Romanians in the mirror

MAKE (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 6 iunie 2013

Romanians in the mirror

The abjection "Why is Romania different?", a book by historian Lucian Boia, which owes its success among "Romanians" to the claim that "they" do not have a structured national identity (a paradoxical success, isn't it?! - how we end up awarding a book that explicitly calls us idiots? We must be stupid), was mentioned by Ion Cristoiu in his phone intervention on the show of Robert Turcescu, which was discussing the recent events at Antena TV.

Cristoiu said:

"The disastrous state of the Romanian press hasn't been caused by journalists, but rather it is caused by their audience.

We have been dumbed down by the stupid Romanians, we weren't the ones doing the dumbing down.

This is stupid!

They are the ones who dumbed the press down".

One famous historian and one famous journalist united by a shared opinion - "Romanians are stupid" - one which doesn't require much education or intelligence to form.

It is just a rudimentary opinion, a nonsense that can be uttered after gulping down one liter of vodka, but one that shouldn't leave the pub, much less be published in a book, or paraded around on TV, turning it into an abjection.


Both Cristoiu's comment, and Boia's book have a subtle (but not too subtle) connection to what happened one year ago with the Referendum for the dismissal of president Băsescu, probably because both of them thought that the big number of citizens who voted against Băsescu will have been manipulated by the deluge of lies and propaganda of the media trust owned by Dan Voiculescu.

This is just a confusion.

Subtle (but not very subtle).

No, the millions of citizens had their own idea that Băsescu needs to be driven away, for serious, real reasons - I will only mention the fact that he had not honored his slogan promise "Live well and prosper!"

Of course, the disgusting manipulation practiced by the media entities owned by Dan Voiculescu has played its part, but it did not determine the vote, something else did: the lies and the manipulations sparked the hate which led the citizens to vote.

The manipulation and the lies have split the people down the middle, the impossibility of a logic-driven dialogue.

That's all.

Not the political option.

Of course, some of the hesitant citizens may have been carried away by the hot-blooded malcontents.

But that always happens.

Boia and Cristoiu are the victims of an error confusion (not very subtle).


In fact, the publication of Boia's book, last year, must have activated certain intimate convictions within Cristoiu, which were formed a lot earlier than this "editorial event": Ion Cristoiu is the so-called "creator" of the "entertainment press", through the launch of "Evenimentul zilei", ("Today's Event") sometime in 1993, in which you could read about how a 3-legged chicken was faster than a Trabant, or how the "Romanian" woman has made a bra for the cows' udders - these stories have been copied verbatim (on the second thought, the word "Trabantul" is my own contribution) from the Romanian newspapers published between the two world wars, and presented as current news.

In 1993, PRO TV was laying in diapers, under the name "Canal 39", but after two years of roaring success of Cristoiu's three legged chicken, it received financing from Ronald Lauder and it embraced the entertainment recipe invented by Cristoiu, taking it to new highs of gipsy music, South-American style soap-operas, and ongoing celebration of bad taste, thus consecrating the country's transformation into a gutter and validating its dregs, meaning that the "classy intellectual" Adrian Năstase had to pretend being friends with Mugur Mihăescu - "Garcea" of the "Vacanţa mare" comedy group, in his search for the sympathy of the population.

The three-legged chicken had bred successfully.


Some time ago (BURSA 11.06.2012), I wrote an article called "Your vote matters, but... not to you", in which I stated that, despite the general belief that the press was at the forefront of the country's democratization, in the first years after the revolution, it has actually served the confiscation of the power from the people and separating the people from it.

At the time I wrote:

"The ejection of Ceauşescu had been achieved spontaneously by the crowds exhilarated by the opportunity, and regardless of the fact that afterwards, factions certified to be acting in concert were seen, the exasperation of the population was undeniable.

The act of our revolution is undoubtedly the exercise of the people's power.

It fits the etymological definition of democracy.

In the clearest manner possible, the people is the one that directed the press towards democracy, not the opposite.

The renaming of the publications - "Libertatea" (previously "Informaţia Bucureştiului"), "Adevărul" (previously "Scânteia") and "Tineretul liber" ("Scânteia tineretului") - did not occur before the revolution, only after it became clear that the communist journalists and the carefully handpicked communist managers of the publishing houses were no longer running any risk by switching over to the side of the winners; changing the names of the newspapers was meant to show the public that mass-media was keeping abreast of the political orientation of the masses ("but to keep abreast with..." does not in any way mean "to be a trailblazer").


Ion Iliescu coined the expression "power vacuum", referring to the paralysis of the political institutions and of the administration of the state, which wasn't in tune with the spirit of the crowd.

The expression seems correct, because a democratic regime comprises a complex structure of functional institutions (even its forms which existed in ancient times), and the one that matched the popular will, not only had it not been legitimized, but it hadn't even been conceived prior to the protests [...]

But when looking at it more closely, the expression "power vacuum", used by Ion Iliescu, is actually misleading.

In reality, the usual arrogance of the communist authorities had been forced to yield under the overwhelming power of the people.

Of democracy.

The army, the militia, even the special services were acting meekly when coming in contact with ordinary people.

All you had to do was dressed in civilian clothes - that was the "uniform" of Power.

The expression "power vacuum" flagrantly promotes the hypocrisy and lends credibility to the wresting of the power from the people, into the trap of the structure of the state and of the "representation" of the people's will, on whose behalf the general interest decisions are made.


It is this confiscation that the post-revolutionary press participated in: regardless of the nature of the political interest it has served (sometimes by openly admitting its allegiance, as was the case of "Dreptatea" - the newspaper of the National Peasants Party (PNŢCD), other times on its knees - take the position of PRO TV in the 1996 elections, only to then switch sides, in the elections of 2000) the mass-media has directed the public opinion towards the structure and representation (with the meaning of "democracy", which it was implied they had).

In that regard, it can't be denied that the press was a "trailblazer".

Today, the Romanian press uses the notion of "power", to designate the party or the coalition leading the country. And it uses the word "the people" to describe the "governed populace".


Both Lucian Boia, and Ion Cristoiu use the expression "Romanians", when speaking about their co-nationals, as do most public figures - whether it's journalists or politicians.

I won't discuss the rather dubious origin of this manner of speaking (as is that of the expression "the Government in Bucharest"), but I will detail its meaning.

When they say "Romanians" and use the quotes, they distance themselves from them and set themselves apart.

They make a point that they are not "Romanians".

That is why they can say without any twinge of regret, that "Romanians are dumb".

The ones saying that view themselves as above that, in fact, this finding comes out as a badge that sets them aside from the sea of morons.

They are lucid.

They are Europeans and they are teaching the Europeans how to "work" with the Romanian morons.

The fact that they were born in Romania is an accident that can be corrected.

"I wasn't born in the right place", like the song by rapper Guess Who says (which also received an award).

All you have to do is replace the so-called Romanian flag on the ROM chocolate bar, with the American flag, so you can eat it without embarrassment, anywhere in the world (an ad which received multiple awards).

I won't explain this time why I am so proud to be a Romanian.

I can assure everyone that the pride of being Romanian is genuine, is based on solid arguments, which span the entire Romanian phenomenology.

But here, I will only urge them to stop saying "Romanians" and instead say "we".

Look in the mirror and say "we are morons".

Try it, Mr. Lucian Boia, say it: "I am a moron".

You try it too, Mr. Ion Cristoiu - "I am a moron and I have dumbed myself down".

You try it, you, the award winners ...

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