F*** The Asterisks

Just when the residents of Poland could start stopping remembering BDSM sections of their history (for who needs the notion of “nation” today?) – many Polish (headbanging) heads will get reinforced in their probable jingo-pride by bands such as Marduk or Sabaton. That both come from Sweden – to make money on Polishful sentiments — I can’t take their songs as any retribution for what XVII cent.’s Sweden stole from Poles (who had stolen the stuff some time earlier).

The Marduk guys sing (?) about Warszawa of WW2.

Or so they imagine.

(Btw, Lennon’s whining remade into…Imagine there’s no Warsaw, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, it’s just the Reich above would be a better attempt at artistic provocation.) Apres les Suedois le deluge – let’s flood Marduk with condescending smiles. Their lyrics could be just about anything — selling pancakes or seeing funny road signs — as long as the chorus should include “Warschau” (repeat three times). The title is in German (warum? geh figurieren, easier to sing (?) than “Warszawa”, plus the German market is mighty big) — and still some youtubers can’t spell it right. — Warshau? Warshaw? — Tell me about wasted education.

The latter band, Sabaton, is more dangerous – they sing intelligibly.

Be gone! Who in their sane mind cares about “Polish Thermopylae” — especially when no one cares about the Greek original? From a military p.o.v., the song does not sound sound either. Poland was defeated at Wizna. The bodycount ratio “40 to 1” means nothing to Darth Vader – or to Paul Tibbets, a guy who survived (!) to talk about his singlehanded victory (!).

Still, the now masses of Polish ingrammaticados, poor commanders of English, hurry to express their occasional love for Polish CO’s who chose to die of grenadosis. (Compare the evergreen, 0:55-02:55.) It does not matter you’re defeated, it matters how you sustain your defeats, Poles will often think.
“Blow wind, come, wrack! At least we’ll die with harness on our back!”

It nearly rhymes with: “Let stones crack! Let the earth quake!”. Yes, it can be nice to listen to “these words are for you Poland” by Laibach (the German name more catchy again), but do we notice the song hails “all the communists” as well?

So, have we asked for it? Heavy metal and heavy weather?

Recently, Mother Nature has provided parts of Poland with hailbombs and whirlwinds. Which reminded me of not so recent floods. And of the fact that:

That’s what Polish PM’s have to do — apologize for words of reason. It happens when instead of letting the country grow evenly richer, middle-class way – they let the nation divide into the dramatically poor against the dramatically rich, and many chewing on the opium for the masses – the recalling of the days of old glory (of defeats).

PS The title of the post refers to a Giles Coren who used the asterisk-free phrase “Fuck the Poles” in his email, so I read. Test your Polishness now: can you care less?

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(I cannot.)

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38 thoughts on “F*** The Asterisks

  1. If anyone’s interested in Giles Coren’s remarks, here’s a lively debate:

    http://www.goldenline.pl/forum/londyn/448448

  2. wlodzimierz l. says:

    Maybe Poland would have been better off to have just surrendered to the Swedes? Think about it.

  3. scatts says:

    I read Coren’s article and the Economist one. He seems like a nasty, twisted, snide little shit to me.

    Presumably though, his family suffered in some way at the hands of Poles, or at least that’s the story that’s been handed down. Either way, he’s not afraid of exhibiting his wildly xenophobic paranoia in public places and so deserves whatever he gets.

    Whatever next.

  4. guest says:

    Coren is doing a great job. The 1.2 billion islamists will love Poland.

  5. Andre says:

    Lets be honest though, everyone has some dirt on everyone else. Some country has a war with another one at some time where someone got killed. It happens everyday. I don’t want to be fatalistic or undermine Coren’s self-perceived suffering, but Poles can point to all its neighbors as wrong doers in its trials and tribulations throughout history.

    ~Andre
    http://www.mypolishlife.pl

  6. SiliconMind says:

    “That’s what Polish PM’s have to do — apologize for words of reason.”
    that’s hilarious :D but unfortunately this happens here too often :(

  7. darthsida says:

    => Warren, Scatts, Andre
    So you really did / do care about finding (and reading?) this Giles Coren’s linage? Curious. It could make you die-hard Poles, in my judgment.

    => Włodzimierz L.
    Ehm, but did not Poland surrender to the Swedes?

    => Guest
    Why? Are the Islamists going to take up jobs vacated in Poland when Poles rushed to the Isles?

    => SiliconMind
    Fortunately, words of reason and Polish PM’s don’t coincide too often.

  8. Romain says:

    Some did, some did not : it’s true that many nobles welcomed the Swedes, especially the richest, but the poor nobles and the peasants didn’t. Peasants who were betrayed once again, by the way, as serfdom didn’t get abolished when the Swedes left.

  9. darthsida says:

    Romain,
    ok, there were various social classes with various goals and expectations, and with ethnic / national divisions to boot. Could WL’s original question “Maybe Poland would…” be dismissed with: “Poland? What do you mean?” then? Btw, “the Poles” used by GC are vague, too. So: meaningless. So: harmless, I think.

