In the past, Top and Flop European were mainstays of the Brain section of E&M. In the deeply uncertain climate, our Diaphragm Editors felt that a rather more cynical take on the feature was necessary: This is Top/Flop European 2.0. Click here to read as Sam Volpe searches for some light in the darkness, and read on for Alexander Neofitov’s damning critique of this issue’s Flop.
Welcome to Britaria, we got fun and games
And here we are, folks, shaking, laughing tears, wiping with a leave brochure. Because, really, who knew that the teabags had it in them? We saw them in Marseille – they don’t cost a ruble. But who knew. Who knew that hitherto sophisticated politicians will be so willing to lend a hand to the populists just to stay in power? Who knew that anybody, save for the local neo-Nazi, would believe lies so farfetched and remote, that tales about Emelya the Fool stand as Locke’s theory of mind next to them. Who knew that politicians will start backing out of their promises the moment the deed was done, sliding the in/out debate along the lines of a discussion in a brothel. Who knew that a former empire will set such an eyebrow-raising standard of buffoonery, that we here will have to sit still, tighten our belts and think about something really grandiose to answer the challenge?
Wasn’t that former empire an advanced nation? Yes, advanced in racial prejudice, you would say, and you may be partially right. Or wait, is that Britain at all, is that not actually Bulgaria? But wait – wasn’t the latter the original reason why all this happened? Na, you are mixing it up lad – one is the victim, and the other the bad guy, not the other way round. These folks down there in the gutter, they are the one to blame. They sleep with goats, eat raw meat, still use an outhouse. Worse still, they get screwed by politicians who use them to accrue debt and then fizzle out in Panama. Wait, how is this any different?
For years it seemed like Europe was like some kind of twisted funnel. You got sucked up at one end, dressed well, educated, with good prospects, and you got spat out somewhere on the Balkans, donned in a bear skin, holding a half-drunk bottle of rakia and swearing so hard that your old momma couldn’t get out of hospital due to constant heart attacks.
For years it seemed like Europe was like some kind of twisted funnel. You got sucked up at one end, dressed well, educated, with good prospects, and you got spat out somewhere on the Balkans, donned in a bear skin, holding a half-drunk bottle of rakia and swearing so hard that your old momma couldn’t get out of hospital due to constant heart attacks. But it seems now, with this fresh and bold example at hand, that this funnel has bent like a black hole – you now end where you begin.
This is no laughing matter, by any means. There are far too many of us scattered across Europe resembling something of an old violin, so used and detuned, so barren and obsolete, that all strings have been broken, except one. And the big issue now is who is going to pull it. Liberals have tried to play it but fiddled too much and broke the bow. Right-wingers, on the other hand, are gradually becoming the real virtuosos of this sad czardas. And it does not matter which part of Britaria you are at, you still get played by the same bunch of goons, either taking from you or willing to give and then take double. What a pity that instead of bringing out the differences and making it clear who is who in this game, the European Union actually showed us how similar we are in our predicaments.