A BROKEN CULTURAL CODE
My acquaintance, an academic lecturer told me, how during his classes with students he was suspecting that listeners did not completely know what he was talking about. So, he stopped his lecture and asked: ‘Does anyone of you know what Targowica was?’. About thirty young people were silent, looking around themselves quizzically. Finally, somebody murmured shyly: ‘Is it a device for measuring a fair?’
I remember that for me and my school mates the word ‘Targowica’ was not only something obvious, but also started a sequence of connotations, burdened with a lot of emotional load. Today for many people – and those who are aspiring for higher education – it does not mean anything.
Another acquaintance of mine, who in a private university runs classes concerning an advertisement, told his students that in order to be well understood, a message must refer to generally known events, people or idioms. As an example he gave a popular advertisement a few years ago in which two old-Polish noblemen wearing Sarmatian costumes, asked the third one: ‘Father, launder?’ Then the lecturer was surprised to find out that nobody in the auditorium did not recognize those people, nor they recognize their quotation. Maybe it is one of the reasons for which this kind of advertisements are not created today. For, they are completely not understandable for young generations. We can multiply this kind of observations. They show that a continuance of the cultural code among generations of our compatriots has been broken. Other unsuccessful education reforms are to be blamed for it to much extent, which remove elements of Poles’ identity and dignity basis. In this situation a lot depends on authoring programs of teachers. When I saw what my daughter was learning in classes of Polish in the last year of the secondary school, it seemed to me that I lived in the times of Kulturkampf, where the main task of educators was making Polishness repugnant. Maybe times are coming when parents will have to take care again about teaching their children on their own, what they will not learn at school.