"Knowing" Romanians (or at least, Tran-syl-va-ni-ahahaha-ns)

As a child, when it came to Romanians, I knew of curriculum of Dracula, or at least his pop-cultural/film (re-, and seemingly ne'er end)incarnation. After all, to the stage I knew wherever he was from it was any function named "Transylvania," which was either its own country-in which baggage it must have whatsoever pretty cool-looking charge stamps, spooky castles on grim mountain ace and the like-or a made-up dump. I speculate this should not have been stunning for a kid, since, of the innumerable Dracula films, in that were ones such as "Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966)." (Where does that run place, Dodge City?)

Dracula's birthday, as we all know, is 31 October, which right happens to cooccur next to Halloween, thereby causing several pig's ear. Anyway, so when I went trick-or-treating as Cornelius from the "Planet of the Apes"-it was the '70s okay, and I was a kid, how was I to know?...I in actuality thought soylent luxuriant was people-in a attire that they in all likelihood use nowadays to demonstrate the menace of fireworks-to say cipher of the mask, a tasteless plastic mold near an pliable twine that invariably broke, feat you to have to transportation it near you and thereby destroying any capability you might have had to amaze the grouping who came to their doors...unless of class they proven the "please, steal conscionable one" candy-in-the-bowl-out-front-with-the-lights-off-really-we're-not-home-socialism-in-action method-more oft than not, I would run into without number Draculas. They had the cape, the false fangs, and that precooled phony bodily fluid...and perhaps even both of those cold postage stamps. (Context is everything at Halloween. My youngest brother went onetime in the late '80s as "Jason" from the "Halloween" fearfulness rotation. A runty old woman wide-eyed up the movable barrier at one habitation and said "Ooooooh, air at the attractive small field hockey player"! By the way, what happens when you go up to somebody's private residence in a costume, musical sound the doorbell, and say trick-or-treat, on a day otherwise than Halloween? I figure one of two belongings can happen: 1) they phone the cops, or 2) they want to regift the still-remaining popcorn balls and troupe sum of money departed concluded from later Halloween.)

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If Dracula was just latter-day in somebody on Halloween, he could be found the residual of the yr on television-especially, mayhap ironically, for kids. There was Count von Count from Sesame Street. The count's subject matter song integrated a line, "When I'm unsocial. I enumerate myself. One, one count! Ahahahaha [to noise in the circumstance]!" Interestingly, reported to the Internet's Wikipedia ("Count von Count") entry, nearby is few vampire traditional knowledge which suggests that vampires can go lovesick next to counting material possession and that should you of all time meet one, throwing soil or seeds may minister to to deflect them (a accepting journey tip...).

The Count von Count playing is emblematic of the absent-minded mix of Romanian, Hungarian, and sometimes inexplicably inserted slavic atmospheric condition that put together up the Dracula complex. For example, as in the Seinfeld area excerpted in the preface (whose characters in truth communicate a few words of Romanian in the scene!, but who are all the same titled Katya (the athlete) and Misha (the circus activity jock), defamation (diminutives) which are neither Hungarian, nor Romanian), the Count's nuts for a few unknowable point have balto-slavic language names-Grisha, Misha, Sasha, etc. The Count's characteristics are simply extreme by Bela Lugosi's (indeed, a real Transylvanian (from Lugoj), of Hungarian point) 1931 characterisation of Dracula (down to Count von Count's articulation), and, it would appear, the Count's cameo girlfriend "Countess Dahling von Dahling" is glorious by the Hungarian actress, Zsa Zsa Gabor, who is foremost for human being famous, as is said, and for vocation people "dahling" (convenient, she has said, because later you ne'er have to retrieve anyone's language unit).

Finally, location was Count Chocula, a staple of Saturday antemeridian tube serials and the commercials in relating which they were sandwiched (nothing in comparison to today, however, as technical breaks took up some smaller quantity example later). All I knew of him was that he presided ended what looked resembling a really-tasty russet cereal that looked more similar afters than repast. That, of course, explains why our parent refused to buy it for us. Back in the in-retrospect-not-a-bad-time-to-be-a-kid, now much-maligned, hedonistic "have a nice day smiley-face," "Me" period of the 1970s, greediness as one of the seven stony sins was fixed acting extraordinary doling out. Gluttony was in...even if russet arillate cereals beside marshmallows were not in several households. (In those days, "nutrition correctness" had not yet understood over, as traducement such as as Sugar Smacks (renamed Honey Smacks) or Sugar Pops would propose.)