  10. scatts says:

    Whenever I hear mention of this invasion by Sweden I have to chuckle a little to myself. I mean, vikings aside, it’s just not possible to take an invasion by Scandinavians seriously is it?! They’re such nice people, always up for a few beers, being invaded by them is like being ravaged by a small cuddly toy.

  11. To quote from Douglas Adams, “the past is fiction to account for the present.” Anyone that uses history e.g. everything that’s gone on before they were around and on the scene as an excuse to do *anything* be it good or bad …is an idiot. They’re merely looking for the most basic, simplistic excuse to do whatever it is they wanted to do in the first place.

  12. Romain says:

    darthsida –> I don’t agree with you on the fact meaningless stuff is necessarily harmless, because it may not sound meaningless for everybody.

    scatts –> haha, yeah, I guess they calmed down after they got kicked by Peter the Great !

    Brad –> you’re right, yet unconsciously we all use history/past to take decisions in the current time. That explains why gamblers are more likely to bet on England than on Poland in a football game *j/k*.

  13. wlodzimierz l. says:

    Only for a brief spell did the Poles, or at least the fancy schmancy Radziwills, heinie (sp?) up to the Swedes.

    John II Casimir was solemnly crowned at Lwów Cathedral in 1656 (Lwów Oath). The Swedes were driven back in 1657.

  14. wlodzimierz l. says:

    Mr. Scatts,

    Kmicic!

    You think the Swedes were simply cuddly teddy bears? You related to Timothy Treadwell (Grizzly Man)? You are are hereby sentenced to watching Potop over and over unto all eternity (not so bad, especially Olenka):

  15. Sylwia says:

    Scatts -> Just as I can’t imagine how one can be defeated by France, unless we call it being made love to – an art of war already popularized by Vikings. ;-)

  16. Romain says:

    Touché.

  17. scatts says:

    Sylwia, exactly! That’s why nobody HAS ever been defeated by France. Their very inconsistent military history was all just practice for their WWII grand finale of surrendering, running away and then shouting insults from behind the bushes. ;)

  18. darthsida says:

    => Romain
    Imagine you hear someone summon “let’s flay the frogs”. If you’re not a frog, you’re not in any direct danger – so the words are harmless.

    => Sylwia, Scatts
    The allegedly cowardly French thinking “let’s not die for Dantzig” act sound. The allegedly heroic Poles thinking “let’s die for anyone who wants us to” act stupid. That is why ‘France’ (the set of its residents) would get better off in history than ‘Poland’.

    => Scatts,
    were you not invaded by the threat of Ikea at your doorstep? Viking hordes come in many guises.

    => Włodzimierz
    I would not dare equate John Casimir with “Poland”.
    The peasants cared little who drives whom from which land.
    The Radziwills (who were no “Poland” either) acted sound — seeking all the best for themselves, not for everybody.

    = Parallel:
    I would not dare equate Giles Coren with “Britain”.
    The Polish poor care little about a Brit who wants to funk them.
    The politicians (who are no “Poland”) act sound — they seek all the best for themselves, not for everybody.

  19. wlodzimierz l. says:

    Good points, Ds.

    But peasants responded well to the likes of Kosciuszko and later Father Stojakowski. Promise and give them some land reform and treat them like human beings instead of cattle and they will find a stake in the idea of nationhood.

    And I’d venture that the common good is “sound” whereas acting merely and exclusively in self/small group interests is “unsound.”

    A bit of romanticism is not altogether a bad thing. And I think other factors were at work in France’s relative ascendency.

    Finally, I have often wondered why folks who deny the existence of God place so much faith in the idea of “an invisible hand.”

  20. darthsida says:

    => PP
    A shocker! was my first gasp. But then I found some comfort in thinking:
    1. maybe the thing will be built at Polish highway constructors’ pace?
    2. maybe the thing will be fenced off? or maybe someone will (net) profit from that idiocy? (touristically, I mean)
    3. and maybe one poet’s vision will come true in Warsaw? (TGIWarsaw, by the way.)

  21. Romain says:

    It isn’t true that France has never won any war, sounds like cheap stuff you could have read on American boards in 2003. Troll ? :p

    darthsida -> it wasn’t a good deal at all, even from your purely utilitarian point of view, because if France and UK stroke first during the 30’s instead of applying the appeasement policy, WWII wouldn’t have killed so many people, especially the Jews, and France wouldn’t have known one of its most humiliating defeats. Actually, even in 1939, the British and French armies were still bigger than the Germans’ despite the rearmament led by Hitler. You don’t go to war only by heroism, you can go because it is in your interest indeed. And sometimes you can even claim you’re going in order to defend great and noble causes and still serve your national interest.

  22. Sylwia says:

    Romain: “Touché.”

    I love that word! I hoped someone would use it.

    Scatts -> I knew you wouldn’t admit that you were defeated by France! But then we have to call the nice French speaking guys from Normandy ‘Scandinavians’. And once we make them the English upper class we have to notice that they lost Normandy to France. Hmm…

    Unless by HAS you mean that it wasn’t a lasting occurrence, and then it’ll appear that we weren’t defeated by Sweden at all, and that the UK still doesn’t have Normandy.

