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Polish Memes 101



  • There is love everywhere, I already know
    Considering the number of conflicting explanations for what's going on that already exist, literally everybody will find means of supporting how they view the past.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Just so you know, some enterprising individual put together a collection of several thousand cenzopapa pieces. Figured it would make a nice addendum to the entries I posted before. Website's in Polish, but it should be simple enough for a non-speaker to navigate it without much of a problem.

    The gallery is here: https://chomikuj.pl/NarodoweArchiwumPapieskie
  • There is love everywhere, I already know
    some enterprising individual put together

    Praise the guy with too much time on his hands and a great deal of memetic verve.
  • edited 2021-03-03 23:24:42
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    So, I've been thinking, it's been a while since the last entry in this thread. I considered writing a post on Schopenhauer memes, because it doesn't seem to be as popular a genre in the West, then I pondered a while on the Black Volga as a classic that could match the vanishing hitchhiker, but ultimately decided I'm gonna write an update on one of the strains I have already described.




    In one of the previous entries, I have described how the President (with guest appearances by his family) became a meme. This is going to be a short update intended to cover what's changed since his election. Needless to say, this is going to involve politics a bit.

    Although many have speculated that the Prezzie will grow to be independent of his party - the office of the president is little beholden to party politics, save for reelection - Duda has not made much of an impression. While nobody really expected any Sarajevos, umbrella openings, or extrajudicial killings of posters of cenzodudas, he rather failed to build up an independent power base or pretty much any image of an active politician. As time passed, this impression only strengthened - his overall reputation on the internet (barring places that are specifically supportive of the ruling party) is that of a guy who only ever skis and signs whatever's passed to him, and he's became known by nicknames such as "the ballpen", or by the name "Adrian", which appeared in a satirical show and was intended to show that not even his own party cares about him (hint: his name is Andrzej).

    This has had an impact on his memetic depictions. For one, it's been a long time since I have seen any Sarajevo meme. While they are deliberately absurd, not to mention, depict him as a war criminal, they also assign a measure of agency to him (you need to have some to be a genocidal warlord). Also, his daughter, whose looks earned him some points by association among the young male memester population, went under the radar a few years ago. Technically, that should still leave his depiction as a rambunctious schoolboy, but even that seems to have mostly vanished from the internet. So, what's left? Well, I have seen a photoshopped image of him as a "gigachad", but for the most part, the newer memes show him as a happy-go-lucky, clueless guy showing up in various random places, sort of Mr. Bean of politics, using some of the older memetic images now repurposed for less flattering depictions.

    In fact, the role of the memetic bad guy was taken over by the prime minister. A banker by trade, he's somewhat ill-fitting to the rest of the Party, a big city technocrat kind of guy in the company of ideological crusaders and lifelong apparatchiks who nonetheless seems to carry the favour of the Supreme Leader. Unlike the Dudie, who's nothing like the way he was depicted at first, memesters generally build upon the Mattie's background as a money man, depicting him as a bankster, or more often, a harsh tax man who will tax even the taxes you are taxed with just for the sadistic pleasure of having driven your small business into the ground. This is still silly ("two bourgeois exploiters broke into the house of H U G E prime minister, who held them for two days and taxed many times"), but at least, as a prime minister he has more to do with taxes than Dudie ever had with Sarajevo.
  • edited 2021-07-01 17:03:36
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    You know, for some time I have struggled with the idea to write something. It's been a while since the last post, but I was not sure which meme to pick. There are the Schopenhauer memes, which are probably the worthiest, but even they don't seem to be a societal issue on the scale comparable to our previous topics. So, I didn't ever get around to seriously thinking about them. But, I still had that notion that I should keep you guys entertained. And so, for a change, I had the idea to give you a short list of the most prominent Polish urban legends.


    First things first, while I may update this post or otherwise continue when I come up with new entries, this is all based on what I can come up with. Since I write for the most part from memory and don't quite go out of my way to piece together a bibliography section, then unless I specifically stumble upon a good source, there might be some that have eluded me. Also, I would prefer to omit explicitly political conspiracy theories. They're less fun to read, except when particularly loony, but even then you don't quite have the notion of harmless fun.

    The order is more-or-less based on what I find, at the moment, dramatically appropriate. I guess I could put it on the basis of, like, chronology or whatever, but then we're back to whether or not it makes for more enjoyable reading. Oh, and I think what will actually make it better is to compare it to urban legends from abroad, so I'll do that.


    1) FOXBIT, or THE RABBOX, and the related phantom creatures

    In Polish: królis, a portmanteau of królik, "bunny" or "rabbit", and lis, "a fox". Allegedly, it was a mutated creature from Chernobyl that found its way into Polish forests (mostly a specific forest complex/national park near Warsaw), looking like the cross between exactly the creatures you expect.

    The "rabbox", if I may call it so, was supposed to scare those who took a walk in a forest, chew through car wiring and rubber parts, and so on. Decidedly unlike a bunny, and probably unlike a fox either. I am told there even were media warnings about the creature, along with reports by terrified citizens.

    It's my speculation only, but I believe the rabies scare might have been a factor in the legend. Admittedly I'm not sure when the scare started, or even if it had a specific beginning point, but I remember from my childhood the warnings to stay away from stray animals, and the public service announcements about the immunisation efforts. The latter mostly worked in such a way: bits of bait containing doses of rabies vaccine were spread, by airplane IIRC, so that animals would eat them. And by "animals", I mean predominantly foxes, which brings us back to them. Like I said, I don't know, but this seems like a clue.