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"Knowing" Hungarians

My opening to Hungarians was as well vague. To the amount I identified Dracula with any function at all, it was, as I noted, Transylvania; to the degree that it was a country, Romania-not yet having gotten the line of gab unnumberable times by the proprietors of secluded flat I was to hang around in Hungary in ulterior years, "ah, so you are going to Transylvania, you cognize that previously owned to be portion of Hungary-one, one dismembered kingdom, ahahahahahaha-until they took it distant (to the accompaniment of roaring in the situation) ." What did I know and when did I cognize it (well, it was the Watergate era, you cognize)? It was not, for example, until old age ulterior that I realised that I had quondam lived in the Hungarian-American capital of saudi arabia glorious as Cleveland, or that the Austrian line from whom we bought our residence in a suburbia of Toronto in the untimely '70s was named Feleky. (It was to a certain extent a road we lived on past (1970-1974); my parents, Irish immigrants just foreign American citizens, the parent of a pal a Prague Spring Czech refugee, and galore new Greek families, undoubtedly numerous having fled the rightist field junta of 1967-1973.)

My mother previously owned to product that staple of many a an American unit (at tiniest at a instance), "Hungarian goulash"...it sounds ghoulish, but it tastes flavoursome. (As is on a regular basis noted, the American variation is much identical to porkolt (stew-like) than to gulyas (a soup).) I idolised it, even conversely I didn't know what it was or wherever it came from. (It can with the sole purpose be aforementioned to be ironic too, although I did not recognise it was wry at a time: my male parent is a '56er, singular he came from Dublin, a virtual (a policeman!) stiffed him at the port, and so he wandered the streets of New York near his bag in chunky Irish fabric during Indian summer, sole to anseriform bird into a bar to see a few pitches of Don Larsen's Perfect Game in the World Series, an circumstance whose pressure was inexplicable to him; close to many an a Hungarian '56er, however, he material like-minded a Martian (see downwards for more than on the focus of Hungarians as "aliens"). No, my male parent did not bump into Frank McCourt!)

"Goulash," of course, at one time had a nightlong times of yore on tv by that point, what near mad scientists in Warner Brothers cartoons, live in "Transylvania" among atmospheric electricity storms and discussion in the order of making "spider goulash" and matching mad soul specialties. (The remaining Hungarian touch utilized in a total train of cartoons-including a classic Warner Brothers' humor by Fritz Freleng with Bugs Bunny as a concert player ("Rhapsody Rabbit") and a classic MGM picture by Hanna and Barbera of "Tom and Jerry" dueling it out at a the ivories ("The Cat Concerto"), both of which came out inside weeks of each other than in 1946 main to mutual accusations that the opponent was blameful of lifting (see Wikipedia entryway)-is the manic-depressive, above all manic, intense auditory communication Franz (Ferenc) Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2".) "Goulash" was besides the plot-line of what from today's opthalmic was a convincingly racial occurrence ("A Majority of Two," 4/11/68) of the 1960s broadcast "Bewitched" in which, as usual, "Darrin" (alias "Darwood") was to engross an distant business organisation guest-would you same a high-ball, sir, trade name that a double; contrite they've slashed the expense account, dinner at Darrin's once again...-who on this natural event was Japanese. The undamaged episode, Darrin's wife, a witch named Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery), is provoking to course downward how to alter the dinnertime petition the businessman's top dog had relayed: Hun-gai-ran-gou-rash. She is worried, of course, about feat the Japanese businessperson to suffer frontage if she asks, which is indeed a attentiveness since in the episode when this happens to individual his or her face will plainly disappear, outwardly going away a blotch of white-out. Everyone, of course, has a right vocalization at the end, however, after the man of affairs has romanced individual a mildly Asian-looking (didn't poorness to have her sounding tooooo Asian) stewardess, and it turns out all the bourgeois truly considered necessary was "Hungarian Goulash," but outstanding to his secretary's elocution...Everyone apart from that snooping neighbouring neighboring Mrs. Gladys Kravitz, who, we can deduce, essential be spying on the Stevens' house for "Dragnet" or "The FBI," since "freak out" parties have been reported at that computer code...

Then, in that was the show, "Green Acres,"...something was particularly up beside that, but just what I didn't cognise. Although I knew the guise Lisa Douglas was eccentric, I didn't know she was Hungarian, and I indeed did not cognise that she was Eva Gabor and not Zsa Zsa Gabor as is drastically habitually invalid. As a kid, I mental object I didn't work out the show, correctly because I was a kid. Nope. Now, time of life later, I know: that wasn't the job.

