crisis. We leren het wel. Ooit.

Dungeon Classics #12: Snatch

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Snatch (2000, UK | USA)

Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Brad Pitt, Alan Ford
Running Time: 104 mins.

Two years after his formidable debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie, now one of the hottest new directors around, returned with Snatch: a crime comedy with exactly the same formula. Poker is replaced with bare knuckle boxing, stolen antique rifles became a stolen diamond, and Big Chris is renamed Bullet Tooth Tony. The visual gimmickry is still there. And a few cast members returned, most notably Jason Statham, now as leading man. Ritchie had more money this time around, so he could also hire A-listers like Brad Pitt and Benicio Del Toro. Both are great as usual, but Pitt plays one of his most memorable roles ever as Mickey, a ‘pikey’ boxer with an indecipherable accent. What also returns most prominently is the humour. Snatch has sequences – like the black guys attempt to rob the bookies – that will make you piss your pants. It’s one of the funniest crime movies ever made. And the dialogues are one of a kind. In short, Snatch is 86 carats. Or is it 84?

Dungeon Classics #11: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998, UK)

Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Jason Statham
Running Time: 107 mins.

Guy Ritchie’s low-budget debut is still his best film, although its hilarious follow-up Snatch comes close. Four friends raise 100.000 pounds to let one of them – card wonder Eddy – participate in the high stakes game of underworld figure Hatchet Harry. They lose 500.000 due to foul play on Harry’s part and have one week to pay back the ‘porn king’ or his enforcers will start collecting their fingers and Eddy’s father’s (played by Sting) pub. This is the beginning of an exhilarating quest for money, featuring dumb criminals, antique rifles and an unconscious traffic warden. Ritchie employs all editing and camera tricks he can come up with which makes the movie – groovily shot in shades of yellow, brown, and grey – a visually rip-roaring experience. The clever screenplay, brilliant soundtrack and delicious cockney accents add to the enjoyment. Not to be missed this one! Allright?

Paulie Gualtieri’s Father Russ is Mentioned in David Chase Movie ‘Not Fade Away’

This blog is for die hard Sopranos fans only. People interested in Paulie Walnuts and his real father Russ.

It is about David Chase – the absolute legend who created The Sopranos – and his feature debut Not Fade Away, and a subtle reference it contains to The Sopranos.

I figured this nugget of knowledge would be online somewhere, but lo and behold, I couldn’t find it anywhere… So it appears that I have the honour of being the first to report it. Here it goes:

In the 69th episode of The Sopranos ‘The Fleshy Part of the Thigh’(*1) Paulie’s aunt Dottie – a nun – tells him she’s not who he thinks she is: “Paulie, during the war I was still a novitiate. I was helping out at the U.S.O.(*2) and there was this soldier – Russ. And he was so lonely… I got pregnant. I had a baby. Paulie, it was you. You’re my son.”

It turns out that the woman who raised Paulie – Nucci – was really his aunt. He gets pretty sore when he hears this news and he cuts Nucci off. Until the resurrected and positively spirited Tony reminds him of everything she did for him, like getting his ass out of the can time and again when Paulie was a kid. So Paulie decides to continue paying for her Green Grove retirement community by blackmailing the poor sucker Jason Barone(*3).

Five years after the final season of The Sopranos aired, tv veteran David Chase made his directorial debut with Not Fade Away, a movie about a band that tried to make it, but never did, in the sixties. It’s a little indie movie with a terrific soundtrack which Stevie Van Zandt (who plays Silvio Dante in The Sopranos and was a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band) helped to arrange. Yes, you can expect The Beatles, The Stones, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan, The Moody Blues and many more. The film is not great, nothing like The Sopranos in terms of superb acting and writing, but it’s very watchable.

The reference to Russ occurs when main character Douglas has dinner with his father (Chase regular James Gandolfini). They talk about why he never got drafted (he was producing goods useful for the war effort). Then he mentioned some friends who did go into the army. “Tom with the one leg missing. Iwo Jima. And our buddy Russ. He never left that island.”

The battle of Iwo Jima was in 1945, so he would have had to make the nun Dottie pregnant before that. It all ties up very nicely. So Paulie, if you’re reading this: your dad died at Iwo Jima. Sorry my friend. Luckily you turned out very well anyway.

*1 – In this excellent episode Tony discusses the implications of quantum mechanics in the hospital where he is recovering from a gunshot wound. While watching a boxing match with a gangster rapper and rocket scientist, the scientist John Schwinn (Hal Holbrook) tells him: “It’s actually an illusion those two boxers are separate entities. Their being separate entities is simply the way we choose to perceive them. It’s physics. Schrodinger’s equation. The boxers, you, me – we’re all part of the same quantum field. Think of the two boxers as ocean waves or currents of air – two tornadoes say. They appear to be two things right, two seperate things? But they’re not. Tornadoes are just the wind stirred up in different directions. The fact is: Nothing is separate – everything’s connected. The shapes we see exist only in our own consciousness.”
At the end of the episode, the makers pull a neat editing trick by making it appear as Tony and Paulie are in the same space while we know they’re at entirely different locations. There’s a reason why this is still my Nr. 1 show.

*2 – The United Service Organization (U.S.O.) was established in order to provide social clubs on America’s military bases during the Second World War. Located in Central New Jersey, Camp Kilmer is a former United States Army camp that was activated in June 1942 as a staging area and part of an installation of the New York Port of Embarkation. The Hostesses of Camp Kilmer were given an unofficial title, the ‘Kilmer Sweethearts’. These hostesses provided a wide range of services including serving food, dancing with the soldiers, and probably other services as well like the one aunt Dottie provided for Russ. They also visited sick and wounded soldiers in America’s hospitals. The U.S.O. also organized shows for Allied servicemen both at home and abroad. Many big stars of the era volunteered to participate in these shows.

*3 – For four grand a month! I don’t know what salary this guy makes, but I would have to steal every month to be able to pay him. Luckily there is no mob here.