She promised to use her powers to cleanse a Hungarian family of a curse. The only thing she cleaned out was her client’s bank account, using one of the oldest tricks in the grifter handbook. more >>
As seen in the Used stuff for sale in Budapest! Facebook group.
Two youths convicted of gunning down two older men at a recreational shooting range in Sopron received prison sentences that have left observers wondering whether Hungary is tough enough on teen crime. more >>
A Hungarian magician has performed street magic for 31 hours, breaking the Hungarian record, and most probably also the world record. more >>
In a few short hours Hungary will once again likely see its traditional sacrificial Eurovision goat summarily slaughtered on the stage of the annual pop music competition that every year serves to remind the world how sad and painfully uncool most Europeans are. But this time there’s a twist, as our doomed offering goes through the motions singing not in the lingua franca of Eurovision (English), but actual Hungarian! more >>
The normally bucolic Vas County village of Magyarszecsőd (Pop: 437) was the scene of bloodcurdling horror on Monday when a pair of donkeys pulled a pensioner off his motorcycle and then tore him to pieces. more >>
Prison can be a pain in the ass – and Mayor László Bogdán wants to make sure that’s crystal clear to young people tempted by a life of crime. Bogdán (left), the mayor of Cserdi, near Pécs, took more than 20 mostly Roma (Gypsy) youth on a tour of the Pécs prison May 9 as part of his lecture series, “Save Yourself from Faggothood Days” (Köcsögmentesítési Napok). Bogdán seeks to keep at-risk kids on the straight-and-narrow by scaring the stuffing out of them with the threat of getting raped in jail, among other nasty things that happen behind bars. more >>
While the double-handicap-space-hogging Lamborghini incident of 2008 may still represent the single most profound act of parking assholery in Budapest history, several indicators suggest a car we’ve recently spotted cruising and parking in downtown Pest might belong to an even bigger douche.
By our count there are five reasons to crown this the asshole car of the year: more >>
If there anyone in Hungary more off-putting than pint-sized Prime Minister Viktor Orbán? If so, a good candidate would have to be reptilian fitness queen Réka Rubint. But now, thanks to the amazing technology known as the “animated .gif” we don’t have to choose! We’d thank our friends at cink.hu for introducing us to this stunner, but for obvious reasons we won’t. Be well.
Back in 2011 the Hungarian defense ministry made headlines when it put the remains of the country’s Soviet-built fighter jet arsenal on the market, only to find that there were no takers. They are now at it again, offering 24 decommissioned MiGs – 18 model MiG-29B, and six MiG-29UB – along with 21 spare engines. more >>
Right-wing rabble–rouser and motorcycle club leader Sándor Jeszenszky has had a bit of a rough ride this week. First his plans to lead a procession of renegade nationalist bikers through the streets of Budapest and ridicule a solemn march commemorating the Holocaust being held that same day were frustrated. And now he has been caught with his cock out on the Internet. more >>
Anyone seeking further evidence of the curious efficiency of the Hungarian language need look no farther than the adorable little baby wombat pictured above, and to then consider that speakers of the famously prickly magyar tongue need only a single word to say “wombat cub”: vombatkölyök (“VOM-BAT-KOY-OOK”). more >>
The Pope is Dead.
Tamás Király, the Hungarian designer once crowned “The Pope of Fashion” by Germany’s Stern magazine, was found dead at his flat in Budapest’s District VIII during the dawn hours of April 7. A friend discovered the 60-year old fashion icon’s body in his bed, naked from the waist down, and with a velvet scarf tied around his neck, tabloid Blikk reported, without citing sources.