    According to my sources this legend became popular, you guessed it, in late Eighties and early Nineties, to die down as time (and memories of Chernobyl) passed. I haven't ever heard of it, until I've read some sort of press article. Having read about it again in a book about the mindsets during the circa-'89 transition period, it became kind of an inspiration to write this post.

    Now, on to the similarities to other legends. This is not really a cryptid story in my opinion; it might fit the definition, but it doesn't seem quite there. Cryptid legends seem to stay for a longer time than this one. Perhaps we missed the mark: it failed to reach the threshold of popularity to become a cryptid story, like some sort of a folkloric brown dwarf. Did not stay for long enough, or was not tied strongly enough to a specific place, so it waned from popular memory instead, to be remembered only in the context of the chaotic period of political and economic transition, as a crazy story people told each other against the backdrop of all the other crazy things that were happening around them.

    So anyway, instead of among cryptids, I'd place it in the same context as the Phantom Cats.

    Do you know about the Phantom Cats? It's a popular British urban legend, but also an Australian one, and propping up in other places as well. Including, you guessed it, Poland, but I'll get back to that in a while.

    The British version is about big cats - think panthers, not bobcats - appearing in the British countryside, supposedly as a result of being let loose from some illegal private zoo. It's quite an old one, and much ink has been spilled, including the supposed links to Celtic mythology, folklore, and the assorted stuff. Sometimes it's mixed with conspiratorial thinking along the lines of "government denies knowledge (of big cats), doo dee doo dee dee doo", but that's rather tangential to the core story.

    Like I said, in Poland, we had a case a few years ago. There was a sighting, media reported on it, and people from various parts of the country began to claim they have seen one. The fact that media reported every of these supposed cases probably explains a lot. For what it matters, the issue was officially settled with a claim that these people just saw a bobcat and/or a lynx and drew associations with the media craze rather than with a rare, but perfectly mundane, animal.

    But you know, we also recently had a case of a guy who lived in a forest with a pet cougar. Had this cougar escaped, we might've had a genuine case. And in this light, the Phantom Cat story becomes slightly less silly. Now, does this tell us something about the rabbox? Well, who knows? Perhaps somebody was bit by a rabid fox, and the story grew in the telling.


    Whoa, it's longer than I expected. I guess I'll be adding new entries in separate posts after all.


    minor edit: I've decided to add a few links that may count as sources. Most are in Polish, so this is more-or-less an exercise in thoroughness, but here they are.
    https://e-teatr.pl/nieboskie-stworzenie-r56441 - a televised play about the rabbox

    Also, the period sources elude me, but what I can reach agrees that without a media craze, there might have been no rabbox legend. I've mentioned that media had a hand in spreading this story, but perhaps I should have placed more of an emphasis on their role.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    The urban legend tradition is alive and well =D
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    By the way, guys, do you want me to link sources to stuff I post? I tend to work under an assumption that what's not in Polish can be easily googled or found on wikipedia, but perhaps I'm just lazy.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    It'd probably be useful for posterity, but I don't really mind either way.

    it's not like urban legends are properly sourced anyway
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    So, have you heard about the Amber Room? In short, it was a full rooms' worth of decorations of Baltic amber - it's described as a whole room, so I guess, it's everything, from wall panels to furniture to decorations. I always mess up the details, so the minimal amount of history is that it was constructed in 18th Century for Frederick I of Prussia, and vanished during evacuation of Prussia in late stages of Second World War. In my parts of the world, it's considered exactly the kind of lost treasure that Indiana Jones would search for.

    (Podlasie Nowak? Khokhloma Ivanov? Pripyat Kravchuk?)

    Part of the mythos, as you may have guessed, is that nobody knows where it is. As in, it was never confirmed to have been destroyed in any unquestionable manner. (It is presumed to have been destroyed, since that's the most sensible option, but it's not, like, sure.) So, there always are some folks who dig up some oblique reports that may imply it was hidden somewhere in an old mine shaft, or something of that sort. You know how it works, it's kinda like proofs of conspiracies or existence of aliens, you never get any good quality photos or reliable witnesses, the supposed proofs are more like some vague hint and a bucketload of wishful thinking, and it's rare when in the end it does not boil down to the word of the guy who tells the story.

    On an intersection of "destroyed" and "just somewhere out there" lies the possibility that it sunk along with a ship and lies somewhere on the Baltic sea floor. Can't deny it, it's probably the most sensible claim of its survival. (Well, "survival" as in "there's a chance some of it survived in any recognizable shape".) As for me, I always kinda wish the crazy claim is proven true just for the coolness factor, but never get my hopes high. And anyways, an exact copy of the Amber Room has since been made, so you don't have to wish for whip-wielding archaeologists to see it.

    So, you might have noticed there's been no mention of any trains so far. That's because I began with the Amber Room story to set the mood.

    Like, a few years ago, there erupted a craze revolving around a supposed train full of Nazi gold that was to be located somewhere in Silesia. (A part of Poland that used to be a part of Germany till 1945.) Supposedly, they hid it somewhere there. Supposedly, it was underground. Supposedly, somebody located it with a ground-penetrating radar. Supposedly, it was found or tracked down to an abandoned mine shaft. Yeah, it's a lot of supposedlies. It was a pretty crazy summer, you know. (Have you noticed these stories erupt in the summer, when everyone is on holidays and there's little business or politics going on?) Lots of people took to roaming the countryside in search of it and even the official authorities got in on the fun, but somehow (yet unsurprisingly), nothing has been found so far, and the story remains a fun way to pass the time for urbex fans.

