An Apology To The People Of Bulgaria
I am sorry to have given offense to our Bulgaro-Australian reader, and to any other persons of Bulgarity who may have taken umbrage. As James Fulford pointed out, the main thrust of my comment was approval of the Bulgars’ efforts to push illegal Muslim immigrants back into Turkey.
Although no doubt gifted with many noble and praiseworthy characteristics, the Bulgarian nation labors under two unfair burdens not of its choosing, one literary and one etymological.
The literary burden is the very bad press given to Bulgars by Voltaire in Candide.
“Well,” said Candide, “Cunegonde?”
“She is dead,” replied the other.
Candide fainted at this word; his friend recalled his senses with a little bad vinegar which he found by chance in the stable. Candide reopened his eyes.
“Cunegonde is dead! Ah, best of worlds, where art thou? But of what illness did she die? Was it not for grief, upon seeing her father kick me out of his magnificent castle?”
“No,” said Pangloss, “she was ripped open by the Bulgarian soldiers, after having been violated by many; they broke the Baron’s head for attempting to defend her; my lady, her mother, was cut in pieces; my poor pupil was served just in the same manner as his sister; and as for the castle, they have not left one stone upon another, not a barn, nor a sheep, nor a duck, nor a tree; but we have had our revenge, for the Abares have done the very same thing to a neighbouring barony, which belonged to a Bulgarian lord.”
The etymological burden dates from the Middle Ages. As the Oxford English Dictionary explains:
Bulgarus Bulgarian, a name given to a sect of heretics who came from Bulgaria in the 11th c., afterwards to other ‘heretics’ (to whom abominable practices were ascribed), also to usurers.
That is from the OED entry for “Bugger.”
Being now an inhabitant of Australia, our reader can put these crude, insulting Old World stereotypes behind him, stow a jumbuck in his tucker-bag, grab his didgeridoo, and head down to the local rubbidy for a few tubes of frosted Fosters. Fair suck of the old sauce bottle there, Bluey! Strewth!