Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dutch Media Ratings

VPRO In Europa: Geert Mak is the host of a series of audio and video programs that follow his book about European history. The intelligent calm discussions are really refreshing for someone from a land of shrieking know-nothings. I heard everything I could download. His segment on the English coal strikes under Thatcher had a lot of English language dialog. Mak is someone who wants to know, which makes the series worthwhile.

Katholiek Leven: When learning a new language, it helps if you go with a context you know. Being a lifelong Catholic makes this show more understandable for me than most. Fr. Roderick Vonhogen is a congenial priest who is also a fitness nut. The show had recipes every week for healthy foods. When he recites excerpts from the Mass, it really puts things together. In other languages, I have told my students to go to religious services with which they're familiar. Context puts it together. I listened to all 150 episodes.

Radio Nederland: This outlet has some great news programs, including Neiuwslijn Magazine Wereldomroep. (Newsline Magazine, World Roundup) I can understand a lot of the news summaries due to a common context, but most of their interviews just go right by. Radio Nederland was also useful for learning Spanish. Their Spanish language program is informative and features a wide variety of accents.

Cool Politics: I saw a short podcast covering this recent event. Some politician with white hair and sunglasses was received as a prophet, speaking before an event aimed at younger people. Instead, it attracted hipsters of all ages, the goatee and t-shirt people. The politician arrived in a golf cart. The whole thing looked really dumb.

Radioboeken: This is the hardest of my programs to understand. They feature half hour readings of works by their authors in front of an audience. It's very hard to tease out a context and get meaning. This program helps me tune my ear, but that's about it. This program and others like it show that the Dutch go out a lot to live events. Americans, by contrast, wait for perfect weather, then watch sports on TV.

Het Gespreek: This is an interview channel. The discussions are lively, but a problem in Dutch society is made clear right away: There is too much appreciation for American movies and music. Hollywood often produces a good product, but not all of it is high art.

Goede Zaken!: This show is from Oost Gelderland on Grafschaap TV. It's a roundtable discussion in which the sponsors get interviewed. "How's business?" "I'm glad you asked!" Sometimes the camera wanders off to show various processes, like transporting office supplies. This show is good for beginners, because there are many repetitive commercials. When I last saw it, there were many ads from a car dealer and a furniture store.

Film trailers: Meeste recente bioscoop trailers- This gives a good overview of what's happening in international film. Dutch subtitles over English language films help a lot. A word of caution though, not all trailers are "Approved for All Audiences" as they are in the US. Some European movie trailers get unnecessarily raunchy. Many Dutch movies never make it to the US. It's interesting seeing bits of what is unlikely to come here.

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