The Romanian Reality TV Show

September 25, 2021 by Lucian Mogosanu

The more Septembers pass by, the more I realize that I don't have much to say to "the world at large" anymore. The process that led me to this particular thought is "complex and spans many aspects", as the man said, but regardless... I then quickly remember that my blogs, old and new, despite being connected to and thusly published within this vast virtual space that was once supposed to comprise an archive™, these blogs were never meant to be consumed by the public, as admittedly, the stuff I write is far too personal and sometimes maybe outright obscure. If to no one else then, each article here is an anchor that is useful to me, and thus I owe it to myself first and foremost to keep the stream of thoughts running. So -- note to self.

I must admit that I spent quite a bit of time this month attempting to extract something useful out of Google's video platform. I still think watching hours upon hours of "podcasts", "vlogs" and what have they is an utter waste of time, but I did it nevertheless, as a conscious act of getting an informed opinion on the subject. And my informed opinion remains that there's little actual information to get out of there and a lot of it says more about the mass of "viewers" rather than the content or the authors publishing it.

Anyways, among the many channels on YouTube, I discovered that of one Ion Cristoiu, an old timer who dubs himself "not only a journalist, but also a prosaist, essayist, historic and travel reporter" and who for some reason prefers to post his dailies on YouTube, despite owning a blog, like a civilized person. It so happens that I like Cristoiu even when he's dead wrong on some subject, mainly because when he is right, he is precisely right, and out of competence rather than sheer luck. I also like his personal and cultural pieces about as much as I dislike his insistence on approaching the same "façon du jour" political subjects, as if they're anything but the same tired old disc on repeat ad nauseam. I sincerely doubt he's in anybody's pocket, but for some reason (naïveness?) he talks about, say, today's governing party as if it were in any fundamental way different from yesterday's governing party and their misdeeds in any distinct way relevant to the times other than through the wreckage they bring. He notices, for example, that the party-people in question are breaking their own shitty laws by meeting in large numbers to elect their leader, but then he continues talking about said elections as if they were something worth mentioning, or in any case, something other than a small part of this circus that I will dub... The Romanian Reality TV Show.

I don't have much hope that Mr. Cristoiu will get to read this, but either way, I will make an effort to deconstruct The Romanian Reality TV Show for the reader's personal amusement. And even if you're not from around here, you'll perhaps recognize some similarities to the one where you live, or to the one that's been broadcasted worldwide in these past few years.

The Romanian Reality TV show began in some form or another in December 1989. Before this moment, Romanians had perhaps three hours a day of TV time, consisting mostly of news about how everything's fine, despite everything being pointedly not fine -- but I dare say that was another reality TV show, even though some folks from the old crew are still alive and kicking in the new one. The Romanian Reality TV show began with a climactic moment: the dethronement and execution of First Shoemaker Ceaușescu; then it immediately continued with all the guys who put their asses on the political scene starting in 1990. The actors came and went with each season, but regardless, the Romanian Reality TV Show went on and it got only more of a "Reality TV" in the coming years. Note the quotes: the fact that it's on TV is nowadays less relevant -- we may not say the same about the 1989 Revolution, which had occurred before Romania developed proper internets --, what's more relevant is that the script behind the show is more and more transparent to the naked eye, even though most of us plebs have no idea who wrote it.

Take Romania's recent "political crisis" for example. Mr. Cristoiu correctly sees how cheap of a circus this whole ordeal is: the Reds1 are playing the waiting game, while Johannis and his Liberals shout how "everything's fine" despite everything being pointedly not fine (sound familiar?)2, while the Young Pantsuits ask for help from their political enemies, the local "Extreme Right"3, to bring down a government of which the former have been a part until very recently. What crisis, this is a revolting shitshow meant at best to enact the reallocation of some slices of the political pie; at worst, it's meant to detract from some actual big problems, such as that of how Romania will very soon become an even more deeply indebted banana republic. Otherwise sure, "things" will settle down one way or another and in perhaps less than a month from now Romanians'll go through the next scheduled "covid lockdown". Not wholly unlike other reality TV shows in name as well as in essence, the script is laid down to its finest details, and the finer the details, the easier it is to notice the imposture and the lack of agency behind any so-called initiative.

Perhaps there's a few layers deeper to go into this deconstruction, but the level of pretense in the so-called "game of politicks" is simply too tiresome for yours truly, so I will leave the rest as an exercise for the reader4. I also doubt that this state of events and matters will change anytime soon; so then, I ask Mr. Cristoiu: what sense does it make to discuss works of fiction as if they were the real thing? rather than discussing... y'know, the real thing.

  1. I.e. the "Social-Democrat Party". Under Liviu Dragnea, PSD was a sort of Trump-esque conservative arrangement, trying to protect for example the small farmers, while at the same time trying not to upset the higher-up pantsuits too much. Regardless of how competent Dragnea might or might not have been, he still knew how to say no, so much like Trump a few years later, he got brutally kicked out of politics and the party leadership was replaced with some suspect (and suspectly quiet) pantsuits.

    Nowadays PSD fancies itself an "opposition" party, but so far since the last parliamentaries, all they've been doing is eating subventions from the public budget. Really, you won't believe how stupid Romanians are in their ignorance: even though at its lowest score since 1990, PSD still gets the highest subventions out of all the parliamentary groups in the 2020-2024 period, so I guess they're just milking it as best as they can. 

  2. Or, as the old saying goes, "the country burns while the old lady's combing her hair". Of course everyone who's not too busy watching TV sees how EUR/RON went up consistently in the last few weeks and how the "energy market liberalization" deals somehow reoriented towards enlarging the common man's anus and emptying his pockets -- not that it wasn't plainly visible to the trained eye that that's what said "liberalization" meant in the first place.

    Unfortunately almost everyone is too busy watching TV. This leads me to some interesting observations about marketing and the psychology of homo sapiens, which unfortunately I'm not interested in discussing with the public. 

  3. Young party with a somewhat charismatic leader, which sought and largely succeeded to gain political capital by filling the electoral void left by the dissolution of the Peasants' Party and to some extent Vadim's PRM (i.e. ye olde "Great Romania Party"). Others have tried and failed where Simion succeeded, or at least so far... I suspect that as a matter of fact they're no more competent than the Young Pantsuits, at least given their track record so far, but we'll have to see if they manage to break any ground. What with the Afghan retreat and all, the NATO days are quite possibly nearing their end, so Romanians would rather be in a conservative group with Hungary and Poland rather than without them... right?

    Now, in particular regarding the USRPLUS-AUR attempt at bringing down the government, I hope we all see that it was an attempt at an intergenerational conflict, i.e. between the Old versus Young party-people. What else could it be, and if it otherwise didn't make any sense at all, would it actually be something? And since they showed it on the tubes, could you say that it was nothing at all? You tell me. 

  4. Really, have you never wondered how political decisions are made in this day and age? 

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