Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A quick history lesson

Make it full screen. With many thanks to The Plump (and he to John).

I wish the changing map had a timeline attached to it. Naturally I am watching Hungary, but am puzzled sometimes to see it writ large and Austria small. Up until the Ottoman invasion in the early sixteenth century the size of Hungary was more or less as shown on the map. You can see Suleiman's forces sweeping up the map and squeezing what remained of Hungary into a corner. The Ottoman empire reaches the gates of Vienna before being driven back by John Sobieski. But once the Turks are out it is the Vienna Habsburgs who rule. Even under the Austro-Hungarian Empire the Hungarians are very much number two. The map presents Hungary as a major European force from near the end of the seventeenth century. It wasn't that.

One important strand of my argument in the photo essay (now sent) is that the Hungarian psyche comes furnished with an apprehension of instability. It is prepared for flux, for displays of courage, for encounters with fear, for loss of control (including self-control) its baggage ready packed for another wave of migration, so when Hungarian photographers move abroad it is what they take with them. In this respect, it has been pointed out, the Hungarian psyche resembles the Jewish psyche.

It may then be that Hungary's periodic fits of anti-Semitism are a forestalling device. The Jews are the chief bearers of the fated psychological gene. Get rid of them so we don't catch the illness we have suffered often enough in the past.

And, of course, most of the migrant photographers and intellectuals of the Hungarian 1920s were Jewish.


Poet in Residence said...

George and The Plump, I enjoyed that even if it's like an incurable skin disease with continual eruptions and weeping sores and other irritations. Let's hope it settles down, at least for a while.

Unfortunately, George, I feel duty bound (re the junior partner issue) to remind readers that it was after all the Hungarians with their victory over the Swiss who left the door open, somewhere near Basel, for the first Habsburg to appear in his White Tower.

George S said...

I feel duty bound...

Yes, I just knew that had to be a mistake.