Warsaw

Poland holds a special place in the hearts of Cold War Catholics, so I was thrilled to be able to spend a week attending a conference in Warsaw.  It really is a lovely city–at least the old town and university area I was staying in.  The monuments and churches, the outdoor restaurants and street performers, the beautiful girls revealingly attired for the summer heat–everything comes together to make a pleasant atmosphere.  Did I mention the girls?  Well, that’s not what I’m going to be talking about.  I want to talk about the monuments, because I think some of you will get a kick out of it.  I didn’t have a camera, so I’m going to grab pictures off of Google Commons.  I saw this stuff, though, so I can assure you that it’s really there.

360px-Kolumna_Zygmunta_statua_2006 Here’s a statue of King Sigismund III mounted on a column in Castle Square.  I don’t have anything in particular to say about this king, but doesn’t that statue kick ass?  I want more monuments of kings holding crosses and swords!

320px-Warsaw_Monument_II Here’s Copernicus, a lovely site to see each morning on my way to hob-nob with hundreds of other astronomers.  Right across from this statue is the church I attended, which I later learned houses Chopin’s heart.

Poland_Warsaw_Sobieski_Monument

When I read about this, I knew I’d have to go see it just to tell you guys I was there.  That’s King Sobieski, “Slayer of the Ottomans. Savior of Vienna” as the image description says.  Check out the larger image so you can see the serene and aloof look on his face as he rides over those Turkish bastards.  War monuments have a different style over there.  Living in America, I’ve seen lots of Civil War and World War I monuments.  They are always spare and somber, with some sort of plaque asking us to remember our poor soldiers who gave their lives for their country.  That’s nice, I guess.  In ages past, though, people didn’t build statues to remember how their boys got killed by the enemy; they built statues to remember how much ass their warriors kicked.  So here we’ve got Sobieski not making great sacrifices, but pulverizing the Ottoman without breaking a sweat.  Hell yeah!

Ronald_Reagan_in_Warsaw.4 There is one statue of an American in Warsaw.  That’s right–it’s Ronald Reagan.  I know, I know, Reagan wasn’t actually a good guy or a real conservative.  Still, the Poles are remembering him for being an anti-communist, and it warms my heart to think of someone getting a statue for that.  Plus, just think what a slap in the face it must be to the university students when they walk by this. Bwah ha ha ha ha!!

Another thing I saw a lot of:  statues of a mermaid brandishing a sword and shield–from the city’s coat of arms, apparently.

10 thoughts on “Warsaw

  1. Welcome to Poland =)

    About a slap in the face of the students, well, I’m not sure about percentages, but while surely there are commie types in Poland, thought rare, and also post-modern liberal and libertarian types, those 2 unfortunately quite common, there are also a lot of religious, a lot of nationalists, a lot of traditionalist conservatives, etc. Also among young students.

    I’m pretty sure the Reagan statue is not a slap in the face of these (or if anything, it might be for him not being right wing enough):

    They invented this curious symbol:

    Thought they are too extreme for my taste (specially since I’m an immigrant), it’s nice to see that there is a counter element against the powers of liberalism. They also make more traditionalist conservatives, like me, look moderate. In countries without a far-right the right-wing is immediately attacked by the left as being fascism. In Poland we can always show NOP and ask again if traditionalist conservatism is fascism.

  2. I’ve just returned from Europe myself, and like you I admire these relics of a strong and confident people. They are not bellicose, since their faces are, as you say, serene. There is no suggestion of wrath or rage. There’s just unapologetic strength and confidence. Sadly, they are all relics, though, since the modern European is, like the modern American, embarrassed by his own existence.

    By the way, the Civil War was the turning point for American monuments (not that there are many from the wars before that). Beginning with the Civil War, monuments served increasingly to remind Americans of the cost of a war, with the Vietnam Memorial in Washington taking this idea to its ultimate limit. I wonder if this is so because no one wants to commit himself to stating what the point has been in the wars of the past century.

  3. Reagan wasn’t actually a good guy or a real conservative.

    Pah, he was more good and more conservative than those who have disgraced the office since he left it.

  4. It’s always nice to read such fond words about my dear homeland, especially if it’s coming from someone whom I respect.

    Here’s another monument from Warsaw that I think is worth mentioning: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma%C5%82y_Powstaniec
    I can’t quite imagine many places in the western world that would be openly proud of the bravery of their child soldiers. And I’m pretty sure there aren’t many monuments depicting those children this badass. Just take a look at that face.

    • I don’t normally go for heavy metal**, but this song is awesome! And by a band named after a Knight’s foot armor, interesting.

      A band of heathens singing about Christian soldiers dying for a Christian land. Strange times we’re living in.

      **Heavy metal music is all too often just noise and vulgarity, and then there is the rampant nihilism…but every now and then you get a enjoyable track like this one. Heavy metal ‘artists’ (the northern european variety) seem to be among the only musicians who actually sing songs about battles and wars and warriors and whatnot, so among their many faults, that is at least one positive. I’m so tired of the usual trash about tween “romances” (read: puppy love) and sex, sex, sex.
      Another downside to this type of music is that alot of the bands are neopagans, and thus you get the pro-viking ballads (read: rape, pillage, and slaughter), and every now and then an anti-christian tune (read: remorse over the conversion of the pagans).

  5. I like this.
    Someday I hope to go to Poland myself, after all I am a large percentage Polish. And good point about the comparison between our statues and theirs. I have thought about that myself before, but I was never quite sure why it was so. Not that it’s wrong to remember the fallen, far from it, but I’m rather tired of the American version. Then again maybe it’s better that I don’t get into american hero worship. After all, while my european ancestors fought for the Faith, my american fathers fought to spread liberalism around the world. Kind of a sour memory, that.

    On a side note Bonald, for the love of God, stop the cursing/slang, it just makes you sound juvenile. Granted this wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could have been (or has been), but that’s not the point. I remember when I used to read you blog, and you would have these brilliant posts, with really penetrating insights, then it’d be followed by a thuddingly vulgar one-liner like “I sh*t you not” that would have me doing a facepalm and asking myself whether or not you were actually a 13-year old boy in disguise. Come on man! Your a Professor, not one of your punk students, act like it! FWIW your not the only one here like that, the same goes for Proph (at least on his blog, but maybe he’s cleaned up a bit since his conversion?). And no this is not a generational thing, because I’m younger than both of you, and I’ve never been like that.
    Cut the petulant vulgarism out, you’ll do yourselves, and our cause, better for it.

  6. Some months ago, I also visited Warsaw. In fact, I, too, was there on academic business. The Old Town is indeed beautiful, though the city also contains plenty of butt-ugly (sorry, Manwe) slabs of concrete, especially on the outskirts. (Then again, what city in the former Soviet block doesn’t?) While there, I met a philosophy professor who was an unapologetic Catholic and nationalist, and I got the feeling that his point of view was not all that unusual or controversial in the Polish academy–certainly not as much so as it would have been in Western Europe or North America. That gave me hope for the future.

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