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Švejk [shvāke] Svejk

This blog is dedicated to the title character of The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War and his creator, Jaroslav Hašek.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

BRETSCHNEIDER'S EAR: A NATIONAL MEMORIAL

June 23, 2005 at 4:00 p.m. history was made once again in Lipnice on the Sázava River, Czech Republic where Jaroslav Hašek wrote Books Two, Three, and Four of his Good Soldier Švejk.

A relief of a human ear almost ten feet tall, chiseled in the face of a granite rock of the local abandoned Quarry #1 was unveiled. The work by a team of sculptors, Messrs. Radomír Dvořák, Martin Roháček, Jan Šíma, and Martin Šimek is titled Bretschneider's Ear - The National Memorial of Eavesdropping And Wiretapping.

Of course, Bretschneider was the "neighborhood patrolman, on loan and working undercover for the State Security Police", introduced to readers of Švejk in Chapter 1 of Book One. He is to neighborhood finks in Central Europe what Quisling is to collaborators in high places - the paradigm of their essence.

There exists an uncanny correlation between the 10,000 years the sculpture is expected to survive the corrosive effect of the elements, and the 10,000 wiretaps executed in the Czech Republic, a NATO member, annually. (see 'Normal' Czech police practice: Wiretaps installed on 100 out of every 100,000 inhabitants)

By comparison, "A total of 1,442 interceptions of wire, oral or electronic communications were authorized by federal and state courts in 2003, an increase of 6 percent over 2002", according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and "A total of 1,710 intercepts authorized by federal and state courts were completed in 2004, an increase of 19 percent compared to the number terminated in 2003." (see Interceptions at U.S. Courts.gov) That's in the U.S. where the population is approaching 300 million. In contrast, the population of Czech Republic is about 10 million. Shouldn't there be 300,000 wiretaps executed in the U.S. every year? (Just kidding ...)

Is it any wonder the Czech media practically ignored the unveiling event? However, quite a number of members of the Czech Parliament attended, including an MP who chairs a commission with jurisdiction over - you guessed it - wiretapping.

Under the headline "Vysočina bude mít památník odposlechů", i.e. "The Highlands [region] Will Have an Eavesdropping And Wiretapping Memorial" you can see a picture of the work in progress at this local Czech newspaper web site PDF page: http://extranet.kr-vysocina.cz/download/pdf/noviny/noviny5_05.pdf. (You can see the finished product in the "Sculpture" section of SvejkCentral.)

The subhead reads: "A Giant Ear of Stone on the Face of the Granite Rock of an Old Quarry Makes the Connections Between Communist-era Spying, Švejk, and Current Scandals."

This one is for Buddy Don ... and actually all hillbillies: Perusing the web in connection with this post I just found that "Lipnice", the name of the town on the Sázava River, is the same as Poa, a genus of about 500 species of grasses, native to the temperate regions of both hemispheres. Well, there is more. Common to the area is, it seems, "lipnice hajní", i.e. "Poa nemoralis - Wood Meadow-grass", the European cousin of Wood BLUE GRASS! I knew there was a reason ... There are no accidents! :-)

Well, on a personal note, one fifth of the last chapter of Book Two has been proofread. :-) And, I have posted the essay Tropos Kynikos by Peter Steiner among the Analyses at www.SvejkCentral.com, at last ...

1 Comments:

Blogger Dave Riley said...

You'll have to link the blog to the web site. But hey! Good one with what you are a doing re the 'good soldier' and his creator. He has been an inspiration of mine for years. I'll link....I think to the website. You also should archive the Lada stuff and the set designs Grosz did for Brecht's adaption for Erwin Piscator -- BB was the dramaturg on the project. They were very good. Very cartoonish.

The other aspect I am interested in is Jaroslav Hašek's membership of the Bolshevik Party which he served with soem merit despite his constitutional libertarianism. It even kept him off the booze somewhat.

3:23 AM  

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