    As it often happens, the two stories got at some point mixed and there was some speculation that the Golden Train contained fragments of the Amber Room.

    So, what does this say about us? Well, first, everyone loves a good treasure hunt, and both of these stories offer exactly that. Probably less on the beating up Nazis along the way part, though. (These days, any actual Nazis would be like nonagenarians, and as for beating up neo-Nazis, you're more likely to end up prosecuted than them.) But then, there is a third story to it.

    Like, there's an urban legend that somebody meets an old German, the old German tells him he used to live in his house and asks for a specific room to be rented to him for a night, and in the morning there's no German and a hole in the wall in just the right size and shape for a container filled with valuables. In the Polish folklore, when it's not a Jew who has the money (the old school), it's the German (the modern staple), and the Germans have the advantage that they're still around just west o' the border and you can safely diss them.

    The Germans also hate Poland, so they deliberately sell us low-quality domestic chemistry. (Yeah, people really believe in it.)

    So, the Golden Train is like a cool treasure hunt in a Nazi dungeon spiced with the Evil German meme. What's not to like there?

    But wait, there's more! My sources 3 and 4 also say it goes even deeper; apparently there is a whole community of treasure hunters and conspiracy theorists who have linked the Golden Train with even out-there stories of Nazi UFOs and the like. That's an entirely different and less specifically Polish story, so I'l say little of it, although wikipedia claims at least some strains of the story were invented in Poland. What's a bit more specifically Polish, though, is the mindset professed by some of the treasure hunters described in one of my sources, who apparently believe in a sort of government-denies-knowledge interference from officials and foreign companies towards their supposed finds. You see, in America, it's your own government that denies knowledge. In Poland, the Polish government is itself a pawn of some higher-level forces, though a willing and sycophantic one. (Do you know a conspiracy theorist that has a positive opinion on their own government? Not on a supposed heroic figure, but on the whole machine in general? Yeah.) In other words, if Mulder was Polish, chances are the Cigarette-Smoking Man would have still been an American. (Though presumably a Jew.)

  • I feel like the Amber Room is well-known outside Poland, though that could be me watching too much of the History Channel.
    Though I misunderstood something along the way, I thought the event of it being ransacked by Nazis was real-real, not conspiracy-real.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    It's pretty certain they wanted to carry it away, presumably to hide it somewhere much like they did with lots of other (stolen or not) works of art. What's less clear if it left Koenigsberg in time to avoid destruction, and if it did, where it went (because there still were plenty of opportunities to be destroyed).

    Also, this makes me curious: did you guys get any Nazis, or did they all go to Argentine?
  • The thing about Nazis going to Argentina is overstated.
    I know one of the conspiracy theories about metaphorically Hitler not commiting suicide is about him escaping here instead (as in, Maracaibo). Other than that, nope, even before WWII Venezuela was an unwelcoming place for Nazis. As in, concentration-camp-unwelcoming I just looked it up and it was built during WWII, but still.
  • Bovarian Mammarian

    I guess this is in Poland
  • edited 2021-07-10 22:40:00
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    ^ Indeed. The "Crooked House". Although I don't know of any specific memes involving the place, thus so far no mention of it in this thread.


    minor edit: turns out the city where the train is supposed (at least in the initial version of the story) to be located, had since capitalized on it to bolster local tourism. Here's the ad:

  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    I guess it's meant to be in English?
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    ^ I've read another article and there was enough to comment on the above.

    Namely, the article makes a point that the Golden Train is particularly important to the local identity. See, so far it's been a rather unimportant local city. The most common reason for it to appear in nation-wide media have been, for long, the "poor-shafts", illegal coal mining operations. It's like some sort of West Virginia of Poland. And suddenly, bam! The locals brag, because that's the best word to describe it, that for a moment, their city was a worldwide sensation, the tourism boosted by like a factor of two since then, so on. So, the Golden Train has become an unexpected rallying point for local identity and local patriotism. No wonder they use it in advertising.

  • edited 2021-08-19 18:56:46
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    So, I've been keeping for the last, since this is the most infamous urban legend to come out of Poland. Behold...


    Because just try to tell me this car does not look evil.

    I've seen some hints that the legend began in Soviet Union, or that it otherwise is well-known there. (For sure, that it's well-known in multiple countries is sourced by actual research, but as of writing this entry I don't quite know where it first appeared and if it spread from there.) This would certainly make sense - Volga, the car, kind of speaks to it, as well as the rather straightforward genesis of the myth. But more of that later.

    In the "classic" take, the story involved a black car, usually with white rims and/or curtains, the mysterious drivers of which abducted people never to be seen again, mostly children. From that point on, the legend usually developed into a claim that the abductions were for the purpose of illegal organ trade or to collect blood for transfusions, but seriously, the more I say the likelier it is there were multiple versions in circulation. The blood and organs were usually said to be used for the benefit of rich foreigners, whether in some sort of rejuvenation or comparatively mundane leukemia therapy. In Poland, this meant Germans or Arab sheiks; in Mongolia, the Chinese.

    This is about the furthest I can go without the story splitting.

    Now, since I have said that, I might as well say who was supposed to drive it: local secret police, local criminals, foreign spies, foreign criminals, priests, nuns, Jews (because duh), satanists, vampires, or Satan himself. Note this probably fails to cover all versions. (You might note no witches on the list. You see, literal witch-hunts aren't really a part of Polish cultural memory, even if an occasional witch is. But it might be different in the other countries the legend is known in.)

