“You Poles are so, so…, erm, cultured! Yes, that’s the word, cultured!”
My English musician friend used to tell me that whenever we used to meet in a pub years ago to talk all things Polish (for his benefit) and all thing British (for mine).
What he meant was probably this: most Poles are not afraid of so-called high culture, they see it as an important part of their lives. And I suppose that’s still the case nowadays when Polish TV schedules overflow with numerous variants of Britain’s Got Talent and Dancing on Ice. Being an intellectual (not always synonymous with ‘cultured’, mind) is, unlike in Britain, not a sign of snobbery. It’s a sign of much-admired sophistication. Of being ‘cultured’.
Now those of you who are more interested in poetry, art, literature, non-commercial music etc. from Poland have a great source of the latest cultural news.
Biweekly is a great, recently launched website in English (with a Polish version too) and I like how they justify their existence:
We came upon such a sentence: ‘culture is not an obligation, one can do very well without it’ (Kot Jeleński). And we do not dare to state otherwise.
Yet, there are those, who, for some reason, do not want to live without it. Maybe they do remember Witold Gombrowicz and, just like him, they desire culture without all this juvenility and senile atrophy, butterflies and rainbows, dust and exaltation, patriotic and pseudo-intellectual demands.
The site has great content, very well written and well translated. Its eclectic collection of contributors makes it quite addictive.
Highly recommended. If you like feeling cultured, that is.