What does one do when one lives in a country full of economic, political and social issues? Not to mention sporting ones… Make memes, of course. Welcome to our latest series!
Ah, memes. An unprecedented art form. You can’t explain them, they get more and more bizarre and yet we don’t question it. I have a thing for them, anyone who knows me even superficially knows that memes have the power to take me, a pretty focused person, away from many things, and I can always appreciate a dark meme about a particularly unpleasant or uncomfortable situation – especially if its in my field of politics. Deflection, I guess.
My boss and my colleagues all know very well that while I’m editing, writing, answering emails and doing everything else that comes with attempting to keep things in check, I’m spending an equal amount of time smirking to myself at usually rather sinister memes about the dark world of Croatian sport and politics.
Zdravko Mamić, for example, is a living, breathing meme. He is the embodiment of a meme and whoever runs the Facebook page Using Zdravko Mamić quotes in everyday life has long since caught on to that. Ivica Todorić and his sinster yet somehow entertaining blog have also entered into the world of the Croatian meme and pages like Pretjerivač make hilarious ones. Ivan Pernar, the outspoken politician who is often in hot water has also graced a meme or two in his time. I’m touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this bizarre modern art form of the Internet age, so without further ado, let us delve into the dark, creative world of the Croatian memelords.
Oh, where does one start with this individual. Love him or hate him, you can never accuse this man of being boring or flat. Known, famed, and even celebrated in some circles for his straight-talking outspoken behaviour, his acid tongue and his ability to somehow slither out of pretty much anything he gets himself into, Mamić is quite impressive. Otherwise a man with a background far from out of the ordinary, Zdravko Mamić has become a symbol and an icon, in a generally negative sense. His sheer hatred of the media and authority and his bluntness about it, in the eyes of some, has been eye-opening to say the least. He is, or at least has been, one of the most untouchable, powerful public figures in Croatia. Dinamo Zagreb’s Zdravko Mamić is not known for mincing his words or dressing things up. If there was anyone born to be a meme, it is this controversial football boss who simply doesn’t give a sh*t if you agree with him or not. With Mamić, you’ll never be unsure of where you stand. His filth ridden accusations and roasting have secured their place in history, and of course, the world of memes.
”They’re asking me where I’ll be tonight, in a f*cking canal!” (sadly, majku ti jebem doesn’t translate well into English, if you know, you know)
Who doesn’t love it when boys are stronger than destiny? I do. The editor in me is screaming internally at THEN, but the sentiment stands even if the grammar doesn’t! For a bit of background, the song by Mitar Mirić ”Nemože nam ni(t)ko ništa”, which is followed by the lyrics ”jači smo od sudbine” which literally translates to ”nobody can touch us, we’re stronger than destiny” is one of the songs Mamić loves to let his hair down to in an apparent middle finger to the justice system, suggesting that the state can’t touch him.
”I can see that very few people in this country care about the truth” states Mamić boldly during a press conference.
”Everything’s positive, there’s nothing negative for God’s sake”
Ah, Ivica. Our favourite subject here at TCN (aside from benches). His blog is a fascinating read. His life is also incredibly interesting when looked at with a keen eye. Todorić, the ”regular guy” from Kloštar Ivanić who rose to become one of Croatia’s richest people, the majority owner and boss of the economic giant Agrokor, otherwise Croatia’s largest privately owned company – is somewhat of an enigma. While of course well known, nobody from the media really paid him an enormous amount of attention until the Agrokor crisis broke out earlier this year, where the dealings of Ivica Todorić were called into question and the earthquake threatening Croatia almost resulted in complete economic collapse, as well as a political fallout of enormous proportions. Despite the whirlwind of events that followed, which we have written about extensively, Ivica Todorić managed to leave the country, do a bit of a European tour, then register his residence in London. He turned himself into the police after a European Arrest Warrant was issued for him, paid £100,000 in bail to the British authorities and is now living in a very wealthy part of London. Amazing, no? No, not when it comes to Croatia. Anyway, in spite of the unseen chaos surrounding him, he managed to set up and dedicate time to a personal blog, in which he accuses all and sundry of wrong doing, talks about bizarre meetings with the PM at midnight and being given chocolate, claims he was on the receiving end of threats in the early hours of the morning from the Deputy PM and generally just roasts everyone and their ex wives (no, literally). Fair enough, everyone deserves a voice, but Ivica can’t expect to do all this without a memelord or two noticing. And notice they did.
Girlfriend: ”Come over” Me: ”I can’t, I’m writing a new blog” Girlfriend: ”I’m home alone”…
Dad: ”What can you offer my daughter?” Me: ”A blog”
Who would win? One arrest warrant with a reward of 9.99kn or one blogger?
