Wednesday, May 10, 2006

United Press International - NewsTrack - Poland censors to ban vulgarity for pope

United Press International - NewsTrack - Poland censors to ban vulgarity for pope: "Special censors promoted for the occasion are to purge from television programs ads for personal hygiene products and underwear, the Italian ANSA news agency reported."

Doesn't this sound a bit pointless as all of the kiosks in Czestochowa hang copies of Fakt with girls baring all for the inquisitive camera? Why the focus on TV, which Bennie will probably not watch?

This is typical Poland for me. Someone important is coming so let's slap up a coat of paint (apply it thin because it's expensive) and as soon as our guest of honor is gone everything starts to peel. When it's convenient, Poland shows its "faith" and then, when nobody is looking, the sex shops re-open.

Of course, a big hullabaloo is happening in Warsaw. According to this page a 25 meter cross is being erected in the Old Square in Warsaw. Come on Poland, didn't anybody ever tell you that size doesn't matter?

And of course, "The frontal part of the Eucharistic table is to be embossed with the names of the Poles beatified and canonised by John Paul II."

Really, guys. Get over yourself.

15 Comments:

At 5/10/2006 11:16:00 PM, Blogger Michael Farris said...

"This is typical Poland for me. Someone important is coming so let's slap up a coat of paint (apply it thin because it's expensive) and as soon as our guest of honor is gone everything starts to peel."


I've heard an expression in Polish for this, called 'painting the grass green' (before the arrival of a bigshot).

 
At 5/11/2006 12:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron's quote -

<< Of course, a big hullabaloo is happening in Warsaw. According to this page a 25 meter cross is being erected in the Old Square in Warsaw. Come on Poland, didn't anybody ever tell you that size doesn't matter? >>

Aaron, do you know your post crosses the border of bigotry and contains strong elements of anti-Catholicism and hypocrisy? A large Crucifix is part of Catholic pride and strength in one of the most Catholic regions of Europe, if not the world. Tell us something, if you criticized in a similar fashion the small Warsaw Jewish community or Chabad Lubavitch for erecting a 26-foot high Jewish candelabra (Menorah) in front of Warsaw's landmark Palace of Culture for Hannukah in which the candles had to be lit by standing on top of a large industrial crane, would you doubt for one second that your comments would have been accused of being similarly anti-semitic? To be fair, why didn't you ever include this similarity in your sarcastic argument? It's only an impartial comparison one would think. Well, now ask yourself again this rephrased question, why such a large Crucifix or Menorah? That would have been the proper way to state your inquiry. People of all faiths have their good reasons for the display of large religious icons and symbols.

Your posting, like many others on this blog, appear to be part of a CV for striving to gain employment in one of the numerous anti-Catholic leaning media in Poland. You just might get your foot in the door if you try a little bit harder.

 
At 5/12/2006 12:50:00 AM, Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

Nice comment. Next time leave your name.

A. Bigotry? I would only accuse myself of bigotry (and hypocrisy, for that matter) if I were to erect a 25-foot effigy of myself and simultaneously attack the Warsaw Catholics. Seen any mega-Aarons lately? Or have I spoken out against Catholics in general? Or have I been an ardent promoter of ZoroAaronism, calling all those who differ fools, infidels, or the lost?

As it stands, I'm against ostentation in any form, but especially religious. And double especially when the values represented by the mega-symbol receive mere lip service in the community in which it is erected. I'll wait for your comment on this.

B. Anti-Catholic. You bet. I am very anti-Catholic. Too much spectacle and not enough plot. But I didn't say a word about Catholicism itself in my post, just this one isolated incident (and I hinted at what I consider to be Poland's lip service to religious faith).

Don't even dream of telling me how to be proper, sir or madam. Propriety has been--and always will be--an impediment to social progress. I use impropriety as my own personal weapon. It tends to wake people up and it gives rise to valuable disagreement (like yours!).

And double don't think that I don't know what a (Menorah) is. I can't believe that there actually was a 26-foot one!! I was totally unaware of this. I can't tell you what my reaction to it would have been at the time, but now I cannot help but assign to it the same gaudiness as the 25-foot cross.

 
At 5/12/2006 01:50:00 AM, Anonymous Rivka said...

Aaron, "anonymous" made a very good point. I can tell you, I think you are very intelligent and well read. It is a complete surprise that you have no idea what a Menorah is? My cousin lives in Warsaw, Poland now, and yes, it is true, since 2003, a 26 foot high Menorah (very important Jewish symbol during Hannukah) has been erected near the Palace of Culture and Science each Hannukah season. It made news headlines all over Poland, and you never heard of it??? Your article obviously didn't need to mention the word "Catholic", hence the entire visit by the pope is a Catholic event. So, you have a problem with the Polish-Jewish community erecting and displaying a 26 foot high Jewish Menorah in Warsaw, Poland? Why? It is an expression of pride and faith.

 
At 5/12/2006 08:29:00 AM, Blogger Michael Farris said...

In reference to the Pope-related bans, count me among the unimpressed. If it has to be legally enacted and enforced it's not an expression of faith, period. But then Polish people aren't especially religious IME (propoganda to the contrary notwithstanding).

I find it hard to work up any emotions, positive or negative, about ostentatious religious displays. But again, I think of them more as expressions of politics than faith. I can accept the Menorah more as a political statement of goodwill and reconciliation (and Poland has a lot to reconcile for) than as any kind of real expression of religious faith (and since when is Hannukah so important anyway?)

