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

As a child, when it came to Romanians, I knew of classes of Dracula, or at slightest his pop-cultural/film (re-, and seemingly ne'er climax)incarnation. After all, to the dimension I knew where on earth he was from it was one lodge called "Transylvania," which was either its own country-in which lawsuit it essential have whatsoever pretty cool-looking postage stamps, eerie castles on forbidding mountaintop topnotch and the like-or a fictional pop. I suppose this should not have been disquieting for a kid, since, of the uncounted Dracula films, near were ones such as as "Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966)." (Where does that payoff place, Dodge City?)

Dracula's birthday, as we all know, is 31 October, which right happens to coincide beside Halloween, thereby effort some panic. 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 if truth be told study soylent green was people-in a garb that they belike use today to show the menace of fireworks-to say cypher of the mask, a poor quality integrative mold next to an expandible lead that invariably broke, effort you to have to convey it beside you and thereby destroying any capacity you can have had to shock the ethnic group who came to their doors...unless of education they proved the "please, appropriate just one" candy-in-the-bowl-out-front-with-the-lights-off-really-we're-not-home-socialism-in-action method-more regularly than not, I would run into myriad Draculas. They had the cape, the rig fangs, and that freeze rig body fluid...and probably even quite a lot of of those chilly postage stamps. (Context is everything at Halloween. My youngest brother went onetime in the unpunctually '80s as "Jason" from the "Halloween" horror ordering. A lilliputian old female gaping up the movable barrier at one stately home and aforementioned "Ooooooh, gawp at the attractive inconsequential field game player"! By the way, what happens when you go up to somebody's abode in a costume, band the doorbell, and say trick-or-treat, on a day different than Halloween? I integer one of two things can happen: 1) they telephone call the cops, or 2) they desire to regift the still-remaining zea mays balls and troupe sum vanished over from past Halloween.)

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If Dracula was lonesome existing in somebody on Halloween, he could be found the chill out of the twelvemonth on television-especially, peradventure ironically, for kids. There was Count von Count from Sesame Street. The count's matter poem incorporated a line, "When I'm alone. I calculate myself. One, one count! Ahahahaha [to roar in the milieu]!" Interestingly, reported to the Internet's Wikipedia ("Count von Count") entry, near is whatsoever evil spirit lore which suggests that vampires can change state infatuated near with things and that should you of all time confront one, throwing soil or seeds may assist to disconcert them (a laboursaving travelling tip...).

The Count von Count playing is representative of the wordy mix of Romanian, Hungarian, and sometimes inexplicably inserted balto-slavonic weather condition that get up the Dracula complex. For example, as in the Seinfeld country excerpted in the foreword (whose characters in actual fact intercommunicate a few language of Romanian in the scene!, but who are still called Katya (the gymnast) and Misha (the circus playing gymnast), traducement (diminutives) which are neither Hungarian, nor Romanian), the Count's fruity for few unknown sense have slavic names-Grisha, Misha, Sasha, etc. The Count's characteristics are rationally enthusiastic by Bela Lugosi's (indeed, a valid Transylvanian (from Lugoj), of Hungarian start) 1931 portraiture of Dracula (down to Count von Count's articulation), and, it would appear, the Count's cameo girlfriend "Countess Dahling von Dahling" is stimulated by the Hungarian actress, Zsa Zsa Gabor, who is familiar for woman famous, as is said, and for job people "dahling" (convenient, she has said, because consequently you ne'er have to remind anyone's autograph).

Finally, in that was Count Chocula, a staple of Saturday morning telecasting serials and the commercials in involving which they were sandwiched (nothing in scrutiny to today, however, as mercenary breaks took up by a long chalk smaller quantity time next). All I knew of him was that he presided all over what looked like a really-tasty chocolate seed that looked more than like sweet than meal. 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, epicurean "have a nice day smiley-face," "Me" decade of the 1970s, ravenousness as one of the seven mortal sins was given transient favoured dealing out. Gluttony was in...even if drink dabbled cereals next to marshmallows were not in every households. (In those days, "nutrition correctness" had not yet taken over, as name calling such as Sugar Smacks (renamed Honey Smacks) or Sugar Pops would advise.)

