Ernie and Bert suspected of fraud.

Nothing seems sacred anymore these days.

According to reliable sources in Pakistan a huge fraud at Sesamestreet was recently uncovered by the Pakistani police. In spite of Obama’s recent drone attacks this acknowledges the fact that there still is police in Pakistan working on very important cases. Of course the United States have retalliated in the strongest possible manner for the Pakistan Sesamestreet Fraud. It seems that the Pakistani Ernie and Bert, who are as everyone knows the producers of the childrens television show, have been arrested as they seem to have used the american dollars to pay of their debts.

And as the US is a bit sensitive on the dollar the Obama administration immediately increased diplomatic and military pressure on Pakistan once it became clear the dollars were leaking at the Sesamestreet headoffice. After a massive fluffy hunt the Pakistani police have been able to arrest the perpetrators who seemed to be employed by the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop. Although Pakistan Today claims that it is the little and übercute Elmo who has been caught with his hand in the USAID cookie jar (he is perceived to be quicker noadays than Cookie Monster on that) it is obvious that it were in fact Ernie and Bert who have become the real suspects now.

The Pakistan Children’s TV channel claims not to be involved but according to Kermit the current ceo of PCTV, miss Piggy, has been playing a doubtful role in the past concerning commercial deals with Ernie and Bert. The connection with Super Grover and Cookie Monster is also currently being investigated just like the activities of Elmo althoug he now is no longer the focus of the ongoing investigation.

The Pakistani Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop

Currently it is impossible to assertain the damage done by the two Sesamestreet villains. What is clear however is that the 20 million dollar of USAID allotted US tax payers money is not completely used to create the agreed 78 episodes of Sesamestreet Pakistan. How much of that 20 million has been used by the whole Sesamestreet family remains to be found out. The Peerzada’s (the real names of the Sesamestreet family in Pakistan) as a close family of course appointed their own relatives in all relevant places in the production company thereby shifting funds into the family members NIB Bank Pakistan bank accounts.

Ernie and Bert are now in Lahore prison being questioned by the Pakistan police with support of Obama’s Secret Service who have abandoned the Colombian brothel research program recently. According to Lahore police they still deny all accusations and state that they are only puppets in a larger scheme. But according to sources they will soon be transfered to Guantanamo Bay for further interrogation by the US military as suspects of economic terrorism.

Alice Anna Verheij © 2012

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Come fly with me…

I am lost. Totally. I think I must have time traveled back to the sixties. Thing is I am hooked on Pan Am, the sixties airline series from ABC about Pan American World Airways. Or, to be more specific, about four stewardesses having fun being stewardesses sometime in the imaginary sixties. And to be even more specific about the Maggie Ryan character. Or to be even more specific about Christina Ricci. For the ones who are not familiair with the series, you’re allowed to guess which one of the girls is a genuine turn on in my eyes.

Promo photo for Pan Am, courtesy: ABC Networks

To be honest, I have been in love with the sixties for a long, long time. The industrial design, the cars, the architecture and furniture and of course most of the fashion. I just totally love the look. And, one of the greatest fashion designs are of course the stewardess uniforms of the airlines in that era. With Pan Am gloriously in bright blue with white accessories. At that time a lot more attractive than the KLM uniforms which were in equivalent blue but not as sexy as Pan Am had them designed.

I suppose I was just born some 25 years too late. Not that I would have lucky – and gorgeous – enough for a stewardess career but hey, a girl may heve her dreams. Even when supposed to be too mature for this sort of follies. Because I would lie if I wouldn’t just want to have one of these uniforms just for the fun of it. Anyway, I love the series. The storylines are crappy and superficial but frankly, I don’t care as long as the visual part is as it is.

As it is tv and as we are some fifty (OMG!) years later than the sixties we all know that the whole thing has little or nothing to do with reality. Apart from the stewardesses. Come on, we all know that Schiphol Airport even today is a kind of lesbian candy shop (if the guys who read this might think they’re the only ones who dig these girls than wake up fellowa, you’ve got competition there).

Anyway, I would love it when fashion designers watch these series closely and adjust their designs to be more sixties like and return to more feminine attire for daily use. Because what’s in the shops cannot get me enthusiastic at all after watching old sixties films and television series. It’s the timeless quality of sixties fashion that was by the way not exclusively designed for women with the bodies of fifteen year old anorexia patients but for genuine women. With curves and all and with sizes that are more human (the television series unfortunately limits itself to small size starlets). I prefer the richness of the Marilyn Monroe type of woman who by todays standards would be regarded as too short, too fat and physically not equipped for high fashion. Which implicates the lack of taste of most modern day designers and fashionistas. Still, maybe some designers will try to make use of what these retro television series and their huge success promises: hard cash for the sixties experience.

