100 Greatest Czechs

I hadn’t planned on watching any tube last night, but as soon as CT1’s 100 Greatest Czechs (100 Nejvetsi Cech) show started up, I decided to call it a day. Hosted by Marek Eben (who said that he ranked 30th, but as host, he wasn’t allowed to accept the position – apparently this freed up the 100th spot for my favourite Czech politician), it was pretty engaging television. Should it come out on DVD, it’s perfect for anybody looking to get a crash course in Czech history, as well as the nation’s current zeitgeist.

On a somewhat surprising note, last year’s Cesko Hleda Superstar champ, 18 (or is she still 17?) year-old Aneta Langerova made number 70, just under America’s 64th Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and three spots higher than goaltending god Dominic Hasek.

I’ve got Aneta’s CD and I like it. I’m looking forward to seeing her play Mezi Ploty. But one of the 100 Greatest Czechs of all time? I don’t know – it’s been less than a year since she was catapulted into the limelight, and in that time she’s been winning awards normally reserved (and I mean that literally) for lip-synching TV Nova whores Lucie Bila (who ranked 60th and, judging from her appearance on the show, finally got her teeth straightened and whitened) and Iveta Bartosova (a very pretty woman who’s got that strange Sandra Bullock-like non-sex appeal – the visual equivalent of power-chugging corn syrup).

Holy crap, this translation job is provoking me to write looooong sentencesā??

Anyway, one can’t help but admire how Langerova has been taking this all in stride – she is one class act. And none of this year’s Superstar contenders can touch her. No personality, too much bravado, all purveyors of gutless pop. Aneta flat out straight up full on rocks.

Even more curious than Aneta making the list is the Jara Cimrman phenomenon. This fictional Czech renaissance man was one of the nation’s “greatest playwrights, poets, composers, teachers, travellers, philosophers, inventors, detectives and sportsmen”. So great that he may have made number 1 had CT1’s organisers not disqualified him for never having existed. To make up for this, the show featured the Top 10 non-existent Czechs, and will devote an entire show to Jara Cimrman’s “genius” on June 9.

Of course there is a booby prize – a Top 10 Czech Rogues’ Gallery. Arrogant twat President Vaclav Klaus made both lists, as a 3rd-place rogue and the 18th Greatest Czech. Stalin’s bitch President Klement Gottwald managed to do the same – the public consideres him the 92nd Greatest Czech, and the All-time Worst Czech Rogue. Former Prime Minister Stanislav Gross ranked 2nd here, which, IMO, is a sign of just how pissy Czechs can be – I mean, come on, the guy’s, what, thirty-five, and told a fib about a loan on a flat, which is far from the nastiest shit going down in the CR’s corridors of power. But just because he’s the Prime Minister, he gets crucified for it.

I’ll bet more than half the people who took him to task for it (and not just political opponents, but everyone else, from barstool political commentators to “proper” journalists) have done far worse. One television journalist was actually making references to Watergate while wanking talking about how shit-hot the Czech press was while dealing with this scandalā?? for Chrissake, I know it’s a long way down cowboy, but just step off the horse, nice and easy does itā??

Digressing againā?? here’s a .pdf of the 11th to 100th Greatest Czechs. The Top 10 were also listed last night – it’s now up to the public once again to choose who number 1 will be. I can’t seem to find a link for these 10, though I expect the show’s official site will have it posted sometime very soon. The five (only five – what a shame!) that come immediately to mind are Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, former President Vaclav Havel, First President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, actor Jan Werich, and writer Bozena Nemcova. The results will be broadcast on June 10. Jitka and I agree in our guessing that the country’s first president, Masaryk, will make number 1. I see Charles IV coming a close second, with Havel not far behind.

May 6, 08:55 (Filed under: People, Culture )

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