Mar 28, 2015

Jozin z Bazin: The Czech Swamp Monster and His Boyfriend

The Czechs and the Slovaks were joined into Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1993 because they have similar histories, cultures, and religions.  Their languages are mutually intelligible:

English: My penis is as big as a baseball bat
Czech:  Můj penis je stejně velká jako baseballovou pálkou
Slovak: Môj penis je rovnako veľká ako baseballovou pálkou

They have the same pop culture icons, like model Jozef Mikovčák (left).

Pop singer Miroslav Šmajda (aka Max Jason Mai), a contestant in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

And Ivan Mládek, the Weird Al Yankovich of Eastern Europe, whose novelty song Jožin z bažin (Joey of the Swamp) has been popular since its tv premiere in 1978.

Like the American Monster Mash parodies monster movies, Jožin z bažin  parodies Czech heroic sagas, in which a swordsman kills a dragon and thereby win "half of my kingdom and my daughter's hand in marriage."

Except instead of a dragon, it's a swamp monster named Jožin (Joey), who lives in Moravia (near Brno) but mostly eats people from Prague.  The mayor of the village of Vizovice  offers the narrator half of the collective farm and his daughter's hand in marriage for capturing the beast.  So he drops sleeping powder from a crop duster, putsJoey to sleep, and sells him to a zoo.

Sounds heterosexist, except it's typically acted out with men playing all the parts.

Sometimes the daughter is never mentioned again.

And sometimes the narrator marries the monster.

Here Jožin is played by a teenager whose dancing oddly involves multiple crotch-grabs.  The narrator looks like he's trying to revive him, not subdue him.

You can see the 1978 Czech version, with English subtitles, on youtube.
And a Lithuanian version.
And a Polish version
And a German version with Hungarian subtitles.

There are versions in many other Eastern European languages.  With the proper tweaking of the lyrics, it can be turned into a political satire.

By the way, the older guy who pops up out of nowhere and makes frenetic dance moves is Ivo Pešák (1944-2011), who performed in Mládek's Banjo Band in the 1970s, and was a familiar face on Czech tv.  Want to see him with his shirt off?

See also: I Escape to the Gay Haven of Slovakia and Monster Mash.