“For the time being, it is unclear whether Király was strangled by the scarf during sexual intercourse, whether it happened as a consequence of a depraved sex game, or whether the culprit rearranged the crime scene after killing the fashion guru,” Blikk said. more >>
Did Hungary’s Most Beloved Artist Paint Blood Libel Porn on the Side? An Index.hu/Pestiside.hu Exclusive
[Editor's Note: After another long break in publishing Pestiside.hu is back again. Rather than trying to make excuses for this most recent unexplained absence, this time I'll just say that I and the other people who have in the past provided content for this website have had more important things to worry about and work on, and as of late there hasn't seemed to be so many compelling stories in Pestiside's "beat" to cover or riff on. The story you are about to read is a notable exception. As the headline indicates, it was made in collaboration with leading Hungarian-language portal Index.hu, which published its own version yesterday morning. Most of the reporting came from Index's side, while the original idea for the investigation came from our side. Given the sensitivity of the topic, we will play it "straight," though as you will see, the story is anything if.]
Anyone who knows something about Hungary and about art is likely to know of Mihály Munkácsy (1844-1900), the man widely considered to be the “Rembrandt of Hungary,” or at least the country’s most acclaimed artist.
But there are a few important – or at least interesting – things about Munkácsy they probably don’t know.
One is that Munkácsy (right, in an 1881 self-portrait) is not just the most famous Hungarian painter who ever lived. At the peak of his career he was among the most famous and best-paid painters in the world, with thousands in Europe and North America lining up and paying to see his epic canvases. Hungarians often exaggerate the role played by their historical figures, but in Munkácsy’s case this role was perhaps more outsized than most Hungarians today realize. Another lesser-known fact about this national icon, who was commissioned to paint a monumental rendering of the Hungarian Conquest of the Carpathian Basin for the House of Parliament in Budapest, is that he wasn’t really all that Hungarian. Born “Michael von Lieb” to ethnic German parents in the frontier town of Munkács (now Mukachevo, in present-day Ukraine) – from which he fashioned his better-known professional name – he spent most of his working life in Paris.
And now, more than a century after his death, evidence has emerged that among his works is a lurid fantasia featuring a group of religious Jews engaged in ritual sacrifice like that alleged during the infamous “Tiszaeszlár Affair,” which set off a wave of hysteric anti-Semitism across the Austro-Hungarian empire – and much of Europe – in the 1880s.
Images of the painting which threatens to add “blood libel porn” to Munkácsy’s legacy surfaced in Hungary last year, after an as-yet-unidentified collector based in the United Kingdom began moves to sell the work.
One does not need any formal training in art history or appreciation to understand what is going on in the painting. A naked and defenseless woman is being held aloft by several men easily identifiable as religious Jews. Blood flows from the victim’s abdomen and hand while one of her assailants holds a bowl, evidently to collect her blood. Behind them, other participants in the ceremony whisper in each others’ ears. The Jews’ noses are hooked, one has blood on his lips, and two old men with beady eyes stare at the girl’s crotch as the ringleader approaches with a knife. The whole grisly tableau is so by-the-book it almost comes across as self-parody or caricature of blood libel, or vérvád, as it is known in Hungarian.
But for those with a trained eye, the picture’s artistic qualities are likely to be just as quickly appreciated. It is, in short, an excellent painting.
Evidence and Doubts
While the canvas’s subject matter and the superior skills of its creator are in little doubt, the identity of the artist is far from certain. The painting’s origins are murky – its owner has yet to make himself or herself publicly known – there is no obvious signature on the work, and there is no trace of it in Munkácsy’s official oeuvre.
But to some experts who have seen the canvas and images of it, the work is highly characteristic of Munkácsy’s. Meanwhile, certain historical evidence points to his authorship, most notably several mentions in the international press in the early part of the last century of a painting of the same topic attributed to Munkácsy. more >>
From reader R.T.:
This sums up the typical Hungarian (or at least current government’s) sense of logic. Let’s build a Nativity Scene and put it at the back of the parking lot, cordoned off from the general public. And then to add insult to injury, let’s allow the cars to park in front of it so that the tourists and anyone else have absolutely no chance of actually viewing it.
Well said. We’d only add that since it is a members-of-parliament-only Nativity Scene, the gold, frankincense, and myrrh brought for little Jézuska have probably already been stolen, and the Virgin probably isn’t a virgin anymore. Meanwhile, it may be a good idea to downplay the whole “King of the Jews” business, so as to avoid aggravating any local Christians who might pass by.