    Wikipedia also says that Czechoslovakian version of the 70's involved a black ambulance, while Romanian had the Volgas replaced with Dacias.

    But let's now try to ascertain the genesis of the myth, like I said. A Volga was what passed for a high-end car in the early Soviet bloc, you see. This was the car that the secret police would have driven. And Lavrentiy Beria, chief of NKVD and Stalin's right-hand man, would by all means abduct people off the streets, because the dude was a fucking serial rapist and a part-time serial killer on top of being, you know, chief of the NKVD. So the association of the car with people disappearing had a very good grounding in fact.

    But, is it where the legend comes from? Hard to say. An article I link to (in Polish, sorry) offers an interesting story about a mid-Sixties attempted abduction case involving a black Volga cab. Two women hatched a plot to kidnap a child, out of a desire to have a healthy baby after one of them bore a blind girl, and were seen using the cab in their getaway. The car's driver never came forward and it could be that the tale, after a few rounds of pass-the-message too many, focused on the car rather than the women's motivation and evolved into the story we know and love.

    That this offered parents a cheap way to scare their children straight no doubt helped, as did the fact that the secret police surely enjoyed the spike in fear.

    So, was it where it started? I dunno. This would require the story of a simple abduction case to spread from Poland to Mongolia, in the span reduced to some twenty years at most. I am told that in Mongolia it even warranted an official investigation. At most, I would guess that the 60's abduction case cross-pollinated with the already present fear of the secret police, rather than assume it had a single starting point there, or that local, originally separate legends were subsumed into a wider stream. At some point, the story must have been mixed with an inferiority complex involving rich people and/or powerful neighbours, too. But the basis, after all else is said, is rather straightforward: "black car abducts people". Even Americans have their Men in Black and black helicopters.

    Now, does this say everything there's to be said? Turns out the answer is "no".

    Well, first, I will note I have no idea why members of the clergy would have driven it. But it nicely fits into the next, explicitely supernatural phase of the legend. You see, at some point the Volga began to exhibit explicitly demonic features, such as the number "666" on the license plate, or horns in place of wing mirrors. Some versions also held the car red. I am not sure about the time when these features appeared; what I am loosely sure, is that in the 90's, after the fall of the Soviet bloc, the story resurfaced with black German cars in place of the Volgas. By that time, a Volga would have been an old-timey car driven by a decrepit old man; a high-end German one, though, would make about the same impression as Volga did these thirty years earlier, with perhaps the difference lying in that the driver would have been assumed to be a thug of free (criminal) enterprise rather than a thug of the state.

    But, I told you there was a supernatural element. Well, here it is. The Volgas only kidnapped people; the horned black BMWs and horned black Mercedeses often pulled off this trick: they would drive up to a pedestrian, lower the (darkened) window a little, and the unseen driver would ask, "which time is it?" - the pedestrian, or rather the victim, would die this very minute on the next day.

    And here the fun comes: if you sassed, told them "your last" or "it is God's time", they would leave you at peace. The "your last" - in Polish, you ask for time "which hour it is?" (EDIT: a linguistic note: "your last" = "your last [one]" = "your final [hour]") - is exactly the kind of rude schoolboy's lame comeback that you think it is. It's pretty much "yo momma" or "no, you!" of telling the time.

    Which kind of neatly fits with all the folk tales about a smart peasant having a victory over Devil himself, or even more, since they rarely literally sassed the Old Scratch back to Hell as this story posits. Which is surprisingly optimistic: for one, you never sassed back when it was still the Volga.

    The Devil is less scary than secret police, it would appear.

    A few links:

  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    Certainly a curious thing that it manages to span from Poland to Mongolia all at once.

    Perhaps it is a testament to modern-day travel and communication. Well, pre-internet.

    Nowadays, urban legends are called internet memes. =P
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    I feel obliged to say it's not quite the same, but at the same time I understand that this was the joke. It's like, a creepypasta is an explicitly authored and engineered urban legend.

    You know, this reminds me of what was likely my first "I don't get the younger generation" moment. Like, on a students' trip, I listened to freshman students telling each other creepypastas as part of telling spooky stories around a bonfire. (Well, not around a bonfire but on the trail, but I wanted to convey the mood.) And they treated them as any other spooky story to tell. I was like, for me, "spooky story" and "spooky story on the Internet" formed at least partially separate categories. But for them, they were apparently equal to each other.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    Speaking of spookiness, I'm amused at the lack of witches and that you needed to point that out.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Yeah, I came upon this thing during writing. There is folk magic in certain regions, there are superstitions, but the concept of an evil witch in league with Devil? Not really here, unless you mean in fairy tales, or are some sort of crazy ultra-religious wacko who might just filter his/her superstitiousness through a religious worldview.

    Also: I'm thinking right now S. King's From a Buick 8 might be actually compared to this legend. An apparently supernatural car in a horror story. Christine also fits the premise, sure, but Buick 8 kinda plays up the mysteriousness, so I'm going with this one rather.
  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    Actually, come to think of it, is there a Polish equivalent to Baba Yaga? Because Baba Yaga is also used to scare children.
  • I don't think creepypastas and non-internet spooky stories occupy a different place on my mind, either.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Actually, come to think of it, is there a Polish equivalent to Baba Yaga? Because Baba Yaga is also used to scare children.
    I believe Baba Jaga (Polish spelling) is the go-to name for a forest-dwelling witch, like that from Hansel and Gretel. There also were a few fairy tales that I've read that involved the kind of witches you might imagine, but they aren't really more, so to say, "real" than any other fairy tale character.

