Let me tell you about Jean Moscopol

Monday, 14 October, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

There aren't that many Romanian entertainers worth the mention that lived in the past century or so, and most of them are Greek anyway.i Jean Moscopol is a fine example in this vein.

He is noteworthy for having introduced the tango to Romania, with quite splendid effectsii, and his artistic acumen and large fan base allowed RCA its first forays into the Romanian market. He left Romania cca 1945 because frankly speaking by then only the poor & the idiots remained (admitting for the sake of argument these are distinct categories), tried a while to get Radio Free Europe goingiii and eventually died in 1980, after thirty some years of waiting for the absurd regime to croak already. The absurd regime did finally croak, not a decade later, and in this he reminds me of a great-grandfather who I've actually had the pleasure of meeting. He had been a Liberal Party mayor before the war, and then spent his remaining years waiting for the Americans to come. They never did, and eventually in the mid 80s he had enough of the shit, got into bed and stopped eating.iv He was dead two weeks later, aged ninety-something.

The moral I personally derive from these stories is that it makes no difference how well anchored evil is in the world, croak it shall - no matter what ; and further, that it makes no difference just how convincing or convenient redefining evil into something else may sound in that context, it should never be done. And in this vein, if the US Government wants its citizenry to do or not do something, it will have to ask them, nicely or otherwise. This business where it asks a foreign to not let American citizens engage in this or that activity, or where it asks a foreign to report on what activities American citizens engage in is wishful thinking of the "you've been smoking a lot of crack?" variety.

And now, let's move on to some very illustrative political couplets this guy left us :

Ce frumoasa este viata, cind esti chior si prost ca tata,
Si ajungi din potcovar in Guvern subsecretar ;
Ce frumos e cind vin rusii, si iti spun din dosul usii
Cum sa vorbesti, cum sa taci, si pe-apostolul sa faci.

Ce frumoasa este viata, cind sa spui te tine ata
Ca ne vine, bat-o vina, de la rasarit lumina.
Ce frumos e sa ai ceafa, si de la soviete leafa,
Sa fii frate cu dusmanul si sa-ti zica Sadoveanu

Ce frumoasa este viata, cind nu te apuca greata
Sa-i tot perii pe intrusi si sa-i tamiiezi pe rusi
Balaceanu te numesti, findca-n tara reperista
Cu nesat te balacesti in mocirla comunista.

Ce frumoasa este viata, cind joci tenis dimineata
Si la prinz te deranjezi ce-ti dau rusii sa semnezi
Ce bine-i sa-ti zica tie doctor in chinezarie,
Si-n prezidiul cel nou Petre Groza-n loc de bou.

Ce frumoasa este viata, cind te plimba ca paiata
Rusii pe la Moscova si pe la Varsovia
Ce frumos e cind servesti interesele rusesti,
Iar in tara neamu-ntreg iti zice Gheorgiu-Jeg.

Ce frumoasa este viata cind lasi hoarfev ca si ata
Si din maister croitor s-ajungi Sovrom-dictator
Sa te potrivesti cu Liuba ca puroiul si cu buba,
Sa fi sovieto-lingescu si sa faci pe Chisinevscul.

Something like,

    How nice life is when you're blind in one eye and as stupid as a stupid, loud, unmarried old womanvi but you're the one farriervii that ended up a Government subsecretary. How nice it is when the Russians come and tell you from behind the door how to speak and how to keep quiet and play the apostle. How nice life is when you're able to say that light comes - a pox on it - from the East. How nice to have thick bacon on your neck and a salary from the soviets, be a brother of the enemy and be called Sadoveanuviii. How nice life is when you're not overcome by nausea constantly brushing up the intruders and praising the Russians. Balaceanuix is your name because in the RPRx country you wallow with abandon in the communist filth. How nice life is when you spend your morning playing tennis, and around noon you bother to sign whatever the Russians want you to. How nice it is to be called a doctor in balderdash and in the new presidium Petre Grozaxi instead of ox. How nice life is when the Russians cart you along like a prop, from Moscow to Warsaw. How nice it is when you serve Russian interest and the entire country calls you Gheorghiu-Jegxii How nice life is when you [...] and from a tailor you end up a sovromxiii-dictator, to fit with Liubaxiv like puss and bumps, to be a soviet licker and pretend Chisinevscu.

