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środa, czerwca 29, 2005

EUsterka! - Pipedreams in Poland

EUsterka! - Pipedreams in Poland

News Poland
by ~JS

From Jan Pawel the Pope to Piotr the Plumber, Poland is lately becoming a fixture in the Euro-media. Enough has already been blogged about regarding what the Polish plumber symbolizes for France (all that is wrong with an expanded EU, for example). Poland took this sour PR lemon and made sweet self-promoting lemonade.

However, was the point to actually bolster tourism? To stimulate a new genre of plumber jokes (Incidentally, do you know any?)? Probably not. Who looks more ridiculous in this caricature? The plumber-phobic French, or Disco-Polo Piotr? The well known truth about symbols is that they can't be made to mean only one thing. Those who create them lose control once they become de-contextualized, especially in the hands of hundreds of bloggers. Did you get the ironic pre-text here?

Could the Polish plumber symbolize the same kind of hope and opportunity for Poles that their beloved Pope John Paul II did? While the plumber image has been used to scare old EU members into protectionist postures, how is it playing in Poland (and the newer members in general)? Using the hope for better prospects - very real propects, as I read that in France alone, they need thousands of plumbers - in a country with double digit unemployment is always a delicate operation. Afterall, the image can reinforce damaging stereotypes and undermine the very things it seeks to promote.

I live in Poland, Warsaw to be precise, and can tell you that I have never met a Polish plumber, but I do meet and am friends with many talented and hardworking Poles from many professional sectors. From Popes to plumbers, Poles are hopeful. So, do you have any stories about Polish, or French plumbers? And how about those jokes?

I'm staying in Poland.
Come on over.

PS. For those thinking about a new career in the trade, enroll in a course.

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