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Friday, October 12, 2012

43

Get Over Yourself, Europe

Oh, whatever, Europe. You can't fit more than two pairs of socks and a jumper, whatever THAT is, into one of your washing machines, and your hotel rooms all come spring-loaded and ready to collapse on you. You're not so special. Also, did you SEE the Nobel Peace Prize announcement? Looked to me like a lot of old guys with hot accents and surprisingly thick white hair voted to give themselves an award for being soooooooooo great. For shame, Thorbjorn* Jagland!

*Seriously? Your name is Thor plus Bjorn? Grow up! Your name is Ted now.



43 Comments / Post A Comment

Justine Garrett

Thorbjorn means thunder bear!

Tulletilsynet

I bet the entire EU is as speechless and grossed out out by Thorbjørn Jagland's stalkery love and weird English as Obama was.

AnnaRosemund

Norway is not a member of the EU, so they actually didn't give themselves an award.

Nicole Cliffe

That sounds like something a European would say.

Nicole Cliffe

#factsdon'tmatter

Tulletilsynet

@Nicole Cliffe (While the North Americans on Twitter are all going around thinking an EU member gave the Peace Prize to the EU, meanwhile, back in the Norwegian Twitter ghetto, everybody is assuming that the whole big world instantly understood the specific meaning of Norway (Norway!) giving its precious annual love medicine to the EU.)

Lucienne

@Tulletilsynet I always forget that Norway gives the Peace Prize, and I am pretty cosmopolitan and plugged-in, she said modestly. (In my defense, Sweden gives the other prizes! And Sweden is part of the EU.)

Heike

Gosh, such crossness! Well where I am sitting right now, slap bang in the middle of Europe, out my window I can see the workmen plastering the apartment building across the way. They are renovating it for the first time in decades. ( I live in an old, pretty poor area)
They are plastering over the bullet holes in the stone all round the cellar windows, from May 1945 when the Russians fought the Germans in the streets round where I live.
Sorry to be a party poop but although the timing and all is a little odd, I think the EU genuinely *does* deserve a peace prize.

Emby

@Heike ..a party poop? Man, you Europeans really do do everything different!!

heh.. do do

Heike

@Emby As they say "You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter."

Banana dance

@Heike I now have a new email signature quote, thank you.

H.E. Ladypants

@Heike Oh man, I think the European Union is brilliant when you look at the ideology behind it.

There's this wonderful picture of all the bureaucrats standing for a group portrait after the talks that resulted in the ECSC. They're a bunch of dull and ordinary-looking people, standing around in suits staring somewhat blankly at the camera. But then you think about what they had just accomplished- this entirely new idea they put into place in the aftermath of half a century of with probably the two most vicious wars ever fought. They never wanted it to happen again. And the solution they devised was to take bitter enemies and make them interdependent, make it so that to shoot each other would be to shoot their own hands and feet.

It's brilliant and simple and it was rather new and it was accomplished by a lot of ordinary folks hashing out a lot of paperwork and details and other dull things.

And I love that, that photo became the sort of iconic image for the founding of ECSC because I think that's actually the way peace happens a lot of the time. There isn't always a stunning photo-op or a grand iconic leader. Conflict is the thing that is dashing and romantic. Peace is really a bit work-a-day and mundane.

But it can also work. Western Europe is currently experiencing the longest period of peacetime in its history. So, I'm pretty happy to toast the ordinary people in the suits. They've managed a pretty extraordinary thing.

Heike

@H.E. Ladypants Beautifully put.
In fact I wish your post had been the Hairpin article instead.
I think I was just so stunned by the snark, which I didn't expect from the Hairpin of all places, I always think of the Hairpin as a kindly, intelligent refuge where you don't get called out for being 'other'.
"Get Over Yourself Europe" is in my opinion quite an ill-considered response to the award.