As you can see, not exactly friendly. Certainly in marked contrast to the much more polite mainstream at the time, and an excellent reason to suspect the polite ex officio, in all times and in all places. Using language that has nothing to hide, including the puss and the stupidity of middle-aged women, is in all circumstances a more direct path to the truth of any matter than the more palatable versions of pared down language.

Comunistii tin prelegeri si te cheama la alegeri
Ca s-alegi vrei nu vrei tot pe cei alesi de ei
Dupa vot incep minciuna cu-ata alba ce-i cusuta
Ca-n alegeri totdeauna ei obtin 100%.

Prin alegeri intelegi sa alegi cind ai ce-alege
Dar la comunisti alegi fara s-ai de unde-alege.
Asa-s comunistii toti, mari tilhari escroci si hoti
Hoti in fapte si-ntelegeri, hoti in presa si-n alegeri.

Something like,

    The communists are holding lectures and ask people to vote, so that you may elect those they've elected, whether you want to or not. After the voting they start with the baldfacedxv lies about how they always get 100% in all elections. An election means choosing when you have what to choose, but in the communist rendition you're to choose when there's nothing to be chosen. This is how all communists are, great knaves, con men and thieves. Thieves in deeds and thieves in agreements, thieves in the press and thieves in elections.

Remarkably enough, the complaint of American electors is more and more markedly the observation that there's nothing to choose.

Titlu mindru ce ti-am spus despre rusi si de ARLUS
Dupa cum ei ne prostesc ca azi statu-i romanesc
La fel si noi sa-i prostim ca ii credem si-i iubim.

Stii tu mindro, stii cum e cu ARLUS si-URSS ?
Cind ne aflam printre ei sa te faci ca tii la ei,
Iar cind suntem singurei sa spui dar-ar dracu-n ei.

Something like,

    Proudly title that I use, of the Russians and the ARLUSxvi : in the manner that they fool us pretending our state is our own today, let us equally fool them that we believe them and love them. You know love how it goes with the CCCP and the ARLUS ? When we're among them pretend you care for them, and when we're among ourselves say "may they go to hell".

The Romanian society of the time was organised in a manner I find both very adequate and very comfortable, but which is meanwhile squarely unfashionable. The public/private divide present in most agrarian societies was maintained, with the man ruler of the matters outside and the woman ruler of the matters inside the threshold. Part of the entire system, the man would naturally instruct the woman as to her correct attitudes to outside points of interest, going as far as to direct her affections. As incredible as this point may sound to you, generations of women loved and hated things and peoples on the grounds that their lord and sovereign so ordered things be loved or hated. Conversely, generations of men liked dishes and disliked dishes on the grounds of what their mother cooked and didn't cookxvii, and the same went of clothes and so on.

Foaie verde spic de griu, spune neica vrei viu mai mai ?
Sa dau cota catre stat, sau sa ma fac c-am uitat ?
Bade daca griu-l dai de la Stat nimic nu ai.
Fiindca piinea ma baiete ai s-o minci tot cu tichete.

Foaie verde foi de mac spune neica ce sa fac ?
Sa dau cota la predat cind vin zbirii de la stat ?
Daca vrei bade ca miine sa mincam cu totii piine,
Tu din griul care-l ai nici un bob sa nu le dai, mai mai.

Something like,

    Green leaf and a wheat spikeletxviii, say my love what should I do ? Am I to give up the in-kind tax or pretend I forgot ? Master should you give wheat to the state you're not getting anything for it, because the bread my boy you'll still eat on ticketsxix Green leaf and poppy leaves, say my love what should I do ? Am I to give up the wheat when the state bailiffs show upxx ? If you wish master that tomorrow we all eat bread, don't give up one single kernel.

This is the equivalent for the foregoing, with the master of the house inquiring of the woman as to the course. She has a voice in it because the grain supplies, while produced on the outside, are what the household is supported on. Grain is an ambiguous item in the village economy, as it serves both as currency (though not quite to the degree koku works in Japan for instance) which makes it the empire of the man, as well as a food item, which makes it the empire of the woman. The form of the song seems to propose that the woman's role in the decision making process on the topic at hand is purely consultative, so as to satisfy particular theoretical requirements, but this formalism belies the quite opposite reality, and this tension is one of the sources of the song's humor, if not necessarily consciously noted by the audience.

