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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gail Collins, "The Season of the Twitch": Remembering the Murder of Theo van Gogh

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again

- "The End," The Doors, 1966

Depressed? Me? No way!

America's midterm elections this year will fall very near the 10-year anniversary of the death of the Dutch film producer, columnist, author and actor Theo van Gogh, who was murdered while riding his bicycle to work in Amsterdam on November 2, 2004. At the time, The Guardian's Andrew Anthony provided a harrowing account of the homicide in an article entitled "Amsterdamned" (

"At around 8.45am, van Gogh rode by and was knocked from his saddle by a volley of shots fired from a 9mm handgun. He struggled to the other side of the road, where he collapsed in front of a shop selling washing machines. Terrified onlookers ducked behind cars or fled down side streets as the young man crossed the thoroughfare to where van Gogh lay, and opened fire again. Eight bullets were later found in his body.

Bleeding heavily, the 47-year-old father of a 14-year-old boy had pleaded with the gunman: 'Don't do it! Don't do it! Mercy! Mercy!' A woman with a young child also screamed out to the assailant, begging him to stop. He listened to neither appeal, but instead produced a long sharpened knife and proceeded to slit van Gogh's throat so deeply that his head was almost severed. One witness described the young man as behaving with the methodical detachment of 'a butcher'. His final act was to affix a five-page letter to the corpse by plunging another knife into van Gogh's chest. It was addressed to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch MP from Somalia who had collaborated with van Gogh on Submission, a film that suggested that the Koran sanctioned domestic violence."

Following van Gogh's death, a liberal Amsterdam was never quite the same.

Today, in her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Season of the Twitch" (, Gail Collins glibly informs her readership:

"Some of you appear to be very, very worried about which party is going to win control of the Senate in November. Really, you should stop for a while. Take a break. No fretting about undecided voters until there’s at least a minimal chance that the undecided voters know who’s running.

Right now, we’re in the season where center stage goes to whoever screws up the most. Relax and enjoy."

By now, you're probably asking what the murder of Theo van Gogh has to do with America's midterm elections. Well, five years into his presidency, Obama watches as an unforgiving world refuses to adapt itself to his rosy misguided expectations of the way it should be. The Affordable Care Act is a bust, the economy is a shambles, the reset of America's relationship with Russia is a sham, and Obama's pursuit of a dialogue with Khamenei's barbaric regime in Iran has led nowhere.

The dream has evolved into a nightmare, and it doesn't matter which party has control of the Senate. Obama will finish his presidency leaving the United States divided and paralyzed.

Sure, Obama's intentions were good, but Washington will never quite be the same.

"Relax and enjoy"? Were it only possible . . .

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