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Author Topic: Absolute Warhola  (Read 1540 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jennifer
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« on: October 16, 2004, 02:55:04 PM »

This is an interesting film.  It's a documentary about Andy Warhol's family back in Slovakia.  The producers visit the town where Warhol's parents were born and talk to Warhol's cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.  It gives a little insight into that world which unfortunately appears to be dying.  There is a brief scene in the village church which is presumably Byzantine Catholic.  Interestingly, it has pews.  It shows some of those lovely Ruthenian crosses.  
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2004, 05:40:30 PM »

Where did you view this, Jennifer?
The Warhol Museum is on northside Pittsburgh a couple hours away - I never visited.

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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2004, 06:35:25 PM »

I rented it at Blockbuster.  The movie talks about another Warhol museum in a Slovakian village.  One of the more amusing scenes in the movie is when a group of Gypsies standing outside yell at they are not allowed in the museum.  The director responds that they are allowed in the museum but dirty people who steal aren't allowed in the museum.  Obviously there are significant racial tensions between gypies and ruthenians.
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2004, 07:11:03 PM »

When I was in Slovakia I witnessed this.  Everyone talked very badly about gypsies, and I being the typical American egalitarian found this offensive. Of course I am not stupid enough to be rude in other people's countries so I just said something like "it must be tough to get along with such people."

I do not know if Gypsies really do steal as a part of their culture but there does seem to be a real difference in the proportion of crime being committed by them. Of course this could very well be due to their poverty--I tend to be one of those "liberals" who thinks the reason minorities have higher crime rates in America is because they are poor, and if you get them out of poverty then they will stop being criminals in many cases. But of course maybe I am totally off. Smiley

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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2004, 11:42:43 PM »

About a decade ago when I travelled to Belarus, there were warnings to US visitors to not accept anything from gypsies at bus or train stations.  I don't remember if this was a State Dept warning or just something in a travel guide.  Anywho, I was advised the same by the locals when I arrived, being that gypsy children or women would try to hand off a flower or some cheap object to you and then yell, "He didn't pay!", within earshot of the police.  These sort of scams and traps are, from what I was told, a part of their culture and not considered dishonest in their view.  You've got a roving society that's pretty much resisted assimilating the values and habits of the societies they reside in, and that would include settling down in normal homes and having normal professions where they could take advantage of schools and other social programs.  It's really too bad for their children.
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2004, 11:01:49 AM »

Regarding gypsies...

In my experience traveling, I have seen that many of the stereotypes of gypsies hold true.

A favorite tactic in crowded cities is for a couple children to fight each other in the street to draw a crowd (especially tourists), while another urchin works the perimeter picking pockets.

I also have a friend who has spent considerable time in Spain and he has nothing to kind to say about them either.

I've seen Gypsy women board metro trains with a baby, holding signs asking for money to feed the child as they stare right at you, holding out cups.

My friend steadfastly refused to give anything, telling me he has seen it all before and he doubts that the child is even hers. (meaning in his opinion gypsies use their children as collective props for their scams)

I know this post sounds harsh, but my friend is a textbook liberal who moved to Africa to help people suffering from AIDS - after getting a master's degree in development work. He has a very big heart.
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2004, 11:13:14 AM »

Interestingly, it has pews.  It shows some of those lovely Ruthenian crosses.  

I have not seen a Greek Catholic church anywhere in Central or Eastern Europe without pews.  That means in:  Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland and Romania.  In fact, in Romania the local GC priest that served as our guide took us to an Orthodox church that he said was formerly GC but had not been returned.  He said everyone knows it is formerly GC because it has pews.
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2004, 11:16:28 AM »

About gypsies.  Having travelled thru Slovakia and Hungary, over and over, by train and by car and having taken courses in Slovakia over a couple of summmers it has become clear to me.  There is a problem.  Although I will admit the biggest problem I ever had with gypsies was in Rome, they were the boldest.  In Romania there were plenty of kids doing their thing on the street too.
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2004, 06:17:30 PM »

>>>Obviously there are significant racial tensions between gypies and ruthenians. 

I wouldn't say that's the case at all.

My family comes from about 10 miles from Mikova (the Warhola family's village that's the setting for most of Absolut Warhola), about 15-20 miles from Medzilaborce (where the Warhol Museum in the movie is located).  My impression, having visited the area 5 times since 1996, is that the Roma and the Rusyns live mostly separate lives of peaceful coexistence.  There is no particular "tension" among them except that in *some* villages the Roma are marginalized and live on the outskirts of the village (in some cases in squalor).  In other places, they speak Rusyn (rather than Slovak), they are members of the local Greek Catholic or Orthodox parishes, they participate in local commerce (buying and selling), and there is even intermarriage with the villagers (unusual but it happens).

It's in the large towns (like Medzilaborce) and the cities (like Presov and Kosice) where they are more like "untouchables".  My Rusyn and Slovak friends from the cities all report admit pretty much a similar outlook:  they have no Roma friends and while they don't seem to harbor resentment or hostility towards the average Roma people, they do have some prejudice and suspicion against them.

The scene from the movie, with the Roma complaining about the museum supposedly barring them from entry, is not due to ethnic tension per se (the particular Slav ethnicity of the museum staff is irrelevant); rather, it is more similar to a "back of the bus" and "whites only" attitude that the Roma, unfortunately, seem to have earned.
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