Foaie verde de-amnistie, guvernantii-n reperie
Ne anunta c-au iertat pe romanii ce-au plecat si ca le-au dat amnestie,
Ca sa-ncerce de-or putea sa-i atraga-n reperea si sa-i bage-n puscarie.

Cei din sovrom-guvernare sunt destepti nevoie mare,
Daca cred de refugiati ca fiind ca-s amnestiati vor veni ca la pomana
Si ca sunt timpiti sadea sa se-ntoarca-n reperea ca sa cada in capcana.

Sovrom-statul ce ne minte, de romani sa tina minte
Ca vor veni plini de dor atunci cind fratii lor vor fi scosi din puscarie
Si cind rusii opresori care-si zic liberatori or sa ceara amnistie.

Something like,

    Green leaf of amnestyxxi, the government of RPR announces us they've forgiven the Romanians that left and gave an amnesty, so as to try and lure them back and stuff them into jail. The sovrom-government is incredibly clever if they actually believe the refugees hearing of this amnesty are about to flock back, being totally insensate as to return and fall in the trap. The sovrom-state that lies to us should remember of Romanians that they'll gladly come once their brothers left behind are no longer behind bars and the oppressive Russians calling themselves liberators will be the ones demanding an amnesty.

This is historically accurate, the "sovrom-state" did atempt this trick to at least stem the tidal wave of expatriation if not actually attract anyone back. Nobody returned.

Am un leu si vreau sa-l beu, caci in loc la stat sa-l dau
Mai bine beau si petrec decit sa-l depun la CEC.
Desi eu cu leafa mea bine nici nu pot minca,
Statul imi mai cere mie sa mai fac si-economie.
De cit sa fiu iar furat, si prin CEC stabilizat,
Mai bine beau si petrec decit sa dau bani la CEC.

Something like,

    I've one leu and I wish to drink it, because rather than give it to the state I'd much rather make merry than deposit it with the CECxxii. Despite my wages barely allowing subsistence, the state wants me to save, but rather than have my savings stolen and through the CEC "stabilised" I'd rather drink it all than deposit it there.

Obviously the problems Bitcoin solves are in no way novel.

Slugi vindute lui Hrusciov ne spun numai sovrom-snoave si-alte radio brasoave.
Voi ai Moscovei banditi si sovieto-paraziti, lumea ca s-o pacaliti cu minciuni va tot faliti.
Si-adevaru' ca mintiti insasi voi ni-l dovediti, cind demiteti paraziti ca sa nu fiti dezmintiti.

Something like,

    Employees of Khrushchev tell us nothing but sovrom-stories and other radio-nonsense. You, bands of Moscow and soviet-parasites, in order to fool the world keep taking pride in pretense, but the truth that you lie is proven by your own actions, when you fire others among you so that they may not give your lies up.

I have no idea which particular incident is referenced here.

Radio Bucuresti graieste, cine intreaba nu greseste.
Daca radio pofteste, Intrebam si noi, fireste,
Statul hot si porc de caine De ce ia de la tarani grau cu 28 de bani
Si ne ia 2 lei pe-o paine?!

Something like,

    Radio Bucharest says, "he who asks makes no mistake". If the radio invites us we shall surely ask, this thieving and dog-pig state, why take peasant's grain for 28 cents and takes us for 2 lei to the loaf ?

This question remains today, for instance in the shape of, why do supermarkets steal milk from the independent farmers at half a leu per liter, take butter and cream from it, dilute it three or four fold and then sell it at five leis a liter ?

