Vandaag stemde de Eerste Kamer voor invoering van de nieuwe donorwet. Per medio 2020 ben je volautomagisch donor, tenzij je daar bezwaar tegen maakt.

Het enige wat de donorwet doet, is je dwingen na te denken over wat jij wilt wat er met jouw organen gebeurt nadat jij er niks meer aan hebt. Wil je niet doneren? Prima, maar laat het weten. Wil je het wel? Top, hoef je niks te doen. Wil je er een ander met die beslissing opzadelen op een voor hun ongetwijfeld niet zo handig moment? Soit. Dat zijn exact dezelfde opties die je nu hebt, alleen nu met een opt-out in plaats van een opt-in. Hoewel ik doorgaans helemaal #teamOptIn ben, denk ik dat ik best wel voor deze wijziging ben.

Natuurlijk zijn er mensen die bezwaar hebben tegen deze wet.

Een deel van hen zal ongetwijfeld daar goed over nagedacht hebben en een onderbouwde mening hebben. Dat is prima. Ook na invoering van deze wet staat het je vrij geen organen te willen doneren. Dan ga je de daartoe bestemde website, log je in, en zeg je ‘nee’ of ‘laat een ander dat maar beslissen.’ (En zelfs al zeg je niets of ‘ja’, dan nog kunnen nabestaanden tegen jouw al dan niet expliciete wens ingaan, en gaat de arts daar doorgaans in mee.)

En dan heb je onderbuikreutelaars die termen als ‘me organen zijn nu staatsbezit’, ‘orgaanroof’, ‘laat Pia Dijkstra eens de eerste donor worden’, vergelijkingen met Mengele, nepnieuws en andere fabels over orgaantransplantatie nodig hebben om hun punt te maken. Om dat vervolgens kracht bij zetten door pontificaal en demonstratief hun destijds oh zo principiële ‘ja’ in een keiharde ‘nee’ te veranderen. Want dat zal hunnie van de partijkartels ongetwijfeld leren.

Reacties van het niveau waarbij ik stiekem denk ‘hou alsjeblieft die organen, straks gaat het in mijn onderbuik ook zo borrelen.’

Dat je tegen bent, prima. Maar mag er wel een beetje niveau in de discussie?

First Lines: Strange Weather

Joe Hill just keeps getting better. I keep on liking every one of his books more than the previous one. Strange Weather is no exception. It collects four short novels, which are all quite, quite good.

It starts off with “Snapshot”, where there is this guy stealing memories with some sort of Polaroid camera, and a kid stops him. It would have been a decent middle-of-the-road story, if not for the underlying humanity of it that just kinda twists your guts.

Next is “Loaded”, which is probably my favorite. It is the all-American story of what happens when the good guy with a gun turns out to be a trigger-happy asshole. There is no spooky or supernatural angle, but it is truly horrific. It is goddamn bleak, and the ending … it may be the only fitting ending, but goshdarn, that’s some bleak stuff.

“Aloft” is a kinda weird, ridiculous sci-fi story, that is made so much better by the interwoven guy-likes-girl-but-girl-does-not-like-boy story.

Finally, the second highlight: “Rain”. It is a sunny day in Boulder, Colorado, when all of a sudden it starts raining glass shards. It caught thousands of people by surprise, ripping them to bloody shreds. In the aftermath of that, Hill lets more shitty things happen to good people, lets them have a little justice, and works to an ending that caught me by surprise. And in between all that, he throws in a couple of heart-wrenching scenes.

If you haven’t read anything by Joe Hill yet, and don’t want to start with one of his doorstoppers (good as they might be), this would be an excellent place to start.

Book read
Joe Hill — Strange Weather: Four Short Novels
First line
Shelly Beukes stood at the bottom of the driveway, squinting up at our pink-sandstone ranch as if she had never seen it before. (from “Snapshot”)

First Lines: La Belle Sauvage

Years ago, I was quite impressed by Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which is an uncompromising story about religion, authority, and individual freedom. Late last year, he published La Belle Sauvage, the first part of The Book of Dust trilogy, set in the same world.

Set ten years before the events in His Dark Materials, La Belle Sauvage is divided in two parts. In the first part, the scene is set, our heroes Malcolm and Alice are introduced, a flood of Biblical proportions might be coming soon, and we are reminded that there are dæmons and something called Dust, that the Church has its own agencies and is not always out for your best interest, and that world might be similar to ours, but is quite something else as well. Also, there is a little baby, called Lyra, and Malcolm adores here.

