The news from the G-8 summit left us too depressed to write, so we offer the following vignette from the files. This piece of geo-political vaudeville was originally presented as a skit in the Wichita Society of Professional Journalists’ “Gridiron” show, and is re-printed here without their permission.
(Scene opens at a meeting of the finance ministers of the European Union. Seated at a table are a FRENCHMAN, wearing a beret; a GERMAN, wearing one of those Kaiser Wilhelm helmets with the spike on top; a SPANIARD, wearing a sombrero; an IRISHWOMAN, swigging from a bottle of whisky; an ENGLISHMAN, nattily attired; a GREEK, wearing a toga; an ITALIAN WOMAN, provocatively dressed; a POLE, dressed in some comically stupid way; and SCANDINAVIAN, wearing a colorful wool stocking cap. All speak in exaggerated accents.)
GERMAN: This meeting of the European Union finance ministers vill come to order. As alvays, the topic is the disastrous state of your economies.
FRENCHMAN: I strenuously object to this German strudel. Zee French economy is not zee problem. We are zee world’s leading exporter of French bread, French toast, French fries, French kisses, and French’s mustard. In addition, we continue to surpass all other countries in haughtiness. No, zee problem is Greece.
GREEK: I will not tolerate this insult, you impudent French tickler. Greece doesn’t have any problem that a few hundred billion euro from the German central bank won’t solve. After all, we are the cradle of civilization, the birthplace of democracy, and the inventors of sodomy. Besides, we are no worse off than the Italians.
ITALIAN WOMAN (Very sultry): La dolce vita.
(All the men react very enthusiastically.)
GERMAN: Vat the hell does that even mean? You lazy Italians cost us North Africa, and now you are bankrupting our European Union.
FRENCHMAN: Leave her alone.
GERMAN: Do not make me angry. France does not want Germany to be angry.
POLE: The German is right. The southerners in the Eurozone aren’t pulling their weight. You don’t see the Polish economy in such a sorry state.
IRISH WOMAN: But of course you Poles have full employment. It takes three of you to screw in a light bulb.
POLE: You stupid Irish coffee. You think you’re so smart just because the Irish can do it with only two. One to hold the bulb to the socket, the other to sit and drink until the room starts to spin.
IRISH WOMAN: We are a simple people, we Irish. We’re a beer-swilling, wife-beating, bomb-throwing bunch of potato-heads, but we are still the world’s leading exporter of Irish people.
FRENCHMAN (Leaning toward the Irish woman): You know, I must be part Irish myself, because my penis is Dublin.
GERMAN: Please, this meeting must come to order. There is nothing more important than order!
ENGLISHMAN: I believe it was Nietzsche who said, “Out of chaos comes order.”
GERMAN: Oh, blow it out your ass, you silly English muffin.
ENGLISHMAN: Well. I must say, I now have no regrets about sticking with the Pound Sterling, you German chocolate cake. At least our money has pictures of real people and real places on it.
GERMAN: But we can still save the Euro. You people simply have to get your finances in order. No more lavish entitlements, no more bloated public sectors, no more six-month vacations.
GREEK: But the Greek people will riot and burn down the country.
SPANIARD: And the Spaniards.
ITALIAN: And the Italians.
ENGLISHMAN: And the English, I dare say.
FRENCHMAN: Zee French will riot, too, of course, but with a certain joi de vive that the other nations cannot match.
GERMAN: Don’t you know how to deal with the rabble on your streets?
ITALIAN: We have no idea.
ENGLISHMAN: I’m afraid not.
FRENCHMAN: Sorry, no clue.
GERMAN: You are pathetic and weak. I demand that you enact these reforms immediately.
SPANIARD: And I demand to know why I am wearing a sombrero. I am a Spaniard, not a Mexican.
FRENCHMAN: You stupid Spanish fly. It is because zees skit was written by an American. Americans think Spain is Mexico.
GREEK: You know, he’s right. This skit is nothing but a bunch of crude stereotypes and stale ethnic jokes. This must have been written by an American.
SCANDINAVIAN: No, it can’t be.
GREEK: Oh, yeah? You’re some kind of Scandinavian, right? Well, what kind?
SCANDINAVIAN: Svedish, Norvegian, Danish, Feenish, I don’t know. Dey’re all de same, aren’t dey?
GREEK: See what I mean? Only an American thinks that way.
FRENCHMAN: Sacre bleu! Zees entire European fiscal crisis is just an American plot. Zees was all dreamed up by some crazed American right-winger to discredit zee European social welfare model before Obama and zee Democrats can enact it there.
GREEK: But such a plot could never work.
FRENCHMAN: Why not?
GREEK: Because the Americans never notice what’s going on outside their country.