When they ask you to explain your financial statements.
Where can I begin with Tomislav Horvantičić. Well, he is another one, a bit like Mamić, who just doesn’t care really. A nice state of mind if you can manage it, but not quite that ethical or moral when you’ve literally mowed down multiple people and killed a few others through sheer carelessness. Tomislav is one of Croatia’s most well known entrepreneurs, it cannot be taken away from him that he is incredibly successful and has numerous wildly lucrative projects under his belt, unfortunately, he is also the poster boy for vehicle accidents and just why driving bans exist in the law. Zagreb’s top entrepreneur is a controversial character, and has managed to get himself out of some absolutely unbelievable situations. After the dreadful killing of an Italian couple back in 2011, not to mention the various other accidents he has been involved in, many people were certain he would see a lengthy prison sentence. But no, those people clearly do not quite ”get” how Croatia works, and of course, Tomo clearly let everyone know he was feeling a bit dizzy at the time his boat tore into the other boat which took the lives of two innocent Italians, and walked off into the sunset with his driving license in hand ready for another few months on a yacht somewhere in Dalmatia, hopefully a bit further away from other vessels. While justice may not have caught up with Tomo yet (because justice cannot travel at the speed he drives), memes have.
Well? Do you? Tomo certainly doesn’t. Imagine what type of person you’d have to be to look this zen after taking the lives of multiple people? Fascinating, is it not?
No safety! Smoking first!
The best feeling! Especially when you know it can never, ever be revoked regardless of whatever damage, tragedy or loss of life you cause with it!
The prime minister of Croatia. A polished schoolboy appearing gentleman with a long, successful diplomatic career in politics in the capital of European politics – Brussels, Belgium. An esteemed member of the EPP and HDZ’s main man, fluent in Croatian, French and English, one would assume Andrej to be a boring meme candidate. The type of politically driven individual without fault or a mark on his shoes, hardly inspiring for the country’s memelords. Wrong. Plenky, as he is ”affectionately” known, is in fact a prime candidate for the desert of the meme. He loves to do what he wants (don’t we all), as he has quite literally publicly claimed that, he believes that devastating fires that ravaged the country’s coastline this past summer were attractive and interesting, and he can be pretty brutal and personal in his roasting of anyone who criticises him. His fire, unlike those in Dalmatia, isn’t that attractive, interesting… that’s a matter of opinion. An extremely driven individual he is, and nobody can take that away from him, but unlike his hair, his popularity is waning among the general public owing to his sometimes questionable remarks. Poor Plenky suffers from anemia, and of course, this, among many other of his characteristics, is gold dust to meme makers.
As Index writes, the fire is getting closer to Zadar and drivers near Benkovac are driving in the opposite direction on the road to try to escape the flames. ”Interesting”.
Don’t ever let something like anemia get in the way of reaching your goals! As Plenky would say ”ja mogu što hoću!” (I can do what I want) and so can you!
When you get left on read, it does cause a burning sensation…
”This Godzilla is interesting because it has come close to where people live (settlements) and buildings”
Ivan Pernar is either loved or hated, there is rarely an in between. A bit like Marmite. He talks a lot about Masons, he despises HDZ, he likes to stop evictions (and make that as public as possible), and he is never far away from one conspiracy theory or another. He has actually physically been removed from Parliament and well, he likes to rock the boat. He is very outspoken, quite rogue in his behaviour, is often involved in dramatic, heated situations and is quite often accused from all sides of the spectrum of being a populist who complains a lot (and with all the rights), but offers nothing in the way of a solution. Others adore Pernar and his quirky, down-to-earth ”normal guy” characteristics, with his obviously genuine aims. However you see him, and he definitely loves the attention either way – the memelords have Pernar well within their sights.
”Every time Ivan Pernar posts something on Facebook, one angel gets diarrhoea”
”I’d sort you out like Mamić would sort out five grams of white (cocaine) at an after party”
”Masons, Masons everywhere” explains Ivan Pernar to fellow politician and colleague Ivan Vilibor Sinčić
Dad: ”What can you offer my daughter?” Me: ”Conspiracies”
And there you have our very first instalment of Croatia’s meme scene, kicking things off with a handful of important yet controversial public figures from the world of politics, economics and sport.
While a great many unfortunate, disappointing, frustrating and sometimes tragic things happen in Croatia’s political, economic and justice system, not everything has to be viewed in such a bleak and depressing way. Whoever stands behind the several incredibly creative and clever Croatian meme pages across social network platforms – we salute you.
As a wise man once said: ”It is often much better to laugh than it is to cry.”