The Politics of bad manners
Tell the Bulgarians that they are “bad human material” and you go on to win a landslide election. Boyko Borisov can only conclude that blunt brutality combined with as many photo opportunities as possible guarantees entry into the history books as Bulgaria’s Most Popular Politician. (BMPP)
The problem for BMPP is that he has to find ministers capable of filling the corners of Government that with his busy press schedule he is unable to reach. Once we get past the mournful Minister of the Interior and the keen bespectacled Minister of Finances, his team looks pretty thin. But one of his most extraordinary decisions was to turn a History Professor into a Minister in his government.
Anyone who’s been to university knows what History Professors are like. They sit in their book-lined offices and pontificate about the past. They are waspish and they brook no dissent. They are jealous of their colleagues and know that their reputations depend as much on outrageous eccentricity as academic output.
Bozhidar – the name means Gift of God – Dimitrov – a name he shares with Bulgaria’s first Communist leader – fits this stereotype. With his careerist background in the Communist party, BMPP’s decision to make him a minister had many Bulgarians gasping in astonishment and a few rubbing their hands in anticipation of many embarrassments to come.
For Bozhidar Dimitrov was to be a Minister without Portfolio – a delightfully mysterious position – rather like a libero in an Italian football team, allowed to play his own game. Liberos though are not meant to score own goals, but it took the peppery minister a matter of days before he managed to upset the Macedonians, the Turks, Bulgarian Moslems and the extreme nationalists in his own constituency of Burgas. Still with enemies like these, you can get to be quite popular.
Sensing a rival, BMPP moved quickly to clip his wings and define his responsibilities. Dimitrov was to become God’s Gift to the millions of Bulgarian emigrants living outside Bulgaria. These Bulgarians, who regularly send large sums back to the motherland, would now be able to turn to the Professor for help with notoriously unsupportive embassies. The problem of passport renewal gave the Minister the opportunity to share the frustration of his emigrant countrymen. However complaints about embassies merely drove him into a rage. Bulgarians in Argentina, USA and Australia should stop whingeing, take unpaid time off and get their sorry arses back to Bulgaria, if they wanted to renew their passports.
Upsetting the diaspora is unlikely to be noticed by the locals, who face their own problems with renewal of passports. But as the Professor proved a week ago he can go the extra mile when it comes to abuse.
Perhaps the irascible minister was trying to imitate BMPP’s calling-a-spade-a-spade approach when he called his fellow Bulgarians “This fucking nation” and went on to compare Bulgarian women with Russian prostitutes.
It should have been so different. In his capacity of Greatest Living Historian he had come to view the casket discovered in Sozopol, and back the claim that it contained the remains of St John the Baptist. The cause of his intemperate outburst was the persistent questioning of a TV reporter daring to quote archaeological experts who had cast doubt on the greatest discovery of the 21st Century. In the ensuing rant he implied that it was typical of the fucking nation that instead of universal rejoicing at the discovery of Christ’s precursor, knives were being sharpened by fucking jealous colleagues.
The minister’s bad mood was not improved by the sight of nubile Bulgarian women pressing into the Sozopol church, eager for a sight of the reliquary casket. It was a hot day in the seaside resort and our Minister without Modesty was quick to notice women’s nipples poking through scanty off shoulder tops in church. Out came the hurtful comparison. Russian women – even “the greatest whores” – cover up their breasts with a shawl when they enter a church.
This lack of tact has led to a predictable outpouring of fury from the “uniquely long suffering” Bulgarian nation and an immediate appearance in the Burgas main street of grim faced young men from the Young Socialist League calling on all true Bulgarians to sign a petition demanding Dimitrov’s resignation. Spokeswomen are never hard to find and so a representative of Bulgarian womanhood has demanded a groveling apology from the minister. Bulgarian women didn’t go through five hundred years of Turkish misery to be compared to Russian harlots.
For some, the speed to take offense exceeds that of an overtaking driver swinging out against oncoming traffic and flashing his desperate lights at death. Who would dare to deny Bulgarians the right to be angry? They have been fucked by successive regimes for the last hundred years. That’s even before we get to the previous five hundred.
At the same time comments added to newspaper web pages show an equal number of Bulgarians eager to offer their support to the embattled Minister. What’s the fuss? He’s telling the truth! These are the self flagellating cries of the execrable tribe school of critics who are forever lamenting the shortcomings of their nation.
Meanwhile Bozhidar Dimitrov has now been renamed Shibidar Shibinov or Fuckhead Son of Fuck. His lack of portfolio now seems irrelevant. He is just Minister without any self control or manners.
Under attack he has fallen back on my Grandmother’s classic defense when her sharp tongue caused a massive family row. They’ve taken me up all wrong! First, he wasn’t talking about the whole nation – just the tribe of archaeologists. Second, it’s all a case of semantics.
The Professor explains. He had used the word shiban. My Bulgarian- English dictionary gives the English equivalent as fucking – or even fucked as it is a passive form. Bozhidar states the word was not meant to be taken as pejorative. He is after all a Professor and in any unfucked nation, Professors demand respect. According to him shiban comes from the verb shibam which means to beat with a cane – nothing at all obscene!
Well that’s all right then. Nothing wrong with a bit of Corporal Punishment. The Bulgarian nation is bent over ready for the cane, and who better to wield it than BMPP!