Saturday, August 27, 2016

Comrade, that skirt is too short!

Given all the recent media debate over what women should and should not wear in public, surrounded by clashing ideologies, I decided it was time to post another classic Hungarian pop culture reference that is both quotable, relevant, and completely unknown outside of Hungary.

This scene is from the classic movie A tanú (The witness, 1969), which is pretty much the Communist Era in a nutshell. It would take too long to explain all the thinly veiled criticism and biting sarcasm crammed into the film; you can purchase it on DVD with English subtitles, so I suggest you watch it instead.
The conversation, happening between Comrade Virág (a communist official) and his secretary, translates as follows:

"Comrade Gogolák, a moment please! That is a new skirt on you isn't it?"

"It is new, comrade Virág."

"It is brief. Let's leave sexuality to be the opium of the declining West! We don't need this."

The irony in the conversation, of course, is Gogolák's none-too-sexy knee-length skirt, that is being labeled "too sexual" by the man staring at it up close.

"Comrade! That skirt is brief!" is often quoted by people who have seen the movie. And "let's leave sexuality to be the opium of the declining West" also has a hipsterific ring to it.