Abstracts for Dilema veche no 247-250

9 December 2008
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Abstracts for Dilema veche no. 247

Advertising and consumerism

G.M. Tamas
A letter to Andrei Plesu

Taking into account the criticism made by Andrei Plesu in one of his articles in connection with a speech he gave in Sofia during a right- and left-wing debate, Tamas requests additional explanations. He says that the two main ideas defining anti-communism (the first stating that the soviet type society was not a socialist one, the second acknowledging just the opposite) are too contradictory. Tamas declares himself a supporter of the first one and provides arguments to support his views.

Andrei Plesu
A few comments on G.M.Tamas’ letter

A polemic against Tamas’ opinion that “real socialism” was a deformation of the Marxist theory. In the author’s opinion, one cannot separate the ideas behind communism from what really happened in USSR, China and Eastern Europe.

Mircea Vasilescu
The new and fragile Europe

A discussion on the European Commission’s different positions towards old and new EU members regarding the economic crisis. The European Commission approved rescue plans only for countries like France, Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, Sweden and Denmark. The newly entered countries are not included, even if there is information (from a private service in the US) that they are going to be affected too.

Magdalena Boiangiu
The other part of the world

About those parts of the world – and events happening there – that are not affected by the results of the American elections. One example: in Congo, the UN peacekeeping forces are not able to get the rebels and the officials to the negotiation table and stop the killings among civilians.

Luca Niculescu
Campaign money

About irregularities in using campaign money all around the world. If in other countries this is a theme always on the public agenda, in Romania it doesn’t happen like this. The irregularities are dealt with only after the elections.

Sever Voinescu
The saving miracle of aggregation

On Rick Shenkman’s book, Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About American Voters (Basic Books, 2008). The “miracle of aggregation” is described as a law that basically states the following: the more who are involved in decision making, the closer is the result to a wise solution.

Clara Margineanu
“What sort of strange beast is Bucharest?”

Interview with Petru Popescu, a well known Romanian writer who emigrated to the US during the communist era.

Weekly Dossier: Advertising and Consumerism

Alexandra Badicioiu
The heroes that brought us the West

A brief history of Romanian TV advertisements. The Romanian creators developed from a period when everything was permitted through being willing to level with the West and on to a level that made them internationally competitive.

Dan Boicea
The diary of a vulnerable consumer

About Romanian supermarkets and hypermarkets. Even if the great “explosion” in the field took place 7 years ago, Romanians are still into shopping – 2 of 3 inhabitants of Bucharest spend 80 percent of their income shopping every month (according to a research undertaken by Nielsen in September this year).

Florin Dumitrescu
“First I sell something, then I advertise!”

A inside view of the Romanian advertising business. Large scale publicity has been able to influence and change Romanians’ spending habits.

Stela Giurgeanu
Urban tree, rural bag

About rural advertisements as compared to city ones. In the villages, advertising is still in its early days. Some post on the Internet, but they are far from being persuasive.

Tudor Calin Zarojanu
Advertisement doesn’t matter

A personal perspective on Romanian advertising from someone that doesn’t obey its rules. His own personal story about how he has always chosen products for reasons other than how they have been advertised because he generally dislikes the messages sent out.

Cristian Pârvan
A matter of statistics

On the relationship between advertising and consumption in Romania.

Abstracts for Dilema veche no. 248

Andrei Plesu
The eternal Romania

The founding director of the magazine comments on some thoughts by the great Romanian writer I.L. Caragiale, who lived a century ago. Considered the classic genius of Romanian comedy, a sort of local Moliére, Caragiale was also deeply concerned with the malfunctions of the early Romanian democracy. Andrei Plesu quotes some observations written 100 years ago which are still relevant for today’s Romania.

Mircea Vasilescu
From “entertainment” to anti-Semitism

Our editor-in-chief analyses a recent incident – the devastation of a Jewish cemetery in Bucharest. He doubts the police’s professionalism and criticizes the failure of the Romanian president to manifest public solidarity with the Jewish community. The official investigation showed that the act of hooliganism was carried out by a group of teenagers wanting to reenact a video clip. Vasilescu says this should trigger a public debate about the significance of anti-Semitism in Romania.

Luca Niculescu
The odd electoral campaign

Niculescu analyses the current electoral campaign for the new parliament in Romania. It is an odd campaign given the apathy of the electorate and the lack of powerful personalities running for office.

Sever Voinescu
Obamiada

The former diplomat representing Romania in the US, Sever Voinescu, analyses the interest created in Romania by Obama’s victory, as well as all over the world. He concludes that many misconceptions exist about Obama, and that the hope invested in him is at least partially based on these misconceptions.

Andrei Pippidi
The poets’ houses

In his column dedicated to the history of architecture, Pippidi reviews the current state of several houses previously owned by famous Romanian poets.

Cristian Ghinea
The same Mircea, the same Nastase

Cristian Ghinea focuses his attention on a particular constituency in an underdeveloped region of the country, where the current electoral campaign opposes two very different personalities: the former prime-minister Adrian Nastase charged with corruption but protected by the Parliament, and a young politician with leftist views running for a right-wing party because the left in Romania is deeply involved in corruption scandals.

Cezar Paul-Badescu
When television meets culture

Cezar Paul-Badescu comments on a recently launched cultural show on public television, in which musical culture is merged with modern TV skills to make a show both sophisticated and accessible.

Ioana Avadani
Hey Jude! – Another debate about self-regulation in Romanian journalism

Ioana Avadani is a leading figure in Romanian civil society and the director of the Centre for Independent Journalism. She writes about the gap between the public trust invested in mass-media and the lack of self-regulation in the profession. Avadani recounts the last efforts to obtain wide agreement on professional ethic rules.

