Monday, September 25th, 2023 Alive 19,144 days
In March of 2002, I bought a copy of The Prague Post and told myself, “Iʼll read this later.”
Twenty-one years later, I finally got around to it.
The Prague Post stopped publishing when COVID-19 started marching east to west around the globe. Whatʼs left of its web site appears to have been commandeered by search engine spammers. But the February 27–March 5, 2002 print issue is a window into a different era. This was a time of tremendous optimism in certain parts of the world, and especially among certain classes within the Czech Republic.
2002 was a dozenish years after the Velvet Revolution. People who were in their 20ʼs and 30ʼs at that time were by 2002 experiencing the prime of their lives. And a cadre of people who were too young to feel or understand the oppression of life behind the Iron Curtain were coming of age at the start of a new millennium. For the first time in modern history, the Czech Republic had a generation of people who never knew life in the shadow of the hammer and sickle.
What these people saw, what they experienced, and what they desired was to evolve the Czech Republic from a backwater museum piece of a century-dead empire into a modern state, fully European. A peer with Paris or London or even New York; not its grizzled, awkward grand-uncle shuffling nervously in the corner of the world stage.
There are certain times and places in history that become important and transformative. London in the 1850ʼs. New York in the 1920ʼs. San Francisco in the 1960ʼs. Eastern Europe — and especially Prague — in the early 2000ʼs was one of those places. “You had to be there” sounds pithy and dismissive, but as expressions go, it is also oftentimes accurate. No amount of playing dress-up with bad cigarettes, vile absinthe, or frilly gyration can make someone fully understand La Belle Époque. Prague was on the cusp of its own Belle Époque.
The Prague Post documented that era in a newspaper that was a little International Herald Tribune, a little Le Figaro, and a little Village Voice. It simultaneously chronicled the current lives of former despots, vetted the latest pop culture offerings, and published classified ads for cheap sex. The contents are an awkward goulash of past, present and future. Communist, capitalist, and futurist.
In this particular issue, the big stories are:
- Hand-wringing over rising political star and maybe-not-quite-a-Nazi-but-his-parents-sure-were Jörg Haider across the border in Austria. A few years later, heʼd go off a cliff and end that particular concern.
- One of the Czech Republicʼs former communist oppressors being let off the hook by a court for lack of evidence. Opponents howled that the previous 50 years of life in the Czech Republic were evidence enough.
- Funeral home operators going to extraordinary, and perhaps a bit corrupt, lengths to beat the competition. If it was the New York Post there would be a “body snatchers” headline in there somewhere.
Whatʼs interesting is that looking back from a couple of decades later, a lot of the pressing issues are just the same today:
- Olympic hockey
- Not-quite-celibate Catholic priests
- Basque separatists
- The opera
- The symphony
- Restaurant reviews
While a lot is the same, a lot has changed. There are advertisements for airlines that no longer exist offering flights to nations that no longer exist. Also, in 2002, Dilbert is still published in the mainstream press.
And it is reassuring that a brand new Dell computer feauring a Pentium Ⅲ processor can be had for just 150,000Kč. Thatʼs about $15,000 U.S. dollars in 2023 money.
I take a personal interest in the televison and radio listings because of my history in radio and television. Here are the radio stations available to the average Prague dweller in 2002:
|87.8||Rádio Blaník||Top 40|
|88.2||Evropa 2||Top 40|
|91.3||Čzeský rozhlas 2||Variety|
|91.9||Rádio 1||Alternative rock, techno and jazz|
|92.6||Čzeský rozhlas Regina||News and music|
|93.7||City 93.7 FM||Top 40|
|94.6||Čzeský rozhlas 1 Radiożurnál||Current affairs|
|95.3||Radio Vox||Top 40|
|96.6||Radio Impuls||Top 40|
|97.2||Rádio Zlatá Praha||Top 40|
|98.1||Radio Kiss 98 FM||Top 40 through the ʼ90s|
|99.3||Radio France International||French|
|99.7||Radio Bonton||Top 40|
|101.1||BBC||BBC news in English, plus local news from Radio Prague|
|102.5||Rádio Frekvence 1||Talk|
|105.0||Čzeský rozhlas 3 Vltava||Classical|
In the interest of posterity, here is a list of whatʼs in this issue of The Prague Post. It shows the variety and quantity of news that came out of such a small paper. Iʼve listed the headlines and subheads. In the case of briefing lists, Iʼve included only the first sentence of each brief.
