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Biting satire

We found out yesterday that the humble radiator, the kind of home appliance most people only notice when stops working or – worse – starts leaking, was invented in Romania*. In Transylvania to be precise.

We found out this nugget of information from the new head of the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR), Andrei Marga, who yesterday gave the Romanian public an idea of the kind of direction in which he intends to take the institute.

Marga used the invention of the radiator as an example of the kind of thing the ICR should be promoting alongside film, the visual arts and music: Romanian technology. ‘There are hundreds of such things which were invented in Romania,’ he said, ‘this is something else we should be telling the world about.’

Perhaps.

The reaction from the world of the Romanian liberal classes towards this new approach, however, has been predictably unwelcoming. The radiator has become a rather large metal stick with which they are beating Marga at every opportunity.

The real irony of this is that if one of the so-called artists the previous head of the ICR – Horia Roman Patapievici – was happy to promote had stuck a broken radiator on the floor in the middle of a New York gallery it would have been declared ‘a biting piece of satire on the mundane existence of urban Romanians in the 1980s.’

Far less amusing is Marga’s call for vigilance towards those who portray Romania in anything other than the most flattering manner.

He has called on the ICR to watch out for anything ‘incorrect, using denigrating terms, cliches or any other form of tendentious comment about Romania and the Romanian people which diminish, minimilise or distort traditional Romanian values.’

That’s us well and truly buggered.

*While our feelings on the reliability of Wikipedia are well known, a quick glance at the entry for radiator makes no mention of Romania. The modern radiator was a Russian invention, apparently.

39 comments

  1. Nick says:

    Apparently the Romanians and the Hungarians have in common the tendency to desperately attempt to prove their significance by claiming that they invented things.

    • Mr Rearguard says:

      I once asked a Hungarin what a cubic foot was. He said he didn’t know for sure but would try and dodge his mandatory national service by claiming to have one…

  2. Bear says:

    Hey, did I miss something? When did C.B. get elected as Forum Sheriff?:)))

    • C.B. says:

      Feeblemindedness has to be sanctioned whether inherited or cultivated whether local or imported.

    • Geronimo says:

      I like CB. Confused? Desperate to impress? Yes to both. She’s one of us

      • C.B. says:

        Guys, you are so desperate for pussy that you now see it everywhere! Whatever made you think that I am a woman? I am a man (a well-endowed man I might add).

        Yes, like many women I am perhaps trying to impress but only a little (why else would I be on this website?) and never desperately. You on the other hand are all men – who, to my frustration, are making no effort to impress. I can tell it by the way you gang-up whenever one of you needs help; and lately you’ve been a full-time gang!

        I guess that in the end my friends who are translating my messages into English are right in saying that there is only a marginal difference between you, the foreigners, and whatever this lousy country has to offer. I don’t even know why I am making this extra effort…

      • C.B. says:

        What is C.B.?

        C.B. is the pseudonym assumed by the advanced English writing class of professor H.D., a well-traveled retired executive now teaching English part-time. The group is using a sophisticated proprietary platform to enhance their English learning experience.

        Homework assignments are complex and also include centralized contributions to various forums. Students are asked to constructively express their opinion on various topics. Quite often they are also required to assume their teacher or colleagues’ position on debated issues, integrate sentences/paragraphs in their classmates work, proofread and edit each other’s assignments, exhaust vocabulary lists, etc.

        The following are the pillars of the English writing class:

        Leo – I.T. engineer and platform manager (rarely contributing)
        Anca – housewife
        Victor – banking
        Ernesto – cab driver/pimp
        Mia – entertainment
        Megan – downtown waitress
        Gore – craftsman/farmer
        … and the mysterious Sam

        Please be kind!
        Leo

  3. lance.armstrong@nike.com says:

    The (once red) metro trains on the M3 are built in Arad. A fine combination of technology and art.

  4. Paco says:

    I dare you to ask any Romanian over 30 years old who invented the jet-plane.

  5. Fraser says:

    watch out for anything ‘incorrect, using denigrating terms, cliches or any other form of tendentious comment about Romania and the Romanian people which diminish, minimilise or distort traditional Romanian values.’

    anyone else think of a cluj blogger when they read this?

  6. iamronen says:

    Any attempt to make Romania (or anything else for that matter) “look as if … ” or not look as if … ” indicates disingenuity.

    I doubt Romania has invented anything that the modern world would consider to be valuable. Ironically, I believe that is its unique value. Romania (as I see it), as a country, seems to have a karmic resistance to many of the misdirections the modern world has taken. One aspect of that is of-course a certain “primitiveness”. But to me the more interesting aspect of it is an honest existence.

    I don’t believe that any academic, dressed in fine clothes sitting in a city office has any credibility for representing Romania, its culture or its heritage. Romania is not and will never be a land of leading industries (low or hi-tech) or academics or rich cities. Romania always has been and can only be a land of peasants ( http://bhudeva.org/blog/2012/04/11/land-of-peasants/ ). That is what makes it a unique place on this planet today. Any other representation of it is dishonest and bound to quickly (and rigthfully) break down.

    • Craig Turp says:

      ‘Romania is not and will never be a land of leading industries (low or hi-tech) or academics or rich cities.’

      Actually Romania is home to some top tech companies and its tech workforce is widely recognised as being very good. Just one article on the subject; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/business/global/31iht-RCE-ROMANIA31.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      As for Romanian cities never being rich, I hope you are wrong! The country needs a new industrial revolution. It needs to start making things again, getting peasants off the land and into productive labour, otherwise they are going to be peasants for evermore.

    • laur says:

      natia matii de papagal borsit….. cand bucuresti e primul oras din lume iluminat cu petrol….toti prostii stateau in bezna ba dobitocule….cand toate tevile din irak si alte tari sunt facute de noi..chiar vrei sa incep copil prost? vrei skitlles pe blocuri asta vrei natia matii de brainwashed tv

      • Geronimo says:

        “cand bucuresti e primul oras din lume iluminat cu petrol”

        Simply not true. Perhaps you were thinking of Timisoara and electric lighting. But then that wouldn’t be true either.

        Reminds me of the tour of Casa Poporului: “And here we have the longest corridor in the world, by 10 cm” and other such nonsense.

        • Parmalat says:

          We…..ll that coridor is not something we can afford to neglect!!

        • Craig Turp says:

          Having done the Casa Poporului tour just last month for the latest issue of the guide, you will be glad to hear that the commentary remains the same, endless list of pointless superlatives.

        • laur says:

          reaaly ure bad… romania is the first country in the world to have its oil production recorded in history… 150 years of oil industry u donkey… are you still doubting what i wrote about bucharest> …read what craig put in his startup article… the first aerodinamic car model ….and so on ..ure confusing nature with something else. you look around at”richer”countries and think like a donkey.no hindsight

      • Parmalat says:

        oh la la =))

      • C.B. says:

        Shut the fuck up if you have nothing intelligent to say, you are making things worse.

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