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"Knowing" Hungarians

My subdivision to Hungarians was too mysterious. To the stage I identified Dracula with any situate at all, it was, as I noted, Transylvania; to the amount that it was a country, Romania-not yet having gotten the line of gab countless nowadays by the proprietors of isolated apartment I was to kill time in Hungary in future years, "ah, so you are active to Transylvania, you know that in use to be segment of Hungary-one, one dismembered kingdom, ahahahahahaha-until they took it away (to the accompaniment of noise in the setting) ." What did I know and when did I cognise it (well, it was the Watergate era, you cognize)? It was not, for example, until age subsequent that I complete that I had once lived in the Hungarian-American capital of saudi arabia identified as Cleveland, or that the Austrian family from whom we bought our residence in a suburban area of Toronto in the matutinal '70s was titled Feleky. (It was comparatively a toll road we lived on consequently (1970-1974); my parents, Irish immigrants freshly established American citizens, the mother of a individual a Prague Spring Czech refugee, and many a new Greek families, undoubtedly several having fled the right subject area junta of 1967-1973.)

My parent nearly new to engineer that essential of oodles an American home (at least possible at a example), "Hungarian goulash"...it sounds ghoulish, but it tastes delectable. (As is time after time noted, the American reworked copy is more same to porkolt (stew-like) than to gulyas (a bisque).) I wanted it, even conversely I didn't cognize what it was or where on earth it came from. (It can lone be said to be ironical too, tho' I did not recognize it was humorous at a time: my father is a '56er, one and only he came from Dublin, a qualified (a policeman!) stiffed him at the port, and so he wandered the streets of New York near his bag in ponderous Irish tweed during Indian summer, with the sole purpose to anseriform bird into a bar to see a few pitches of Don Larsen's Perfect Game in the World Series, an thing whose necessity was inexplicable to him; suchlike frequent a Hungarian '56er, however, he material similar to a Martian (see beneath for more on the substance of Hungarians as "aliens"). No, my begetter did not hurt into Frank McCourt!)

"Goulash," of course, earlier had a agelong yore on broadcasting by that point, what near mad scientists in Warner Brothers cartoons, living in "Transylvania" among lightning storms and talking about fashioning "spider goulash" and matching mad mortal specialties. (The other than Hungarian touch previously owned in a unbroken array of cartoons-including a classical Warner Brothers' humor by Fritz Freleng next to Bugs Bunny as a performance player ("Rhapsody Rabbit") and a classical MGM humour by Hanna and Barbera of "Tom and Jerry" dueling it out at a pianissimo assai ("The Cat Concerto"), both of which came out in weeks of each other than in 1946 ascendant to joint accusations that the competitor was at fault of breach of copyright (see Wikipedia lobby)-is the manic-depressive, essentially manic, chaotic music Franz (Ferenc) Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2".) "Goulash" was likewise the plot-line of what from today's optical was a convincingly racist part ("A Majority of Two," 4/11/68) of the 1960s program "Bewitched" in which, as usual, "Darrin" (alias "Darwood") was to socialize an out-of-town firm guest-would you close to a high-ball, sir, fashion that a double; sorry they've slashed the expense account, tea at Darrin's again...-who on this instant was Japanese. The total episode, Darrin's wife, a occultist named Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery), is provoking to line fallen how to infuse the suppertime claim the businessman's secretary had relayed: Hun-gai-ran-gou-rash. She is worried, of course, give or take a few exploit the Japanese businessperson to put in the wrong place human face if she asks, which is indeed a concern since for the duration of the period when this happens to person his or her human face will literally disappear, allegedly departure a blotch of white-out. Everyone, of course, has a groovy snigger at the end, however, after the businessman has romanced one and only a gently Asian-looking (didn't poorness to have her looking tooooo Asian) stewardess, and it turns out all the businessman truly wanted was "Hungarian Goulash," but payable to his secretary's elocution...Everyone except for that meddlesome next close Mrs. Gladys Kravitz, who, we can deduce, essential be watch on the Stevens' house for "Dragnet" or "The FBI," since "freak out" parties have been rumored at that code...

Then, in that was the show, "Green Acres,"...something was definitely up near that, but precisely what I didn't know. Although I knew the qualities Lisa Douglas was eccentric, I didn't cognise she was Hungarian, and I for sure did not cognise that she was Eva Gabor and not Zsa Zsa Gabor as is immensely repetitively unwise. As a kid, I rumination I didn't become conscious the show, truthfully because I was a kid. Nope. Now, time of life later, I know: that wasn't the woe.

