Fidesz ignorance, cynicism, and crassness: a few examples

In many ways I think I understand the Fidesz mindset, but questions still remain about the thought processes of individual party leaders. When they say things that are untrue, do they believe their own words? Are they cynical or uneducated?

Admittedly, sometimes they are simply painfully ignorant. After the Hungarian media spent days on the controversy surrounding the possible renaming of Roosevelt Square that honors Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lajos Kósa, who has often been described as a half-educated country bumpkin, explained in an interview to an equally uneducated journalist that in fact the square's name has nothing to do with FDR but with "the other one who lived during World War I and who prevented the Romanians from emptying the contents of the Hungarian National Museum."

Honest to goodness, I had to listen to the video at least three times because I simply couldn't believe my ears. It's true that there was an "another Roosevelt," Theodore, and it is true that he was also a president of the United States (1901-1909), but he certainly couldn't have prevented the Romanians from doing anything in August 1919 because he died in January of the same year. The president who could have done something about the Romanian behavior in Budapest was Woodrow Wilson, but he was sitting in Washington with other things on his mind. The man Kósa most likely remembered, however vaguely, was Major General Harry Hill Bandholtz (1864–1925), the U.S. representative of the Allied Military Mission in Hungary in 1919 who hated the Romanians with a gusto. After the war he wrote an amusing book entitled An Undiplomatic Diary by the American Member of the Allied Military Mission in Hungary, 1919-1920. Bandholtz, riding whip in hand, apparently "escorted out" the Romanian soldiers from the Museum. And it wasn't Woodrow Wilson who instructed Bandholtz to do anything in Budapest in August-September 1919. Bandholtz acted on his own.

Kósa confidently spouted off this nonsensical history, and the journalist kept repeating: "Of course, of course!" It was pitiful.

Admittedly, Kósa doesn't have the reputation of being particularly bright. So, let's move on to someone who is styled an "intellectual." A really sharp guy. I'm talking about József Szájer, who has been tucked away in Brussels ever since Hungary became a member of the European Union. He is currently the leader of the large Fidesz delegation to the European Parliament. But since the Hungarian media do not extensively cover the happenings of the European Union or the activities of the delegations, not much had been heard of Szájer. People were therefore surprised when Szájer became perhaps the most important man in drafting the constitution. The reaction to his appointment was on the whole positive, even by the opposition: "at least he knows something about constitutional law." So, here is someone who is generally considered to be smart, well versed in the law, and a man with ample political experience who considers "the consultation concerning the creation of a new constitution a grand national undertaking."

Yes, Szájer is talking about those absolutely infantile twelve questions the government felt necessary to ask the electorate in the last minute in order to prove to the world that this new constitution is not just Viktor Orbán's or Fidesz's constitution but belongs to the nation as a whole. First of all, only about ten percent of the people actually returned the questionnaires and second, the questions were so primitive and often irrelevant to the constitution that the whole exercise was no more than a cynical political game.

And yet Szájer, who belongs to the intellectual elite of Fidesz, can say with a straight face that the return of these questionnaires was "a great success." At no previous time were so many people involved in creating a constitution. This event is unparalleled in Hungarian history. And the people unequivocally endorsed the principles of the new constitution. For instance,"91% of the people consider the values of family, order, home, work, and health important." Can you imagine answering "no" to this question? No, I don't consider health, family, home, and order important. Let's have chaos, let's destroy the family, and who cares about health issues. Eighty-six percent thought that we should feel responsible for future generations. A great success, says Szájer, while I personally think that this number is too low. Apparently 91% were thrilled to see that the constitution from here on will include not only rights but also obligations. I'll bet that the respondents don't quite understand what the inclusion of this paragraph will entail. Seventy-four percent said "no" to Szájer's and as it turned out Orbán's favorite idea: to give an extra vote for women who have children. Seventy-two percent, however, agreed with the proposition that "the expenses of child rearing shouldn't be taxed." I'm not surprised about the number but I doubt that many respondents have any idea what is considered to be an expense of child rearing. Diapers? A nanny's salary?

And he goes on and on about the "great undertaking" that is unparalleled in Hungarian history. But there is one short paragraph in MTI's summary of the press conference that refers to the question about the unity of the nation and the feeling of responsibility for Hungarians living abroad. The number who answered in the affirmative was only 61%. Szájer optimistically noted that this is "a move in the right direction in comparison to the results of the referendum about dual citizenship in 2004" that failed. Let's face it, most likely the majority of the citizens of Hungary don't want to grant dual citizenship to Hungarians outside the borders, especially if that citizenship also entails voting rights. Moreover, if there are not two categories of citizenship, as Zsolt Semjén so often tells us, there is a very good possibility that soon enough these new quasi-citizens might want to have social benefits as well.

