Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hungarian Authoritarianism, Art Version

I have addressed the demise of Hungarian democracy before.  This story does a nice job of showing the implications of this decline in the world of culture. When Hungarian producers of culture find it safer to put their stuff in Germany, that speaks more about how far Hungary has fallen than to Germany's positive qualities.  However, since I bust on Germany all the time for relatively half-hearted efforts, this article reminds us that Germany has come to grips with its past and Hungary needs to do so as well.  It is once thing to have a center-right party, it is quite another to have policy-makers and politicians seeming to emerge from 1938.

I am supposed to be going to Budapest in the summer for a conference, but I must say that I am thinking twice about it.  I had no qualms about going to Berlin in 2009 but probably would have avoided Berlin in 1937.  Is putting Budapest 2013 in the same ballpark as Berlin 1937 appropriate?  Probably not, but perhaps soon it will be.  And I am disturbed as hell.  I loved Budapest during my visits between 2002 and 2004 for my second book.

I hate seeing a very fine country brought so low because the institutions and an electoral outcome have facilitated the rise of autocracy.  It is incredibly sad.

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