    But that's not quite what you ask about. So. When you want to scare your child into behaving, the stereotypical thing is "a man will come and take you away" or something dumb like that that will send the kid into psychotherapy some fifteen years down the line. Or "a policeman will come and take you away". Which I was inclined to say, was even dumber, since this undermined any sort of healthy trust in authority the child might have had, but then I've read all these Slate and Vice articles about not letting your kid watch Paw Patrol because there's a positive cop dog character in it, so I'm guessing you guys might have a different opinion.

    tl;dr Baba Jaga is not a typical scare-'em-straight character, but sure, if it works, it works.
    I don't think creepypastas and non-internet spooky stories occupy a different place on my mind, either.
    It's fine, I was born a grumpy old man. An immature grumpy old man.
  • edited 2021-11-19 18:59:49
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    Turns out the janusz meme isn't completely over. Like, it's not about a monkey, more like the poor cop stuff, but it's a new development, so I'm posting about it.

    So, there's a local political figure, a man with, ahem, a wide face and likewise a wide form, and a mustache to boot. Kind of like that cop, except wider. Some netizen swiped his face to serve as the image of the janusz-as-an-enterpreneur and he called it "janusz alpha".

    As far as I can say, the guy's doing better than the cop from that meme, since he was already a person of some local importance and hence probably used to people saying shizzle about him on the Internet. It's a bit of relief.

    Anyways, the janusz alpha is the stereotypical bad boss. You know, the one for whom labor law is more like a set of guidelines. He's usually presented as addressing some "Areczek", which is a double diminutive of the male name "Arkadiusz". "Areczek" in these memes is implied to be a young man who enters the labor market on terms decidedly to his disadvantage. "Janusz alpha" is the kind of boss who monitors how often "Areczek" pees, for one.

    Yes, allusions to Amazon practices are common. Some memes actually turn the joke around, all but stating that companies like Amazon act like they were run by some boor from the ass-end of Poland rather than a "sophisticated" man from "civilized" urban America. (I'm not implying America isn't civilized, this is rather about what the US still feels like to an average Pole.)

    Although they're also filtered through the daily life of the Polish countryside. Consider this meme an expression of disillusionment of the young male who recognizes the game is rigged against him yet nonetheless still clings to the ideals of the free market. (The young male who is willing to ditch them in favour of socialist ideals probably wouldn't settle down for venting off by posting memes; also, he's rather more likely to live in a big city and work in creative industry or big tech rather than in the countryside and work for a small-to-mid-level enterpreneur.)

    Janusz alpha has a female secretary, "Anetka" (diminutive of "Aneta", Anette), who, in more absurd versions of the meme, apparently keeps a paralyzer and uses it on any employee that the boss finds slacking off. In some newer varieties, "Areczek" too gets in on the fun, being told to grab the paralyzer and fetch some of the illegal immigrants from Belarus.

    (It's getting late, so I will look over this entry tomorrow, and also add sources when I get to it.)

    Sources: mostly "Januszex" by BądźmyPoważni -
  • edited 2021-11-23 11:01:11
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    So, I had this thought that at this point I should probably make a separate entry to list all the names to appear in Polish memesphere, or at the very least the names that appear with any notable frequency. I will edit this entry and add more in case I have forgot something; if a new memetic name breaks into the memesphere I will probably add it here as well as make a separate entry with a broader description.

    An arguable point to be made is that these characters can be compared to popular wojak evolutions such as the -mers, but as you will see it's rarely 1:1.

    In general, the names assigned to the character are stereotypical of the age cohort the character belongs to.


    The classics:
    • janusz - Janusz, the patriarch of the family. An unhip boomer who's either lower-class, or a boorish and unscrupulous enterpreneur. Although alcohol is an integral part, he's actually not that often an explicit alcoholic. Described in detail in an earlier post so I do not dwell on this character.
    • grażyna - Grażyna, janusz's wife. Rarely appears alone, most of the time she's there just to fill out the place. If any traits are given to her, it's usually gossip and reading celebrity gossip magazines, superstitiousness, a mixture of blind obedience and self-serving hypocrisy towards religion, and a concern for opinion of others ("what will people say").
    • seba/sebek - Sebastian, a teenage or young adult male who's sometimes, but not always, depicted as the son of janusz and grażyna. In his least harmful incarnations, usually those of a teenager, he's just a ne'er-do-well obsessed with footy. Older versions usually add some mixture of football hooliganism, public drunkenness, aggressive behaviour up to actual armed (but think knives and baseball bats rather than guns) assault and robbery, and a tendency to drive 10+ years-old German cars with external tuning. The seba can be considered an evolution of the dresiarz, but is less well-fed and lacks the broad frame associated with that subculture.
    • mati - Mateusz (Matthew), a bit character appearing when the story requires a seba to be coupled with a friend. Otherwise the same.
    • karyna - Karyna (Karen?), usually a girlfriend or concubine of seba, but is a more independent character to grażyna. Think "bimbo" or "valley girl" and you're more-or-less home, but seasoned with a pinch of "Karen". The American stereotype of "Karen" refers to an older woman, but the entitlement is here. Unlike "Karen", though, karyna is as lower-class as seba. Having said that - this is about what you will bring to mind when you speak of "karyna", but the stereotype itself is somewhat broader. The crucial element seems to be "bimbo", and it's likely you will not be disagreed with if you call by this name a woman who does not exhibit, say, the class element.
    • brajanek and nikola/dżesika - Brajan and Nikola/Dżesika (Brian, Nicole, Jessica), male and female offspring of seba and karyna (that is, when she can name the father). Note that all these names are American names in phonetic spelling - around here that's what passes for a ghetto name. Usually assumed (brajanek the more so) bratty and undisciplined toddlers who make a lot of mess and nuisance to the complete lack of reaction from their parents.