Zemanʼs political fitness questioned again after Arafat-Hitler remarks
Štrougal acquittal provokes protests
“Horrified” dissidents denounce former communist leader
Haider: Headed back to the roots
Analysts doubt that Austrian rightist will abandon politics
- A Czech chemical unit will send most of its 250 troops to Kuwait by the end of March
- A key American Republican Party activist has hinted that the return of former Prime Minister Vladimir Mečiar to power could hinder Slovakiaʼs NATO entry bid
- A man was killed Feb. 23 when a rally car slide off a muddy track
- The controversial Temeln nuclear power plant in south Bohemia was shut down
- Hungary called off a March 1 summit of central European nations
- A number of the armyʼs elite rapid-deployment brigade brutally beat a 17-year-old boy and shouted Nazi slogans at him Feb. 21 in the north Bohemian town of Hlinsko
- € - $ - Kč exchange rates
- A list of transit disruptions
Limits on cigarette ads proposed
Move would ban signs search schools, but critics say that is not enough
ODS makes flat-tax campaign promise
Conservative party suggests 15 percent rate for all taxpayers
More police officers charged with crimes
Improved investigation techniques cited as reason for increase in charges
- Russian authorities are denying Czech reports that two Russian nationals extradited from Prague to St. Petersburg Feb. 18 are connected to the 1998 assassination of liberal politician Galina Starovoitova.
- Foreign minister Jan Kavan says the Czech Republic will back NATO expansion
- An Athens court has sentenced two Czech citizens to life imprisonment for smuggling heroin
- The ruling Social Democrats (ČSSD) are supported by 23 percent of the Czech public
- The German Supreme Court confirmed a lower court ruling that sentenced Anton Malloth, a former SS guard at the Nazi prison in Terezin (Theresienstadt), north Bohemia, for the murder and attempted murder of two Jewish inmates.
- The daily Lidové noviny reports that five former Interior Ministry employees issued more than 100 false lustration certificates between 1991 and 1993.
- The last of 400 Czech troops in the joint Czech-Slovak KFOR battalion have left for Kosovo.
- Prague auhorities will prosecue seven Serbs accused of breaking into more than 100 luxury villas in the Czech Republic.
- The Social Democrats (ČSSD) and opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) will scrap their power-sharing pact before June elections, according to a report in the daily Mladá fronta Dnes that quotes ČSSD deputy chairman Zdenẽk Škromach.
- Confessions of an Interpreter
- Death in the line of duty
- Sunday Music Spotlight, or the day the music died
- A Milan court convicted four Tunisian men of various terrorist-related charges.
- Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski appealed to his countyʼs powerful trade unions to support a liberalization of labor laws aimed at reducing Polandʼs 18 percent unemployment rate.
- Italian police believe terrorists were preparing to plant a chemical bomb in an underground passage next to the U.S. embassy in Rome.
- French President Jacques Chirac called U.S. President George Bush Feb. 23 to urge him to renew pressure for political dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
- The government of Angola displayed the body of 67-year-old rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, slain in battle with soldiers, on television and urged his followers to surrender and end the countyʼs civil war.
- A 70-year-old Swiss woman working for a humanitarian agency in Somalia was killed by unidentified gunmen Feb. 22.
- One hundred of the worldʼs top photojournalists have arrived in Africa for a Feb. 28 photo shoot called ”A Day in the Life of Africa.”
- U.S. military investigators are looking into the cause of a Feb.22 MH-47E Chinook helicopter crash that killed all 10 U.S. soldiers on board.
- Indiaʼs governing Bharatiya Janata Party was rejected by a majority of voters in crucial state elections Feb. 24.
- Marxist guerrillas kidnapped a Colombian presidential candidate who defied warnings not to travel a dangerous road in disputed rebel-held territory.
- A Pakistani judge ordered that the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping of murdered American reporter Daniel Pearl be held in custody for two more weeks.
- The last day of the Salt Lake City Olympics began on a violent note as riot police fired rubber bullets to disperse a rampaging crowd that broke sup windows, trashed a police car and attacked the courthouse.
- The air around the World Trade Center disaster site may not be as safe as the Environmental Protection Agency has suggested.
- Guinness, no Waiting
- Church Scandal
- Hunting War Criminals
- ETA Protest
- Incriminating Discovery
Funeral homes use loopholes to snatch the body business from smaller competitors
- Uphill battle: Roma who made it
Crown prompts call for ingenuity
CzechTrade urges exporters to increase productivity, efficiency
- Gas utility Transgas made preliminary pretax profits of 5.033 billion Kč ($139.8 million) from May to December 2003, during its first eight months of existence as a joint-stock company.
