Answer: Depends on the joke.

The Czech EU presidency has apologised for an art installation it commissioned that lampoons national stereotypes.

Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra apologised directly to Bulgaria, which has formally complained over its depiction as a toilet…

The following is a silent overview of the work:

The quote above comes from a BBC story which has a BBC TV reporter creaming in his jeans over the insensitivity of the Czech artist, and the Czech artist being all arty and shit.

Ethnic sensitivity and humor: They don’t mix, and you won’t find either one in abundance in the Old Country these days.

Comments

  1. #1 Sigmund
    January 15, 2009

    The installation was supposedly meant to depict stereotypical views of the different EU nations – the problem being that one nations idea may be quite different from anothers. Essentially it came down to the artists own idea of national jokes and the end result varied enormously in the capacity to insult various nations. For instance there was nothing particularly insulting of the Irish depiction – as an Uillean pipe (a type of bagpipe) while Bulgaria was depicted as a toilet and Germany as a swaztika!. An equivalent way of looking at it would be to imagine a similar depiction of North America funded by NAFTA, with Canada as a polar bear on the ice, the USA as a KKK rally burning a cross and Mexico as a toilet or garbage dump! Would the reactions this provoked be symptomatic of some of these countries simply not having a sense of humor?
    I don’t have any problem with the European installation as a work of art on its own but its actually funded by the EU and hence the taxpayers of the EU itself. One can imagine those who are insulted by it might be pretty annoyed that they are actually paying for the insult.

  2. #2 The Ridger
    January 15, 2009

    I say, if you hire David Cerny, you’re asking for something like this. What, they thought he’d take this seriously for some reason? Or, rather, seriously the way they wanted him to?

  3. #3 Beowulff
    January 16, 2009

    I think it’s more of a question whether politicians can laugh at their own country. I’m sure the everyday Europeans-in-the-street had quite a chuckle over all the fuzz. As well as a bit of a grumble that their taxes were wasted on these sorts of crazy projects, of course. At least, that seems to be the general reaction here in the Netherlands – which is still not flooded and overrun by Muslims, by the way.