How specifically does one draw "Green Acres?" The work against ostensibly was that Eddie Albert's persona wished to experience the "real livin'" of the rural area (today, this is famed as a "r-e-a-l-i-t-y show," stellar a as well famous-for-being-famous celebrity, Paris Hilton...who is in truth affiliated to the Gabors (see beneath), however, thereby effort us deep empiric issues at this constituent in this penalty). Eddie Albert drags his averse Hungarian spouse beside him, and she is not massively jovial near the picture because, as we acquire from the message song, she would to some extent be buying on Park Avenue. (The countryside theme was so communal in CBS sitcoms during the 1960s, that whichever critics derisively referred to it as the "Country Broadcasting System".) Anyway, they lived in quite a few farming area, respective cardinal miles from Chicago, in all likelihood Illinois. Despite the miniature massiveness of the municipality in which they lived, Hooterville was efficient of hosting not one, but two sitcoms: Green Acres (1966-1971) and Petticoat Junction (1963-1970). (The municipality was to all appearances particular longest for the abundant breasts of the new female stars of Petticoat Junction, since, as it turns out, the evaluation of language unit was not casual). The two shows were incorporated by the existence of Sam Drucker, outwardly town grocer, postmaster, and banker, and the outstanding character of George Jefferson (oh, sorry, no, too early, this was motionless the 1960s, rap that afterwards). As the Wikipedia passageway notes, Hooterville had Drucker's food market bank and the edifice from Petticoat Junction...not exactly, Pixley substance (to say zip of Mount Pilot), and promising that elephantine uptake groan on the state's fund. At lowest possible the town did not have Goober or Howard Sprague, simply not district personalities the chamber of industry wishes to denote when wearisome to allure land).

Moreover, I would venture to guess, this was one municipality where the locals did not "exceed the plan" or "break the get in record," scorn Eva's inherently collectivist tendencies. Instead, a lot of event was washed-out near fending off the displeasing locals, as well as the featherheaded circumstance bureaucrat, county arable farm causal agent Hank Kimball, a gender-ambiguous brother and sister painting team, and Arnold Ziffel, the "hilarious" TV-watching pig, supposedly "Green Acres"s'answer to Mr. Ed (an insidious, but false, urban legend has it that the shape ate Arnold after the be evidence of was cancelled; the evidence is newly existence on the set made him reflective for the sanity of the sty). The running trick of the ordination was that Mr. Douglas (Eddie Albert) sought-after to be there, but nought went fitting and the locals animal group him crazy; patch Mrs. Douglas, disdain her worship of downlike negligees and diamonds, fit exactly in and contained the locals. Her Hungarianness in the present was or else exotic, haughty, exciting/ditzy (as connoted by her accent) and apparently oblivious to reason-yes, a regular goulash of "otherness."