Intr-o tara comunista, cind ai fire arivista si-ai si-un caracter sinistru
Poti ajunge repede ministru.
Dupa ce-ncasezi la prime si te faci partas la crime, esti bagat la inchisoare
Si-apoi condamnat pentru tradare.
Roata lumii se-nvirteste tac-tac-tac si-orice crima se plateste tanc-tanc-tanc.
Comunismu-ntii te-ajuta tac-tac-tac, si apoi te executa pac-pac-pac.
Asa dupa Reichxxiii si Slavskyxxiv Stalin curata pe Slanskyxxv iar Malenkov pe Beriaxxvi, ca sa nu-l mai supere cu peria.
Dupa Beria Malenko curata pe Abacumoxxvii. Apoi a venit Hrusciov si l-a mazilit pe Malenkov.
Roata lumii se-nvirteste tac-tac-tac si-orice crima se plateste tanc-tanc-tanc.
Comunismu-ntii te-ajuta tac-tac-tac, si apoi te executa pac-pac-pac.
Cind sovieto-comitetul iti cere autoportretul asta-i semn ca nu-i mai placi
Si ca autocritic-ai sa-ti faci.
Dupa ce-ti gasesc ei buba urmeaza autoduba si-apoi toata istoria
Se termina cu autopsia.
Roata lumii se-nvirteste tac-tac-tac si-orice crima se plateste tanc-tanc-tanc.
Comunismu-ntii te-ajuta tac-tac-tac, si apoi te executa pac-pac-pac

Something like,

    In a communist country, if you've a low spirit and a sinister character you can readily become a government minister. After you cash their checks and become a party to crimes, you're stuck in prison and then convicted for treason. The wheel of the world spins and each crime is paid, communism helps you at first and then kills you. So after Reich and Slavsky, Stalin killed Slansky, and Malenkov did in Beria so he'd no further molest him with the brush. After Beria Malenko took care of Abakumov, then came Khruschev and wiped Malenkov. The wheel of the world etc. When the soviet committee asks for your self-characterisation it's a plain sign they no longer like you and it'll soon be the case for self-criticismxxviii. After they find something the next step is the party van and then the story ends in an autopsy. Roata etc.

This is quite factually correct. Then again, it was the case during the twilight years of the Roman state, too.

Justinian zis si Marinaxxix e cel mai cuvios crestin,
Umbla crai cu limuzina si se-nchina la Kremlin.
Patriarh el se numeste, si-al bisericii chiriarhxxx,
Si ca culme inroseste ca-i sovieto-patriarh.

To ca el, mitropolitul clerului moldovenesc
Ca-i Rusanxxxi zice-ipocritul, si cind colo e rusesc.
Ca Marina, preasfiintia n-a rosit nici un moment,
Cind a spus ca Romania azi e stat independent.

Iarta doamne intreg stolul de vinduti si pacatosi
Cum e turcu' si pistolu' la fel sunt si ei cuviosi.
Cind sovietele ordona ei pe dracu-n patru fac
Si spun la minciuni o tona ca sa le fie pe plac.

Doamne sfinte te indura de poporul tau roman
Si ii baga pumnu-n gura patriarhului pagin.
Ca-i Marina daca minte, patriarhul cel imun
Marinar fa-l Doamne sfinte si trimite-l drept la fund.

Something like,

    Justinian known as Marina is the most faithful christian, he goes about like a hot stud in a limo and bows towards the Kremlin. He names himself a patriarch and the church headman, and to crown it all he's turning redxxxii, because he's a soviet-patriarch. Just like him, the head of the Moldavian clergy, he claims to be Rusal, the hypocrite, but he's really Russian. Just like Marina he didn't blush for a second when claiming that Romania is now independent. Forgive lord the entire flock of sellouts and sinners, just like the turk its gunxxxiii, and equally so faithfull they are. When the soviets order they cut the devil in parts and pour tons of lies to ingratiate themselves. Good lord take pity on your Romanian flock and stick the fist in the mouth of the unbelieving patriarch. He's Marina, and so should he lie make him a seaman and send him right to the bottom.

Just like the Catholic church proudly carries the indelible stain of having well collaborated with the fascist and nazist regimes, a natural continuation of its collaborationist history dating back at least fifteen centuries, the Orthodox church carries exactly the same. In fact an excellent argument against in any way supporting any church irrespective of one's faith comes exactly from this well known and well documented tendency of any church to support whatever political wind blows at that time. You wouldn't enrich a whore, would you ?

Alo! Alo! da-mi primaria, pe controloru' delegat.
Aici Gheorghiu, presedintia! Cum stam cu cota catre stat ?

Totu-i perfect tovarase ministru. Totu-i perfect, totu-i perfect.
Doar un defect, tovarase ministru, se-ntimpla cite-un mic defect.
Cot-o predam, cu mic si mare, insa pe drum cota dispare.
Incolo-aici, tovarase ministru, totu-i perfect, totu-i perfect.

