Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Graduates from Kutná Hora

On Sunday I visited friends in Kutná Hora, the historic silver-mining town east of Prague. The visit was pleasant and the weather not unbearable.
I didn't take any pictures, however. As my hostess is elderly and can only see shapes and colors now, we spent our time in the house and garden. On this visit I was able to give a more specific account of the American pension system than I had previously managed, and was not asked to discourse on Osama bin Laden, although my insights on American politics in general were nothing (as they say) to write home about. (I indicated that other members of my family were better able to talk about this topic. Certainly I have no idea what percentage of the population is unemployed.)
Kutná Hora is, of course, a highly photogenic town, and I am pleased to say that I did take quite a few photos when Jesse and I dropped in on Megan a few weeks back.
Since Megan spent the year teaching English at the local gymnazium, she was eager to point out examples of the town's graduates.

First, we have the pseudo-traditional display of students from Megan's own school. Czech secondary-school graduating classes have a tradition of putting together a display of their photos and persuading a local store to display this in the window. As you can see above, this group looks fairly straightforward... except for the "censored" photo. The student in question refused to be photographed, had her head placed on someone else's neck, threatened to sue, and is now portrayed as "censored."

Another group (I'm not sure which school or what they were studying... religion? costume?) decided to divide itself between the red devils and the white angels. We are unsure of their criteria for choosing who was what.

A relatively traditional-looking group of characters, incongruously surrounded by grocery items.

And, finally, a gang of guys apparently looking forward to joining the army. They all have code names so that no one will be able to guess their identities.

Megan has covered this topic on her own blog with a slightly different set of photos and acerbic commentary, so take a look. ML, our correspondent in Slovakia, has some relatively traditional-style images mixed in with a wide variety of summer-time Slovak photos. As Megan suggests, you will only want to read his friends' comments about these if you are depraved.
Well, more Kutná Hora photos coming up soon...

Oh, incidentally, since it is the 4th of July, I must admit that I was invited to the American Embassy's celebration, but since it took place last week (!) I couldn't go. Several friends did, so I anticipate they will report on it. Had it been on the correct day, I would probably have gone. Instead, several of us historian-types are meeting for dinner to say goodbye to Alice, who is concluding her whirlwind archival tour and heading back to Yale. As I may have mentioned at some point, I met Alice when she was here on Fulbright a couple of years ago, when we were sharing Karel Teige documents at the archive. Film history is her main area, though.


Blogger P'tit-Loup said...

Great post! I love those photos and your comments are hilarious! At first, I thought the photos were antiques of previous graduates, particularly the first one. The coloring of the display reminds me of photos from the 50's. The devils vs angels one is very interesting. I wonder what separates these girls?

July 06, 2006 6:36 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

We'd certainly like to know!

July 06, 2006 10:33 AM  
Anonymous amy said...

This is really interesting. I didn't know there were places that still did that with the graduate composites.
I would love to know more about the "censored photo." When we were that age, it seemed as if everyone was looking for a photo-op, if only to get something past the censors--like the finger!

July 06, 2006 5:23 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

I'm not sure what schools in Prague do, but as far as I know, everywhere else here has lots of displays of the graduates. As for the censored girl, I know no more details. Not really sure what her reasoning was. Megan may know more details.

July 06, 2006 9:39 PM  

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