Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Krtek--Ještě jednou

Funny. When I briefly lived in the Czech Republic back in '93, I knew absolutely nothing of my little buddy Krtek here. Not funny ha! ha! or even funny as in I'm a connoisseur of of international children's cartoons and should've known about this Communist answer to Mickey Mouse. It's just funny because my girlfriend at the time was actually a working animator.

As far as I know, her studio didn't work on the cute little mole's misadventures. I only saw one cartoon she worked on--which was a traveling stick figure who sailed on a newspaper boat that had my name "Bill Campbell" on its sails (which was really creepy since it'd been produced two years before we'd met). The only other stuff I saw was her stills for a German cartoon, Old Shatterhands (a German wet dream about the Old American West, which could've only been offensive).

Still, in retrospect, one would think that an animator would've at least mentioned an old, childhood favorite. Hell, maybe she did. For all I know, she talked about it all the time. My understanding of the language was quite limited. Like most English I hear, it probably just went in one ear and out the other.

However, now, no matter how much I try, I can no longer turn a deaf ear to Krtek. That's right. The Nejlepšís have struck again!

For years, Šárka and Petr-Pavel have been plotting their revenge, devising and revising, trying to get me back for formerly bad-mouthing their former countrymen (they're Slovak). And now they have truly gotten their revenge--through our poor, innocent daughter, Poohbutt.

She now has a Krtek doll and several Krtek books--which have given me migraines trying to read. But last month they delivered their master stroke, the fatal blow, the coup de grâce. Yep. You guessed it. Krtek DVDs!

Now, you've got to understand. Mrs. Unknown and I are pseudo-hippies. The Missus read somewhere that TV scrambles baby brains faster than Glenn Beck mutilates logic and, if you want to avoid a future of short yellow buses and future Glenn Beck fans, you need to turn off the boob tube. It wasn't that big a deal. We don't watch much TV ourselves. So, there wasn't much of a sacrifice. Therefore, aside from the Steelers and The Wire, Pooh hasn't been exposed to too much cathode ray poison. As a consequence, our girl isn't a fan of all the shows and cartoons most kids her age are. I couldn't even name what any of those are. But I'm pretty sure none of them include our main mole, Krtek.

But, boy, is he our little girl's favorite.

"Kirtek (the poor dear can't roll her Rs yet) and Mouse are friends!!!"

She trumpets at least seven times a day.

And she asks to watch the cartoon as soon as she gets up in the morning, as soon as I pick her up from daycare, as soon as we get out of the car to enter the abode, as soon as we enter the abode, before we eat dinner, while we're eating dinner, and after we've actually eaten.

The European DVDs, of course, refused to play on our red-blooded, pro-American Chinese DVD player. So, Pooh would climb up onto Daddy's computer chair and smash the keyboard until Daddy started playing her Czech cartoons.

"Kirtek and Mouse are friends!!!"

Krtek and Mouse were 'bout to get they asses kicked! Daddy needs his computer. How was he supposed to blog, how was he gonna play his Challenge Sudoku with little Pooh bogarting his laptop? He doesn't have an iPhone!

However, for our trip to Toronto two weeks ago, Mrs. Unknown caved and bought a portable DVD player for Krtek, Mouse, Pooh, and, frankly, our sanity. So, instead of 12 hours of fussin' and fightin', Pooh sat rapt in her car seat, watching Krtek and his kamaradi frolic through the woods, fighting sturgeon and genocidal farmers with perfect aplomb and not a small amount of wit.

"Krtek and the Campbell Clan are friends!!!"

Tak, máte štěstí, Nejlepšís. Sure, Pooh's gonna wind up some kinda weird post-Communist mole-ologist (or whatever those people are called) and the FBI probably already has a file on her a mile long, but yall did us a good turn on that Toronto trip.

Miluji vas!


A said...

I had a Belgian friend who used to tell me fondly of the Old Shatterhand books. He did admit they were horrifying stereotypes.

Unrelated: I recommended My Booty Novel to my bookclub last night. They are unlikely to buy and have it shipped to Dushanbe, but I tried.

KY said...

I love this post, and starting to discover Krtek myself. I think I probably pronounce his name the same as your daughter...can't roll my r's for the life of me!

I'm currently studying abroad in Prague. I am a journalism student at New York University and am writing a profile piece on Krtek! I think you could add a lot to my piece, if you wouldn't mind!
My e-mail is kdy203@nyu.edu! I'd love to hear from you

boukman70 said...


I once set up an NGO to address your particular problem, Booty Without Borders. Unfortunately, I had to shut it down. It got all kinds of the wrong attention and took me years to clear up the charges set against me.