Friday, 12 November 2010

Independence Day: Yawn

Whatever the national importance Independence Day may have, a national holiday on a Thursday, with almost everything closed and no reason for a family gathering, is largely a matter of sitting at home. We might have thought about going out if the weather had been nicer, but no such luck. So what were the highlights?

Got up late and had breakfast. A book on Sandringham (see below), being used for English teaching purposes, was on the table, which led to talk about the 'English' royals.

Although I have regularly heard puzzled and sarcastic comments about the British maintaining such an antiquated type of head of state, Poles seem to know much more about the royal family than I do, so I was largely listening. No, we didn't have a referendum.

Next, President Komorowski was giving a speech in which he referred to the Hitlerian (Hitlerowski) and Stalinist systems, leading to some discussion about what was the objective word for these. German and Russian? No, must be Soviet, not Russian. Maybe Georgian (where Stalin came from). But, under the Kaczinskies, the Georgians were our brothers... (that is to say of the Polish - my meaning was clear in the context).

Neatly leading in to watching some of the film, "Where Eagles Dare", although this is only mentioned because it shows one Brit and one American neatly managing to annihilate loads of ordinary looking German soldiers, which under the current Hitlerian/Nazi outlook don't seem to be guilty of having done anything wrong (except a lot of acceptable wartime killing).

Time dragged and then I heard Babcia call out "[non-swearing exclamation], What's happening?" with the sound of a breathless, slightly hysterical TV reporter in the background. It turned out to be TVN 24 (a 24 hour TV news programme) reporting on the 'fascist' march and anti-fascist demonstration, where nothing much was going on apart from people standing around. I hovered around for some time to see if there was any excitement, but, apart from a couple of minor off screen scuffles, it all seemed extremely civilised and well-behaved. A great tribute to the quality of Polish people and the excellence of the policing system, but not interesting TV. After all, isn't the very ethos of anti-fascism the need to prevent by any means possible, including violence, the opposition being allowed to express their views? (From the news this morning they did better elsewhere.)

However, the coverage still managed to provide the highlight of the day. The TVN reporter was excellent. I didn't see her name and wouldn't have remembered it anyway, but her non-stop commentary and slightly hysterical voice gave a sense of urgency and activity that completely failed to exist anywhere around her. She should take up football commentary. My favourite bit was when she said how unsafe it was and that people should not bring their children. The camera soon after switched to showing a mother and child standing quietly in complete safety, where she (the reporter) managed to sound completely disapproving of the mother's reckless behaviour. If only she had been on radio... More for TV though, was her trying to get one of a group of silent protesters to talk to her and, when they ignored her, pushing through their line. Callous, uncaring journalism at its most sublime.

The rest of the day isn't worth remembering, let alone writing about, although I did finish reading (in English) Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals - bought from the tobacconists/magazine shop in Piaseczno's Auchan centre,.


Paddy Ney said...

Yes I walked past Miss TVN when I was in the Stare Miasto yesterday.

You know with these journalists they're just itching for something to happen so they can breathlessly spend the afternoon denouncing it. I remember I worked at a local paper when I was 16 and there had been an incident where a reporter had by chance witnessed a savage attack on a man. He got the front page write up and the next day all the journalists spent their time congratulating him on his fortune in seeing a man's arm severed by a sword. That's journalists for you!

TVN's coverage reminded me of how excitable Sky News in the UK gets when a pin drops and it's something I personally don't miss at all.

polandian said...

November 11 is a weird holiday—everything is closed and nobody celebrates anything.

I didn't notice you had a blog. I'll try to remember to add a link.

BTW, have you seen this:

By the BTW, I recommend adding more comment options, specifically the name/URL option


Pan Steeva said...

I hope to get along on the 20th - I still seem to be free. Funny thing, I feel a bit reluctant about advertising myself - a bit of old England coming through, I think. I'm trying to do better.

siudol said...

I understand your reluctance but don't feel guilty about it Steve. Self-promotion seems to be the order of the day, and I certainly won't hold it against you. Besides, your blog is very interesting and I'm glad you finally gave us a link. It's quite ironic it was an exchange with Warren that prompted you to do so. I never thought there'd be something I would thank him for.