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Orbán compensates Alföldi with a new theatre

June 14th, 2013

One left-liberal commentator finds Orbán’s sudden embrace of Alföldi just another publicity stunt, while another pokes fun at Jobbik who suspect “a homosexual or Jewish” lobby in the background.

Róbert Alföldi, former director of the Hungarian National Theatre lost his post at the end of his term, provoking criticism from the left-liberal cultural scene and demonstrations by his audience who gave a stand-up ovation after each performance.(See BudaPost November 23, 2012). This week Origo leaked a story according to which Prime Minister Orbán is willing ‘to give a theatre’ to the popular but controversial director. Pro-government Magyar Nemzet corroborated the story from its own sources. A previous vicious attack on Alföldi by one of Orbán’s advisors (for displaying too much homosexuality on stage) was sharply condemned by pro-government columnists (see BudaPost May 27).

Magyar Narancs depicts this turn as the “good king scenario”. While there are several unsavoury figures in important cultural positions, Orbán can claim he knows nothing of the jealous plotting of his men – on the contrary, whenever he sees quality, he is quick to acknowledge it. The Good King, writes the author of the editorial, is the one who gives and gives to all, and never takes anything away. Orbán is the one who bans the bad guys from marching in the streets with anti-Semitic slogans and tames the floods –a message targeting former Fidesz-voters who have lost their faith in the government. Magyar Narancs also suspects another motive behind the Prime Minister’s decision: Alföldi “will have to shut up and should not bite the hand that feeds him”. However, the piece concludes, if Orbán really wanted Alföldi to go on with his work, he should have arranged a place for him and his actors before April 30th when contracts for the next season were finalized.

László Szily, a commentator known for his acerbic wit, comments with disgust on Jobbik vice chairman Előd Novák’s remarks at a press conference. The Prime Minister, Novák suggested, must have been pressured into presenting Alföldi with such a “costly gift” by either gay or Jewish lobbies. Szily concludes that Jobbik gives the impression of a bunch of frustrated kindergarten kids who, upon growing up, happily regurgitate the ‘poop-wee-pussy-willy-homo’ rhymes they never dared utter while in school.

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