I left crassness to last. Tamás Deutsch, a member of the Fidesz EP delegation, is not considered to be an intellectual giant. But he has another problem as well. He doesn't seem to know what a public figure and politician can and can't say. Deutsch decided to have an Internet presence. A few days ago he wrote the following in Hungarian on Twitter: "Vannak szemét alakok. Vannak aljas emberek. Vannak rosszindulatú őrültek. Vannak irtózatos gecik. Vannak gusztustalan rohadékok. És van Gyurcsány." I had to search for the meaning of "gecik" and it wasn't easy to find. It has something to do with sperm. Herewith a tame translation.  "There are vile people. There are madmen of ill-will. There are disgusting stinkers. There are loathsome faggots. And there is Gyurcsány."

Olga Kálmán in her interview with Ferenc Gyurcsány asked the former prime minister what he thought of these words. "Would you repeat the name of the gentleman mentioned? —Tamás Deutsch. —I don't know any decent and serious Hungarian man with such a name. Therefore I have nothing to do with this particular one."

 

 

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Jano
Guest

I mostly agree with the post (especially Kósa, hilarious…) but what did you translate as faggot? It has a context in English that none of the words in Deutsch tweet has.
Geci means exactly the semen, but it is very frequently said in the slang to describe somebody who is mean or does something malevolent to other people (sometimes with no particular purpose other than the joy of being mean). It is a very common word in everyday cursing.
Gyurcsány…:) I don’t know any decent and serious Hungarian man with such a name:) The undecent one known under this name should not educate anybody on cursing as far as I remember.

Member

I get it!! There is the whole FIDESZ. And there is Gyurcsany …

Member

This reminds me on the stories from the 50s Hungary. Like Anna Ratko, the minister of health (the Ratko are was named after her). She was a weaver or a seamstress, I don’t remember. Well, let’s say not quite qualified for the job so she decided to catch up with this medical science thing. How hard can it be … ? Her ministry organized a training to learn the basics of physics and chemistry. According to the legend, when the poor tutor explained that “work equals force times distance” she got up and went: “The work is a planned activity. Only people can do it”.
Perhaps Prof. Kosa should learn more about this “history thing” …

Odin's lost eye
Guest

I know that what I write is nothing to do with the characters involved or about their education, intelligence etc.
There is however the idea that child-raising should not be taxed. This can be done quite easily. The problem is that Hungary has a single tax rate for AFA (Value Added Tax –VAT- in the U.K.).
In the U.K. there are multiple rates of tax, one of which is zero. All goods and services are subject to VAT, but those items which can clearly be identified as being for use by children or in the process of child rearing are zero rated. In the main these products and services can be quite clearly identified.
The problem occurs as to when child-hood ends. The ‘tizzy snatchers’ will say Oh! But the larger children’s sizes could be worn by small adults. So what! There are not huge numbers of very small people and as the Irish would say about them ‘An good luck t’ya sor’

Odin's lost eye
Guest

An thank you for your quotation. I fear I know little of literature; I have spent most of my reading time reading instruction manuals etc. I will admit I do not really understand ‘real literature’ and do not really like being worried as to what the author means.
You write * “Hungary. A mania with a population of ten million” * when I first came to Hungary it certainly had ‘charm’, as well as ‘strangeness’, ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘top’ and ‘bottom’. In fact it had all the flavours (quantum numbers/properties) of a ‘Quark’ (an elementary particle).
I wish I understood more about them but my mathematics is not up to it and my brain is very old.
But of late this delightful ‘mania’ seems to be turning into a ‘nightmare’. This I fear will ruin its very elemental nature.
It is a pity that such an ethereal idea is being destroyed to satisfy the base aspirations of a megalomaniac.

dvhr
Guest

Congratulations to the post! Unfortunately, there are many more examples…

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Jano: “but what did you translate as faggot?”
As I mentioned I haven’t got the foggiest what “geci” could possibly mean. But since nobody was willing to say the word on screen I gathered that it was something very bad.
My first port of call was: http://www.hogymondom.hu/showslang.php?slang=geci
but there are so many possibilities that my head was spinning and I relied on the original meaning “semen.” It seems that I was wrong.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Mutt Damon: “I get it!! There is the whole FIDESZ. And there is Gyurcsany …”
I didn’t mean it that way but I think in intellectual terms Gyurcsány comes out ahead. As for the remark whether Gyurcsány should say anything at all because of the four-letter words, I don’t think he objected to the use of those words. He is too intelligent for demonstrating such inconsistency. He most likely objected, as most decent people would object, to the level of political discourse demonstrated here and used by many Fidesz leaders, including Orbán.

