As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, a picture that a friend of mine posted popped out at me. I clicked on it, and it led to an article in Slovak. I can speak Slovak fairly well (at least I hope that I remember it well) but other than a few mostly Anglicized words, I had no clue what the article was about. But the picture at the top was kinda weird, so I’ll share it with you here, now, and maybe I can make heads or tails (or just heads) about it before going over to Google Translate.
This lovely sepia-toned image appears to be three women sharing one pillory. They seem to be of varying ethnicities: the left one, who we’ll call Barbara, seems to be white; the one in the middle (let’s call her Mimi) is of Asian descent, and Edith, the one on the left, could be black, East/Central Asian, Polynesian, or even Roma, since this is Slovakia. They don’t look like they are particularly close friends, as they are keeping their hands to themselves and staring in different directions in a bored manner. They are all wearing headscarves and modest dresses; perhaps they’re housewives or maids? Also, they appear to be wearing shoes that could be dance shoes, so maybe they’re some sort of Vaudeville act. You never know with Vaudeville. They are standing on a street corner, waiting for something. Maybe it’s their tour bus, or horse and carriage? Or maybe they’re wondering what the hell could be taking their husbands so long in the sporting goods store nearby.
Oh yeah – and then there’s the fact that they’re pilloried together. Why, I wonder? The Vaudeville scenario is still on the table, but there’s something sinister about this whole deal. Maybe they are witches, going on trial. Maybe they committed adultery. Maybe they’re just being silly, without the faces to match. The person who took this picture must have seen this, and done so for a reason. Why?
Now that I’ve asked the questions, let’s get the real answers.
When I left-click the photo, the alt caption that comes up reads “Chinese women in pillory small.” Okay, so they are Chinese. I could buy that for Mimi and perhaps Edith, but Barbara, not so much. She looks like she could be in the chorus of Fiddler on the Roof.
And now, for the translation.
KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.
Okay, not bad advice. But why?
Even though Google Translate did a poor job, as usual, I get that the gist of the article is that it’s an op-ed piece about Slovak voters in today’s Europe. The author, Michal Havran (translated as Michael Raven, which is actually a relatively awesome-sounding name), is arguing that politicians are dumbing things down and aiming to get back to “simple roots,” when, in fact, the world of politics is a complex place and has always been that way. Havran is in favor of overhauling the system and get rid of all the falsehoods.
But then, there’s the issue of the image.
What’s it doing up there?
The only explanation I can find (thank you, Carpenters) is that maybe Slovakia’s political parties and the European Union are welded together on a much stronger and closer level than what most Slovaks think. Another thought I just had is that maybe the women yoked together symbolizes the masses being strung along by Slovak/EU politics.
Or maybe Havran just saw the picture somewhere and liked it.
Havran, Michal. “V Jednoduchosti Je Hlupost.” Editorial. JeToTak.com. 27 May 2014. http://www.jetotak.sk/editorial/v-jednoduchosti-je-hlupost?fb_action_ids=641362855932707&fb_action_types=og.likes