Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yes, There Will Be a Quiz: Polish Quiz



I cannot tell you how many times university professors and staff have, uninvited and aggressively, insisted to me that they know everything there is to know about Poles, Poland, and Polish-Americans, to whit:

1.) POLAND IS A DISTANT, GRAY, COLD, WINDSWEPT WASTELAND.

2.) ALL POLES ARE PRIMITIVES, COMPARABLE TO NEANDERTHALS.

3.) ALL POLES ARE THUGGISH ANTI-SEMITES.

4.) IF YOU DENY ANY OF THIS IT IS BECAUSE YOU ARE A THUGGISH ANTI-SEMITE.

I talk to these folks. I ask them questions. I discover that they know nothing about Poland. An example from the media: NPR's "This American Life" broadcast an episode peddling these images of Poland. They misspelled "Krakow." I mean, Krakow! Not really all that hard to spell. (Cracow is also fine. "This American Life" couldn't manage that, either.)

In other words, people who know nothing about Poles or Poland insist with demented virulence that they know everything about Poles and Poland, and that everything is that Poland is a gray wasteland, and that all Poles are nothing but thuggish anti-Semites.

What do you know about Poland?

Take the quiz and let me know how you scored.

On the left are icons from various cultures; most any educated American is familiar with them.  Your job is to match the cultural icon on the left with his, her, or its rough parallel from Polish culture in the list on the right.

1.)  Rosa Parks
2.)  Robin Hood
3.)  Waterloo
4.)  Moses
5.)  The Alps
6.)  Faust
7.)  Zeus
8.)  Archbishop Oscar Romero
9.)  The Diaspora
10.)  Roots
11.)  Joan of Arc
12.)  Judas Iscariot
13.)  King Arthur
14.)  Wavy Gravy
15.)  The Brothers Grimm
16.)  Raoul Wallenberg
17.)  Sorry, there are no cross cultural parallels for this one – a 1264 Polish statute that guarantees full protection of life and property to Jews and shows “an awareness of the vulnerabilities and the needs felt by a small subject group which is sophisticated by contemporary standards.  [Its author, Boleslaw the Pious] made far-reaching attempts to address the actual prejudices and inequities from which Jews suffered, and discourage or counter them by force of law” (Hoffman, Eva, Shtetl.)
18.)  Auschwitz
19.)  Pearl Harbor
20.)  Cave paintings at Lascaux
a.)  Katyn
b)  Tatry
c.)  Kalisz
d.)  Auschwitz
e.)  Piast
f.)  Fydrych
g.)  Walentynowicz
h.)  Karski
i.)  Kolberg
j.)  Janosik
k.)  Grunwald
l.)  Twardowski
m.)  Wieliczka
n.)  Pan Tadeusz
o.)  Polonia
p.)  Wanda
q.)  Wallenrod
r.)  Yalta
s.)  Swiatowid
t.)  Popieluszko





If you can't identify this guy, you know nothing about Poland (or Slovakia.) 

Did you know that Poles have fought their various oppressors not just with brute force, but also with wit and style? 


Did you know that the famously and proudly German Brothers Grimm didn't do anything they said they did -- they didn't go out into the field, they didn't collect authentic tales, and they did adulterate their texts? Did you know that a Polish folklorist collected 12,000 folk songs, 670 fairy tales, 2700 proverbs, 350 riddles,  and more? Amassing one of the largest ethnographic collections? And he is virtually unknown? 


5 comments:

  1. I am confident about 15 out of the 20. Can't be absolutely certain until you post the answers, though!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mrs. Liron Rubin, you get a gold star! :-)

    Are you willing to share your answers? I'm sure they're all right.

    ReplyDelete
  3. PS: I grade on a curve, and, since you are the only one to take the quiz so far, you are guaranteed an A.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Why don't I just take the Gold Star without posting my answers? Gutless--I know.

    :):)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Be brave! My blog has very few readers, so no one will know how you did. And, you can always argue for picking one answer as oppossed to another. My students always do, and they sometimes change my mind.

    ReplyDelete

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