Alo! Alo! da-mi casieria, pe prim contabilu'! Imediat!
Aici Gheorghiu, presedintia! Cum stam cu-impozitu' la stat ?

Totu-i perfect tovarase ministru. Totu-i perfect, totu-i perfect.xxxiv
Doar un defect, tovarase ministru, se-ntimpla cite-un mic defect.
In RPR, fara conditii, azi toti da birul cu fugitii,xxxv
Incolo-aici, tovarase ministru, totu-i perfect, totu-i perfect.

Alo! Alo! da-mi puscaria, directia celor arestati.
Aici Gheorghiu, presedintia! Cum stam cu cei amnistiati ?

Totu-i perfect tovarase ministru. Totu-i perfect, totu-i perfect.
Doar un defect, tovarase ministru, se-ntimpla cite-un mic defect.
S-a agravat, si ca efect, de cind dadurati amnistie nu mai e loc in puscarie,
Incolo-aici, tovarase ministru, totu-i perfect, totu-i perfect.

Bravo!

Halio! Halio! da-mi ministeru', Hrusciov aici la aparat.
Da-mi pi Gheorghiu, pe premieru'. Asculta ba! Cum mierge-n stat ?

Totu-i perfect in RPR stapine. Totu-i perfect, totu-i perfect.
Dar uneori avem si noi, stapine, pe ici pe colo un defect.
Toti muncitorii fac sfortari, da' nu ne dau acumulari,
Taranii dau cotele dar in drum spre noi ele dispar,
Contribuabilii platesc dar perceptorii nu-i gasesc
Si-n lagarele de-arestati n-avem loc pentru-amnistiati.
Incolo-aici, in RPR stapine, totu-i perfect, totu-i perfect.

Cak ?! Cak ?!

Something like,

    Allo! Allo! pass me the mayor's house, the delegated comptroller. This is Gheorghiuxxxvi, the president's office. How are we doing with the taxation in kind ?

    Oh everything's perfect comrade minister, everything's perfect except for a little defect, as it sometimes occurs a small defect : we all give the tax but somehow on the way it disappears. Otherwise everything's perfect.

    Allo! Allo! pass me the treasury, the chief accountant. This is Gheorghiu, the president's office. How are we doing with the taxation in cash ?

    Oh everything's perfect comrade minister, everything's perfect except for a little defect, as it sometimes occurs a small defect : in RPR, missing any conditions, everyone's paying the tax with the fugitives. Otherwise everything's perfect.

    Allo! Allo! pass me the prison, the arrests department. This is Gheorghiu, the president's office. How are we doing with those amnistied ?

    Oh everything's perfect comrade minister, everything's perfect except for a little defect, as it sometimes occurs a small defect : since your amnesty there's no room left in prison. Otherwise everything's perfect.

    Bravo!

    Allo! Allo! pass me the ministry, this is Khruschev speaking, give me Gheorghiu, the prime minister. Listen yo, how goes in your state there ?

    Oh everything's perfect in RPR my master, everything's perfect except for a little defect, as it sometimes occurs a small deffect : all the workers work but nothing shows, all the peasants send produce but on the way it disappears, taxpayers pay but the tax collectors can't find them and in the prisons there's no more room for those amnistied. Otherwise here in RPR my master everything's perfect, everything's perfect.

    What ? What ?!

This thing is remarkable because it's sung in no less than six different accents, doing a pretty credible Khruschev, two tones for Gheorghiu-Dej (a bored and haughty style talking to the underlyings and a very perky and serviable style talking to the Russian), and three anonymous interlocutories of which the third speaks in a very strong Moldavian accent and so is quite recognisable. The craft with which the Moldavian accent as spoken by a Romanian is distinguishable from the Romanian-as-if-it-were-spoken by Khurscev impresses.

Anyway, that was the man, those were the times, so it went.

———
  1. This isn't factually correct, it's just that twenty years of Russian occupation followed by thirty years of dominance by the scum they left behind led to a very peculiar situation whereby the actual Romanian entertainers rejected communism and so were rejected by communism and so weren't particularly pushed (in the sense that you could get a jail sentence for playing them publicly), and then the scum the Russians left behind tried to create "national" (which practically translated to ethnically Romanian) everything even at the cost of inferior quality (which is the necessary result of imposing extraneous constraints) and finally at the collapse of that misadventure the now free Romanians had half a century of bad models and complete ignorance as to the good models before the gap, so they limited themselves to copying American crap, as if anyone gives two shits for rock&roll.

    And as to the "scum the Russians left behind part" :

    When a country doesn’t develop a commercial middle class, industrial technologies, a strong military, and strong institutions, it is particularly vulnerable to a certain form of theft that I call “extraction”. This is when a bunch of foreigners land on your shores, buy up some local chiefs, chop down your forests, rip the minerals out of your soil, enslave a few generations, and eventually go home, leaving their bastards in charge.

    The sad part, of course, was that Romania cca 1930 did have a commercial middle class, industrial technologies and quite a strong military. It was nevertheless vulnerable to its peculiar history : in WW1 it had allied with France and England, and got mowed down by the Germans while the French and English touched wieners. As WW2 was starting it didn't judge it can remain neutral, as holders of Europe's largest oil reserves at the time, and not particularly desirous of a rehash of the Mackensen invasion they allied with the Germans. Because what the fuck's one to do, seriously now.

    And so in WW1 the Russian "allies" deserted our front, but that's okay, 'cause they're Russians, and for their services they got to keep Romania's treasury at the time (100 tons of gold of which 95% historical coins, including plenty of Roman issue, plus commercial paper by the trainload). Then in WW2 the Romanian army kicked butt all the way to Stalingrad, which apparently isn't good sportsmanship, and the faggoty Brits insisted they get Greece even at the cost of Romania, because god forbid the Oxford fancyboys get separated from the historical inventors of that sweet sweet love that dares not speak its name and an Englishman could not do without. []