- The daily Hospodářské noviny expects the value of the Czech automobile industry to reach 450 billion Kč by 2005, with subcontractor supplies to automobile plants likely to use from 110 billion Kč in 2000 to about 200 billion Kč.
- The Czech Republicʼs six building societies granted more than 151,000 loans and bridging loans in 2001, a 15 percent year-on-year increase on 2000, when 132,000 loans were provided.
- Czech steel companies produced 6.3 million ons of cruise steel in 2001, up 1.6 percent against 2000, according to the Czech Steel Federation (Hutnictví železa).
- The U.S. company SDC International, new owner of Tatra Kopřivnive, plans to lay off 600 of the truck makerʼs 3,100 employees, according to officials at the district employment office.
- Market summary
- Můj dům names best
Shaken or stirred, drink orders up
Cocktails become more popular as selection improves, incomes rise
Drug makers plan alliance
Going east is the goal for Slovakofarma and Léčiva as they merge
- Dilbert cartoon
- Ernst & Young shuffles leadership
- Five Questions
Wrecks provide ad vantages
But promotions on four wheels irritate drivers in search of parking spaces
- Labor Ministryʼs plans called inadequate
- Stravinsky in Red, White and Blue
The Town Read
- Second Hand will no longer appear on these pages.
- The National Theater has begun pre-sales for all operas, ballets and theater productions in the 2002-03 season.
- Professor Michael P. Sneg will conduct a seminar on human rights at the International Baptist Theological Seminary March 1 at 4 p.m.
- The Egon Schiele Art Cetner in Český Krumlov, south Bohemia, has received an Austrian Award for cross-border cultural expression.
- Pope John Paul Ⅱ has appointed Karel Herbst auxiliary bishop of Prague.
- The Time4Shareing endowment fund will throw a charity ball to assist the Deštná orphanage March 22.
- Beef Stew is dead.
- The annual Days of European Film festival kicks off March 7.
- The German Protestant congregation at Markus Kirche in Frankfurt am Main has presented the Czech Jewish Liberal Union with silver cup for kiddush — the festival blessing of wine — as a token of friendship.
- The Czech Audiovisual Producersʼ Association has become a member of the European Film Promosions network.
- Best selling books list
Freedom in Bohemia — or exile?
Kliment novel poses some tough 1968-era choices
The modern press, thugs and rock ʼnʼ roll
Carl Hiassen cleans the floor with corporate journalism
- Valentaʼs jump is highlight of Czech Salt Lake City showing
Ups and Downs
Hockey team trips over Russia, but Valentaʼs unprecedented acrobatics bring Olympic solace
- Olympic hockey captain Jaromir Jágr says he may play at the April world championships in Sweden.
- The Slovak hockey federation managment is considering filing a suit against the National Hockey League (NHL) for failing to allow its best players to perform in the Olympics.
- Sparta Praha dropped a 2-0 Champions Legaue decision to Panathinaikos Athens in Prague Feb. 19.
- Slovan Librerec, the only Czech team left in the UEFA Cup, played Franceʼs Olympique Lyon to 1-1 tie Feb. 21 in Lyon.
- UEFA will rule on the schedule for the Euro 2004 qualifying group that includes the Czech Republic after talks among the five teams broke down in Prague Feb. 18.
- Two Czech national team players have been fined by UEFA for their conduct during World Cup playoff games against Belgium last November.
- Pittsburgh Penguins center Martin Straka, whose broken right leg cost him a spot on the Olympic team, has been declared fit to play and is expected to see NHL action soon.
Night and Day
The engineer of mighty music
Roman Bělor takes command of Prague Spring festival
The (mis)Marriage of Figaro
Mozart opera at Stavovské plays for laughs — badly
- Jazz, Rock, Etc.
Playing the fool
Comedy troupe runs the gamut
Boulevard of dreams
Lynchʼs latest effort is also his weirdest
A pure simulacrum
Old Townʼs new Mexican restaurant has far to go
Where the East meets the West
Grilled king salmon with wasabi whipped potatoes, tomato-ginger coulis and watercress
- Janetʼs Joint
Boxes and blooms
Apartment window-box gardening
Sites to see
Monasteries and convents
The Austrian approach
A melancholy, self-reflective avant-garde
Shedding crocodile tears
Jiří Davidʼs computer-generated compassion lacks reality
- Washington Post crossword puzzle