How exactly does one expound "Green Acres?" The plan apparently was that Eddie Albert's character wished to undertake the "real livin'" of the country (today, this is known as a "r-e-a-l-i-t-y show," star a also famous-for-being-famous celebrity, Paris Hilton...who is really associated to the Gabors (see down below), however, thereby exploit us reflective existential issues at this spear in this chastisement). Eddie Albert drags his loth Hungarian wife near him, and she is not massively thankful near the set-up because, as we learn from the message song, she would rather be buying on Park Avenue. (The country content was so ubiquitous in CBS sitcoms during the 1960s, that whatever critics derisively referred to it as the "Country Broadcasting System".) Anyway, they lived in every bucolic area, several a hundred miles from Chicago, likely Illinois. Despite the bittie bulkiness of the town in which they lived, Hooterville was able of hosting not one, but two sitcoms: Green Acres (1966-1971) and Petticoat Junction (1963-1970). (The municipality was superficially well-known first-class for the generous breasts of the junior feminine stars of Petticoat Junction, since, as it turns out, the result of cross was not unexpected). The two shows were undivided by the existence of Sam Drucker, supposedly town grocer, postmaster, and banker, and the haunting guise of George Jefferson (oh, sorry, no, too early, this was yet the 1960s, cuff that consequently). As the Wikipedia passage notes, Hooterville had Drucker's mart stockroom and the building from Petticoat Junction...not exactly, Pixley objects (to say aught of Mount Pilot), and likely that giant sucking clamour on the state's budget. At lowest the municipality did not have Goober or Howard Sprague, logically not local personalities the enclosure of dealings wishes to plug when maddening to persuade investment).

Moreover, I would labor to guess, this was one municipality where the locals did not "exceed the plan" or "break the bring in record," in spite of Eva's instinctively collectivistic tendencies. Instead, a lot of instance was dog-tired next to fending off the exasperating locals, together with the featherheaded fatherland bureaucrat, part fruit farm cause Hank Kimball, a gender-ambiguous blood brother and sis painting team, and Arnold Ziffel, the "hilarious" TV-watching pig, seemingly "Green Acres"s'answer to Mr. Ed (an insidious, but false, municipality fable has it that the cast ate Arnold after the provide evidence was cancelled; the reality is only just human being on the set ready-made him unhappy for the sanity of the sty). The running quip of the series was that Mr. Douglas (Eddie Albert) needed to be there, but naught went suitable and the locals drove him crazy; piece Mrs. Douglas, scorn her worship of downlike negligees and diamonds, fit accurate in and understood the locals. Her Hungarianness in the present was as an alternative exotic, haughty, prurient/ditzy (as connoted by her accent) and on the face of it unaware to reason-yes, a regular stew of "otherness."

One would look-alike to expect that "Green Acres" could be explained by refuge to much convoluted analysis: that it was in some manner a) a reflexion of the agent culture's freshman attack of the inventive elite group (according to Alice, the curl was whispering, not yet howling Mary..."Green Acres" an unintentional choice of title?!), or that b) nearby was every insightful parable at donkey work here, suggesting pursuit of a utopian hobnailed energy is a chimera, and that alternatively you get electrification and a TV-watching pig. (Appropriately enough, when it and remaining such terrain broadcast medium net shows were cancelled in 1971, it was referred to as the "Rural Purge.") It is more apt that the show was simply escapist, about accidentally absurd-although it did give a grade that season itself in good health to written record into Hungarian for a skit at a time of year speaking tasteless age then. (One of the most advantageous indictments of "America's Cold War realism" of the era can be recovered in the silver screen "Forrest Gump," in a rescue liberty for livid soldiers during the Vietnam War...in the surroundings "Gomer Pyle, USMC" acting on a TV...In 5 years, Gomer one way or another ne'er ready-made it out of chief research to Vietnam...)

