Soukie's Place

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Archive for Cimrman

Czech Heroes (Considered) Fictional

Josef Švejk, Jan Welzl, Jára Cimrman. These are three distinct heroes of the Czech past. Two of them are fictional, one has often been incorrectly regarded as such, and one of them was prominent in the poll for the greatest Czech person ever.

If the hero manages to be fictional, he’s on the fast track to the hall of fame.

Not that Czechs would have a shortage of “regular” national heroes—there are Charles IV, Hus, Comenius, Dvořák, Kafka, Wichterle, Forman or Jágr (not to mention Pilsner Urquell, because beer almost does qualify here)—but the Czech mentality often prefers heroes of a not-so-international stardom and more-of-an-average abilities with non-standard achievements (a “Joe the Hero” who is best in something I don’t care about). And if on top of that the hero manages to be fictional or to become famous against his will, he’s on the fast track to the hall of fame. Continues »