Monthly Archives: May 2009
Politics in the Czech Republic is often entertainingly counter-intuitive. The green party here is (was) in a coalition with a party whose founder, Vaclav Klaus, once called environmentalism as dangerous an ideology as Communism. This election map may be familiar to many readers – the capital city votes for one party, and the surrounding rural areas the other. Except here tradition is reversed, the capital voting for the center-right ODS and the countryside voting for the socialists. And young people here are fanatically opposed to the leader of the Socialists, Jiri Paroubek.
We’ve encountered Pan Paroubek on Outsourced before. Perhaps the most irritating politician imaginable, he exudes sleazy populism unmatched since Diamond Joe Quimby. His most recent sin was to help topple the current ODS-led Czech government during their EU presidency, which has almost entirely destroyed the credibility of post-communist governments in the eyes of the western EU. In a semi-traditional move for czech politicians, he dumped his wife of 28 for a much younger blonde, who disgusted the nation by attesting to the sexiness of her new husband’s brain. Oh, and as Prime Minister a few years ago he broke up a techno music festival with a merry round of police violence, which earned him the initial ire of many druggy youth.
Happily hitting the campaign trail after his stabbing and mutilation of the Czech EU presidency, Pan Paroubek has encountered an interesting phenomenon. Youths have began pelting him with eggs at every campaign event possible. An Anti-Paroubek facebook group called ‘An Egg for Paroubek in Every Town‘ has attracted over 50,000 members. (Other amusing anti-Paroubek groups include ‘Paroubek for President, a Joke‘, ‘Will you find 1 Million people who hate Rath and Paroubek (20,000 members), and ‘Paroubek is a Shitty Piece of Fucking Fuck’, with 11,000 members.)
Paroubek made an appearance in Prague today near Jana’s office. What occured at this farce of an election rally needs to be seen to be believed. CLICK HERE (as I can’t figure out how to embed the video from the czech website).
If I have any political ideology it is as a free-speech fundamentalist, so I am a strong believer in allowing people the freedom to say stupid things. Yet I find it hard to pity this opportunistic, failed mafioso as he is pelted with unfertilized chickens. He fully intends to raise my taxes if he comes to power, which gives me reason enough to to support the egg-projecting youth. Pelting Paroubek with eggs is, at its most basic level, a sign that the youth have embraced Hope and thrown off the Yolk of Apathy.
Once more, the economist makes me more awesome:
ANECDOTAL evidence has long held that creativity in artists and writers can be associated with living in foreign parts. Rudyard Kipling, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Gauguin, Samuel Beckett and others spent years dwelling abroad. Now a pair of psychologists has proved that there is indeed a link.
Merely travelling abroad, however, was not enough. You do have to live there. Packing your beach towel and suntan lotion will not, by itself, make you Hemingway.
It’s hard for me to tell if I’ve become more awesome in comparison to my peers, as I still live abroad. But I have no doubt my eurotrashy traits (cheek-kissing, stupid british spelling, saying ‘ciao’) will irritate the hell out of anyone considering hiring me, leaving me almost unemployable in America. But at least I’ve developed the ability to make intuitively understandable and beautiful excel spreadsheets.
Another beer festival washed up on the shores of Bohemia this weekend. This time it was an updated and upgraded version of the ‘Czech Beer Festival’ that had previously lived next to me in Holesovice for a week in May of ’08. Last year’s event being decidedly underwhelming, I set forth without my usual enthusiasm for this sort of thing and even managed to wait until the second day to make my appearance.
And I had a damn good time, even if the festival was held at the edge of the civilized world (or Letnany, as I like to call it). Part of that can be explained by the spectacular weather and excellent company. But the organizers appeared to have come to their senses and actually improved a few things:
1) The stupid entrance fee of 120 crowns (appx 6 dollars) was removed. I am not a cash machine – I should be spending every spare dime at a beer festival on, well, beer…
2) Primator Pale ale was on tap. That in itself made the trip worthwhile
3) Staropramen, who are a disgrace to all humanity, took a hint and hid at home this weekend. I still laugh as I remember their giant, empty tent at last year’s event. I would be sad about the fact these people have just purchased Bud Light, but part of being an American patriot is recognizing when our national beer tastes like the hump of a week-old camel carcass.
Last year’s fest was limply attended and disappointing simply because Prague should have a spectacular beer event. I think many people reading this post will be shocked to find that nothing rivalling 1/15th of Munich’s Oktoberfest has ever been attempted in the Golden City. The Czech Beer Festival, although it has a boring name and was held in the vicinity of northern Beijing, succeeded in having good music, good beer, and genuine buzz or atmosphere or something that occurs after six beers that makes everyone happy. And that’s enough for me.
This blog is only semi-dead, as I have a farfetched and imaginary plan to turn it into some sort of cultural and metaphysical compendium. But the blogs of various friends (see the ‘friends’ section on the blogroll) are dead, most of them since mid-2006. This is probably because most of us have matured into jobs that don’t allow us to spend hours blogging and commenting, and perhaps part of it is just that we’ve become boring.
I also blame Myspace and Facebook for homoginizing the whole ‘expressing yourself through tortured self-poetry’ thing into simple expressions like ‘tired, not looking forward to tomorrow’, and of course the drunk-photo tag. But at least that’s grimy and occasionally entertaining.
Twitter I do not understand at all. It’s basically a blog post without photos or coherence. The coining of various neo-verbs is highly enjoyable though. And it is inherently anti-Nick, or at least Nick-unfriendly. I think that my personal style lends itself to long-form bullshitting, not single sentence ‘twatting’.