About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (a bad wordplay on Orwell's "double plus good" and old machismo - I'm the realest after all) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear' or 'Unripe language'), the umbrella of several literary projects in Dutch.

This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Why is this in English why everything else in Dutch? Because I want to gun for a much wider audience here. Also, my literary English isn't good enough, otherwise I would always write in English.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

State of Failure: Antwerp


Introduction
Antwerp is the name of the province’s capital, so it was decided that in 1830, no effort would be made to come up with separate name for the province. Because of their smallness, areas outside of the City have proven useful as a place of exile to remove undesirables from civilized society. These include vagrants (Wortel), criminals (Merksplas), the insane (Geel), the Dutch (Brasschaat) and yodeling cowboys (Kasterlee).

Important facts
Although Flanders’ official capital is Brussels, Brussels is actually not part of the Flemish Community. Anyone worth their salt knows that Antwerp the City is Flanders’ true capital. The province is also famous for its so-called Anal Triangle between the towns of Kontich (‘Buttick’), Aartselaar (‘Arselar’) and Reet (‘Ass’). The first Gay Pride parades surreptitiously moved between these towns until homosexuals were no longer incarcerated and the parade moved to Antwerp proper.

The most important monument in the entire province is the force-field around its God-Emperor Bart De Wever, which is able to repel all criticism, deflect all blame and makes journalists forget their critical questions in a 5km radius.

Many important Flemish comedians come from this province. The Kempen especially seem to be a fertile breeding ground for comedy, given that nothing else but dry grass and foetal alcohol syndrome can take root there.


Black gold and diamond

Antwerp is the centre of the universe. Only the rest of the universe hasn’t caught up on that, and this creates some frictions. Foreigners that settle in the province all too often refuse to maintain a submissive attitude vis à vis the superior Antwerpians.

It is no surprise then, that both Vlaams Belang and N-VA consistently score best in Antwerp, probably because it’s the only Flemish province that doesn’t border Wallonia and, as such, can afford itself a highly stereotypical view of Walloons.

Tossing hands

Characteristic of the Antwerp dialect is that it doesn’t require subtitles on television because everyone understands it. It is barely any different than Standard Dutch, save for a few charming affectations.

Antwerp’s name comes from ‘Hand werpen’ (‘Tossing a hand’), a reference to the stereotypical limp wrist associated with the province’s powerful fashion industry. Unsurprisingly, the statue on Antwerp’s Grand Place is Brabo, a famed dandy who taught people how to loosely wave with their hands.

To see and visit in Antwerp

 
Antwerp proper

Antwerp is the capital of a boorish province and has the presence to match it. The city’s skyline is dominated by numerous plump, cubical towers, including the Farmers’ Tower, the MAS and the Oudaantoren. Antwerp is also world-famous because of its very own form of progressive, multi-cultural apartheid.

In hip quarters like St-Andries, Zurenborg and Borgerhout, white people and other cultures peacefully live side-by-side without ever getting in touch. They each have their own entertainment venues (the Roma and the mosque), own means of transportation (cargo bikes and BMWs) and their own schools (living schools and local schools). Park Spoor-Noord is even split in a white part (with hip bars and cool wine) and a brown part (with grass burnt by the seething sun), separated by deep water.

The port of Antwerp is an autonomous free trade state where no one pays taxes (no one lives there since the ‘60s anyway). The port proudly claims its wide range of second places: it is second to Rotterdam as Europe’s largest cargo port, second to Calais as focal point of illegal immigration, and second to Ostend as a questionable construct with government money.

It also recently lost out on the most useless bridge in the world – a bridge built next to a river.

Mechelen

Mechelen once was the capital of the Burgundian Netherlands, residence of powerful rulers such as Charles the Bold and Margaret of Austria. Today, Mechelen has to content itself with court jester Bart Somers.

Mr. Somers is also responsible for the high degree of unemployment in Mechelen: instead of hiring civil servants, as a proud liberal, Mr. Somers does everything himself. Mechelen’s toy museum even displays a whole range of string dolls with the mayor’s likeness, and soundbytes from liberal bigwigs if you pull their strings.

Small Brabant

In the province’s southwest is Small Brabant, a protected reserve for eels, asparagus and George Clooney lookalikes. You can reach it only with one iron drawing bridge. The alternative is a 100km-trek across a wildlife track, also known as the Death Trek.

The Kempen

What remains of the province is boring and monotonous even to Belgian standards. The Kempen are an area of small peasants, buck riders and pharmacists. Sometimes, on sunny weekends, city folk come to visit to search for some boredom in their exciting lives. The Kempish natives then try to chase away the strangers by burning down entire stretches of heath.

Enjoy coke!

The province of Antwerp consists of four types of workers: white people, immigrants who come to steal your jobs, immigrants who come to live on welfare, and unemployed white people who complain about all the others.

The narcotics trade is also big in Antwerp, but the Antwerpian has a discerning taste: much cocaine ends up in the sewer water. The police is always on hand to ascertain the quality of the stuff if they aren’t beating up people because they looked at them funny.

In addition, the card and duffel bag industry are big in the eastern part of the province. The cards create games that get people drunk, and the duffel bags are put over people’s heads if they are really too ugly to have sex with.

Racial stereotyping for the kids

Late November, St-Nicholas arrives by boat in Antwerp, an event eagerly anticipated by thousands of children, their parents, grandparents and a few racists who are adamant St-Nick’s little helper is not a racist caricature. Of course, Black Pete is black because of all the soot in chimneys. That’s why Black Pete also has an afro wig and comically inflated red lips.

But traditions change: in the past, children were treated with physical abuse and kidnapping if they wouldn’t behave before St-Nicholas and it was completely normal for kids to climb up a lap of an old dude dressed up like a seedy bishop.

Many Flemish cities and towns have opted to give Black Pete just a few touches of soot and ditch the racial stereotype. Not all people who complain about this are racists, but all racists do complain about this.