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39206Re: [Czechlist] Re: CHAT: Is CR in the Central or Eastern Europe?

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  • James Kirchner
    Feb 23, 2009
      When I lived in Marianske Lazne, I listened to American radio programs
      (regular ones, not military ones) on US Armed Forces Radio, which I
      believe was broadcast from Munich. At the top and bottom of the hour,
      they would say, for example, "It's 9:00 in Central Europe!" Always
      Central Europe.

      This means that in their minds, the region Central Europe does exist,
      and that Germany is in it.

      The whole distinction is a bit subtle, and it pays to keep in mind
      that Japan is now often included in the category of "Western nations".

      In the anglophone mind, anything that was familiar and capitalist
      after World War II was in Eastern Europe. Anything that was communist
      after World War II and especially any country whose name contained the
      letter combinations "slav" or "slov" were in Eastern Europe. The term
      Eastern Europe denoted something obscure, exotic, backward and scary.

      However, as some of these countries modernize and become more like
      Western countries in their economy and mentality, and as tourists
      visit them more, and in the case of the Czech Republic, as it has lost
      the letter combination "slov" in its name, they are no longer obscure,
      exotic, backward and scary.

      Those countries are now too Western to be Eastern, and since the
      concept of Central Europe does exist, many people mentally just put
      them there. The countries can "move" from Central to Eastern Europe,
      just as they once moved from Eastern to Central. It can be
      interpreted as meaning that they are in the German or EU orbit now,
      instead of being in the Russian orbit.

      The author makes a mistake by accepting as standard the terminology of
      a group "university film specialists" in Britain, or in the US for
      that matter, because those people still have an unbreakable connection
      in their minds between "Eastern Europe" and Soviet chic. They are
      likely still to be writing frequently more about the communist-era
      film output of those countries, because to them that is their
      significance. Like other Western intellectuals, they've been slower
      to give up the image of those countries as Soviet satellites than
      people who are more aware.

      So the idea of those countries moving from Central to Eastern Europe
      makes perfect conceptual and linguistic sense to me, although not
      cartographical sense.


      On Feb 23, 2009, at 5:45 AM, charliestnfrd wrote:

      > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, "kzgafas" <kzgafas@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > I find this article quite interesting:
      > > http://www.blisty.cz/2009/2/23/art45478.html
      > >
      > > However, I disagree with Jan Culik on this issue.
      > >
      > Interesting. To be honest if I ring anyone in Britain and tell them to
      > get a move on and not keep asking me to "bear with them", then I say I
      > am calling from Eastern Europe always - partly because it will make
      > them get more of a move on than "Central Europe" and partly because
      > for
      > us everything that was behind the Iron Curtain is Eastern Europe and I
      > don't think most British people would understand what I meant by
      > Central Europe - perhaps Germany and Austria at a push. I think I am
      > in
      > Jan's camp on that one.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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