TECHNOFILE

There are two approaches to language: that of the academy, and that of the seaport. The academy is nested in the nucleus of the state, and attempts to impose a standard that, like criminal codes or highway codes, is felt to play a vital role in maintaining the state's integrity, and to be the guardian of a nation's cultural character.

The denizens of seaports, however, are concerned not with purity but exchange. At the periphery of the state, they find quick and dirty ways of negotiating transactions (many of which are also quick and dirty). Illiterate urchins may be fluent in half a dozen tongues, continually stirring the pidgin stew.

This old antagonism is being re-enacted in a very different setting. The computer ports are the ones to which modems are connected; their users speak pidgin, like harbour brats, but they are more affluent and better educated. Theirs is the cosmopolitanism not of docksides but satellite television. The last Yugoslav generation was the first to get MTV Europe, and then the first for 50 years to go through war.

The effect on the liberal intelligentsia was strikingly illustrated by a book produced in Zagreb analysing the semiotics of the Croatian war with reference to Dick Hebdige's Subculture: The Meaning of Style. A few hundred miles away and they would have been studying punk or soap opera; instead they were obliged to apply cultural theory to young killers in bandanas and images of Croatia as Christ on the Cross.

This tendency of analytical dissent has a voice in ARKzin, the magazine of the Croatian anti-war organisation ARK. Its Web site (pubwww.srce.hr/arkzin/) gives access to Bastard, a review of books whose title belongs to the port rather than the academy. The English-language version of its manifesto explains that its name "stems from the concept of impurity of the race - a counterpoint to all cult-based families (races, classes, nations)". As a counterpoint, Bastard stands for an idealism of "using reason publicly".

Intellectually, it sees itself as a paradoxical hybrid of the Enlightenment and postmodernism, and defines being an intellectual as a series of liberal, committed, democratic principles. "There is no way by which all of these traits can be inherited from the Croatian cultural and political tradition," it continues. "So, to be an intellectual in Croatia today means to be [an] illegitimate child of Croatian tradition."

Articles from the most recent issue are posted on the site: discussions of nationalism and Romanticism, Kafka and Zionism, a tribute to Ernest Gellner, though these are all in Croatian. Just how Croatian they are may be a matter of controversy, since the new nationalist establishment has made strenuous and much-satirised efforts to accentuate the differences between the official Croatian and the Serbian forms of the language .

As the nationalists try to "purify" the language of Serbian elements, the dissidents revel in their mongrel argot. A photo-essay on the ARKzin site celebrates November's protests against the suppression of Zagreb's independent Radio 101. "La Lotta Continua", it proclaims, "Fight The Power": slogans of post-1968 Italian revolutionaries and a black nationalist rap by Public Enemy. A Croatian paragraph suddenly flips into English to conclude "But ... we shall never surrender".

There's also a photographic presentation with captions in English, celebrating the protestors' victory. The page is labelled "Cool", and the repeated incantation of the word gives the text its rhythm. These are the children of MTV Europe on the march.

Marek.kohn@mcr1.poptel.org.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

music
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

film
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

film
Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

film
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police