Poland Peasants’ Party

Poland has a Peasant’s Party? This appears to be the literal translation, although the Wikipedia page is titled ‘People’s Party’, which eliminates my fascination with the subject. If it is a ‘people’s party’, then it falls more in line with a socialist or a workers’ group. But a ‘peasants’ party’ is a different story. According to the wikipedia page, the party is focused around agrarian issues, hence the literal translation is more appropriate.

When I first heard of this party, immediately wondered, when did peasant get such a terrible connotation as to be used as an insult and is there a way that it could possibly be used without such a disparaging connotation?

From my Dictionary application on my mac:

peasant |ˈpezənt|

noun

a poor farmer of low social status who owns or rents a small piece of land for cultivation (chiefly in historical use or with reference to subsistence farming in poorer countries).

• informal an ignorant, rude, or unsophisticated person; a person of low social status.

The only time I’ve ever really heard anyone use this term was an English friend who dismissed my attempt to tease him for flirting with an Irish girl at a coffee shop. He huffed and called her a peasant. Which I think meant if he was from the states he’d have called her a hick?

Which then lead me to question why I thought of the word ‘hick’:

From the Wikipedia page:

Origins of “hick”

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term is a “by-form” of the personal name Richard (like Dick) and Hob (like Bob) for Robert. Although the English word “hick” is of recent vintage, distinctions between urban and rural dwellers are ancient.

According to a popular etymology derives from the nickname “Old Hickory” for Andrew Jackson, one of the first Presidents of the United States to come from rural hard-scrabble roots. This nickname suggested that Jackson was tough and enduring like an old Hickory tree. Jackson was particularly admired by the residents of remote and mountainous areas of the United States, people who would come to be known as “hicks.”

Though not a term explicitly denoting lower class, some argue that the term degrades impoverished rural people and that “hicks” continue as one of the few groups that can be ridiculed and stereotyped with impunity. In “The Redneck Manifesto,” Jim Goad argues that this stereotype has largely served to blind the general population to the economic exploitation of rural areas, specifically in Appalachia, the South, and parts of the Midwest.

 

On that note, I’d like to also highlight something I learned recently. Some of the funds from the stimulus are going towards increasing rural access to broadband internet. Nifty.

Stimulus funds quietly transforming small-town Ohio

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