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I Cannot Stand It

The media and charlatans


"Champion days" and such like are not my thing.

I don"t begrudge others their pleasure during the quiet season, but I want something different at that time of the year.

No pigeons, given half the chance.

It was different in the past, and on one of those pigeon days there was always someone who wanted to be amusing by teasing me about my double nationality.

But sarcastic remarks about Belgium don"t bother me, on the contrary.

I have a thing for that country and its people and that might be why I prefer to buy my pigeons there.

Of course Belgians have there shortcomings too.

There was that period when the whole nation was under the spell of the repugnant lust murders of young girls (the Dutroux case).

Sick lust murderers have existed always and everywhere, but the attitude of the press towards it was embarrassing.



The small bodies were exhumed and buried again, as if they wanted to stir up the hysteria even more.

Confusion, leaks at the Justice Department, bribery in the police force, alternated with interviews in the street which only lacked a freshly cut onion to get the questioned crying. That was the scene in those days.

Everything was so hugely reported that it soon became clear that all they wanted to do was to make new programs that people would watch.

"Finally," the media boys thought, now in Belgium as well.

The Dutroux-case: violence, sex and murder for the taking, the wet dream of every program maker. No investment needed for actors who ask for inflated pay packets.

The climax was two funerals on one day, both on television and both shown over and over again.

The only thing we were spared was an inquiry which of the two funerals appealed to the people most. But are "dating shows" and the like on the Dutch television not something to also "throw up over"?

If one of the contestants doesn"t like the other one, that other one is sent off by the push of a button. You have to be a moron to participate in such programs, and an even bigger idiot to present them.

To me they are all so tacky, so tasteless, so humourless and so unbelievably stupid.

I get the feeling that people are specifically selected for these artificial couplings because of their natural stupidity, their romantic inadequacy, their verbal inability or a combination of all these.

"Why" is what you could ask yourself, "are these things shown on television?"

The answer is of a staggering simplicity.

Because we want to see things like that, and the program makers know this.

Just like the medicine makers know what the pigeon fancier wants: Results.



As long as the pigeon sport exists it will always be the same.

And as long as there is the media, products will be recommended that all promise the same thing: Better results!

The effect of these "miracle products" is for the short term only, as history shows us.

It"s unbelievable what has been promoted and disappeared again over the years.

Look in old pigeon newspapers.

At first, some products are readily sold, and then fanciers notice that these products aren"t "it", they stop buying and from that moment on the product is also not important anymore for the seller.

And in the meantime, these products have been outpaced already by other products.



Ridiculous adverts attempt to relieve the fancier of some money, and they are there in abundance.

"Fed up with excessive losses" was the beginning of one such advert.

And it went on: "Tests in our own lofts and elsewhere have proven that the loss of pigeons will be reduced by 80 percent when the pigeons are given "x" regularly."

The following ad is another one.

"Blood powder specifically for pigeons for better blood and iron. To be given daily to young pigeons until they are mature, twice a week during the season, during the moult and during the breeding period."

If I read it correctly that means the whole year.

And what do you think of "a biological vaporizer with omega 3 oil for better brain development"?

Or of "Charge up before a race with L.C."?

"L.C. is a special form of energy" claims the manufacturer. "This is stored in the heart and pectoral muscles as microscopic lipid drops (?) And the energy is only released during flying. The energy reserve of the pigeon is dramatically increased, which leads to exceptional results."

Isn"t it unbelievable?

The last lines of the advert are the absolute limit:

"The product gives the pigeon an extraordinary feeling of self-confidence."

You have to give one tablet for every 100 kilometre, for a race of 800 kilometres that means 8 tablets (and not 7), and after administering the pills the pigeon should not be released again.

Finally it tells you how you can pay.



Then there is this company that recommends "Angel"s brew".

Not one brand but four; original Angel"s Brew, Angel"s Brew for top form, Angel"s Brew for the moult and Angel"s Brew for breeding.

The same company has an offer for "e" as well.

"Increases the desire for the partner and stimulates the pigeon to give everything it has." That is what the advert states.

Another company has developed a spray that keeps the legs clean, "which increases the flying speed significantly."

It"s laughable in the champion"s eyes, but these wonder products are not meant for him; they are meant for the losers who want to win.

The fact that new wonder products keep appearing can only lead to one conclusion.

There is a market for them.

And this way sellers of "Castles in the air" succeed in catching more unwary fanciers in their nets than the average angler.



I mentioned Dutroux.

Of course I realize that television needs big viewing  figure programs to attract sponsors.

And also the printed press can"t exist without advertisements.

That"s why I have learned to turn a blind eye once in a while, but I really detest publicity for the sake of it.

All these new products that appear every year don"t have any constructive influence on the pigeon sport.

They have the characteristics of a hurricane:

It doesn"t exist for long, it consists of hot air, and it evaporates into nothing.

However, the damage that is done in the meantime can be considerable.

And when the newspapers themselves contribute to these money-making schemes under the disguise of bringing news, that"s bad.

Some newspapers are structurally dependent on advertisers, which corrodes the editorial independence. That doesn"t alter the fact that I absolutely can"t stand it.

Sometimes I think:

"Lord, save us from these charlatans. Let them swallow their tongue; give them a vocal chord disorder of Jantje Smit (Dutch singer).

Make them fall silent so that they make as much noise as a fly in the soup."

I CAN"T stand it, damn it.