Guest

I looked up “geci” in my German “Dictionary of Hungarian Slang” -it has several meanings:
vacak
utált
ellenszenves ember
becstelen ember
similar to genny, genyó
disgusting, bilious, loathsome, putrid, purulent, …
My wife wouldn’t translate it into German for me …

Johnny Boy
Guest
Eva: you act as if lexical knowledge in history would equal to intellect. Kósa is a very witty and spirited guy, his humour and jaunty style is famous, and he is a very down-to-earth personality. Anyone who knows him immediately sides with him once they see your constantly spat hate towards him. People would chose him over the likes of you 100 times out of 100 and it shines through in his election results. Any attempts at discrediting him only resulted in his popularity growing, he is so clever in deflecting slander and turning it against his attackers. Back to intellect, look. Here you are, with probably a lot more lexical knowledge in history than the average person, yet your intellect is so much lower than average it is frightening. With your words, I could say, similarly without referring to any sources: You don’t exactly have the reputation of being very bright. You are often referred to as a kit-headed communist bogey. Or a cubic-headed snobby matron of zero morality. (And you yourself can check the truth values of these claims by looking a little further than this small zoo take for example http://arokaso.blog.hu/2008/07/14/eva_s_balogh ) That’s where we’re at. Go… Read more »
GW
Guest

Although Hungarians seem to swear as much as any other group, there is a certain amount of prudery — much of it left over from old Socialist censorship which was every bit as prudish as the conservatives today side — which makes it difficult for a non-Hungarian to figure out exactly what the expletives might mean. The most purient example of this is probably in the cinema, where a strong censorship and complaint system is in place and — at least up to five years ago — every English swear word seemed to get translated as “Francba”, which I understand to have meant something like “get the French disease” (that is, syphilis.)

GW
Guest
Johnny Boy, You comments here have gone beyond the pale. They will serve, however, as useful negative examples when I next have an opportunity to teach Schopenhauer’s sarcastic text, The Art of Being Right, which describes techniques for arguing when neither facts nor logic are on your side. In particular, your posts have contained examples of # 14 (Claim Victory when Defeated), #34 (Don’t Let Him Off The Hook, i.e. Changing the Topic), #36 (Bewilder Your Opponent by Mere Bombast), and #38 (Become Personal, Insulting, Rude). I have asked you repeatedly to address the topics in the articles themselves, giving you a chance to actually try and defend the policies discussed therein, but you remain in ad hominem mode which is the epitome of anti-intellectualism, attacking the speaker rather than the speech. Sadly, this trope, familiar from both the right-wing and socialist eras in Hungary, seems to be particularly current in Hungary today. One can, indeed, sustain an argument for some time on this basis, but it is, in the long term, useless for the purpose of achieving optimal results, for example in governing a country, because by excluding fact and logic, good ideas — and no single person or… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Johnny boy: “(And you yourself can check the truth values of these claims by looking a little further than this small zoo”
I’m surprised that it took you so long to find this cesspool of a site where people hiding behind pen names commit character assassination on decent individuals. On the other hand, I’m not surprised that you like the stuff. That’s the group where you belong.

Member

Johnny: “Kósa is a very witty and spirited guy, his humor and jaunty style is famous”
Well, well .. “Similis simili gaudet” as we say here in the Virginia backcountry. I suggest you read his interview in the Playboy (April 2007). Look under your son’s bed 🙂 Lot’s of nugget’s of intelligent “humor” like the remarks on Ibolya David. Enjoy and be careful who do you promote as witty next time.
Ohh, yes Johnny! Do you know where do I find that other “hilarious” Kosa remark about Gyurcsany’s wife and young gardener? Man, that was a Monty Python quality joke.
I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

Odin's lost eye
Guest

Mutt we must not be too nasty to little ‘Rubber Goods boy’. The poor little fellow or his minders did not know colloquial English when they chose his name.
Professor The poor wee mannie canna help it, it is not his turn to have the ‘brain cell’ until late next June. So we must not ‘mock the afflicted’. Apparently he is to get it for a few days after Mr Kosa has used it. That is if it does nor a good service.
GW I always thought that the French disease was a ‘round of applause’ (a dose of the clap). The other was called the ‘Spanish pox’.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Eva: “cesspool of a site where people hiding behind pen names commit character assassination on decent individuals.”
It’s rare to see so clear and respectable self-criticism from your side in describing exactly what your blog does. I never though you were capable of evolving!
By the way, I long ago found that site but I now felt appropriate to cite this as a response to your disgusting attempt at a character assassination of decent people by a nobody.
GW: you again failed to see that I was doing exactly to the host what she is doing to much more respectable people all the time. No miracle that you didn’t understand though.
“Johnny, consider for once that our host here is acting not out of ideology or partisantship”
The reason why she constantly spills her vomit onto much more respected people is totally irrelevant. As for me, I’m sure it is out of the simple envy effect of the lesser towards the superior.
“because she wants her homeland to do better”
Absolutely not, from the homeland it is completely obvious that her constant slander is out of malicious will.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Not too long ago someone asked me to post some reference to where foreigners consider the Hungarian EU presidency a success.
Take a look at the latest news from the German foreign minister here, because this blog will certainly not broadcast this news:
http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Aussenpolitik/Laender/Aktuelle_Artikel/Ungarn/110404_BM_Martonyi_node.html

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Johnny boy: “”cesspool of a site where people hiding behind pen names commit character assassination on decent individuals.” It’s rare to see so clear and respectable self-criticism from your side in describing exactly what your blog does.”
You really think that this blog’s contents and the comments in any way can be compared to arokasok, kurucinfo, and other cesspool sites? Something is very wrong with your perception.

