Monday, April 9

Dear Leader In Budapest


Got to spend a sizzlingly hot July 2017 day in Budapest. The city baked beneath a squint-making sun. Stupidly I chose a seat atop one of those sightseeing busses where the sun melted both my brain and this place's urban charm. Finally, in center-city we found an outdoor café where, from across the street, this facade glowered down - bringing to mind the Soviet Big-Brother who'd imprisoned Hungary. But in reality, this sign was cultural appropriation from another land - mine. Do young Hungarians get off on Totalitarian Art? Is that how U.S. pop music's enjoyed?
I've read Europeans intellectuals dismiss the U.S. as the place that went from savagery to decadence without passing through civilization. And  yet here Hungarians scar a grand (if dingy) piece of their architectural inheritance with this! It is as if someone stirred a stinky boot into the goulash. 
Still, I'm thinking this image of that dichotomy offers so much to both emotionally and intellectually fill exactly the right spot in a hip-elegant living space. You think?




BTW: What's the English equivalent of the word 'Mandoki'? It sounds vaguely Asian, no? Just how far east had we travelled? :-)

2 comments:

Cedric Canard said...

Nice one. Makes for an excellent print. It would be a real talking point. I mean, how many people would wonder whether there were windows behind that billboard?

As for the name "Mandoki", not what I would've expected from Hungary. It doesn't seem to mean anything but I did find the following stats about it:
Usage: 2% as a first name, 98% as a surname. Mandoki as a first name was found 4 times in 2 different countries. (USA, Hungary) whereas as a Surname it is used at least 174 times in at least 12 countries.

Ted said...

Hope you've seen the comment you made to my last posting Cedric. You are CORRECT sir: I did not even think of the offices/apartments/whatever which now have their windows capped. WTF? Talk about destroying property value. Not only is the sign astonishingly tacky, but while it deteriorates the building's historical appeal, it simultaneously renders much of the interior useful only for storage. Talk about short term greed! Does the ancient city of Budapest lack zoning boards? Are they for sale? Where's the community self respect?

Mandoki sounds vaguely like the name of one of Attila's generals, right? It seems to come from the far-east through a modification by the Russian Steppes. What is the history of the Hungarian people? Did the Huns get this far south? 19th and early 20th century Budapest seems to reek of old-world elegance, but it's seemingly decaying under Mandoki tastelessness. Has this anything to do with the Soviet lack of understanding of the concept of depreciation as a cost? Are many of the city's buildings too far gone to rehabilitate after the lack of essential maintenance and upkeep? are there cities like this that have become Potemkin Villages filled with building-like shells in places that can no longer amass sufficient capital investment to reinvigorate them?

Odd, but something shared in the inner cities of America where cancerous deterioration has been reinforced by technological obsolescence of so many structures and their functionality.