 
At 5/12/2006 11:43:00 AM, Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

Rivka, I do know what a Menorah is. I don't live in Warsaw and I've never been around in Hannukah and I don't watch the news, so I was not aware of the 26-foot Menorah. Color me ignorant.

And I never said I had a problem with the Menorah (or for the Cross, for that matter). I said it was gaudy.

Lastly, the original post never once mentioned the word 'Catholic.'

Michael, I basically agree with you, but a state ban on vulgar advertising that just happens to coincide with the arrival of the Pope raises a few questions about just how influential the Church is in Poland. That worries me.

 
At 5/14/2006 02:29:00 PM, Blogger beatroot said...

Aron! You dirty filthy ZoroAaronist!

Interesting comments. Mike: I completly agree that, in Poland, religiousness (if there is such a word!) is an expression of politics as much as faith. That's the problem at the moment. Religion is becoming more and more politicised...all over the place.

The bans and censorship is invasive of private sphere and that's bad. What I jhave on my television is my business (i can still go and get a dvd!) And I am stacking up on the drunk.

Anon: Your posting, like many others on this blog, appear to be part of a CV for striving to gain employment in one of the numerous anti-Catholic leaning media in Poland.

That's a very sill thing to say, now isn't it?

Actually, one magazine wrote to this blog offering work...and everyone ignored him!

 
At 5/14/2006 06:46:00 PM, Anonymous B--- said...

Mr. Gentle aka: Beatroot,

To reference your innacurate statement of the following:
"Actually, one magazine wrote to this blog offering work...and everyone ignored him!"

Umm...well sorry to burst your bubble (actually I'm not really too sorry). I have since hired two of your fellow P3 blogmates for my magazine. So, try not to be so uppity.

Aaron, very nice points made in your post. I agree completely and wholeheartedly. Keep up the un-biased observations and leave the namecalling to those cretins that are beneath you.

Keep up the healthy intellectual debate guys---the "anonymous commenter" notwithstanding.

Sincerely,
B---

 
At 5/14/2006 10:32:00 PM, Blogger beatroot said...

Sorry Mr b...

I wasn't being uppity..I was just trying to prove to Anon that this wasn't a CV generating ...whatever he said...

But he was right! It is!

 
At 5/15/2006 01:56:00 AM, Anonymous David said...

M. Ferris - 'I can accept the Menorah more as a political statement of goodwill and reconciliation (and Poland has a lot to reconcile for) than as any kind of real expression of religious faith (and since when is Hannukah so important anyway?'

So the Hanukkah Menorah in Rockefeller Center, New York City, which is billed as the 'worlds largest', is only a political statement to you with no religious meaning? It is a very important holiday Mr. Ferris & Beatroot, for those of us who practice Judaism. Not only in Poland were large Menorahs erected by Chabad Lubavitch, but all over Europe. Still Political?

 
At 5/15/2006 10:08:00 AM, Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

Look, of course Hanukkah is important and so is the Menorah. That's obvious. And find me a major city that doesn't have a huge Christmas tree and/or a nativity scene for the holiday season. Well, now that I think about it, I'm not sure if any major American city has a nativity scene, but they sure have them in Poland.

The question here (well, the big Cross was a sidebar of my original post, but anyway that seems to be the big deal here) is essentially where does Poland draw the line between Church and State, or does it draw it at all? I'm not aware enough of politics to know, frankly. Some of my Polish friends tell me that since the new government has taken power the Church has a larger influence and that on TV most politicians are shown praying in Church. I don't have a TV, so I don't know. Is this true?

 
At 5/15/2006 05:18:00 PM, Blogger Michael Farris said...

David, my comment about Hannukah may not have been clear enough. My understanding was that traditionally it was sort of a second tier holiday (well behind the high holidays and passover in importance) but the fact that happens near Christmas made it more important.

On the existence of large menorahs.
Unless a large menorah in a public place is a necessary part of Hannukah observances, then I still tend to regard such structures as primarily political (broadly understood).

That certainly doesn't mean I'm against large menorahs. As I wrote, I rather like the political message behind a large menorah in Warsaw.

 
At 5/15/2006 05:43:00 PM, Blogger Henry Grodsk said...

Re: painting the grass green.

I am told soldiers used to paint the grass around their barracks green before the visits of Soviet bigwigs.


As for the public displays of piety, I came across an interesting book called "The Bible". One of the chapters is called "The Gospel according to Saint Matthew". Here are verses 5 to 7:

"5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

 
At 5/15/2006 07:46:00 PM, Blogger Michael Farris said...

"Some of my Polish friends tell me that since the new government has taken power the Church has a larger influence"

Depends on what you mean by "the Church" and "larger influence".

Also, Poles tend to turn against anyone in power and if the church aligns itself too closely with state power (especially controversial state power that tends to pit Polish people against each other) it will lose support from ordinary people.

 
At 5/21/2006 12:51:00 PM, Anonymous Axure said...

I would rather say that it is the state power that tries to align itself with the Church, not the other way round. I agree that Poles' faith in most cases is very shallow, but still the Church is very respected. So if the government sucks up to the Church, it is a way to improve its image.

Besides, I wouldn't overestimate this whole "censorship" idea too much. Who is going to worry that they don't see a beer or tampon commercial on the tv? We all hate commercials anyway, don't we?

 

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