Member

@Johnny I should not engage you but I can’t help it. It’s addictive. Can you please explain why is it “malicious will” to criticize your government? Is it gonna make them cry?

Guest

I really had to laugh reading JohnnyBoy’s link – it says absolutely nothing, just the usual political blah-blah …
BTW: Mr. Westerwelle is going to resign as president of his liberal party, but wants to stay on as foreign minister.
PS @JohnnyBoy: Do you know that Mr. Westerwelle is gay and travels with his partner, a sports manager. What this means you can see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognition_of_same-sex_unions_in_Germany
An excerpt from wiki:
As of 22 October 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany has ruled that all the rights and obligations of marriage be extended to same-sex registered partners.[

GW
Guest

That press release from the German Foreign Ministry (released on the day that the Foreign Minister resigned from the Chairmanship of the FDP and the Vice-Chancellorship) was, well, diplomatic, identifying no concrete achievements and using the kind of coded language in German typical for job evaluations: overtly postive to avoid lawsuits, but actually indicating below average performance. The big news of the Hungarian Presidency remains the fact that all of the major issues of the half-year have been negotiated in rounds in which the President has either not been present or has been a bystander. The press release is just a formality, the fact of the exclusion of the Hungarians from the major negotiations speaks for itself.

John T
Guest

Oh well Johnny Boy – you are going to have to live through the experiment that Fidesz are embarking on, so best of luck. We can all look on with curiousity while it unfolds.
Still, we know from your comments that you wouldn’t actually be able to cope with life outside of Hungary. You certainly wouldn’t be able to hold down a decent job in any western European country with your attitude and views. And of course, you’d be living in constant fear of those foreigners, deviants and left / lib types.
I do agree that your views are probably those of the majority of Hungarians, though most won’t be as blatantly bigoted as you. But while you might be in the majority in Hungary,your western european neighbours are rather more enlightened (though by no means perfect), and the views expressed here are very much the middle of the road, majority in these countries, all of which of course are way more successful than Hungary (well, maybe not Italy – perhaps its all down to the colour of the flag!).
So enjoy the ride Johnny Boy – and if it all goes “tits up”, at least its what you wanted.

Kirsten
Guest

Perhaps Mr Westerwelle and Mr Matolcsy know something that we do not know but this statement of the Auswärtiges Amt says that during the Hungarian EU presidency the EU moved an important step forward, for instance in the decisions related to euro stabilisation. It does not specify exactly what Hungary did to bring this about given that it belongs to the four countries that did not endorse the Pact. Could it be that there was real effort of Hungary to convince the other countries to support the Pact despite their own criticism…? (Johnny, this unselfishness must certainly be added to your list of great successes of OV, but perhaps only for orszagkepepites use, informed people could get confused…)

Member

OK. I will try to translate “geci”. It is the “useless” semen left undisposed or visible. It is used to describe useless people, useless activities, or to degrade a character. Examples: Who is this xx? She has lips with xx. What the xx you want? What the xx is this? Go inside your xx mother. (Sorry!)

Kirsten
Guest

someone, I must admit that I was thinking how exactly the word and its meaning fit (I thought that one simply should not search for logic in language…)

Member

@Kirsten If you really want capture the essence of the word I think Johnny Boy would be a perfect example …

Guest

To give this whole discussion a more positive note:
John T, I don’t know, but I can’t believe that the majority of Hungarians are like our “TrollyBoy”. Just to give you an example:
My wife’s younger son who works in the computer business and his soon-to-be wife regularly watch Aljazeera on satellite TV when they’re staying with us – not those dumb Hungarian tv programs (the National Geographic channel is also ok for them – and for us) and their favourite internet site is “reddit” …
And discussing today’s issues I wouldn’t see any difference between them and a well-educated, informed couple from Germany, Britain or the USA (well, you might have difficulties to find educated people in some parts of the US …)
PS: A late April-first joke I just have to tell:
Did you hear that Sarah Palin made it high priority to have the Bering Street made into a paved highway ?

Paul
Guest

By the sound of it ‘geci’ is best translated as ‘Johhny Boy’.

Jano
Guest

How I would translate geci to English is d*ck. Like he was a xy to me. He’s a xy, etc. I think that is the closest in usage.

Guest
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