Friday, December 23, 2011

“Islam, Islame, You Just Can't Help Yourself…”

Our supporter and commenter in the Netherlands, Sagunto, sent this little clip yesterday, with his usual “kind regards from Amsterdam”.

Just what I needed to make me smile! As part of my Hanukkah celebration (whilst waiting for the jolly man to show up) I am posting it here for all to enjoy.

Interestingly, the English-language wiki on the performer, Hans Teeuwen, describes him as “apolitical” before the death of his good friend, Theo von Gogh.

The wiki says:

In 2005, Teeuwen announced he would no longer perform, incidentally coinciding with the death of director and close friend Theo van Gogh. However, in 2007 he decided to try a new challenge: performing in English. He appeared at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of the Amsterdam Underground Comedy Collective, which spurred him to do a longer show. In 2008 he performed solo at the Soho Theatre in London. He also returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008, and performed at Suffolk’s 2008 Latitude Festival. In October 2008, he performed a show in the Leicester Square Theatre, London that was recorded for a future DVD release. In 2009, he performed at the Leicester Comedy Festival and the Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Although his work is typically devoid of politics, in real life Teeuwen has repeatedly and openly acted as a fervent supporter of freedom of speech, especially after the murder of his friend Theo van Gogh. His eulogy and speech at the unveiling of a statue in memory of van Gogh were an example of his views. A video clip of Teeuwen advocating freedom of speech while being interviewed by three female Muslim TV presenters has been chosen as “Dutch TV Moment of 2007”. [You can find some good links here if you follow the wiki URL — e.g., the video clip about freedom of speech.]

It’s good that Teeuwen learned English so he could perform in Britain. His style reminds me of Robin Williams a bit, edgily funny, though less obviously insane. If you look at some of his YouTubed work, you can see the wide variety in his humor. This one, a sketch about Sinter Klaas looks very funny, even though I don’t understand Dutch. However, while watching the body language and listening to the laughter, one can infer that it’s probably not Gates of Vienna “safe” if it were subtitled in English. Notice the very elaborate Santa Claus get-up he’s wearing. Also observe that the mitre he’s wearing is missing the usual cross; however, that over-sized red bible (or is it a list of accounts for good vs. bad boys and girls?) is emblazoned with a gold cross you can’t miss. A thumb in the eye, perhaps??

Sagunto says:

“This Islam-song featured in his latest theatre show. Hans Teeuwen was a close friend of Theo van Gogh. I didn’t do a literal translation, just to keep the rhythm intact, but the message is still the same.”

This is a comedian who really uses his whole body in his performances. He must burn a lot of calories up on stage!

First, the lyrics in Dutch:

ISLAM (by Hans Teeuwen)

Islam, islam, islam, jou treft geen enkele blaam,
je kunt er niets aan doen, als je flipt van een cartoon,

Je zult nog moeten leren, met vrijheid om te gaan,
homo’s accepteren en de vrouwtjes niet te slaan,

Ga jezelf bevrijden en gooi je haren in de wind
hou op met dat besnijden, ‘t is niet prettig voor zo’n kind

Ga heerlijk zonnebaden en doe dat lekker bloot,
eet een stukje varkenskarbonde met een jood,

Islam, islam, islam, jou treft geen enkele blaam,
je kunt er niets aan doen, als je flipt van een cartoon,

De wereld blijft veranderen, doe mee en ga op zoek,
sta open voor de anderen, blijf niet hangen bij dat boek,

Je hoeft niets uit te leggen, en ik neem je niet de maat,
want niemand kan je zeggen, waar het leven over gaat

Nee, niemand kan je zeggen, waar het leven over gaat
Oh islam, oh islaaaam, oh isla-la-la-lalala-laaam’.

…and over the fold you’ll find the English version as translated by Sagunto.