Miss Maszkerádi

@Heike Seriously. I've been cracking jokes about the committee's decision as much as anyone (all my EU citizen friends are gleefully proclaiming themselves Nobel laureates) but "you're not so special, Europe, because your hotels are old and your washing machines are different?" I'm sure this is satire, or irony, or something, but i'm not quite sure what's being inexpertly parodied. Is it so many Americans' tendency to see Europe as something that exists to go on a junior-year excursion to, beer and souvenirs to be consumed, locals to make fun of without being called racist, etc....?

evil melis

I too was surprised by the inclusion of mild, tongue-in-cheeek humor (or "humour" as I am required to spell it by my invisible captors) on this pin of hairs! As you know, when the Hairpin emerged from the sea back in 1997, the three founders signed a solemn pledge on the Rütli meadow never to write anything that wasn't soft enough for a winged lamb to nest in.

Until today they kept that pledge.

Today they broke it.

Already I feel the hum of the iron bees rising in my ears. The gods will not be mocked. They have suffered a casual and light tone for too many years and tonight we will see the gibbering corpses of the Mad Army lay waste to your very hearts.

NICOLE CLIFFE

WE CALL YOUR NAME

NICOLE CLIFFE

WE RIDE FOR THEE

NICOLE CLIFFE

YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT FACETIOUS HEADLINE IN BLOOD AND A WASTELAND OF AGONY

H.E. Ladypants

@CountessMaritza I worked for an EU country for several years (I am an American, however) and for a few years part of my job was to try and explain Europe and the EU to Americans. The best I can come up with is Europe is, as Eddie Izzard put it, "where the history comes from." Past Europe is dynamic and interesting. Current Europe is a staid, sort of socialist place the place where kitchy and questionable dance music from. The idea of contemporary Europe as a dynamic place with relevant ideas, arguments and struggles is not really in our popular minds.

(I've got some views on the other way 'round, too. But yeah. I think people on opposite sides of the pond tend to think about each other a bit weirdly.)

Lisa Frank

@Heike I can't speak for Nicole, but on this side of the Atlantic, this announcement seems ridiculous. The Nobel Peace Prize is no longer being awarded to people like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King who fought for peace and justice at great personal peril, but to ineffectual bureaucrats. I felt the same way when they awarded the prize to Obama (even though I voted him in 2008 and will vote for him in November) I don't think he had done anything to deserve it, yet. And with rising economic and social instability, the future of the EU seems quite precarious. I remember reading an article years ago, that credited peace in Europe to nationalist rivalries being played out on the football pitch instead of the battlefield. Perhaps next year, they'll award the Peace Prize to the Euro Cup?

Heike

@CountessMaritza Yes, you are right, but (just my opinion) I think something feels off about the humour. It just seems like when someone makes a joke at your expense and it's a little too sour for your comfort.
It's a fine line about mocking stuff, in that sometimes it's better left to person/demographic being mocked, to do it themselves. I didn't get that it was a 'parody of a type of American' thing because I'm not American. (duh obviously)

But like I say, it's purely my opinion that it's overly snarky, and I'm willing to accept I'm being over-sensitive. :-)

Nicole Cliffe

I'm not American, it was totally a joke, but it would have been much clearer if I'd stuck with my original title: "I've Got Yogurt Older Than Europe."

evil melis

@Nicole Cliffe actually it's spelled "gogurt"

Heike

@Nicole Cliffe Well, you maybe already saw my recantation below, sorry but the green weblinks just aren't showing up too well today on my pc, if you try reading it straight without the weblinks, it's totally odd!
Otherwise, yeah, I'm late to the party but I get it now. Thanks for replying anyway :-)

Heike

@evil melis Joghurt, obvs.

H.E. Ladypants

@Lisa Frank Despite the EU's issues and questions about it's future. (There's a huge international identity crisis that is going to have to be resolved.) I do not think, however, and will continue to argue that the bureaucrats were NOT ineffectual. I think the Pax Europaea is proof of that.