    Woah, now that I spelled it out, it turns out to be a lot more classist and male-centric than I had thought of it before.

    Some minor characters:
    • areczek/Areczek - usually still spelled with a capital letter, and arguably not yet a full stereotype, but a specific character of Areczek (diminutive of Arkadiusz) appearing in a series of popular memes. Still, I'm listing him here since he seems to be going in the right direction. As I mentioned before, a young male employee of the businessjanusz. Put upon, exploited, so on. A Millennial entering the labor market. You can see where this is going. Implied to hold right-libertarian ideals in spite of being mangled by the system he's supposed to vouch for. Unlike seba, who is more like a memory of the pack of school bullies who tormented you in the past, this character is written as the figure to identify with.
    • anetka/Anetka - Aneta (Anette?), a bit character and the female secretary of the businessjanusz. Not much to say, except that she appears to have a cushy position within the company, perhaps due to her implied good looks or a familial relation to the boss. Likewise, the jury is out on whether it's a full-blown stereotype.
    • halinka - Halina (usually styled as "pani halinka": "miss halinka"), a middle-aged woman working as an office clerk of any kind, seen from the point of view of you dealing with bureaucracy. In other words: the very image of what TVT calls an Obstructive Bureaucrat, albeit with explicit sadistic tendencies. The name actually comes from a popular webcomic about the adventures of such a character, but the logic behind the name is pretty much the same as in anonymous memes.
    • mirek - although it's a diminutive of Mirosław, the mirek arguably is not a memetic character, rather an endonym for users of a certain website (compare "redditor"). Still, the folksies there are a rather notoriously stereotypical lot, and, in effect, the mirek can be described as what "Areczek" would be if he didn't get the job: a NEET and an incel raging against the world through his computer.
    • pjoter - a misspelling of Piotr (Peter), pjoter seems to be the (usually pre-teen) son of janusz specifically in the proboscis monkey memes. There seems to be something going on in the monkeyverse and I didn't quite yet get the hang of it, so I won't say more at this point. (There's lots of odd names and concepts that seem to imply the monkeyverse evolved far from its origin point and in a very surreal direction. I can't promise anything.) Still, it's not a replacement of the seba, but rather a separate character existing solely in contexts of the proboscis monkey memes.

    There's also the loose adaptations of "chads" and "stacies", but with a significant local twist:
    • oskar - Oskar (Oscar), the "chad". Unlike the American chad, who is not defined in class terms, the oskar is explicitly of better standing than you are. Usually a son of a developer or lawyer (but not a doctor, since they're not as much associated with good salaries here as they are in the US), the oskar usually lives in his parents' suburban mansion or in a high-end apartment his parents gave him upon reaching the age of majority. Apart from the explicit class envy going on in the description, much the same - a young male who is almost supernaturally successful with women, spending his time partying and engaging in one-night-stands in preparation for cushy CEO or partner position in the company of his father or an associate of him.
    • julka - Julia (Julie), a teenage or young adult woman holding left-wing views, sometimes known as "julka z twittera" (the Twitter Julie; compare the reputation of Tumblr). Actually not too close to "stacy", for some reason - the image is here, yet somehow the stereotype of a young woman went in a much dissimilar direction; arguably karyna is more of a stacy than her, in spite of having developed independently. There's a bunch of varieties of julka, and as far as I can say the earliest form was rather low on left-wing politics, being more of a way to ridicule a loose Twitter community of astrology enthusiasts. In time, though - presumably due to the non-horoscope-related opinions of the relevant section of the populace - the stereotype developed out of its initial focus. Nowadays, the julka is more of a SJW with dyed hair and a loose lifestyle who, yeah, might be into astrology as well.
  • edited 2022-01-05 23:15:52
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    Because I realized it deserves an entry.
    A meme that is probably most popular in Poland related to Pope John Paul's II death, which occurred on 9:37 pm polish time which is 21:37 using 24 hour system.

    It involves either posting slandering memes that very often contain the number or posting and doing stuff at 21:37 for a double combo.
    It seems that initially the meme gained popularity thanks to enormous cult of John Paul's persona in the country where no one was allowed or even dared slight critique of him. At the beginning of its popularity after our anti hero's death it was mostly popular among polish chan culture but it slowly gained notoriety. As more time has passed and various scandals related to pope's persona were uncovered especially ones related to children sexual abuse on which evidence exists that he had knowledge about it but did not take proper action, allowed the memes to become more mainstream. in recent years.

    And so, the number 2137 found unexpected popularity. There are threads where people post photos of encountering it in the wild, it's halfway to becoming the stand-in number for "very many", and so on and so forth. Where other nations may have 69 or 420 or some other, Poland has 2137.
    Time when pope John Paul II died. In Poland at 21:37 some people post memes with pope as a pedophile, SS-Mann or war criminal.

