30 juli 2008

Summer Carnaval Rotterdam

Last year around this time I was reading Theodore Dalrymple's "Our Culture, What's Left of It". Dalrymple's thoughts on the deplorable effects of the welfare state on (British) society and especially on the habits of the lower classes really got to me. After spending a day reading his essays in my parents' living room in their house in the quiet Dutch countryside I took the train to Rotterdam where I was to meet an old friend. I read two more essays in the train and then got out at Rotterdam Central station. There, I suddenly found myself among the crowds that had just visited Rotterdam's Summer Carnaval: Big black men without a shirt on, half-naked women with way too big bellies, trash everywhere, people making impolite remarks. Normally I would have been quite able to handle this, but as I was in the state Dalrymple got me in, I felt like having arrived in a modern version of Sodom and Gomorra. The contrast was just too big. When I finally found my friend, we hurried to a quiet cafe where we had a good discussion about these issues.

This year, I decided to give the event a second chance.

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