Archive for February, 2008

My say on racism towards Hamilton @ Times Online

February 4, 2008

I just wrote a hurried response to the article reporting racial abuse of Lewis Hamilton by Spanish fans on the Times Online site:

As shocking and disgusting as it is to see the Alonso fans steep to the lowly depths of racism to grind their axe about their two time world champion perfect son Alonso being matched by a newcomer to the sport, it is hardly suprising for anyone who has followed the 2007 season closely. There was a fanatical side to the dislike of the Spanish fans for Lewis Hamilton, that is unlike anything I have seen in 20 years of following Formula 1. For those who forget easily: the head of the Spanish motorsport association was on record making a racial slur to Hamilton last summer, which he tried to retract as this ended up in the mainstream press. Alonso has shown himself to be a very poor sportsman, and his fan base don’t shun racism in backing up their favourite son. It’s an inconvenient truth, but the racism in Spain towards a succesful coloured driver has now surfaced, and F1 finds itself on territory that was previuosly almost exclusively known to the game of football.

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F1: Alonso supporters show racist side

February 4, 2008

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At a Formula 1 test last week on the Circuito de Catalunya, near Barcelona, Spanish motorsport fans showed their openly racist attitudes towards coloured F1 newcomer Lewis Hamilton, by shouting racist abuse. Some of the white spectators kitted themselves out to look like a caricature of black people, with their faces painted black and afro wigs. 

I’m shocked and disgusted, though not completly suprised, as I already strongly felt that there was a racist element in the way Lewis Hamilton was critisised and talked about dring the 2007 F1 World Championship.

Anyone remember the racist slur on Hamilton by the head of Spain’s national motorsort association, Mr. Garcia? He said that he found it ironic that a racist country like the UK now had to rely on a black driver, after such a long draught of title succes for British drivers. He tried to swallow his words when this was picked up in the press, but I’ll look up the exact quote later, and I will definetly return to this subject more in-depth soon.

At the time, the FIA announced that there would be an investigation into this matter, but nothing has been heard about it since. A fitting time perhaps, to make good on that promise, Mr. Max Mosley?

Dutch TV interviewers need Paxman’s balls

February 3, 2008

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Some of you might want to sit down before reading the following sentence, which conotains two shocking revelations. Ready? Here we go. Natalee Holoway is dead, and Pauw & Witteman are totally rubbish interviewers. I know, it’s shocking. Deep breath in, slow breath out.

Of course, a verse and song confession by the main suspect in the Natalee Holloway disappearence wrapped up in a two hour documentary has millions of TV viewers in The Netherlands and the US stock up on extra beer and crisps. Who doesn’t like a true murder mystery solved on television by a man who can best be introduced to those who don’t know him as a cross between Sherlock Holmes and…Jeremy Paxman. Well, maybe not the great Paxman, but you get my drift – De Vries is a pretty crafty investigator who solves cases the police has long given up on, and a bit of a bulldog when it comes to questioning people on television.

Talking of Paxman and interview bulldogs, it’s the second revelation by De Vries about the quality of the interviewing by Pauw & Witteman that gets my attention, despite the shocking, but hardly unexpected news that Natalee Holloway is not alive, almost three years after her disapearence. De Vries’ likened the manner in which two of the most prominent media figures interviewed Van der Sloot to two schoolboys interviewing their football heroe for the school paper. I would say that I have seen even weaker interviews by the two gentlemen heading this program, so it doesn’t interest me because it’s news in any way. Far from it, it interests me because De Vries speaks out about something that I often find myself moaning about. 

There a too many Dutch TV interviewers who couldn’t extract the way to church from a vicar. Pauw & Witteman is a textbook example of Dutch interviewers making conversation, rather than getting the truth out of their interviewees. For those who understand Dutch, the weekly Q&A with the prime minister is a rich source for examples of how not to interview. Take the one a few days ago, where one of Hollands’ most respected political reporters Ferry Mingelen chats to PM Balkenende about the uneas in some quarters of the government about the airing of 70’s porn classic Deep Troath by public broadcasters. Oh, and of course questions had to be raised about a subject of even greater magnitude: Queen Beatrix, whose quickly forgotten speeches on safe subject matter such as unity and tolerance seem to touch more and more on political sensitivities of the day. Anyway, all PM Blakenende had to do to avoid answering questions, was just to keep mumbling away til time ran out. Needless to say, the interviewer did not interrupt the PM’s meaningless words when it mattered.

So, Jeroen Pauw, Paul Witteman, Ferry Mingelen et al, if you guys just want to chat to people, why not open a pub? Want to interview people properly? Watch BBC News Night now and again, you guys might learn something. Well, they might not actually. Could it be that Jeremy just has bigger balls? Judging by his plea to Marks & Spencer for more support from his undies, one might conclude so.