Islam, islam, islame, you are absolved from blame
You just can’t help yourself, when a cartoon raises hell

You still have yet to learn, to deal with liberty,
Be gentle with the ladies, and the gay community

Go in search of freedom, let the wind blow through your hair
Cut out the circumcision, ‘cause a child won’t think that’s fair,

Get out, get some suntan, get naked while you do,
Try some tasty pork chops, and share it with a Jew,

Islam, islam, islame, you are absolved from blame
You just can’t help yourself, when a cartoon raises hell

The world will keep a changin’, join in and have a look,
be open to a stranger, and leave aside that book,

Don’t bother apologizing, you’ll find your own way out,
‘cause there’s no one here to tell you, just what life is all about

Yes, no one here to tell you, just what life is all about,
Oh islam, oh islaaaam, oh isla-la-la-lalala-laaam’.

A question for our American and British readers: do you think this man would be allowed to perform his “hate speech” comedy in our respective countries? Oh sure, we can smear and spear any conservative group we like – no limits there – but would we be permitted to be funny about “Islame”?

I don’t think so.

Christianity, on the other hand, is a big book of laugh riots. Just try to imagine “The Life of Brian” turned into “The Life of Mohammed”… it loses something in the translation, no? Never mind. It gains a great deal in anxiety; Islam has trained infidels well.

Here’s a page of quotes from that silly movie, and this excerpt:

Brian: I am NOT the Messiah!
Arthur: I say you are Lord, and I should know. I've followed a few.

1979 that was. The world has moved in a very different direction since then. After 9/11, Islame came out of the closet dragging its bloody scimitar.

Thank heavens for the relief Latma provides. They live in that existential place well down the road from fear. I mean, what is going to happen to them? Will some imam issue a fatwa?


You New said...

Methinks this pleasant waltz and naive style presentation may be more effective than our (my) grouchy approach which often evokes pushback.

Plus I personally enjoyed it. Especially the line about getting naked with pork chops and Jews.

Thanks, Sagunto!

Anonymous said...

RoR says: Ah yes, that important distinction between "insane" and "obviously insane". I know it well. I think that's the only reason I bother combing my hair to be honest. It must be such a lonely road being an absurdistic comedian. At some point it occurs to them they should just get up on stage and be lonely up there instead. The audience laughs out of fear that if they don't laugh you'll jump the stage and flip out on them like Tom Cruise. Pretty cozy gig in that way.

Dymphna said...

@ Anon-

In researching his work in English, I saw an ugly crowd reaction to him. Scotland, I think. I'd like to see/hear his vocals. He does old standards like Sinatra...

He's worth spending a bit of time on You Tube. If anyone sees his "saloon songs" pls let me know. I love the old stuff. Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, etc.

Anonymous said...

Islam continues to show it is an immature (read childish) cult for like minded cultists. Any form of criticism is met with tantrums and violence.

Just shows that Islam cannot stand on its own two feet.

Anonymous said...

Islam, islam, islame, you are absolved from blame
You just can’t help yourself, when a cartoon raises hell

I am trying to translate this into French, but I do not get the meaning of "You just can’t help yourself, when a cartoon raises hell"

For a French speaker, it is af is something is missing in the sentence. Could you make it clearer for mer ?

Sagunto said...

Hi Anonymous (I'll call you Frenchy ;)

Here's the literal translation for you. Perhaps that will clear things up a bit. Islam is "personified", hence the "you". Hans Teeuwen is sort of "singing down" on a tantrum-prone, puerile young brat.

"Islam, islam, islam, jou treft geen enkele blaam,
je kunt er niets aan doen, als je flipt van een cartoon."

Islam, islam, islame, you are absolved from blame [of course bitter irony is implied here, pointing to complaining Muslims whenever Islam is criticized]
You just can’t help yourself [as in a knee-jerk response], when you freak out over a cartoon.

"Flippen", the verb in Dutch, means "to freak out" in English, or just "flip out", which would translate into the French losing one's head/mind, i.e. "perdre la boule".

If you need more literal translations, just give a howler and I'll be, to quote Pim Fortuyn: at your service ;)

Kind regs from Amsterdam,

muxx said...

I saw him live at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, he was pretty good. a couple of people left at the very beginning of the show, but in general he received very good reception. his style of humour/acting/singing is not very conventional compared to classic British stand-up.

WRT other British comedians, there are plenty. I am not a huge fan of Billy Connoly (he's Scottish), but here's a nice taster: