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Our esteemed Slovak colleague and Seznam Zpráv editorial ombudsman Zuzana Kovačič Hanzelová from Deník SME recently complained during the live filming of Happy Monday at the X10 Theater that Czech journalists pay a little too much attention to the bizarre moments of the new Slovak government and miss the very essence of the “third Fic era”.
She demonstrated this on the example of the new Minister of Culture, Martina Šimkovičová, who is a figure comparable to, say, the Czech Jana Peterková – once a journalist of the largest commercial television, who at a certain stage of her life believed that the earth was flat and was carried on the backs of four elephants, and began to spread it around internet. The difference is that Peterková is not a member of the government. Yet.
The minister nominated by the Slovak National Party introduced herself in an official letter to her Czech colleague Martin Bax. In quality, it resembled the work of a not very intelligent artificial intelligence, however, with a certain perspective on it, we can wave our hand: It will happen. Or maybe she meant it as a joke. However, the next steps of the politician, who as a sideline to the position of minister also retained the role of moderator on her internet TV Slovan, showed that it was probably not a coincidence and that Slovakia has a lot to look forward to.
Of course, Zuzana Kovačič Hanzelová is right that there are much more serious things going on in Bratislava, such as purges in the security forces or the planned abolition of the special prosecutor’s office that focused on corruption. However, the increased activity of the Minister of Culture, whose report also includes the media and the laws that regulate them, is so remarkable that it is worth paying attention to them.
It is only a logical addition to the suffocating atmosphere that Fico’s government, so enthusiastically welcomed by Andrej Babiš and Tomio Okamura, is creating in Slovakia – certainly, probably to the satisfaction of its voters, who long for revenge and a definitive reckoning with the “other” half of the country.
Thus comes the good old fashioned culture wars and the invocation of “traditional order and order”, whatever that means. And Minister Šimkovičová is acting. As the right nominee of her nationalist pro-Russian party, she first concluded that Slovak culture should be… Slovak: “Slovak and no other. Respect for other cultures does not mean mixing them with Slovakia’s,” declared the politician, who is so proud of her country and its culture that she prefers to live next door in Austria.
We soon found out what it should look like. The agile minister first intervened in the “Telekom advertisement” affair. This is the one that is also used in the Czech Republic by one of the mobile operators and it has something about family and Christmas. However, the Slovak version is a little different. In it, the protagonist – a young man – states that he is “not looking for a girl” and that his family is too concerned about the quality of his sperm.
Several Slovaks complained about the advertisement, but the Advertising Council quite logically stood up for it. It would probably be forgotten soon, but Šimkovičová is already preparing a law that would ensure that similarly subversive advertising messages attacking the very essence of the state will no longer penetrate TV screens in the future.
I have a little doubt how exactly such a law will be formulated and whether it will include a list of seemingly neutral but subversive words like “sperm”. But this woman has already proven that she is capable of anything.
And therefore, understandably, he also knows fine art. Here, in the hallway of the Slovak Radio building, she was attracted by the painting “Two men” by Andrej Dúbravský, who is indeed a SLOVAK artist represented even in the SLOVAK national gallery and exhibiting SLOVAK art all over the world, but he is also gay and the minister found unacceptable LGBT aesthetics in his work – and of course he is preparing another law that would solve this in the future. Apparently the law about posting pictures.
Each of these stories in itself is just bizarre: The lady, for whom even the Czech SPD would be too serious a party and you would probably find her somewhere on the stage at Rajchlo’s, is simply showing her competence and intellectual equipment.
It’s not so. Among other things, Martina Šimkovičová votes in the government on many strategic issues that affect not only Slovakia, but the whole of Europe. And for that, he is systematically and concentratedly moving the entire country back to the times from which Slovaks woke up with horror for the last time less than four years ago, when the protific coalition even won a constitutional majority.
I think it’s quite an instructive story.
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