    Also, as a were-cheetah. I have no idea where did that come from or what was in the mind of whichever mad genius who came up with it. War criminals and Nazis at least make some rudimentary sense when you want to be insulting, but this? The least I can say is that I don't mind it one bit.
    2137 refers to the time polish pope died. 02.04.2005, 21:37
    A very important time of the day in Poland. At this hour polish Pope John Paul II is most often slandered

    "Slandering the pope" is a good translation. I've been using "insulting", but I guess I've got a better one from now on. It's become a go-to term, too, the term "slandering" goes in hand with "pope" like, I dunno, some other two things that are just natural to go together.
    John Paul 2nd's death hour. Polish ppl loves to make fun of him for some weird reason i don't understand it either but like. u can't understand polish humor. We call 2137 "papieżowa" (literally just pope hour) and we tweet our wishes, things we're grateful for or just random things??

    Yeah, "the papal hour" (papieska) or "the pope hour" (papieżowa). Note that papieżowa is grammatically correct, but the proper form, the one to be found in a dictionary, is papieska. Another common name is "the W-hour", after the pope's family name, Wojtyła, and also an allusion to Polish wartime anti-Nazi resistance so you could have twice the irreverence for the price of one.
    A meme amongst edgy Polish lowlifes who lurk on sites like wykop.pl and Polish imageboards (yes, they have those too) It's a reference to the hour of death of pope John Paul II. It's a part of a branch of Polish meme culture known as cenzopapizm

  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human
    I feel really stupid that I totally forgot about this number even though it's been mentioned before.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Don't blame yourself, if not for you I would not have realized this thread deserved an entry on the papal number that went beyond just a mention.
  • edited 2022-01-10 21:45:15
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    I've just found an article that serves as an interesting corollary to the story of patostreaming. It's not really about the phenomenon of patostreaming at its core, but it touches their story in a sort of "where are they now" epilogue. Here it is, in my translation:
    [She] Had sex with three rappers. Not enough? Beat up his mother. Now they are absolute stars

    Just so you know what you're getting into.
    [...] Although at first the community criticized the fights of patho-celebrities, now more and more known MMA fighters knock at the doors of the leading "freak" federation in the world.

    Marta Linkiewicz gained gigantic popularity, when she online-bragged that she had sex with three rappers from Rae Sremmurd. Esmeralda Godlewska also wanted to make rounds on gossip portals - first running in [some stupid TV programme], then exposing her bust on Instagram, and later singing a curious version of a Christmas carol.
    Not enough? Patostreamer Daniel "Magical" Zwierzyński gained viewers thanks to drunken YouTube transmissions, during which he called names and beat his mother and her co-habitant,

    Yeah, we know the guy already. Also, the word I translate as "co-habitant" carries the connotations of "kinda like boyfriend, except they're long past the age this term applies without cringe, and their relationship is implicitly pathological".
    and demolished the flat in a drunken rage. And not much longer afterwards was convicted for supporting a knife murderer [...]

    "Convicted" and "supporting", though I don't know the details, implies the attorneys got him for expressing support for violent murder. Not a violent crime itself, but the kind of disorderly verbal conduct that can end in problems with law enforcement. Which is what happened.
    Jacek Murański? [It's] not quite known, where he even came from. It's known merely that the 52-year-old has in his store acting episodes, hooligan past, a prison term, and an iron jaw. He's a troublemaker, who gains popularity through conflicts.

    Fun fact: the word "troublemaker" can also be translated as "adventurer". Despite all the colourful past though, I'm sure he never raided a dungeon.
    What do all these figures have in common? That they fought - or fight - on Fame MMA galas. And the moniker "patho-celebrities" suits them perfectly.

    Twin clashes, Roman cage fights

    On freak galas [...] there also appeared other celebrities: [crazy bodymod rapper], [wannabe MMA fighter], [I dunno] or [wannabe rapper]. The viewers of the 2018-founded federation could also watch other crazy fights. Examples? A fight of the low-height MiniMajk ["MiniMike"] with the Youtuber Lord Kruszwil, [...] twins-on-twins fights [...]

    I think Kruszwil was mentioned in previous entry.
    Popularity records are broken by press conferences themselves. Why? They are full of "messes" [...]

    To keep it consistent, I'm using the same word as I did before, to translate the word used to describe the antics of patho-celebrities. "Mess". (The word literally means "smoke", if you were curious.) There probably is a better translation, but I guess I don't know my gutter-English well enough. "Whoop-ass". "Woohoo". Something like that? I dunno. You gotta let me know if you come up with something.
    Although the galas of Fame MMA filled the biggest Polish halls without any trouble, and on the Internet were followed by hundreds of thousands of viewers, the media rather neglected the topic. Or [they] heavily criticized, by no means counting them as a sport [event]. [Some sport journalist] of ["The Sport Channel"] called Fame MMA "the spreading of pathology", and the court declined the organization's lawsuit. But now ["The Sport Channel"] is the media partner of the federation.

    "Shit always sells, and people buy it eagerly"

    The MMA community was at first opposed to this phenomenon. "I cannot say anything positive about these galas. I do not approve of it and it is very lame. This is not sport" said Mamed Khalidov, the star of KSW,

    It's a legit Polish MMA federation.
    in a conversation with [sports section of a news portal]. "I do not understand the phenomenon of vulgarity, lack of respect, lack of culture. It had lost any sense. I understand 'trash-talking', there, where there are real contenders. Every sport requires discipline and respect. This is what it's about and on these values the youth, who needs a positive example, is brought up", Khalidov added.