Peace is not usually sensational. I actually think it is kind of nice to have that recognized in some weird way.

Lucienne

@Heike I think the first part is aimed primarily at the ridiculous article in the first link, which doesn't have anything to do with the Nobel Prize but is the kind of mash note to major European cities that gets tiring.

H.E. Ladypants

@Lucienne Yeah, I think that's the other side of it. A lot of times Europe feels like the slightly annoying guy at the bar who won't stop talking about how GREAT he is.

Heike

@Lucienne OH MY LORD. *blushes*
I need to get a stronger lightbulb in this room. Didn't notice the weblink on the word 'Europe'.
Parody and entire article in fact, make total sense now. Oh god, and now I've convinced the entire Hairpin that I'm very uptight, I shall go away and drink some wine.

Nicole Cliffe

Don't run away, but DO drink the wine!

Heike

@Nicole Cliffe ...which may become my new email signature quote.

H.E. Ladypants

@Heike I think it's my fault. Obviously, I get a little excited about the EU and diplomacy and peace processes. I was the one who made it all seriouspants. SORRY GUYS, I HATE FUN.

Lucienne

@Heike It's okay! I think you said some reasonable things. :)

@H. E. Ladypants I am a little hormonal right now, I guess, but your first comment actually made me cry.

Miss Maszkerádi

@Heike No, I definitely agree with you. It had a weird tone that stuck me the wrong way too. I am an American citizen but am on my way to being an expat living in Central Europe (I currently spend summers there) and I always end up shepherding around these big groups of seemingly willfully-rude American college kids who go around loudly commenting on how weird everything is, how nobody likes Americans, worrying if it's safe to eat the food, etc., and it's become this freaking *twitch* of mine whenever that particular attitude seems to be popping up. Oversensitive, yes, but to each her pet peeve.
@H. E. Ladypants, my experience in Europe has been quite the opposite. In my field of study and profession, I find much more staid stodginess in the US than in Europe. Depends on where you are, what you do, and who you know. There is some truth to the cliche of stuffy gray socialist Europe, but in my experience it's mostly just that, a tired old cliche.

Miss Maszkerádi

@CountessMaritza Fcking HELL i'm always late to everything. Found the link, read the article, facepalmed repeatedly, laughed ruefully, retract all overly serious statements, etc.....

Heike

@CountessMaritza Hugs to you! Now go grab some wine, it'll ease the pain.

redheaded&crazy

let's all just go to that place that is soft enough for a winged lamb to nest in because i would like to live out my days there plzkthx

H.E. Ladypants

@CountessMaritza Oh I wasn't speaking to the way people are just the larger way that they're perceived. I would generally agree with your observations.

evil melis

"a real Italian drug deal...a perfect round Chinese face..."

EVERY TIME I THINK I CANNOT HATE THE TIMES MORE

pallasathena

But we can all agree that this was a muuuuch better decision than giving Harper that World Statesman award for human rights and democracy, right?

theotherginger

@pallasathena wait what? Stephen Harper? ew.

Lush Life

"...I would suggest taking a long wander through the gardens of Paris’s Palais-Royal, where Napoleon was said to have had his first sexual experience..."

And next on our European tour is a visit to Hofburg Palace, where Marie Antoinette was fingerbanged, followed by an overnight in Avignon, where salad tossing is said to have been invented in the year 1355.

dontannoyme

Yes Americans are fat and ignorant and refer to "Paris, France"....Hey guys it's a JOKE.

Sorry but this one was a bit off for me not to mention factually inaccurate (Norway not being in the EU and all). Plus it gave rise to comments like this: "Current Europe is a staid, sort of socialist place the place where kitchy and questionable dance music from".

PS, note to all American readers. Unless you intend to sound like Sarah Palin, don't use the world socialist. It makes you sound parochial and a bit lacking in knowledge and honestly the rest of the world just rolls its eyes and goes back to its business.

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