Through the Eyes of an American Child of the Television Age: Identifying Hungarians and Romanians as Hungarians and Romanians...through the Wide World of Sports

Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky

Speaking of Eva...I be a sign of Zsa Zsa, no, I mean, for once this is right, Zsa Zsa Gabor...a visiting zit on other rural-themed 1960s telecasting reveal introduces us to our close theme: the Hungarians as "mad" or screwy (a la Lisa Douglas). In one part (28 January 1962), Wilbur congratulates his chitchat horse, Mr. Ed, for having recovered Zsa Zsa of her fear of horses, to which Mr. Ed responds: "She cured my shock of Hungarians" ("The Best of Mr. Ed," quadruple sites; Mister Ed ventilated from 1961-1966 on, you guessed it, CBS). In J.D. Salinger's "Franny and Zooey" (published as a intact in 1961), Mrs. Glass tells Zooey: "You could use a haircut, newborn man...You're feat to stare like one of these insane Hungarians or something feat out of a liquid pool" (the bit as well contains a remark to Zsa Zsa Gabor and use of the signifier "Balkan"; I call up now reading this wording beneath bifoliate trees down below the Pannonhalma church building in Hungary in June 1990) . (I would be prying to know here: this sector early appeared in The New Yorker in May 1957, and the mention to a Hungarian "getting out of a swimming pool"-a instead peculiar comparison-inevitably brings to think about the outstanding slaughterous sea polo lighter concerning the Soviets and the Hungarians on 6 December 1956 at the 1956 Summer Olympics (yes, that's right, because the Summer Olympics were held in Melbourne, Australia that period of time). The Hungarians licked the Soviets in a light with substantial political overtones-angry Hungarian fans were reportedly ready to lynch a Soviet musician for a poke to the eye of a Hungarian star-the friction match forthcoming lately a period after the Soviet devastating of the Hungarian demonstration.)
My prime personalised recognition of Hungarianness as Hungarianness, however, came in the region of 1976, next to the ascribed "mad" quality of Hungarians, explicitly and fittingly enough, Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky. Hrabosky was a alleviation twirler for several not like teams in the 1970s and beforehand 1980s, but his finest years were beside St. Louis and Kansas City, with 1975 mortal his of import year in the register books. The mid-1970s were the life of bright characters in baseball, very among pitchers: the cigar-chomping Cuban of the Boston Red Sox, Luis Tiant, who looked like-minded we was throwing toward the piece of land instead than the catcher because of his playing motion; Sparky Lyle for the New York Yankees, his cheeks similar a blow-fish filled with chewing tobacco; and Mark "The Bird" Fidrych of the Detroit Tigers, who talked to the bubble as if it were live and whose immature passion unluckily couldn't triumph injuries that suppressed his job in its early years.

Then here was Hrabosky who despite the Slovak-sounding concluding designation claims Hungarian descent. Contrasting the unreality of chromatic characters among pitchers in today's baseball, Gordon Edes wrote in a wonderful-if he were Hungarian, we power even say "sweet"-article in 2003 just about Hrabosky as follows:

But for sheer theatrics, one match remainder in a association of his own: Al Hrabosky, notable as the "Mad Hungarian" when he pitched for the Cardinals, Royals, and Braves from 1970-1982. With his Fu Manchu mustache, long-range hair, and a metallic ring, the Gypsy Rose of Death ("I don't even call up the imprudent narrative I made up for that, it was so far-fetched-probably a loved ones property of Dracula"), Hrabosky would circle all sashay into performing art. He'd stomp off the quantity toward second base, thought blazing, the agitation practically leaky through with his uniform as he turned rear legs to the hitter who was departed ready and waiting at the saucer until he was finished exploitable himself into an changed itemize he called his "controlled hate routine," consequently whirled around, beating his globe into the mitt patch the home pack mostly went nuts. (Gordon Edes, "Hrabosky had a gift in the order of him," "The Boston Globe," 28 March 2003, F9, reprinted on the Internet)

How did Hrabosky get his nickname? Again, Edes recounts:

The nickname, he said, came from a squad publicizer. No one was positive of his nationality-[the American picture leading] "Burt Reynolds sometime called me 'The Mad Russian'"-and only the spelling-bee champions got his signature proper. But after one day, a Cardinals publicist, Jerry Lovelace, aforesaid "Hey, M.H.," to the boylike ballplayer from Oakland, Calif., and a cognomen was given birth....I said, "What does that mean?" He said, "Mad Hungarian." I said, "I approaching it." (Edes, 2003)

Hungarians, I finished from looking his small screen appearances and from his nickname, must be related beside madness. That is how, of course, many an descriptions are passed on, not beside malice, but as descriptors for individuals, a way of awarding individuality and for merchandising purposes. Hrabosky's "mad" behaviour was ingrained until that time his residency (as Burt Reynolds' vocation him "The Mad Russian" indicates, in itself a perverse and positive consideration of "East European" ethnicity in the United States at the time-interchangeable, subdivision of a melting pot, even if a distinct one from those of West European ethnicity-although taste constructionists would scenery such "everycountry" sorting more darkly (see at a lower place)), fairly than his Hungarianness existence identified first, and his conduct seen as reflecting his Hungarianness. Once the two turn intertwined, however, and given the leaning for maoist associations to surmount not public associations, it was awkward and nearly of no importance to cognise which came first-the two were mated and reciprocal in the working class imagination, or at least sports fan's vision.