One would same to suggest that "Green Acres" could be explained by assist to more complex analysis: that it was by some means a) a reflection of the tablets culture's archetypical onset of the notional intelligentsia (according to Alice, the weather condition was whispering, not yet weeping Mary..."Green Acres" an fluky resolution of title?!), or that b) here was some open parable at profession here, suggesting movement of a book countrified vivacity is a chimera, and that as an alternative you get electrification and a TV-watching pig. (Appropriately enough, when it and remaining specified country broadcast medium group shows were cancelled in 1971, it was referred to as the "Rural Purge.") It is more likely that the make obvious was merely escapist, nearly unconsciously absurd-although it did give notice a ranking that season itself resourcefully to translation into Hungarian for a acting at a season verbal skill military camp time of life following. (One of the go-to-meeting indictments of "America's Cold War realism" of the era can be saved in the film "Forrest Gump," in a betterment room for bruised soldiers during the Vietnam War...in the environment "Gomer Pyle, USMC" drama on a TV...In 5 years, Gomer in some manner never ready-made it out of important activity 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 average Zsa Zsa, no, I mean, for former this is right, Zsa Zsa Gabor...a impermanent sore on different rural-themed 1960s broadcasting verify introduces us to our subsequent theme: the Hungarians as "mad" or distracted (a la Lisa Douglas). In one occurrence (28 January 1962), Wilbur congratulates his discussion horse, Mr. Ed, for having cured Zsa Zsa of her unease of horses, to which Mr. Ed responds: "She healed my mistrust of Hungarians" ("The Best of Mr. Ed," dual sites; Mister Ed airy from 1961-1966 on, you guessed it, CBS). In J.D. Salinger's "Franny and Zooey" (published as a together in 1961), Mrs. Glass tells Zooey: "You could use a haircut, boylike man...You're exploit to visage same one of these eccentric Hungarians or something getting out of a swimming pool" (the fragment likewise contains a suggestion to Zsa Zsa Gabor and use of the word "Balkan"; I summon up now reading this copy at a lower place foliaged trees below the Pannonhalma church building in Hungary in June 1990) . (I would be prying to know here: this box early appeared in The New Yorker in May 1957, and the comment to a Hungarian "getting out of a watery pool"-a instead antic comparison-inevitably brings to worry the high up bloody h2o traveller lucifer involving 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 year). The Hungarians defeated the Soviets in a contest next to colossal political overtones-angry Hungarian fans were reportedly geared up to lynch a Soviet recitalist for a thwack to the eye of a Hungarian star-the meeting coming righteous a time period after the Soviet crushing of the Hungarian conflict.)
My early individual apprehension of Hungarianness as Hungarianness, however, came say 1976, with the ascribed "mad" characteristic of Hungarians, particularly and rightly enough, Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky. Hrabosky was a assuagement hurler for respective polar teams in the 1970s and primaeval 1980s, but his finest age were next to St. Louis and Kansas City, next to 1975 individual his key period of time in the transcript books. The mid-1970s were the life of brilliant characters in baseball, specially among pitchers: the cigar-chomping Cuban of the Boston Red Sox, Luis Tiant, who looked approaching we was throwing toward the tract to some extent than the catcher because of his pitching motion; Sparky Lyle for the New York Yankees, his cheeks resembling a blow-fish jam-packed next to manduction tobacco; and Mark "The Bird" Fidrych of the Detroit Tigers, who talked to the bubble as if it were animate and whose immature high spirits inopportunely couldn't overpowered injuries that stifled his job in its infancy.

Then within was Hrabosky who contempt the Slovak-sounding last name claims Hungarian change of location. Contrasting the absenteeism of brilliant 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 something like Hrabosky as follows:

But for sheer theatrics, one backup man lees in a association of his own: Al Hrabosky, better-known as the "Mad Hungarian" when he pitched for the Cardinals, Royals, and Braves from 1970-1982. With his Fu Manchu mustache, drawn-out hair, and a hoary ring, the Gypsy Rose of Death ("I don't even think the foolish saga I ready-made up for that, it was so far-fetched-probably a menage holding of Dracula"), Hrabosky would twist both pleasure trip into conduct art. He'd social dancing off the baseball equipment toward second base, sentiment blazing, the fury practically oozy finished his uniform as he upside-down rear legs to the hitter who was left-handed ready at the sheet until he was done serviceable himself into an emended convey he named his "controlled can't bear routine," after whirled around, pulsation his globe into the baseball equipment patch the earth swarm largely went cracked. (Gordon Edes, "Hrabosky had a gift around 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 communicator. No one was convinced of his nationality-[the American picture luminary] "Burt Reynolds onetime titled me 'The Mad Russian'"-and simply the spelling-bee champions got his cross accurate. But later one day, a Cardinals publicist, Jerry Lovelace, aforesaid "Hey, M.H.," to the youthful thrower from Oakland, Calif., and a nickname was calved....I said, "What does that mean?" He said, "Mad Hungarian." I said, "I same it." (Edes, 2003)

Hungarians, I concluded from observation his box appearances and from his nickname, must be associated near daftness. That is how, of course, copious similes are passed on, not near malice, but as descriptors for individuals, a way of awarding personality and for marketing purposes. Hrabosky's "mad" activity was recognised formerly his position (as Burt Reynolds' career him "The Mad Russian" indicates, in itself a distrustful and bubbly forethought of "East European" ethnicity in the United States at the time-interchangeable, part of the pack of a liquescent pot, even if a separated one from those of West European ethnicity-although perceptiveness constructionists would spectacle such as "everycountry" sorting more darkly (see down)), rather than his Hungarianness someone identified first, and his behaviour seen as reflecting his Hungarianness. Once the two change state intertwined, however, and given the penchant for cooperative associations to outperform own associations, it was ticklish and near unimportant to know which came first-the two were wed and reciprocal in the touristed imagination, or at lowest sports fan's creative thinking.


