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Thread: BROTM (4) "I am always right".

  1. #1
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    Default BROTM (4) "I am always right".

    Post number 4 of the December BROTM sequel.

    Ik heb altijd gelijk, I am always right.

    In the Netherlands every Dutch high school student must produce a literature list, a list of the Dutch literature novels he or she has read and analyzed for the Dutch final exam.
    A few weeks ago our local media reported that the literature lists of today don’t differ much from the lists in the 1970-1980’s, a large number of the old novels is still very popular with students.
    I knew I had my 1978 literature list stashed away somewhere and l looked for it. When I found it I saw that I have read a novel by the Dutch writer W.F. Hermans.
    When I read the title, memories of the story came flooding back into my mind. I thought it was appropriate for this WBF post.

    The title is “Ik heb altijd gelijk”/“I am always right”, it was published in 1951.

    ik heb altijd gelijk.jpg

    The main character of the novel is sergeant Lodewijk Stegman who returns home after the lost Dutch colonial war in Indonesia in 1949.
    He returns to the Netherlands as a very disappointed man, he hates the war, he hates his parents, he hates the Netherlands, he hates the Catholics, he hates authority, he hates the common man etc. etc.
    Moreover he is absolutely incapable of maintaining normal human relations and he shows some very erratic behavior.
    He would probably be diagnosed with PTSD these day’s.
    One of his not very realistic goals is to create and lead a political movement to completely change the Netherlands, somewhat comparable to the recent MAGA movement in the US.
    During this process he publicly makes some very bold statements, one of them is “I am always right” and he means it.

    Most of the Bilge posters will recognize this style of debating; “I am right and you are wrong”.
    It’s not very enjoyable to argue with people who behave like this. They usually seem to lack the necessary emotional intelligence to have a normal debate.
    We don’t know what causes this behavior, we can’t diagnose a personality disorder from behind our computer. Some of these posters probably don’t even have a personality disorder, they just behave abnormal.
    In general it’s better not to accuse them of being mentally insane, such a statement usually doesn’t improve the quality of the debate. It’s probably best to use one’s own emotional intelligence to counteract this debating style. We can show them that some of their statements are perhaps a bit to bold, soften up the debate and show them how proper debating could be done.
    This doesn’t only makes the average poster feel better but it’s also appropriate during the Christmas season.

    As to be expected the novel didn’t end well for Lodewijk, he skillfully destroyed all the relations with his family and friends, his political movement failed and his statements all proved wrong! He had become what he hated most, a frustrated common man who must work for his money.

    Although the striking parallels between the events in this novel and the present developments in the US and Europe are intriguing, the writer had no powers of prophecy, his description of Trump-like behavior is just a coincidence.
    The writer was known as a notoriously difficult man, he probably incorporated many of his own character traits into the character Lodewijk. The “film noir” feel of the novel was in keeping with the zeitgeist of the early 1950s in the Netherlands.

    Believe me I should know, Ik heb altijd gelijk.
    Last edited by dutchpp; 12-07-2022 at 06:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: BROTM (4) "I am always right".

    so "gelijk" means both right and equal, that's interesting and different from any other language I know
    Ragnar B.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: BROTM (4) "I am always right".

    Correct mizzenman, in the Dutch language it often happens that 1 word can have completely different meanings, the context should then make clear what the real meaning is.
    I don't know exactly what the cause is, but maybe it has to do with the fact that Dutch is a relatively small language.
    I think I'll come back to that in one of the next BROTM posts, must do some research.
    Last edited by dutchpp; 12-07-2022 at 07:23 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: BROTM (4) "I am always right".

    My favorite author long time ago.
    Frank

  5. #5
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    Default Re: BROTM (4) "I am always right".

    Quote Originally Posted by dutchpp View Post
    Most of the Bilge posters will recognize this style of debating; “I am right and you are wrong”.
    to be fair, i thought i was wrong once; but as it turns out. . .
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: BROTM (4) "I am always right".

    "Het moet weken weken" = It has to soak for weeks

    But in English you have: "I saw a saw"
    Don't worry I'm happy

    "The law is what we have to live with.
    Justice is sometimes harder to achieve."

    Sherlock Holmes

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