ONE MORE EXAMPLE OF MANY WHEN I LAUGHED AT ANOTHER POLITICALLY CORRECT FUNERAL | 2003-07-19
Back while the Soviets were still occupying Hungary, I was listening to a tour guide in Budapest.
At that time everybody still remembered that the Soviet Army had brought in troops from the Orient to crush the 1956 Budapest uprising.
No one in Soviet-occupied Budapest dared mention the 1956 slaughter. So I was wondering if Hungarian hatred of the Soviet occupation might come up the way things do come up in totalitarian societies, in an underground joke.
It did. At one point the Hungarian guide pointed across the river where there was an old fortress with a huge hammer and sickle on it.
That place with the hammer and sickle, said our Hungarian guide, had been the Turkish center of power when the Turks occupied the other side of the river. The Turkish cruelty centered in that tower was legendary. It was a strong fort, but none of the many armies who occupied Budapest since then had ever used that fort. The Turks had such a horrible reputation that that hideous site had been left unoccupied.
Then, the guide went on, in the late 1950s the people of Budapest had made that old Turkish fort into a memorial to Soviet troops who died "liberating Budapest." The Soviets were very proud of this touching tribute and Soviet troops visited it regularly.
I caught myself, once again, laughing out loud. As always, everybody else looked at me like I had a tulip growing out of my forehead. The guide didn't laugh either, though I think her look was very friendly.
Everybody in Budapest understood the joke except the Politically Correct ones. The ancient sign of unimaginable tyranny had been reopened by the people of Budapest with a huge hammer and sickle on it. The Politically Correct Soviets saw nothing funny about that. The Politically Correct European and American college graduates around me saw nothing funny about that.
I have never met an intelligent Hungarian who was not in on the joke. Except the Marxists, of course, and I did say "intelligent"?