Monday, November 25, 2019

Reception of My Talk at the Poland, First to Fight Conference

Reception of My Talk

I have no fear of public speaking, rather, I fear not being allowed to speak publicly. I love working on Polish-Jewish relations and I love talking about this work to people.

It's not easy to talk about because it's meta. That is, I talk about talk.

Other presenters talked about facts: what happened after the Warsaw Uprising, the fate of Polish refugee children in India, Woodrow Wilson's, Winston Churchill's, and FDR's contemptuous attitudes towards Poles, efforts to placate Joseph Stalin, how many Poles rescued Jews, the contributions of the Polish underground to the Allied cause.

I talk about how people talk and think about facts.

It's a challenge to convey that mindset to audiences, but I had to do it quickly, because I, like the other speakers, had only twenty minutes to get my point across.

It's also not easy to talk about my work because positions are so set-in-cement. That's why I do the work I do. Too many people hear facts through the filter of the Brute Polak stereotype.

I told the audience this, and I told them that the best I could do would be to present the beginning of a talk, and to invite them to view the entire talk on YouTube, here.

One audience member sent me a nice note. "The message you presented really resonated, and received the most applause I’ve heard during the three-day gathering." A few people approached me to give me a hug or a kiss and a pat on the back. Very nice.

DC Tourism

The conference was so jam-packed with events that I did not have time to visit the DC sights I would have liked to visit.

I did walk to the Capitol building as the impeachment hearings were taking place. I did not see any impeachment-related activity. I walked to the White House and encountered a couple of citizens taking selfies of themselves making obscene gestures directed at Trump. After waiting for them to finish I did the same. Gene and I walked past the Washington Monument and the WW II memorial to the Lincoln Memorial.

Gene mentioned that the coat that Thomas Jefferson is wearing in the Jefferson Memorial statue was given to him by Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

Statue of Casimir Pulaski in a DC park

Photos from Polish Embassy Party

Route of Travel

The standard way to drive from Paterson to DC is via 95 south. It's a heavily trafficked route, flat and monotonous. Terry called it a "conveyer belt" and she's exactly right. There are also many tolls. I didn't add up how much I was spending on tolls but one online estimate is $30.

This is the route I took to DC. I experienced white-line-fever. It's the shortest route, though, at 232 miles, taking an estimated four hours.

Terry recommended a route through Pennsylvania, via Gettysburg, Harrisburg, and Hershey, and that's what I took on the way back. That route is 293 miles, many more than the 95 route, but it is less trafficked, with no tolls, and more diverse countryside. I found myself looking at hills and farms and roadside signs asking me about my relationship to Jesus. I preferred that route and I didn't experience the extra mileage.

Thank you again to the folks whose donations made this trip possible for me:

Alex  Bensky
Cynthia Chastain-Tong
Kathy Cherwinski-Long
Otto Gross
Halina Koralewski
Bartosz Michalski
Polish Girl
Danuta Reah
Charles Romeo
Liron Rubin
Teresa Rybkowska Klatka
Daria Sockey
Gene Sokolowski
Alexandra Tesluk-Gibson
Kimberly Wachtel
Dr. Edward "Rusty" Walker
Terry Winkler-Romeo
Karen A. Wyle
Joshua Zoppi

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Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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