All news is local, they say, so here’s what Poland looks like going by the pages of a classified ads newspaper that comes out twice a week here:
Poles love cars. One third of the paper is given over to them. The section marked “hobby” is less than one page long, hopefully because hobbyists have their own, specialised publications and not because having a car is so much more important than having something to do with your spare time.
It’s surprising how many ads there are for bugging devices.
Gynaecologists sometimes advertise a “full range of services.” This is a widely-understood code for “we do abortions.”
When it comes to houses and flats Poles really, really like something called “mozaika,” which the dictionary helpfully defines as “mosaic (architectural term).” Having tiles (“glazura” (glazed tiles), “terakota”) in the house is more important than just about anything else, including insulation, but not as important as plastic windows. Something called “komandor” is also vitally important. Komandor is a brand of sliding door wardrobes. If you have the old-fashioned (read: communist) type of wardrobe door, which opens out on contraptions known as “hinges” you are a clod, a bumpkin. Remember: it’s not “location, location, location” here. It’s: “mozaika, glazura, terakota.”
Either the law turns a blind eye to it or it’s perfectly legal for employers to discriminate against people on the grounds of age and sex in Poland: “shopgirl wanted,” “waitress wanted,” “male receptionist wanted,” “woman aged 30 to 40,” “men aged 18 to 40″… and so on. Some clown in Warsaw is looking for native speaker English teachers with a “good accent.” Speaking of educational services, a fourth year English student will write your essays and assignments for you at the bargain basement price of 20 zloties a pop. In fact you can buy essays and theses on practically any subject you want. There’s really no need to attend all those tiresome lectures or sit in that library all day long. And since your underpaid (or just greedy?) teacher has about five jobs and is supervising 60 MA theses there’s a good chance you won’t get caught. (This progressive approach to knowledge (something to be bought and sold) has also resulted in Poland having wonderfully courteous and highly skilled drivers.)
And where would we be without a few cheap laughs at Eastern European fashion. From the clothing section:
“Gent’s Adidas tracksuit, navy blue, size XL, hardly worn, unusual design. 89 zloties”
“Leather jacket, Rambo-style, dark, good condition, 120 zloties o.n.o.”
What about the real news from Poland? A pharmaceutical company was caught selling faulty medicine. Instead of just ordering (on whose authority, by the way?) a recall of the product the primesident of Poland has shut down the whole company and blamed the “third republic” (i.e. the “uk?ad“) for the error. (The third republic means post-1989 Poland: Kaczy?ski desparately wants post-2005-elections Poland, ruled by PiS and assorted whacko opportunists, to be known as the “fourth republic.”)
In a news story entirely unrelated to this sleazy exploitation of a tragic mistake to make some cheap political capital, local elections are being held on Sunday. The good people of Gazeta Wyborcza apparently think voting will make a difference.
Meanwhile, further afield, the establishment has won yet another landslide victory in the US mid term elections, with members of the democrepublican party controlling over 95% of both the house and the senate.