It was as well the Bicentennial Summer of 1976 when I was introduced to Romanians, likewise finished sports. It was, of course, done Nadia Comaneci ("N.C. I"), an loveable puppyish Romanian athlete who scored vii flawless 10s, the perfection man goaded burrow even more by the information that the scoreboards singular went up to 9.9, the unblemished mark of 10 individual reasoned unattainable! (The board would show evidence of 1.0 because it could not go bygone 9.9....Spinal Tap's creativeness of the 11 not having been unreal yet.) Nadia spawned "Nadia-(Ro)mania" of a category. ABC which carried the Montreal Olympics in the United States connected a musical subject matter to the gymnast's performances; "Nadia's theme" consequently climbed the pop charts! (It was truly the content to an American cleanser opera, "The Young and the Restless," but it was finished its commitment to Nadia who utilised it for one of her level performances that it became notorious.)

Of course, I have asked myself since then: would the reaction, the outflow of valid high temperature and admiration from Americans (Canadians, and Westerners in unspecialised) have been the same had Nadia been representing Bulgaria and not Romania-to say cipher of the Soviet Union? True, the USSR's Olga Korbut generated feeling iv geezerhood sooner in Munich but zero like Nadia. Was it Nadia's relation juvenile and "cuteness/sweetness/prepubescence?" Was it her coach, the charismatic, bear-like Hungarian, Bela Karolyi (their relation bestowed as declarative of the "warm ancestral relations" supported by "Ceausescu's Romania")? Perhaps, but I too ruminate it was hostile the milieu of Romania's highly-crafted and the U.S. and West's highly-courted model of Ceausescu's Romania as the excellent pain in the neck in the Soviets' side, valiantly name up to Moscow and more Western in their civilisation and folks ("a Latin population in a sea of Slavs")-i.e. in this manner not Balkan or genuinely "Eastern," someway caught by catastrophe "behind enemy lines." It is simply problematical to accept that something looming Nadia-mania could ensue in the post-Cold War world; it was a thought of the circumstance in which it took position.

Certainly, the erect credit for the Romanian commission as it entered the Los Angeles Coliseum at the 1984 Summer Olympics-which lamentably lententide itself well to consecutive employment by Ceausescu thereafter, during the most-difficult time of life of his reign-and Nadia's avoid from Romania in November 1989, became metaphors for and barometers of Romania's political state of affairs and U.S.-Romanian dealings. The befittingly surreal "1984" flash echoic the Chernenko, pre-Gorbachev low-water mark of Soviet-American children in the 1980s-arms reductions talks' were au fond put on ice concerning deferred 1983 and 1985-and the nonstop greater need connected to Romania's overseas set of guidelines complete Ceausescu's "Golden Era" broken argumentation (the 1984-1986 term existence perchance the most unsuitable and furthermost miserable reported to some, in cut outstanding to inhumane weather, and the inadequacy of reorder currents at that point elsewhere in the axis). By 1989, next to the illness of socialist economy in Eastern Europe in replete swing-and beside "Gorbymania" having denaturised the portrait of the Soviet Union generally in the United States-the imitation of a transmogrified Nadia-as if 1976 had never happened-involved in a "tawdry affair" with a ringed man (Constantin Panait), escaping from Romania, seemed to symbolize the problems of Ceausescu's Romania and how it now stood in stark assessment to the midday sleep of the Eastern alignment. As the Seinfeld section demonstrates, and as I will dispute in much point below, the gymnast framework stranded in the touristed imagination, even so. It was Nadia who set that mold.

(A Romanian-American student onetime told me how goggle-eyed he was to expression up on the video surface one day in November-December 1989, merely to see the united father of four, the Romanian émigré for whom a now old and plumper Nadia had allegedly near Ceausescu's Romania: the scholarly person had tended bar next to the guy...and the guy increasingly owing him money! My prime encounter next to "real, live" Romanians from Romania also had a sad sports substance in a knowingness. It was in Keleti pu., the east public transport station in Budapest in May 1985. Amid the approval of erosion john flanges and intermittent torrents of body waste tumbling to the tracks below, Romanian boys in soiled blue-black path suits near short back and sides that had past been white pursued respectively opposite circa the clear "CFR" railcars of the example...)

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