Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The End of the Affair  

Mark Steyn says that Europe is like an ex-girlfriend:
[I]f you're still deluding yourself you can get her back, every encounter will perforce be fraught and turbulent; once you realise that's never gonna happen, you can meet for a quick decaf latte every six – make that 10 – months and do the whole hey-isn't-it-terrific-the-way-we're-able-to-be-such-great-friends routine because you couldn't care less. You can even make a few pleasant noises about her new romance (the so-called European Constitution) secure in the knowledge he's a total loser.
But it's more complicated than that. Europe is America's not-yet-divorced wife, still together through inertia years after the love has died out and the reason for the marraige has gone away. (And let's not forget who first started to see other people.) The kids are gone but not established in their lives, so there's a need to present a common front, even if nobody takes it seriously any more. Besides, the new girlfriend (Asia) doesn't have her act completely together yet, so you'd have to move into temporary bachelor quarters.

The divorce papers will be filed soon, and there will be hard and bitter and irrevocable words, but this is not that day. For now, you make nice, and draw on old memories and good manners to preserve the fiction a little while longer.
So what would you do in Bush's shoes? Slap 'em around a bit? What for? Where would it get you? Or would you do exactly what he's doing? Climb into the old soup-and-fish, make small talk with Mme Chirac and raise a glass of champagne to the enduring friendship of our peoples: what else is left? This week we're toasting the end of an idea: the death of "the West".
Unlike Roger Simon, I don't think the last line is especially bleak. It's simply a recognition of the reality that the true story of the 20th century was the collapse of the European Project. It's time to move on, into a global future, and clinging to an outdated fantasy of "the West" can only make that harder.

You don't toast that death publicly, though, while your erstwhile partner is standing there beside you pretending she'll maintain her lifestyle and attractiveness with her new squeeze moved seamlessly into your place. You simply acknowledge it when you sit at the kitchen table alone at night, making plans.

posted by Kelly | 4:52 PM link