The age of the lost innocence
Zoe Petre

I once tried to convince him that he should-n?t keep on using that oxymoronic expression but he immediately replied that since nobody was reading newspapers anymore, the materials published were therefore original.

When he finally attained his goal, for the first time he brought the television to immortalize him.

My younger boy, was about ten back then and who had personally met the gentleman in question during the successive union Christmas trees, when hearing that the Romanian television had come to immortalize Budrigă while defending his thesis, immediately added: ?And is he going to appear on ?Embarrassing but true???

When courses on the history of the Nation and of the Party were introduced in the syllabuses of all faculties, the cooperative history PhD captain was sent to lecture to the philologist students, and he categorically told the fourth year students that the national language was unitary, with no dialects.

The students happily contradicted him saying that they had just attended Professor Coteanu?s lecture on the dialects of the Romanian language which triggered his nervous barking: ?Who is this Coteanu that has no idea about the documents of the party?? Coteanu, back then a member of the CC and Dean of the Faculty of Letters, made a huge scandal in the Rector?s office, while Budrigă was disciplinary moved to Măgurele to enlighten the students there, and Professor Radu Manolescu, a distinguished specialist in the Medieval period, and myself, were asked to clarify the situation to the litigant.

Manolescu tactfully asked him: ?Comrade Budrigă, what language do you speak?? ? ?What do you mean what language, he angrily replied, I speak the Romanian national unitary language!?

? ? Sir, you speak the Daco-Roman language? Manolescu replied at his turn. ?Get out of here, comrade, that was in times of yore!? shouted my learned colleague.

With a naiveté quickly annihilated by facts, I thought that we would at least get rid of Budrigă. No way! He immediately found champions precisely among my colleagues who, in the past, used to pull his leg, together with the Head of Department, Professor Ioan Scurtu, who told me in a very deep philosophical tone: ?he may be an idiot but he is ours.?

And he aggressively defended him. Since he didn?t leave out of his own will, he didn?t leave the faculty at all till 1997 or 1998 when he suddenly died. Meanwhile, our man had laid the foundations of an obscure party influenced by Lenin and Ceauşescu?s doctrines, whose secretary general he was, publishing- even today I wonder on what money- a publication, called ?the Socialist Sparkle?.

In its first year of existence, PRO TV channel ensured this party a national fame, dedicating it a brief documentary, displaying the residence adorned with Lenin?s portrait and with Ceauşescu?s fiery red complete works, with a political staff which gathered another three rightful members, apart from the secretary general- two of Budrigă?s four daughters and somebody else- an acting member who, during the sessions, used to take a seat on a smaller and more shaky chair.

Looking towards Dâmboviţa, Vasile Budrigă pathetically exclaimed: ?There is no point in cursing Ceauşescu now, look at this clear water, which, during the bourgeois period, used to be a pestilential water (sic!)?

With regretful ingenuity, I vaguely imagined that, touched by Liiceanu?s Appeal, Ceauşescu?s proponents in the Faculty would leave tiptoeing, overwhelmed by their own culpability. It is more than obvious that this cohort decided to rather die than surrender and we were all of a sudden faced with a civil war.

The students caught me completely unaware when they fervently asked me to become the dean (which, obviously, offered unexpected ammunition to the opposite group, which had all the time sustained the fact that the stability and the undisturbed continuity of our marvellous faculty had been exclusively staggered by the despicable manoeuvres of some profiteers of the Revolution. Ioan Scurtu, our colleague, subsequently published some indignities of the kind).

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