Friday, October 12, 2012

The Champions of Self Congratulation

They announced the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012:

Yes indeed, the European Union, a fractious union of countries with different ethnic groups, economies and religions, gathered under one currency, are the purveyors of non-violence for this year.  I see this in it's subtextual form.  By the way, forgive the pretension of the "s-word".  I am in full costume this morning, two weeks before Halloween:    I also have to meet with some potential donors to the University and their daughter, and want to look the part.  It's funny how "professorial" and "hipster" can converge aesthetically, separated only by age (I'm too old for the latter).

Anyway, back to the domain of my ancestors, Mother/Father/ Europe.  In subtext, the real meaning of this award is "Thank you Europe, for looking deeply into your hearts and not killing each other on a mass scale, something you have been accustomed to once or twice a century or so".  Thanks for dumping the Hitlers, Stalins, and Mussolinis, the Francos and Salazars and various other enemies of democracy.  Sure it took you a few years after 1945 to get it right.  The last two Princes of Iberian slaughter only met their demise in the 70's,  Eastern Europe erupted in bloodshed in only the last twenty years, and anyone visiting Central Europe these days has to tiptoe around without disclosing their ethnic background for fear of reprisal.  Yeah, it ain't perfect, but the colonial wars are more or less over, if you don't count their legacy that will last long after.  I do give them some credit.  They have tried, abolishing the death penalty, trying to unify economically, and generally attempting to match their external civility and good manners with less oppressive regimes that have attempted to emancipate women, aid the poor and dispossessed, improve the environment, and build bike paths.   Recent events in Greece and Spain prove there is a long way to go, BUT, if neither country embraces the far Left or far Right to a great degree, it's a good sign.

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