The times they might be a-changin' but the allegedly demoralizing influence of rock music on the youth remains a real concern among Polish conservatives. At least that's the idea one gets when reading the new "History and Current Affairs" textbook recently introduced by the Ministry of Education.
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"Come mothers and fathers

Throughout the land

And don't criticize

What you can't understand

Your sons and your daughters

Are beyond your command

Your old road is rapidly agin'

Please get out of the new one

If you can't lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin'".

If this excerpt from Bob Dylan's classic "The Times They Are A-Changin'" is giving you the chills (but not of the good kind), then you think just like Prof. Wojciech Roszkowski- author of the only available textbook for the new subject introduced by Poland’s Ministry of Education- "History and Current Affairs".

The textbook - intended for first-year high school and technical school students - focuses on the timespan between 1945 and 1979. It is highly praised by the Minister of Education and Science Przemysław Czarnek himself because Prof. Roszkowski takes no prisoners - he "destroys" leftists, gender ideology, the morally rotten West, and criticizes the EU for being an organization promoting treasonous atheism.

Rock and roll and its biggest stars have not been spared either. On page 333, we can read about "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" as the method for achieving a nefarious goal. "Rock music, in itself fairly acceptable, constituted in this triad a kind of smoke screen for the other parts of the slogan" - writes the author, a former Law and Justice MEP.

Here, Prof. Roszkowski proceeds to point the finger at those most to blame: "A kind of anthem heralding the revolution of the 1960s was Bob Dylan's song "The Times They Are A-Changin'" released in the fall of 1963, held in the convention of a catastrophic folk song".


But it gets even better: "The aspirations of the younger generation of Americans were finding their expression in fashionable hits, which were increasingly put in the general category of rock and roll. In rock music, the boundaries of sensibility were steadily redrawn, with popular bands playing louder and louder. This, of course, is also a matter of taste, but to make matters worse, the lyrical layer began to be manipulated using increasingly blunt words. This, in turn, already went beyond the realm of music as such. This applied to such superstars as The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin".

While one is tempted to laugh, one should rather cry, because Minister Czarnek attaches great importance to the new school subject. "History and Contemporary Affairs" will partially replace Civic Education, and be on the high school diploma. Recently, the head of the Ministry of Education and Science organized a special conference dedicated to the new subject for teachers at the Museum of Cursed Soldiers in Warsaw.

- We must do everything so that young generations of Poles can learn the truth about recent history- Minister Czarnek began his speech. Conference attendees also received a copy of Prof. Roszkowski's textbook. Some teachers immediately left, because the theses contained in it offend common sense and contradict the principles of creating school materials.

I am convinced that students and their parents will react to the textbook in much the same way. Besides, Dylan did not fail to warn us about how dangerous the youth can be:

"Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don't stand in the doorway

Don't block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

The battle outside ragin'

Will soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin'".

Yes, Bob Dylan is a really dangerous guy and the Polish youth should know that.


Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine. Our journalists are on the front lines in 32 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

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