Sunday, October 14, 2012

#50 - Ordnung muss sein

"Go and put your toys in order."

In Polish literally "Go and make order with your toys." In English we'd probably say "Go clean up your toys", and the child here would then wash them, but Racz is using the Polish form to make a subtle political point: the child has learnt that order is imposed by violence. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

#49 - The upside of Hell

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Hell really exists.

And those of you who come here have a
really awful time.

But, it's still better than life...

...and better than in Heaven.

I'm not entirely certain what the joke is here. I'm guessing Racz is illustrating the fact that people lie, and people who mean you harm will lie about what's in store for you, even to the point of saying that what's good is worse than what's bad.

I put it up though because a Polish girl once said something similar to me. Her name was Alina and we were talking at the end of a small party in a friend's apartment in Upper Silesia. I was planning to spend the night in the largest room of the apartment, which was unheated. Alina said that it was too cold, that I'd freeze. I said "That’s okay, if I die I’ll be in Heaven and I won’t have any problems." Alina replied, totally deadpan, without skipping a beat:

"But you don’t know what kind of problems there are in Heaven. It could be worse."

That impressed me deeply. It could be worse in Heaven. I have sometimes thought of myself as pretty pessimistic but Alina's words demonstrate a degree of bleakness and hopelessness I can only regard with awe.

This comic reminds me of the Polish blackness Alina introduced me to, a level of despair that Americans have barely tasted but that Poles have marinated in for generations. "Hell could actually be the better deal - have you considered that?" And what if it is. What if it is.