Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Those Guys Ruin Everything 

The Copenhagen Post has an article about the tourism dropoff since the recent violence in Christiania. Remember what happened: a mysterious shooting one night, where a "second-generation immigrant" was apparently targeted by longtime Danes in an apparent hash trade feud; two nights later, a revenge raid by a group of masked "second-generation immigrants," who open fire on a bunch of longtime Danes and end up killing one.

The police promptly decide to step in before the violence spins out of control.

Whom do the good people of the Free State Christinia blame for the subsequent drop off in tourism? The police. I'll reproduce the money quotes below because the Post link will expire in a couple of days due to their idiotic new subscription-only policy:

Schmidt said fear of shootings was not the only reason why tourists kept away. The police have adopted a no-tolerance policy with the squatter town, and officers armed to the teeth were a constant presence.

"It scares people," Schmidt said. "I can understand that people get scared when they (the police, ed.) come running and frisk them."

Tourists are not the only ones staying away, as kindergartens and schools, which used to take frequent tours through the ramshackle, colourful hippie village, have also decided that it is no longer a safe place for children.

"If we can avoid it, we don't even pass the place anymore," said Pia Randa-Boldt, leader of a neighbouring childcare centre. "You never know when the police show up in full armour."

I'm only speaking for myself, but I'm a lot less scared of police running over to frisk me than I am of hash dealers with automatic weapons spraying gunfire indiscriminately. And I know it's scary to see police in full armor, but the scarier thing is that they feel compelled to wear it.

I'm trying to be as even-handed as possible here, but these people are coming across as idiots. Maybe the police ought to take a page from the Escape from New York handbook: just throw some barbed wire around Christiania and forget about it.

* * *

Another Post story which is credited to Jyllands-Posten, in whose archives I'm unable to find the original story, meaning this link, too, will necessarily self-destruct in a few days, is so staggering I'm still not sure it isn't a very late April Fool's joke:

Let us get it straight once and for all - yes, some of the red and green pedestrian traffic signals in Copenhagen are wearing a skirt.

According to daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the red and green women cannot be traced to feminist vandals, but to female officials at the city’s traffic authority, who grew tired of the all-male presence on traffic signals.


But as in many other equal opportunity projects, results proved limited. Out of the city’s 350 pedestrian traffic signals, only 16 represent women. Andersen said there were no plans to implement more dress-clad figures.

"I don’t see any reason to," he said, adding that although regulations did not say anything about men or women, the illustration for the "Decree on Road Signals" only showed the traditional, trouser-clad pedestrian figure.

"I think that should basically be our model," Andersen said.

For this reason, the 16 pedestrian ladies will probably be replaced by men, as their youth and beauty fade and they go to pieces.

If you're in town, you can apparently spot the skirted signals at the following locations: "the Lake Pavilion, the crossings of H.C. Andersen Boulevard and Jarmers Plads, H.C. Andersen Boulevard and Jernbanegade, Gyldenløvesgade and Søgade, Gyldenløvesgade and Rosenørns Alle, Nørrebrogade and Lundtoftegade, by the Bispeengbuen and at Brønshøj Torv."

I'll try to get a picture of them soon.

It's a wonder we haven't seen this kind of thing in America. And why should there only be men and women? Think how disenfranchised the transgendered must be feeling. Every pedestrian crossing signal is like a dagger in their heart!

On the other hand, people of color should take some comfort in the fact that virtually every pedestrian crossing signal in America depicts a person of color. And what proletarian colors they are! Red and Green—communism and environmentalism!

(An aside: there's a poster for the Red & Green party you can see here and there that says, "Red Politics for a Green World." Have people already forgotten how enviro-friendly the U.S.S.R. and East Germany, and other such workers' paradises, actually were?)

But back to the politically correct aspects of the story: in the late 1980s I wrote a short satire of political correctness that I never got around to even trying to sell. I share with you know a few choice paragraphs:

It was against this backdrop of pitched urban conflagration that the Second Revolutionary Council of the Oppressed held its last and most contentiously argued debate on their Articles of Reorganization, the federal adoption for which their brethren were killing and dying in the streets. The arguments had run for some hours, and since the Council was truly a people's council, and its Charter thereby did not formally recognize any inequality of mind or sense among its many members, the Council was forced to suffer the arguments of every member inclined to speak [...]

But Council Secretary Brother Nelson Bukowski was driven to the limits of his patience, which had until then been legend, when Brother Martin Careforall began exhorting the assembled members to amend the articles in such a way that they could be read by not only the learned of the nation, who were, after all, less in want of the articles whose contents they were debating, but also the illiterate. Specifically, Brother Careforall was arguing that the articles should be redrafted in hieroglyph form.

"Enough," Brother Bukowski shouted, pounding the table with his fist, "Will Brother Careforall please conclude his argument?"

Brother Careforall concluded with the sage remark that books shouldn't be limited to men and women who could read; that such de facto exclusion was at best a manifest form of elitism, and therefore most contrary to the purposes of the Articles, Council, and the Revolution itself. He then requested that his proposition be put to a vote, which request Brother Squelch immediately seconded.

Yeah, I know, but don't worry: I didn't quit my day job.

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