In this part, I had to do some digging through the back of my head, to see who was who and what was what again, and how all these things were supposed to fit together. I should perhaps have reread His Dark Materials first, but I am not saying that that is an absolute must. Pullman’s world is rich and complex, and that is just fine.

The second part is more of an adventure tale: Malcolm and Alice try to keep the baby Lyra away from the Church’s forces, are being chased by a deranged French scientists, and eventually set out in Malcolm’s canoe, La Belle Saugave, over the flooded landscape to London, to find Lyra’s father. On their way, they have encounters with faeries and Old Father Thames and people who try to double-cross them. But every time, they win through, and continue their quest. It gets a bit improbable at times, but as I said, Pullman’s world is rich and complex, so stuff like that apparently happens, and that is fine with me.

Book read
Philip Pullman — The Book of Dust, Volume One: La Belle Sauvage
First line
Three miles up the river Thames from the centre of Oxford, some distance from where the great colleges of Jordan, Gabriel, Balliol, and the two dozen others contended for mastery in the boat races, out where the city was only a collection of towers and spires in the distance over the misty levels of Port Meadow, there stood the priory of Godstow, where the gentle nuns went about their holy business; and on the opposite bank from the priory there was an inn called the Trout.

First Lines: Dominee Gremdaat

Dominee Gremdaat is minister of unknown denomination who used to appear on TV a lot, and whom you probably have never of if you are not Dutch.* Back in in the 1990s two collection of his sermons were released. In his sermons, he does not dwell on theology, but rather on encounters he has had. He meets people, talks to them, and helps them to make sense of their situation. Or, just as often, something quite unexpected happens.

The first of those books, the a ‘best of’ collection Kent u die uitdrukking?, I hadn’t revisited since probably 1998. I read them with Dominee Gremdaat’s voice and mannerisms in my head. I would hear him pause and stutter and his voice rise and fall at all the right moments, with his hands fluttering around in excitement. That made reading his escapades and borderline brilliant similes, like Het gebeurt vaak in het leven: de rij voor je wordt kleiner, en de rij achter je groter. En soms ben je blij, het is nu mijn beurt, en soms ben je teleurgesteld, het is nu al mijn beurt. (If often happens in life: the line in front of you gets smaller, and the line behind you gets longer. And sometimes that makes you happy: it is now my turn. And sometimes you are sad: it is my turn already.) so much better.

The other book, Dominee Gremdaat wijst de weg naar een prettige overgang, collects a series of sermons trying to guide people through the confusing time that was the transition of the 1900s into the year 2000. Those haven’t aged very well.

Book read
Kent u die uitdrukking? De beste preken van Dominee Gremdaat.
First line
Onlangs zag ik in een afgelegen bos een wat oudere man.
Book read
Dominee Gremdaat wijst de weg naar een prettige overgang
First line
Van de week botste ik in een drukke winkelstraat tegen een vrouw op.

* He is also a character played by comedian Paul Haenen, who is able to imitate the voice of Bert in Sesamstraat quite well.

First Lines: Zilvertand / Weerwolvenbos

Last year, I read two of Paul van Loon’s Dolfje Weerwolfje books. As the others have since returned from a loan, I read those as well. Not to sound too much like an old man, but I guess I was too old for them.

The first two were loads of fun, as I never read them, but these, well, if I had read these two first, they’d be loads of fun too. It’s just that I figured out the formula, and that made them more repetitive than fun. Dolfje is a werewolf, Timmie is his best friend, Dad is weird, they get in trouble (Zilvertand wants to capture werewolves to sell them / some business persons want to cut down Wolvenbos), and cousin Leo, Grandpa Werewolf and Dolfje’s girlfriend Noura come to the rescue.

Then there were also two even shorter stories for children just starting to read, and there even less happened.

So: fun, but not keeping me interested beyond the time it took to read them.

Book read
Paul van Loon — Zilvertand
First line
Book read
Paul van Loon — Weerwolvenbos
First line
Doodstil was het in het Wolvenbos.
Book read
Paul van Loon — Het nachtmerrieneefje
First line
‘Hé, Dolf, weerwolven!’
Book read
Paul van Loon — Niet bijten, Dolfje!
First line
Rennen, rennen!