Tuesday, September 21, 2004

When "I'm Surrounded By Poles!" Is Not The Punchline To A Lame Gay Joke

(Not that all gay jokes are lame, though the best are often inadvertent.)

My former roommate and good friend, whose family has been incredibly nice to me for some reason through the years, is Polish-American. My current roommate's in-laws are Polish-Americans. My own S.O. is Polish and has tried, with remarkably little success entirely due to my density, to teach me the Polish language. In the last few years I learned that the man who built my house, my great great grandfather, came to America from Koenigsburg/Kaliningrad and may have been ethnicly Polish.

For such reasons and others, I occasionally read Polish News online. And so far as current geopolitical realities go, it's good to try to keep up with what's going on there.

It's also nice to read plain-spoken journalism larded with honesty, wit, and sarcasm -- no matter the country of origin (though it goes without saying that it isn't likely those qualities can be found in articles of American origin).

Stuff like this:

The slight tinge of cosmopolitanism characteristic of the president meets with resistance from groups attached to traditional Polish values. Brussels was recently visited by a delegation of local government officials from Gliwice in Silesia. The mission caused a conflict. The opposition claimed Gliwice county’s promotional budget had been severely depleted as a result. The delegates replied they had taken Poland’s age-old treasures as promotional items to Brussels: kie?basa and vodka.

The Catholic rightists are being touchy about Poland’s international image. The Polish Season in France included a report from the famous festival of Jewish culture in Cracow. The high-circulation Catholic daily Nasz Dziennik hit the nail on the head. “As its name clearly says, the Season was supposed to show Polish, not Jewish, culture,” the paper condemned wasting of public money to promote filthy mayufes instead of the beautiful and pure mazurka.

Making sure Poland stays in international headlines is Nasz Dziennik’s favorite, ex-chaplain of Solidarity, Prelate Henryk Jankowski. He’s in trouble because prosecutors are investigating whether accusations that he molested minors are true. Father Jankowski had no doubts as to whose doing this is and has said so: he is the victim of a Judeo-Communist conspiracy. Since the Judeo-Commies are rife in the media, a crowd of pious Poles battered a Polsat television reporter hanging around Father Jankowski’s church in Gda?sk. The police did not intervene, and the bizarre shabbos-goy from Polsat ran screaming to the prosecutors to complain about the behavior of the true Poles.
Gda?sk was prominent in the world media in times that were better for Father Jankowski, in August 1980, when Lech Wa??sa’s Solidarity was founded. Recently Gda?sk’s rightists motioned that the city’s central traffic circle be named after Ronald Reagan. According to his Gda?sk fans, Reagan was the man who made August 1980 possible. The only problem is, Reagan became president five months after the great August events.

There’s lots that divides the Poles, but some things unite them.
For example, a fondness for storks. In Poland, this large and heavy bird is a symbol of fertility and that’s the direction Poles should be going in. If Poland wants to dominate in the united Europe in accordance with its new constitution, by November 2009 it has to have produce 250 million new citizens. The appeal from Fakt daily, which published these calculations, was immediately answered by true Polish mothers: “We are prepared to give birth to children for Poland.” Europe beware, the Poles are coming.

There are other things to unite the Poles. Every seventh Polish man wears a mustache. This makes Poland the absolute leader in Europe, because only every 50th German and 400th effeminate Frenchman has a mustache.

A nation whose soccer players lose to Denmark one to five, and are out of breath running to get the morning paper, has to be best at something goddammit.

Mmmmm, that's some good writin'. By a Pole, who has taken great pains not to be a nationalist pig. Every stupid aspect of his countrymen is neatly skewered. Now it's true that Americans occasionally write things like this about other Americans, which in turn is sometimes accidentally published in mainstream media, but it's rare indeed when an American is so damning of so many of his culture's idiocies and that American is not in turn demonised for "freedom-hating", the pinko crypto self-loathing American cutdown that's the classic shortcut-to-thinking for the Right. You know it well...

So what did I learn from this article? That Poland has a great many religious nuts who are pretty much openly anti-semites. Well, yeah. That many Poles, even among the elite, are parochial nitwits. That the Polish rightwing has nearly the same firm purchase on historical fact as America's wingnuts, and that they too think very mythologically of Ronald Reagan. That the Polish Catholic priests have a problem with the same perversions as America's. That Poles intend to breed as incontinently as the average Kennedy. That Polish men have a late 70s American porn star's habit with facial hair. And last but not least, that Poles are out of shape and have a shitty soccer team.

This sounds exactly like the red states in which I live. But then I already knew that: "Josh, Polish men are like the rednecks of Europe -- only Russians are worse!"

I believe it. Welcome to the Ozarks. Mowie po polsku?