Weekly interview
“Capitalism must be reformed” – interview with Cristian Pîrvulescu

Political analyst Cristian Pîrvulescu discusses his perspective on the financial crisis and the necessity for more state intervention to control capital movements and profits.

Weekly dossier: Lonely people

Abstracts for Dilema veche no. 249

Luca Niculescu
The game is up, the crisis has begun

The serious discussions about the effects of the economic crisis seem to be on hold due to the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Romania. But Romanian politicians will have to present the real situation to the public at some point.

Cristian Ghinea
Money can’t buy trust

Starting with an article from the Wall Street Journal, Cristian Ghinea compares the Great Depression from 1929-1933 to the current economic crisis. We have to win this fight, not the one lost 80 years ago – he concludes.

“Human rights in Romania after joining the EU” – interview with Diana Hatneanu, executive director of The Association for the Protection of Human Rights in Romania – The Helsinki Committee
Are the abuses of human rights in Romania over after the country joined the EU? The situation has improved, but we don’t have any reason to relax: abuses by the police and attacks by politicians on freedom from association are still current issues.

Ruxandra Tudor
The fire shift

Firemen are – for good reasons – viewed as heroes by many people. Ruxandra Tudor joined a team of firemen in Bucharest and recounts their daily adventures and courageous deeds in saving lives.

Adina Popescu
Documfest: the first edition

In latter years, Romanian cinema has had spectacular success abroad and, consequently, the number of film festivals has increased. A new documentary film festival has opened in Timisoara, the most important city in the South-Western part of the country.

Weekly Dossier: The forbidden fruit. Who’s banning what
The history of the forbidden fruit is one of the best known myths of humanity, revealing an everlasting desire of our subconscious. “What forbidden fruits do we have today, in the era of individual freedom?” is the question asked by the weekly dossier of Dilema veche.

Bogdan Voicu
Lift to nothingness

Many times in the history of mankind, access to the forbidden fruit was an engine for progress. But sometimes the association with deviousness and the refusal to accept the rules is detrimental to the well-being of the community.

Petre Guran
What is banning the Church today?

The forbidden fruit was a central issue for Christian theologians throughout the centuries and it continues to be a pivotal element for understanding the Christian faith. How does the Church – particularly the Orthodox one – relate to this subject today?

Valentin Simionov
The drugs – the forbidden fruit or the apple of discord?

Few things are forbidden in today’s liberal society. Drugs are still among those pleasures difficult to obtain in most countries, yet millions of people defy the law for the sake of it. Legalize it or not – that is the question.

Abstracts for Dilema veche no. 250

Andrei Plesu
The post-totalitarian syndrome

Watching a documentary by Sinan Antoon (Iraqi poet and journalist), Andrei Plesu compares the attitudes of the Iraqi people shortly after the fall of Saddam’s regime, to those surfacing in Romania after dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was deposed. He concludes that the attitudes are similar, and the Iraqis will need the same long therapy which is now familiar to the Romanians.

Mircea Vasilescu
The mayors’ times

Mircea Vasilescu notices that many mayors elected in big cities of Europe gained important positions in their political parties and some of them became state presidents. Jacques Chirac, Nicholas Sarkozy, Martine Aubry, Walter Veltroni and Ken Livingstone are a few of them. Vasilescu thinks the mechanism promotes people who have proven their administrative competencies. But on the other hand these people do not necessarily have the visions required for big scale politics.

Luca Niculescu
Why must we vote?

Luca Niculescu explains why he thinks Romanians should vote on 30 November even if they are generally disappointed in the parties and their candidates. He thinks Romanians should use their right to vote as it is a right which has been gained through serious human sacrifices.

Magdalena Boiangiu
French socialist party row

The author describes what happened during the recent Congress of the Socialist Party in France; the fight for party leadership between Ségolène Royal and Martine Aubrey. Boiangiu thinks the French socialists, too preoccupied with their internal row, failed to seek solutions to the global crisis.

Matei Martin
Interview with Eric Fottorino – Le Monde manager
“In France, there is no important newspaper with a profit”

Eric Fottorino reviews the financial problems of the French newspapers: decrease in sales, Internet news competition… He also outlines possible solutions.

Cristian Ghinea
Interview with Iulia Motoc – UN special rapporteur on Human Rights
The value of a human life in Congo

Iulia Motoc describes the tragic situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country she visited as special rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights. She tells of atrocities related to her by 8 to 9 year-old children recruited as soldiers.

Alex Leo Serban
Three letters from abroad

Alex Leo Serban has written three letters; from Wien, Istanbul and Thessaloniki, three places where film festivals were recently organized. Serban shares his thoughts on some of the movies presented there.

Weekly dossier: Republic of Moldova – de la Prut spre UE? (The Republic of Moldova – from Prut border to EU?)

Vitalie Ciobanu
The government war against society

Vitalie Ciobanu (writer and citizen of the Republic of Moldova) thinks the only aim of the Moldovan authorities is to maintain the Communist Party and their economical power structures.

Adrian Cioroianu
Small state, huge problems

Adrian Cioroianu (former Romanian foreign minister) reviews the unnatural relationships between the Republic of Moldova and Romania, two countries using the same language. He also describes the complicated status of a country situated between EU, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Transnistria.

Madalina Schiopu
Moldova – between “Flower Bridge”, Russia and EU

Madalina Schiopu reports what she noticed visiting the Republic of Moldova from social, civic and political points of view.

Published 9 December 2008

Original in Romanian
First published in

Contributed by Dilema veche
© Dilema veche Eurozine

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