On Sunday, Hungarian Spectrum had a scathing, must-read piece about László L. Simon, the recently-appointed state secretary for culture. The broadside focused on the large number of outside interests that may prevent him from focusing on the job at hand – including a fruit orchard employing convicts from a nearby prison – as well as his alleged penning of a very vulgar and rather anti-Semitic poem. (The link in the post to the poem is broken; you can try this one, but note that the work doesn’t seem to have been 100% confirmed as L. Simon’s, and it is in Hungarian. Though given that it involves “ass fucking” with a “Jewish whore” you may be happy if you can’t read it.)
Anyway, as if all this was not tawdry enough, that same day L. Simon gave an interview to MTI in which he said things that seem to suggest he thinks culture is simply a product of a well-funded centralized bureaucracy. After arguing that the “most important task” for Hungarian culture today is a strong “secretariat,” he insisted that his budget needs to go up by precisely 12% next year, or else Hungary “will not be able to pursue an efficient cultural policy.” Apparently he did’t factor in the use of prison labor when making his calculations of next year’s nation’s gross domestic cultural product. Ack.