Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The labyrinth

As I have been attempting to continue my study of the Polish language, I have come to the belated realization that in an odd way my textbook represents a microcosm of Poland. When I at college studying Polish last year, the professor assigned us a textbook "W labiryncie" based on the Polish soap opera of the same name from the late 1980's, episodes of which are used to complement the book. I have continued to use them for my independent study.

It's sort of like the Polish version of Dynasty or Dallas. It has more or less the same issues of bourgeois intrigue writ large: infidelity, the status game at the workplace, the battle between the cohesiveness of a family and outside adversity, the things that will move a woman's attention, and so on. But, compared to the American epics, the glam quotient is dialed down from 11 to 2.5, say. There's a drabness quality to everything we see, like cars or laboratories and the production values are very poor. But as important as those things are, the real drama doesn't depend upon them.

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