2005-12-04

The artist formerly known as the president of the commission of the local assembly


Much of the old socialist jargon, like "complicated organization of friendly work" (složena organizacija udruženog rada--SOUR), has gone the way of the handleading structures (rukovodeće strukture) that introduced the terminology. Among these is that much-loved local selfruling monad (samoupravna jedinica), the meat society (mesna zajednica). But the functions of local administration have not, of course, disappeared along with the titles of the people responsible for them. Now it seems that in Vojvodina an old title has been reintroduced -- the title of the "knez." Literally the term means "prince," but this folk practice is probably not a sign of the reinfestation of the land by royalty. The term was used for the (generally elected) leaders of local village adminstration in earlier years. Miloš Obrenović was a knjaz, not a knez, so the mineral water has got it right and the street (formerly Miloša Velikog) has got it wrong. The former president of the Kikinda district council, Duško Radaković, explains that "we thought it was cute" to use the archaic term in place of the unwieldly "president of the commission of the local assembly," and that the usage appears to have caught on. If there are a bunch of people going around calling themselves dukes, they are another story entirely.

2 comments:

coturnix said...

"Meat society"! Actually, as a kid I was wondering what it had to do with meat, as in "mesni dorucak" aka Spam.

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