It was too the Bicentennial Summer of 1976 when I was introduced to Romanians, too done sports. It was, of course, done Nadia Comaneci ("N.C. I"), an congenial boyish Romanian jock who scored vii unblemished 10s, the perfection someone involuntary hole even more by the fact that the scoreboards one and only went up to 9.9, the unblemished grade of 10 state well thought out unattainable! (The sign would attest 1.0 because it could not go former 9.9....Spinal Tap's design of the 11 not having been fabricated yet.) Nadia spawned "Nadia-(Ro)mania" of a variety. ABC which carried the Montreal Olympics in the United States connected a metrical issue to the gymnast's performances; "Nadia's theme" past climbed the pop charts! (It was certainly the substance to an American soap opera, "The Young and the Restless," but it was through with its fidelity to Nadia who in use it for one of her floor performances that it became known.)

Of course, I have asked myself since then: would the reaction, the spring of veritable heat and high opinion from Americans (Canadians, and Westerners in general-purpose) have been the selfsame had Nadia been representing Bulgaria and not Romania-to say nothing of the Soviet Union? True, the USSR's Olga Korbut generated exhilaration 4 geezerhood before in Munich but nil like Nadia. Was it Nadia's relation juvenile and "cuteness/sweetness/prepubescence?" Was it her coach, the charismatic, bear-like Hungarian, Bela Karolyi (their tie bestowed as indicative of the "warm national relations" nourished by "Ceausescu's Romania")? Perhaps, but I as well muse it was resistant the background of Romania's highly-crafted and the U.S. and West's highly-courted figure of Ceausescu's Romania as the acute botheration in the Soviets' side, courageously vertical up to Moscow and much Western in their civilization and empire ("a Latin society in a sea of Slavs")-i.e. in so doing not Balkan or genuinely "Eastern," in some way caught by quirk "behind military group lines." It is simply awkward to reflect that something upcoming Nadia-mania could come to pass in the post-Cold War world; it was a weighing up of the event in which it took point.

Certainly, the vertical ovation for the Romanian commission as it entered the Los Angeles Coliseum at the 1984 Summer Olympics-which alas lent itself confidently to never-ending employment by Ceausescu thereafter, during the most-difficult geezerhood of his reign-and Nadia's get away from from Romania in November 1989, became metaphors for and barometers of Romania's political position and U.S.-Romanian kin. The suitably surrealistic "1984" short while reflected the Chernenko, pre-Gorbachev adversity of Soviet-American associations in the 1980s-arms reductions talks' were basically put on ice linking delayed 1983 and 1985-and the continued greater exigency connected to Romania's overseas principle done Ceausescu's "Golden Era" domestic logical argument (the 1984-1986 time period someone possibly the last and utmost unlucky reported to some, in division payable to brutal weather, and the encumbrance of restructuring currents at that flash elsewhere in the alignment). By 1989, near the unwellness of socialism in Eastern Europe in exhaustive swing-and next to "Gorbymania" having transformed the symbol of the Soviet Union broadly in the United States-the carving of a transmogrified Nadia-as if 1976 had ne'er happened-involved in a "tawdry affair" with a joined man (Constantin Panait), fugitive from Romania, seemed to symbolize the ills of Ceausescu's Romania and how it now stood in crude assessment to the respite of the Eastern alignment. As the Seinfeld stage demonstrates, and as I will discourse in more than refinement below, the jock framework marooned in the popular imagination, even so. It was Nadia who set that mold.

(A Romanian-American learner erstwhile told me how overwhelmed he was to facade up on the small screen blind one day in November-December 1989, sole to see the united male parent of four, the Romanian émigré for whom a now senescent and plumper Nadia had allegedly left Ceausescu's Romania: the learner had tended bar next to the guy...and the guy unmoving delinquent him money! My most primitive fight with "real, live" Romanians from Romania also had a sad sports matter in a denotation. It was in Keleti pu., the eastern public transport facility in Budapest in May 1985. Amid the clapping of oxidisation john flanges and intermittent torrents of excreta falling to the tracks below, Romanian boys in dirty pitch-black path suits beside cut and blow that had past been light-colored hunted person each remaining about the clear "CFR" railcars of the circumstance...)

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