  2. Rock & roll "dancing" is for ugly women. Nicely figured Romanian girls look much better doing the tango. It's a fact. []
  3. The communist secret service has him mentioned in 1958-59 for an enmitous relationship with Bernard Noel (whom he equates to Israil Bercovici, an ardent communist meanwhile forgotten), and generally for a displeasure with RFE's inclination to push the political agenda of its masters rather than give voice to the actual Romanian political emigration. []
  4. Which, incidentally, is an age old population control mechanism, at least in Central Europe. Old enough peasant folk just stop eating when they're done and that's that. []
  5. I strictly do not know what this word means, at all. It is vaguely similar to "oarfa", which means whore, but that does not make sense in context and moreover the expression seems idiomatic. If anyone knows what this is supposed to mean please let me know. []
  6. Hey, it's what "tata" means. []
  7. Guy that puts horseshoes on horses. []
  8. Inconsequential Romanian novelist, heavily promoted by the communist regime. Think J. K. Rowling. []
  9. This proper name literally means "he who wallows", []
  10. Popular Republic of Romania, the early name of the Soviet puppet regime. []
  11. High ranking communist official. Known as "doctor" Petre Groza in spite of not having been either a PhD or a medical doctor, in a manner reminescent of the later Elena Ceausescu's pretense to being an engineer, and an academician. []
  12. Guy's name was Gheorghiu-Dej, he was the head of the communists for a time. Jeg means filth. []
  13. Sovroms were in theory joint ventures between the Romanian and the Russian governments. In practice they worked as a vehicle for funneling the wealth of the country eastward. Notably most of the Russian nuclear programme was based on uranium ore mined by a supposed quarz exploration SovRom, which managed to deliver about 20 thousand tons of metallic uranium for virtually no consideration. Wood, oil, agricultural products, metals and manufactured goods went about the same way. []
  14. Liube Kisinevskaia, wife of the aforementioned "sovrom-dictator" Iosif (who took her name when they married, dropping his original Roitman). She was a high ranking official for a time, then her husband got disappeared. The head of the local communists (Gheorghiu Dej) proposed to her, but she wouldn't divorce. She died in the 80s, after an ambiguous relationship with the local communists. []
  15. In original, "sewn in white thread", which means plainly obvious. []
  16. Some odd "society for friendship between Romania and the Soviet Union". []
  17. Which reminds me of an old joke : some guy marries a woman that happens to be an excellent cook. She cooks for him, and he generally thinks her cooking is okay, but, alas... not quite like at his mother's house. (Obviously in Romania the supreme superlative for any cooking is it being "like in one's mother's house, and this to the degree various commercial products use that expression in advertising today even.) The woman is distraught with this, and for a while makes a point of trying everything she can think of, with no success. Eventually, defeated, she finds other things to occupy herself with, and as luck has it one day she forgets the pot on the fire and it burns a little. Rather than throw it all away she decides to serve the pieces, and the husband's face lights up : This is wonderful! Just like at his mother's house! []
  18. These sorts of invocations are common in folklore, with "green leaf" being certanly the most common two words in all Romanian folk songs. []
  19. Food rationing coupons. []
  20. Zbir is the local sbirro, which means ambiguously cop or ruffian. []
  21. In principle the green leaf would be of a particular plant. Amnesty is not a plant, but then again Moscopol is a modernist. []
  22. Casa de Economii si Consemnatiuni, the Romanian state-operated savings bank. []
  23. Possibly Zinaida, Russian avant-garde actress. Should that be the case the connection is dubious, because the girl was talented on her own in the first place, wife of S. A. Yesenin in the second place and it seems altogether dubious she used or needed any help from Stalin & co to achieve success. They did kill her however. []
  24. Perhaps Yemelyan Mikhailovich Yaroslavsky, guilty of having written an accurate history of the early soviets which perforce included very little of Stalin, and indeed much too little for his taste. []
  25. Rudolf, pre Tito Czechoslovakian communist leader. []
  26. Together with Molotov these two were part of a short lived troika. Techically it was during the Zhukov supported Khrushchev coup that he got killed however, so the link to Malenkov seems unsupported. []
  27. Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov, NKVD head, involved in the doctor's plot debacle. []
  28. A particularly offensive instrument of Soviet behavioural control, especially effectual when applied to the spineless scum. []
  29. Principally remembered for having put the Romanian orthodox church at the disposition of the Soviet interest, a sad situation which was throughout hence maintained (with a brief interruption due to the late Iustin Moisescu) through the poisonous offices of Teoctist and survives to this day through the largely illiterate Daniel Ciobotea. He's also the guy that patronized the forcible conversion of 38 greek-catholic priests to orthodoxy, which led to their excomunication by the cardinal in pectoris Hossu which led to his arrest, torture and murder. Ex fructibus. []
  30. Kiríarhos, fancy way of saying bishop. Used in context with the intension of "headman". []
  31. Sebastian Rusan. []
  32. Perhaps rosacea. []
  33. Romanian proverb, sort of "Apple doesn't fall far from the tree". []
  34. Moscopol audibly supresses laughter on this line. []
  35. Literally, to pay tax with the fugitives.
    Historically tax was levied by social class or group, so in this sense "paying tax with the cooks" would be a periphrastic way to say one's a cook. The expression "paying tax with the fugitives" remained in Romanian as this humorous way to say "not paying tax at all", because obviously the tax rate apportioned to the fugitives will have to be zero. []
  36. Ie, Gheorghiu-Dej. []
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9 Responses

  1. stoarfa, boarfa. cloth related.

  2. Felicitari pentru articol.

  3. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    3
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 9 March 2014

    Noi sa fim sanatosi.

  4. Interesantă aducere aminte. Mulţumesc.

  5. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    5
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 10 March 2014

    Apai asta mai mult pentru straini, noi cica stiam.

  1. [...] Let me tell you about Jean Moscopol [...]

  2. [...] Mircea Popescu Apai asta mai mult pentru straini, noi cica stiam. [...]

  3. [...] Yet the progenial implication of the term "bastard" eludes him, and the obvious reference to "leaving their bastards in charge" idem eludes him. A faux pas is not, as commonly believed, the act of saying something that is [...]

  4. [...] For what it's worth it, I believe. And I also could have told him in 1960 that his efforts, not in spite but because coordinated, insistent, financed -- which is to say, not exactly impotent, outright and visibly so -- will in due time earn him a spot on the Enemies of The People List. Because that's how "The People" fucking work, what. You think Stalin did the Stalin purges ? What else do you think ? Intr-o tara comunista, cind esti fire arivista si-ai si-un caracter sinistru poti ajunge repede Ministru. Dupa ce-ncasezi la prime, si te faci partas la crime, esti bagat la inchisoare, si-apoi condamnat pentru tradare. ~ Jean Moscopol. [...]

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