"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


Air Guitar World Championships

Last night in Oulu, Finland, Dutchmen showed the world that they own air guitar. Following more hype than most could possibly imagine, the US did not three-peat and apparently Asian-Americans aren't invincible after all. At the end of the day, it was Holland that dominated the 10th annual Air Guitar World Championships.

After seven annual world championships in Finland, the US joined the fray in 2003. David "C-Diddy" Jung won it all, followed by his protegé MiRi "Sonyk-Rok" Park last year. The American air guitar establishment got cocky, touting that Team Air Guitar USA would pull off an unprecedented "three-peat." "In a time of global uncertainty, we are demonstrating that there is at least one area in which the USA can dominate without controversy--air guitar," said Kriston Rucker, co-founder of the American competition, in a press release. "But now that we're on the map, all the other national champs will be gunning to relieve us of the crown." As much as Americans may think they dominate rock 'n' roll, they're no longer the best at mimicking its performance.

Just as the Dutch put a dagger through the air axe of Uncle Sam, they also put to rest the ludicrous suggestions that Asian-Americans are genetically predisposed to be superior air guitarists. Both C-Diddy and Sonyk-Rok are Korean-Americans, and this year's national champion, Fatima "The Rockness Monster" Hoang, is Asian-American too. But that wasn't enough to make any of them world champion this year.

Out of 16 contestants in the world finals, three were from the United States. Sonyk-Rok and The Rockness Monster placed in 7th and 11th, respectively. Air guitar legend Dan "Bjorn Turoque" Crane (there's so much to say about this guy that there's actually a book coming out about him next year) came in 8th, after placing second in the US nationals and surviving a world qualifier earlier this week. I find it hard to be a patriotic American after thinking about my countrymen's dismal performances.

Instead, it was the Dutch that stood tall. The Netherlands had two air musicians in the top three! Michael "Destroyer" Heffels won the gold and Gyuri "Pelvis Fenderbender" Verguow got the bronze.

What does this mean for an aspiring young air guitarist? My "GoVeg.com of Steel" gimmick failed miserably at this year's New York regionals (where I got to meet C-Diddy, Sonyk-Rok, and Bjorn Turoque). My promotion of veganism was scoffed at. Many ideas have passed through my head since my agonizing defeat, but perhaps now I should play up my Dutch heritage.

Some might say that I'm not really Dutch. However, of my four grandparents, only one was born outside the United States. Twenty-three days before his family finished emigrating to the US, my maternal grandfather was born en route, in Holland. Consequently, he was a Dutch citizen. He married my maternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Hollander. Although her family was from Hungary and the name was previously spelled "Halender," the dictionary defines "Hollander" as "a native or inhabitant of Holland." May my questionable Dutch heritage grant me a free trip to Oulu next year.

So much more could be said about the wonders of air guitar. In closing, I'd like to point out to any critics that air guitar is a legitimate academic discipline.


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