(February 13, 2012)
[Please include your first and last names, and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]
The Demise of the Eurozone and Europe
To the Editor:
Why is it that the further I read Gilles d'Aymery's take on the eurozone I feel as I am kicking a dead horse? I kick. I kick. But the horse is dead. Nothing will bring it back to life. That's what Europe is about -- a dead horse.
Eastern Europe -- Romania, Hungary, etc. -- is in worse shape that even little Greece, which after 5 years of recession and an unemployment rate of 21% is a failed state that will never be able to pay her debts. France's trade deficit is abysmal, her coming presidential elections a joke. Belgium, divided by her two ethnic groups, cannot put together a working political system. Austria's banking system is close to go asunder. Spain and Portugal are imploding. Italy muddles away. Germany, the only fiscally-sound European country, is being vilified for doing what's right. Britain, as she's always done, washes her hands and does not want to be a part of the ongoing mess. On and on...
I understand that Mr. d'Aymery's cultural and emotional past lead him to call for a strong European Union, but from this Arizonian standpoint, one can only witness disunion and disintegration. As an American, I'd respectfully suggest that we drop Europe and engage in the Pacific, where the 21st century will take place. A dead horse cannot be revived.
Tempe, Arizona, USA - January 31, 2012
[ed. Ever heard of a debt jubilée? If Europe goes down so goes the world.]
French Presidential Election
To the Editor:
It's bitterly cold here and very gloomy. We have a presidential election looming with no statesman or woman running. On the left of the left, as if there still was a left, Mélenchon is a demagogue. On the right of the right -- this one well alive with about 20% of the voting population -- Marine Le Pen plays the xenophobic and nationalist card (get out of the eurozone, throw all foreigners -- read Muslims -- out of the country, and get back to the good old Travail, Famille, Patrie that was the cornerstone of Pétain's Vichy). In the center you have an insipid so-called socialist, François Hollande, who's grayer than a cumulus, offering some 60 unrealistic proposals that if ever implemented would drown the entire country into the Atlantic ocean. Then, you have Sarkoléon, the non-candidate president who is a candidate. He's been the worst president of the Vth Republic but has at long last shed his infatuation with countries famous for their fish & chips and hamburgers and has recognized the culinary taste of krauts -- the core of the European Union. What he wants to do besides staying in power for another five years is anyone's guess.
There are other guignols or sidekicks in this vaudeville: people like Villepin, Bayrou, Joly (ryhmes with jolie), Arthaud, Morin, Dupont-Aignan, Poutou, etc. -- but they all are rather bland, making the minstrel show dumb and boring.
In other words these elections rasent les pâquerettes.
I've heard in the grapevine that Swans jack of all trades, but master of none, was thinking about going back to his old country, leaving hamburger land. If I were him I'll consider twice and more. France is no longer what it used to be and no amount of nostalgia will bring it back to whatever his figment of the imagination thinks it was.
Better enjoy Mon Oncle or Les tontons flingueurs, and age gracefully. This was cinema. Nowadays, nothingness, blandness, immerisation are globalized, macdonaldized, walmartized, carrefourized. The future is bright, indeed!
Paris, France - February 5, 2012
[ed. Bright future, indeed: Santorum, Gingrich, Romney, Obama...]
Lamenting the absence of Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
Letters are becoming a rarity. That's why the post office (USPS) is going down the drain. People don't write. They twitter and they comment at a moment's notice. You are too old-fashioned. Create a comment section on your site and people will engage you and your contributors.
The comments will often be anonymous, poorly spelled, aggressive, and mostly stupid -- but your site will become alive.
What do you prefer, livelihood or purity?
Portland, Maine, USA - February 7, 2012
[ed. Answer: Both, but the latter is more important than the former.]
Claudio Magris and Community: Francesca Saieva's Claudio Magris, écrivain de frontière contre l'indifférence
To the Editor:
Francesca Saieva (Swans, Jan. 30, "Claudio Magris, écrivain de frontière contre l'indifférence") is right to bring up the name of Claudio Magris in these weeks when a skimpy Europe -- the E.U. -- stumbles across the headlines. No better time to forget the I.M.F. and the E.C.B. in Brussels and re-read Magris's splendid Danubio of 1986, translated in 1989 by Patrick Creagh as Danube. The river unites a much broader Europe, one that was not cut off from the rest of the world as a walled power bloc with knee-jerk subservience to Washington. Saieva's quote in French from Magris should be meditated. To periphrase: A literary work may be rooted in a particular situation. But when put before the public its moral content becomes political. It enters into the life, ideas and feelings of the community.
Lecce, Italy - February 11, 2012
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