Now and then I buy a humouristic monthly named Sorry. Its circulation is small – in my experience, even most newsagents don’t know about its existence. Perhaps, if it was better known, it would no longer exist, because the people behind it don’t give a fuck about political correctness. Which of course appeals to a staunch supporter of freedom of speech like myself.
Mind you, I’m not after saying they go to the other extreme. They’re ready to publish anything (although there is an obvious tendency towards preferring black humour) as long as they consider it funny. They’re simply not afraid that somebody might start screaming “I’m being discriminated against!” or “This is offensive!” or some such bullshit.
I mention the magazine for a different reason. The centre spread is occupied by the even older (initially student) affair called Fámyzdat. This is naturally an allusion to samizdat; the first part, “fámy”, means “rumours”. True to its name, it’s traditionally dedicated to wordplay, mostly targeted at politicians and other celebrities.
Reading its May issue I realized once again how much I’ve grown away from this country, despite the fact I’ve lived here all my life. Half the jokes I either didn’t get at all, or only understood them from the context, which is no fun either. A wordplay on a new archbishop’s surname isn’t funny when you only make the surname out from the wordplay, as you hadn’t even known the person existed. A parody on an advertisement’s text isn’t funny when you’ve no idea what the original text was. And so on.
This isn’t meant as a complaint. I don’t like this country as much as to care how much I know about it. Same goes for adverts and most celebrities anywhere. According to Thomas Berger you could almost fail to notice there was the Civil War if you lived in the Wild West. I’m told many sportsmen, musicians and others travel the world without learning any more about the places they visit than if they stayed at home. For my part, since adolescence I’m slowly but steadily growing ever less interested in, and consequently acknowledged with, what’s happening in this state.
I don’t regret this. I’m learning the more about countries and peoples dearer to my heart.