dutch version

Caption: (Father bird) "My, my, what a job! To which one should I give this little titbit?"
(Mother bird): "A small slice each, father; and by the way, I think they've got tapeworm"

Iconological explanation: this picture is really rich in symbols. The subject is, once more, the system of governmental subsidies. The cuckoos are the Dutch orchestras, each doing their best to push the others aside. There are two tiny cuckoos, representing early music (the one that sings the Summer Canon, the earliest piece of polyphonic music) and rock music ("pop" - from "popular" - is the Dutch equivalent for "rock music") Father Bird is Job (sic) de Ruyter, at the time chairman of the Council of the Arts (Raad voor de Kunst), a board with an important advisory function. Mother Bird is Hedy d'Ancona, at the time secretary of the Arts & such. She wields the kaasschaaf, a typically Dutch instrument for cutting cheese in thin, even slices) - which has also become synonymous for withdrawing a little bit of subsidy money from all parties involved. Finally - but this is only for very perspicacious observers - , the curve of the worm is that of an "ƒ" - the symbol for the Dutch guilder, which now has become obsolete with the introduction of the "euro".

© 2002 Frits van der Waa