Admittedly it was not an everyday sight: the Hungarian prime minister appeared before the cameras to announce that he accepted the resignation of his minister of transport and the chairman of the board at MÁV but had serious problems finishing his speech. In fact, he couldn't finish it because the tears were welling up in his eyes, and he couldn't even say anything about the victims. I said to myself: this man is either a very emotional human being who cannot hide his feelings or he is a very good actor who thinks that this display of empathy and emotion will appeal to the country. By today I am certain that he was not acting because, let's face it, society's reaction to men crying is usually negative. Those who don't like Ferenc Gurcsány found his behavior especially unacceptable.
First I read a piece by László Néző that basically called him a crybaby. The author's grandmother used to say when he cried as a little boy: "What happened, my son, the rooster looked at you cross-eyed?" The ill-willed author didn't stop here but continued: surely, he was counting the votes he could buy with every tear dropped. Or perhaps he was crying because he realized that he doesn't belong where he is. Perhaps he looked around in the country and began to cry at all those things he ruined in it. Or his advisors suggested a little phony crying but the Hungarian people don't want to see their prime minister cry. He should hide in his study or at home or on the lap of his wife, but as prime minister his job is to lead the country with few tragedies. How can he cry over these deaths when his health reform "demanded more lives?" But then he didn't cry either in front of the cameras or at home." And finally "even one death deserves more than we got from this buffoon who is the prime minister of Hungary only in name but who has often showed his criminal ineptitude. There are many of us who can't even look at him."
Well, I thought that this couldn't be surpassed in tastelessness. But it was. In Index László Szily wrote something that tops everything I've read lately. I personally dislike the paper's style and would gladly ignore it, but the journalists of Index are busy bees who usually manage to get the news before practically anybody else. But I ignore its op/ed page, so I got to the piece in a roundabout way. József Orosz obviously read it and found it "unusual" enough to talk about it on his program, Kontra (Klub Rádió). Orosz invited Szily and Péter Buda, a philosopher of religion who is currently doing research in the United States, to have a little chat about this "masterpiece."
Let's start with the title: "Bedwetter Prime Minister Ferenc will be the new actor of the nation." Not bad. Journalism? But it gets worse. The whole thing is so primitive, the man is so untalented, that I'm not even trying to summarize the "meaning" of the article because there is no meaning. Just awful, tasteless sentences. What catastrophe? After all, a weekend disco brawl has as many victims as this train crash. The prime minister's pauses are long, like Andor Schmuck gasping for air while mountainclimbing. (Andor Schmuck a terribly fat guy who can barely walk.) His voice became very high like the voice of "government sociologist" Dessewffy when he gets excited. (A very talented professor and head of Demos, Hungary, think tank.) He "staggered away behind the stage set." According to Szily the audience was divided on the meaning of it all. Some thought that this was "the worst theatrical performance of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries," while others thought that someone should grab this poor "wreck" and lead him out of this fancy big house. But both camps wondered what would happen if something really serious befell the country.
Szily then outlined some scenarios of what could have been behind this performance. One is more tasteless than the other and therefore I'm not going to spend time on them. The last one, however, is interesting: "Ferenc really became that emotional." And apparently that is the worst possibility, but one mustn't worry–that cannot be the case because two years ago when five people died as a result of a sudden storm on August 20th, the nation's holiday, he wasn't so moved. The final parody is also beyond description. It is a rewrite of the famous novel by Ferenc Molnár, The Boys of Pál Street. The scene is the death of one of the boys, Ernő Nemecsek. Gyurcsány is Nemecsek. "The little prime minister is dead. Baaaaaaaaaaaaawling." I guess that means that Gyurcsány is crying for himself.
Opinion piece? Where is the editor? Anything goes? Is there no limit to tastelessness? Is this journalism? I don't think so but obviously some Hungarian so-called journalists' standards are different from mine.