World crisis, Entropa – and Europe’s going down… again

One thing that Europe is famous for is its history. Unfortunately, it has done more harm than good so far. Nevertheless, both politicians and businesses in Europe have been working, and are still working, on its integration which is wonderful… until the Czech presidency came together with its project called Entropa.

The purpose of the project is to depict Member States by using common stereotypes and prejudices in order to demolish these stereotypes and prejudices. The idea is not bad. We should be able to make fun of ourselves in combination with self-respect in order to prosper. In other words, we should be able to use our disadvantages as advantages instead of not talking about them at all just like Americans make fun of their disadvantages in The Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad.

However, Entropa turned out to be a failure – one that could have been avoided.  Some of the 27 artists involved in it could have come up with better ideas in depicting their countries. One of the stupidest ideas is depicting Bulgaria as a Turkish toilet.

It’s no secret that Bulgarians hate their government and the way things are going in their country. These days’ protests in front of the Bulgarian Parliament show it. With the Turkish toilet Elena Jelebova has gone too far though. I don’t think that one who hates their country so much has enough of a self-respect.  Depicting the way corruption looks or rich people at one side and poor people and the middle class at the other side, for example, would be much, much more effective stereotypes and prejudices.  The Turkish toilet depiction is by far the stupidest “stereotype” or “prejudice” about Bulgaria I have ever seen, heard or read about.

Another stupid cartoon was the one about Netherlands – the entire country is under water except for its minarets. Prejudice??? Stereotype??? Dick Jansen, wake up! What kind of a Dutch are you? When I think of the Netherlands the first things that come to my mind are drugs and prostitution in Amsterdam.

 

 

 

 

Not to mention Germany – automotive industry and motorways in the form of a swastika. Well done, Helmut Bauer!!!

And what a stupid response by Jan Vytopil who is in charge of cultural events during the six-month presidency:

“It is quite the opposite, in fact, and is aimed at showing that the traditional image of many member states is simply not true.”

Yeah, right! People in France don’t go on strike. That’s simply not true, right?!

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6 Comments

Filed under Politics

6 responses to “World crisis, Entropa – and Europe’s going down… again

  1. Nils Kramar

    The very fact, that “Entropa” causes such an uproar shows:
    It works.
    There can be nothing worse for a piece of art than to show exactly what people expect – depicting a way of “what art should be” and not, what it is. That’s boring.
    Art may do anything. It MUST DO ANYTHING!

    We all have weaknesses. Especially weaknesses, that we don’t know about.
    Why should I read art, showing e.g. drugs and prositution in Amsterdam?!
    I already know about that!
    What’s new is, that (the oh-so-liberal!) NL could drown in a sea-storm of xenophobia! …and then drown at all, cause of global warming.

    Art should make me THINK! “Entropa” works well that way.

    I believe, “Entropa” hits the point. It makes clear, that Europe is a conglomerate of nations that have not (yet? will it ever?) found a way of really integrating themselves, to form a political system that is fit for the future – as shows the neglect of the European constitution by France, The Netherlands and Ireland, for minor reasons.
    Europe today is a crowd of square-headed, stubborn, self-headed nations (which are only as good as the people making them up..), seeking only to get money for their small-minded projects at home – just to get people’s fridges filled.
    Europe is unable to reform itself; inflexible, stagnating. And yet growing…

    This is no good outlook for the future.

    We should be worried: After all, the EU is the best thing that has happened to the continent – EVER! We have never had a longer period of peace and prosper than the past 60 years.
    Let’s not forget about that!
    I don’t want to lose this to some stupid paper-shufflers!

    And yeah: What can a small nation like the Czech Republic do, even in a term of presidency?
    You have done so much. We need that kick in the ass!
    Thank you David Cerny!

    Nils Kramar, Hamburg (Germany)

  2. Nils Kramar

    oh… and it actually made me think about the concept of “entropy” at all.

    Again: Thank you, David Cerny!
    ;o)

  3. Now that you’re saying this about the Netherlands, I see the point. But: “Why should I read art, showing e.g. drugs and prositution in Amsterdam?!
    I already know about that!”

    I already know about the strikes in France. Everybody who reads news about France every once in a while knows them. Can’t they think of something else – something we don’t know?

    “Europe today is a crowd of square-headed, stubborn, self-headed nations (which are only as good as the people making them up..), seeking only to get money for their small-minded projects at home – just to get people’s fridges filled.
    Europe is unable to reform itself; inflexible, stagnating. And yet growing…”

    I absolutely agree with you here but it’s going to take us at least two decades to change that. In other words – with the change of the generations – because we can’t expect things to change with people who used to live in communism, nazism or fascism still part of the European society.

  4. Nigel

    You are absolutely right, Dimitar! It’s one thing to laugh at yourself, it’s another to laugh at others and it’s yet another thing to flat out through insults! Here’s an example why history is good, but too much history can be worse than not having one. I agree with Nils that art is supposed to make us think, but what Europeans have to think about is that, while an important part of life, art, by itself, is not enough to ensure prosperity. Hard work and determination is the secret to success. People do and will change – it’s a matter of more than one generation, though. Meanwhile, the world doesn’t stand still.

    In the words of Peter Griffin: “I’ve got an idea! An idea so smart that my head would explode if I even began to know what I’m talking about.” (from http://www.familyguyquotes.com/characters/peter-griffin-quotes-7.html)

  5. “There is Nothing that art cannot express” ~Oscar Wilde
    I agree the project is working, and what a powerful idea indeed. Our stereotypes, and insecurities, on both personal and national level, are most dangerous if they are left to operate on a subconscious level. Once they come on the surface we can start to deal constructively with them and hopefully, even try to eradicate them.
    Dimitar, I share your initial reaction upon the sight of Bulgaria being portrayed as a turkish toilet. Yet, it’s important to search deep and find the reasons behind this reaction? Why not be able to lough at it, just like watching Family guy? Why say the artist has distastefully ruined the task? Simple – nationality and historical heritage are such an integral part of who we are in this world, it is easy to be sensitive, or even offended – someone is mocking a part of you!
    I admire the attempt to acknowledge our stereotypes and insecurities and try to look past existing prejudices.
    Don’t be as defensive, laugh it out! =)

  6. I would have laughed if I had seen the alternatives that I proposed in the article. France is a good one although the design could have been times better such as depicting the French crowd while on strike holding a sign that says “Strike – our favorite sport” – “Grêve – notre sport préferé”. The way Entropa looks is like watching a Family Guy episode that has a long song in it – in other words too boring provided that there are a lot of opportunities out there to make it a marvel.

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