Monday, March 19, 2007


The shocklog

I try to keep my readers as cool and hip as possible, which is not easy considering that many of you have a predilection for reading books and that I am both multimedia-challenged and hopelessly linear. But today I bring you something so hot that Wikipedia has denied it an entry: the shocklog.

The Masters of Media, a group of media students at the University of Amsterdam, have reprinted their rejected Wikipedia entry—

Shocklogs are weblogs that use shock and slander to sling mud at current affairs, public individuals, institutions and so on. Authors of shocklogs usually comment on an item in a very provoking and insulting way, often resulting in even more seriously offensive comments, such as threats of rape and murder.

Occasionally shocklogs will incite the reader to undertake some (online) action, usually in the nature to harass or harm a specific target. The shocklog has a close relation to the static shock sites. The popularity of shocklogs make it interesting for advertisers and therefore these sites become forced to provide shocking material....

Sounds like something Karl Rove might come up with after consulting with the Swift Boat Veterans.

But wait. Patrice Riemans says the rejected Wikipedia entry was inadequate anyway and attempts to clarify the phenomenon—

This morning [3/10/07] ... the Dutch national daily 'De Volkskrant' (progressive-lite) had an interview with the director of the (provincial) high-school where the latest 'shocklog' related incident and subsequent scandal took place: a pupil had convinced his classmates to all bring the Hitler salute and filmed it on his mobile phone. The clip was then placed on '', 'enjoyed' a vast audience, and the ceiling came down on the allegedly peaceful, tolerant, non-fascist etc. Dutch society.

As far as I know, 'shocklogs', which enjoy a tremendous popularity, are a uniquely Dutch thing in their local manifestation. With gory pictures, cranky quotes, weird videoclips and assorted mud-slinging at anything that moves, "respectable" or not, they reflect the solidly ingrained Dutch tradition known as "kankeren" (literally "cancering"). "Kankeren" is a heightened form of complaining, can be very violent in its (verbal) manifestation, but is in no way intended to address, even less to redress, the issue it refers to. Its sole purpose is to vent grievances everyone knows one can do very little about - Dutch culture is famously fatalistic in its own way, the economy being seen as a meteorological phenomenon, social hierarchies are perceived as divinely ordained, and "Nobody gets handed out the programme of life's concert beforehand". Now that the new media are not that new anymore, the digital version of 'kankeren' is carried on 'shocklogs' with gay abandon.

Shocklogs are probably part of what Ms Mabel van Oranje, wife of the Royal Johan Friso and advocacy director of Soros' Open Society Institute, defines ... as "irresponsible media." This must be read as "responsible to no one, and also not to society at large," the same thing the high school director complained about. (He approached to get the clip taken off, or at least publish a rejoinder, without success.)

[A Simply Appalling edit]

The sites are quite commercial and are supported by major advertisers such as Dell and Microsoft. Geenstijl is the most popular. Others include Retecool, Jaggle (videos) and Volkomenkut.

Americans are able to enjoy many of the same shocking effects by following the antics of the Bush administration on the nightly news.

Related post
Shopdropping and Droplifting (9/24/05)


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