So, if anyone has the power to beam me back to the sixties or get me into a fitting (which might be a challenge!) uniform like the ones above, please call or email! In the meanwhile I will just do with my own sixties stuff that I have in my closet.

Alice Anna © 2012

About media responsibility.

In January 2009, over two years ago now, I wrote a column about a television program in the Netherlands that disgusted me. The title ‘Family Matters’ (not the US comedy) hinted about the topic of the program. It was a reality tv show with an aid worker (experienced because he himself has been a drug addict for many years) who ‘helps’ families in their relationships and family ties. The method for that was cold turkey confrontation and tough. Which in every single show showed people brought to the limits of what they could take before improvement started. I doubted the program, the presenter and the results.

In December 2010 that same presenter got accused by some of his pupils for sexual harrassment and rape. The broadcasting company involved immediately cancelled the show and made the shortest press statement ever. After that they never talked about it. The program makers, director and producer and the production company, went dead silent on the issue at hand.

Some time ago Keith Bakker, the presenter confessed the sexual harrassment and the fact that he had sex with minors at the time the program was filmed in the Netherlands and Spain. He now states he was a sex addict at the time of recording. Which raises eyebrows and questions regarding the involvement of both the broadcasting company (NCRV, a protestant government subsidised broadcasting company) and the production company. Mind you, the shows are still online and can be watched at the public broadcasting viewing website ‘Uitzending Gemist’. Though Keith Bakker is not yet convicted it is clear that he is guilty of what he is accused of. He admitted to the accusations. So now we can all watch a criminal at work by surfing to this website: http://www.uitzendinggemist.nl/afleveringen/640656

This is interesting from a media ethical perspective.

First of all I do not understand why the NCRV as a broadcasting company still has the old shows online. Knowing what is been admitted by Bakker it is now known that at least one of the girls in the shows recorded in Spain is in fact a victim of Keith Bakker who was – as he said so himself – acting as a sex addicted predator at the time of recording.

Secondly I do wonder how it is possible that the production team and production company were not aware of the abuse that was taking place under their very eyes. Some people in that team must have seen or heard things. Simply because in a reality tv show that is about very personal problems it is impossible to have sexual harrassment to go unnoticed. So where are these people now? Where is that production company? Well, the production company Strix Television, a Swedish company, is staying under the radar and keeping quiet about the ‘incidents’. They still, just like the NCRV, list the show on their websites. Where the NCRV made a press statement in December 2010, Strix has kept silent.

My conclusion of the behaviour of both the broadcasting company and production company is that when media organizations are being confronted with a disaster concerning their program, even if that disaster has social relevance, they simply try to back off as fast as possible and duck for any responsibility by bringing that show to the screen. Only recently the unlawful filming of hopital patients by another production company in the Netherlands resulted in the withdrawal of that program from the screen but is also resulting in a big financial claim by those companies to the hospital. How blunt can people be? But in the Family Matters case the program actually gave Keith Bakker the opportunity to act as predator on vulnerable young girls while the show was made. As he stated himself it was in that timeframe (2009 / 2010) that he had completely lost track and was in fact a sex addict. Obviously the screening and guidance by both the boradcasting company as the production company in regard to Keith Bakker have failed dramatically. With the side effect of young girls that were in a difficult position being harmed. No they will not face a judge but it would be a good thing if they at least would acknowledge responsibility for giving a platform to Keith Bakker to commit his crimes. Unknowingly at first and probably naive. But nevertheless, moral responsibiliy comes when starting the making of this kind of programs and does not end when the presenter goes to jail.

Because looking back at any of the shows it is impossible to hear Keith Bakker making statements that he is proud of his pupils and giving advice to youngsters, also on their sexuality, without being utterly disgusted.

Today, the district attorneys office will make public what punishment they require for Keith Bakker. The NCRV and Strix are not accused and are not requested to give statements on their facilitating role and poor judgement. That is for the public to decide.

Alice © 2012

Short trailer of Headwind released today.

Today the short trailer of Headwind is released with a call for support and funding.
More information about the film can be found at http://www.headwindfilm.com.
The trailer will be published on http://www.eu1.tv too later today.

We still need substantial funding for the completion of this film.

Alice
director of Headwind