Sorry for the delay, folks. The translation I was waiting for didn’t go up on Anky’s site until late yesterday afternoon. See, when I read Astrid’s announcement Sunday that Anky had dropped the law suit, I noticed she quoted from a press release. Naturally I went to Anky’s site to read the full release, and was surprised to find nothing. The next day I was visiting a friend who has a Dutch working student who asked me if I had read the press release. It turns out Anky’s press release was put on her site in Dutch, but not in English. The working student translated the press release for me. I don’t really know why the release wasn’t posted concurrently on Anky’s English site like all her other press releases, but it was finally posted late yesterday.

One of the issues at stake here is freedom of speech. And if there is freedom of speech for one party, there must be the same for all. That is why I felt it was important for the non-Dutch speaking world to see exactly what was in Anky’s press release, and not just a quote from it. I was actually not going to write anything about the Anky vs. Astrid brouhaha, but someone called me a chicken the other day, which was like a branding iron in my side. So here is what I have to say, in case you are wondering what thoughts are swirling around in my mind. I already predicted a couple of weeks ago that the DQ world would be polarized into black and white camps. That has certainly happened. Am I the only one who sees things in shades of grey? The only time there is absolute wrong or absolute right is when you are talking about evil people like Pol Pot or angels like Mother Teresa. Reading the world wide web of hysteria that has followed the announcement and later retraction of the law suit, you would think that this was a case of absolute good and evil. And that’s just not true. I wouldn’t dare have a black or white opinion when I don’t think I know enough to have a complete picture of both sides. To me this feels a little like when my parents used to fight (before they divorced and caused peace to reign once more), and I didn’t care who was right. I loved them both and I just wanted them to stop. That is all I think.

But my position is by no means a majority one. Robert Dover’s blog has started to look a lot like a CoTH forum. The letter to Astrid that he posted has generated a whole forum style thread – 33 posts at last count – with the usual back-and-forth bickering among people who sign only with their first names – as good as anonymous in other words (and no, I’m not the “Karen” who posted a comment on there). RD seems to know who they all are, but no one else gets to know. Even crazy Theo, the Mad Dutch Freestyle Designer, has weighed in on RD’s blog with his trademark ‘hate ’em all’ attitude, though at least he has the cojones to identify himself fully. You know your blog is in trouble when Theo comes to visit – I speak from first-hand experience, because it happened to me last year (please don’t come back Theo). In the dialogue that ensued following the posting of his letter, RD told Astrid she should get some assistance with spelling and grammar from a native English speaker so that her message isn’t lost in translation. I only wish I spoke a second language one tenth as well as Astrid speaks English. I think RD’s advice – so publicly delivered – was unfortunate on several levels, not least because RD himself made a rather big ESL blunder in one of his later comments on the same thread, when he said that Rollkur, Hyperflexion and LDR have all been around for ‘ions’. I think the word you were looking for was ‘eons’, RD. E-O-N-S.

If you fancy a little CoTH-style banter, here is the link to RD’s blog letter and subsequent mudslide. 

But really, let’s cast our eyes to the future instead of the irreparable past and start looking forward to the Greatest Horse Show on Earth, which is just two weeks away. I was delighted to receive a WEG media bulletin which tells me about all kinds of parties being organized for the journalists – yes, delighted because the primary theme seems to be the consumption of various brewed and distilled beverages.  

 “If the reader examines my work too carefully, he may discover that I’m only a journalist. This means that when it comes to knowing what I’m talking about, I’m no different than the next person; I just get paid for the talking.” P.J. O’Rourke, from Eat the Rich