    The MMA community was irked also by that the celebrities earn from the sport much more than the majority of professional sportspeople. "I know may contenders, who work hard all their lives and earn laughable money. Simultaneously lots are paid to some funny folks known from the webs. But so is not only in MMA: [where] there's demand, there's supply. Shit always sells, and people buy it eagerly. On one hand, I understand it [...]", said [some other guy, a former UFC champion].

    Łukasz "Juras" Jurkowski, one of the ambassadors of Polish MMA, wasn't a fan of Fame either. "It's frankly shameful for true MMA. There's a handful of folks, who seriously got into the sport and solemnly prepared for their fights (...) [It's] Worse, when the cage is entered by people, who have it [in complete disregard], and their only argument for doing it is likes and an arguable rise in popularity. Not for this [kind of] promotion of MMA many people fight for in this nation. Through freak fights on various galas people receive a clear message that it's better to be "known for being known", often through some sort of pathological living, than to devote themselves to work for their success," [he] said back in 2019.

    Fame MMA gains friends

    Today the situation looks different - Jurkowski has recently invited a contender and the owner of Fame MMA for [an on-air programme] in [a radio station]. [...] Because more and more people open up and watch a bit more approvingly at what owners of this organization are doing. And it, too, changes for the better.

    "It is great to see the [a certain city] arena filled out. It's great that the sport is promoted. It is no longer only pathology. [They have earned my] Respect, that a tournament for amateurs was set up. Great, that next to tiktokers, youtubers or some other instagramers also the sport is being invested in, too", pointed Joanna Jędrzejczyk, former UFC female champion, who took part as an expert in a Fame gala studio.


    The MMA stars not only watch and comment Fame. They also prepare contenders for fights. [...] In a word: professionals began to make money on the new phenomenon. And not just on training. On Fame galas there initially fought freak fighters of KSW, but later we could see true sportsmen: [several names of UFC and KSW fighters].

    So, you know. When you can't beat them, join them. Except in this case, you can beat them, but that's exactly their point, so you can't really. The fact that you can beat them simultaneously means that you can't. It only makes them stronger. It's like a comicbook supervillain.

    There then follows a list of legit fighters who took part in patho-league fights under more-or-less legit rules, which I don't find interesting enough to translate, save for this gem:
    [...] in pursuit of money and greater recognizability - he challenged [one of the patho-names]. He accepted the challenge and defeated the experienced contender. This way [legit fighter] ceased to be [KSW fighter]. "If you lose against a freak, you no longer have a place at us," stated [KSW boss]. Meanwhile, his business partner began... inviting [the patho-guy] to KSW.

    The legit guy lost against a freak and was kicked out for it, only to be replaced by the freak himself. Talk about insult to injury.

    The article then goes on to describe that the patho-guy is perfectly aware of his disadvantage in fights against more experienced and skilled legit sportsmen, so he consciously chooses to fight under rulesets that grant him greater chances of success. I don't know MMA rulesets well enough to say much about it.
    This is why we will sooner see [legit fighter] in Fame MMA than [freak] in KSW.

    Then it goes on about one of the legit fighters:
    And Kołecki? Until recently he was a huge star of KSW, but his contract ended. The Olympic champion didn't reach an agreement with KSW [...] Kołecki is one of the most expensive fighters on the market. In Poland, besides KSW, only freak organizations can contract him [...]

    KSW is aware that thanks to guest appearances, its fighters promote the organization amongst children and young adults, who at this point are interested chiefly in Fame.

    Besides, a something-teen years ago, then barely off-the-ground KSW was seen a bit like Fame MMA is seen now. [...]

    Fame MMA no longer amateur

    One can't meaningfully evaluate the sportsmanship level of Fame MMA galas. Fight there typical freaks devoid of sport skills such as [prank video youtuber] or Lord Kruszwil, whose level is frankly embarrassing. But fight here e.g. [name] (seven fights) or his recent vanquisher [name] (four fights), who practice regularly for a few years [already]. And [they] practice like professionals, their experience rises. They won't become professionals, but it's hard to call them freaks. [...]

    In addition, Fame boasts of having a positive impact on the development of MMA. Marta Linkiewicz, who a few years ago boasted in social media of one party after another, today shows chiefly training shots. Claims that they changed her life. One can believe her, but one may also see in this change yet another marketing tactic, which allows her to reach the next group of viewers. One way or another - it appears that from a patho-influencer Linkiewicz has transformed into a passionate sportsgirl.

    "[...] the truth is, well-known personalities [...] strongly promote sport. When [crazy bodymod rapper] took part in [legit organization], many kids signed in for combat sports, because this way they learned about them. [...] It's a positive phenomenon, although Fame MMA owners initially likely didn't have that in mind," says a trainer and a combat sport club owner.

    Yeah, I can relate. You can get into or get nudged towards stuff for stupidest reasons.

    The article then goes on about the plans of the no-longer-patho-gala organizers, which are quite ambitious, and in general about the contenders taking part in the fights organized under their umbrella.
    [...]Also those, who were once patho-celebrities, but now consider themselves sportspeople.

    It's kinda like that story about a mafia front pizza restaurant that made good enough pizza, that the gangsters just dropped doing crime altogether since pizza made better money anyway.

    Here's the link if you want to run it through a translator or whatever: https://www.sport.pl/inne/7,102005,27891372,uprawiala-seks-z-trzema-raperami-malo-bil-matke-teraz-sa.html#s=BoxOpMT
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