Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Gazeta Wyborcza rips off the beatroot!

Although, I am sure they didn't mean to. In an article on Polish migration in Europe, December 23 last year, historian Maciej Zaremba wrote in the mass circulation daily Gazeta Wyborca: “Widmo krąży po Europie - widmo polskiego hydraulika - A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of the Polish plumber.”

"150 years after the 'Communist Manifesto', the worker has once more become a haunting spectre. This time he is not waving a flag, nor does he want to topple systems – he just wants to work. And that's the scary thing."

Of course, using the words ‘spectre’ ‘haunting’ and ‘Europe’ in that way, he is alluding to the Marx and Engels, ‘A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of communism.’

I hope he was being ironic.

Anyway, look what I wrote on May 31, seven months before the gentleman from Gazeta Wyborcza:

A new spectre is haunting Europe. He’s called the Polish plumber. He’s not necessarily Polish, and he isn’t even necessarily a plumber. But, if some commentators are to be believed, he has been endowed with almost supernatural powers.

If you thought that a plumber was just someone who, at enormous cost, comes to your home and bleeds your radiator and fiddles with your ball-cock, then think again. The Polish plumber will fix your tap, for sure, but then he charges you less than the normal price!....

In fact, if you google ‘spectre’, ‘Polish’ and ‘plumber’ – and sadly I just did – then you get lots of results, all of which come after my article.

Case proven.

Why would the words 'Polish', 'plumber' and 'spectre' be in the same sentence? It's silly.

How can a Pole be a ‘spectre’? I was being ironic. Some western European countries just get spooked, period.


DBN said...

Polish media often copy articles from Western sources. I once found 1/2 of an article in Polityka literally translated from The Economist (with no refernce, of course)

In your case, pehaps blogs in general are not treated with full respect. We (bloggers) tend to use copywrited photos withous asking, so maybe they can do the same with our work.

beatroot said...

yeah, we bloggers are complete parasites on maintream media. And I suppose we are fair game to plagiarise from. But the Polish plumber haunting Europe thing was not taken froma a blog, but from a copywrited article. I once found an article ofmine on the Warsaw Ratusz, town hall web site. They had not just used it without permission, they chopped bits out of it as well!

michael farris said...

I smell lawsuits and fat settlements! (or would if this were the US)

Tobias Ljungvall said...

Funny. Zaremba actually lives in Sweden and works for the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter. His material about Polish plumbers were run here too, and got quite a lot of attention. I am going to e-mail him a link to your blog so if he wants to he can comment on this.
Tobias Ljungvall

beatroot said...

Cheers Tobias...Zaremba is a Polish Swede, so that's no suprise.

The 'Outrage'in the title of that post was a bit tongue in cheek. I am not outraged. But I am interested in how media is canabalistic, and how phrases like 'spectre' etc - which has been used a lot in the context of the 'Polish plumber' - start being used.

And I am claiming that I got there first...

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