    And yet, I heard rumours that the grand finale of France’s surrendering during WWII was a joint effort of the Western allies. Something that makes me wonder about Romain’s faith in the strength of the EU.

    Darth -> Actually France did attack Germany at first. Those were Brits who were ‘sound’ by telling them to withdraw.

  23. darthsida says:

    Romain,

    troll-speech, you think? Nope. It’s all in and by Google ;) On the other hand, if you will forget Franks, Normans – avoiding the classification troubles Sylwia mentions above — and think ‘France’ to mean ‘post-Napoleonic no-allies-beside France’, then what will you get? Battle of Foochow? Battle of Maysalun? Can’t say I know the names I’ve just retyped here.

    So, that France never won any war is a fact. But it is a fact that does not matter. What matters is whether the French won wars, and not just those military ones. Some of them did for sure – e.g. when it comes to wines, I buy French secs only.


    Quite off topic: does the language allow the ‘touchée’ variant or is the language sexist?

  24. guest says:

    apropos France and Poland.

    Napoleon, Louis XVIII and Charles de Gaulle had lot of wild sex in Warsaw… The “white house” in lazienki park was worse than the red light district in Paris…

  25. Sylwia says:

    Guest -> Why worse? Sex IS good!

    Darth -> Won’t it make Russia the only European country that ever won a war?

  26. guest says:

    sex with Louis XVIII is NOT good. This guy was a pervert. He loved the smell of unwashed **** ;)

  27. Sylwia says:

    And so did Napoleon, yet I don’t remember Maria Walewska ever complaining about it. On the contrary, she followed him all the way to Elba. One would think she wanted more. ;-)

    There’s no saying what should give people pleasure as long as it gives them pleasure.

  28. Romain says:

    I wonder where you’ve read that Charles de Gaulle had affairs in Warsaw.

    darthsida –> did you mean pre-Napoleonian France was not France ? one more thing : if France had indeed never won a war, why does it still exist ? just because we’ve ever had benevolent allies who thought nice to have an hexagon on the map of Europe ?

    That makes no sense, you can defeat your opponents on the battleground and still lose the war or at least take no gain from it (think about Poland and its tumultuous relations with the Teutonic Knights), or the opposite : militarily beaten, France was yet on the victorious side in the end – don’t believe me ? Why does France have a permanent seat at the Security Council of UN and Germany (still) does not ?

    Not only you should distinguish tactics and strategy, military and diplomatic affairs, you also need to relativize the range of a victory or of a defeat, and keep in mind that the latter can have much wider effects (Kosovo Pole for the Serbians, to give a famous example).

  29. Romain says:

    (touchée is totally correct by the way.) And sex with perverts isn’t obviously a bad experience.

  30. Sylwia says:

    touchée is totally correct by the way

    There were women fencers in the 18/19th century Poland. Were there ones in France?

  31. guest says:

    Romain, are you french ?

    Charles de Gaulle lived in Warsaw, ate donuts in “Blikle Delikatesy” shop and of course had affairs there. Thats why there is a Chrles de Gaullle rondabout in Warsaw.

  32. Romain says:

    Hum, I think it’s rather because as a colonel, he was sent for a mission with General Weygand to help Poland to defend against Soviets (even if the French’ role in the battle of Warsaw was finally minor) – and later because as a chief of State, he visited Poland despite of the Iron Curtain and Cold War.

    Could a Warsawian confirm the roundabout was given Charles de Gaulle’s far before 1989 ?

    Sylwia, I have no idea at all ;)

  33. scatts says:

    You know how it is between Brits and Frogs. Gush or flush, nothing much in between.

  34. Sylwia says:

    Romain -> The roundabout was named for de Gaulle after 1989, just as the Dmowski one. For years we used to call them the way police did – roundabout 101 and roundabout 102.

    And yes, it’s because of his coming to help us with the Polish-Bolshevik war. Any allies who actually put their feet on our soil are such a rare occurrence here that they get their roundabouts, squares, streets, monuments, or like Napoleon are praised in our national anthem. One day there will be Polandian street here, right next to TPSA.

    Where could I find some information about women fencing in Paris during the Napoleonic Wars? While it’s pretty OT here, I was researching it lately, but googling in French is tough.

    Scatts, I do know, and I enjoy the gushing and flushing very much! It’s comforting to know that the reasonable Brits can be more irrational than Poles. ;)

  35. Romain says:

    After investigation, it seems that French women weren’t especially fan of fencing before the 20th century. They weren’t allowed to enroll into the army – with some exceptions – and as far as private affairs went, duels between women were illegal. If there are traces of such fights, they remained marginal.

    For the sources, maybe a history of duels, or a sociological study of French society during the First Empire. Among my current readings is a cool book written by Theodore Zeldin (who teaches history in Oxford), History of French passions. It doesn’t cover the early 19th century but the way it is organized – bankers, doctors, workers etc. – let me think there is probably a chapter dedicated to women (I only own the first tome so far so I can’t check).

  36. […] Polish songs, Polish thinking, Sabaton, Sweden, Warsaw, Warschau, YouTube F*** the Asterisks (If you had thought F*** meant otherwise than FILL — you […]

  37. Sylwia says:

    Thanks, I’ll give it a try!

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