May 17, 2003


Rem Koolhaas is a tediously self-promoting architect who has fallen on hard times lately because few clients want to pony up the $40 million for his self-indulgence. That's what Prada paid for their over-the-top SoHo store.

So he's moonlighting in areas where he is over-unqualified, like magazines. Because he's a "thinker", Wired gave him the latest issue to play with.

The general rubric of the issue is redefinition of space (as in physical or mental space — not as in outer space). There's a particularly chilling piece of anti-US writing by a Mark Leonard that masquerades as a description of why Europe will "bury" us. When reading it, try to remember that this guy actually admires this new Europe. It sounds a lot like Hell the way he describes it:

The 80,000 pages of laws the EU has developed since the common market was formed in 1957 - influencing everything from genetic labeling to human rights - have made Europe the world's first viral political space, spreading its authority in three innovative ways.

First, it spreads by stealth. Although the EU legislates up to half of its member states' laws, most of their trade, and many policy decisions - from agriculture to economics - it's practically invisible. [...] By creating common standards that are implemented through national institutions, Europe can take over the world without becoming a target for hostility.
Second, the EU thrives on diversity. The former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once complained that Europe doesn't have a single telephone number. When there's a crisis, Americans don't know who to turn to as the authentic voice of opinion. [...] By sharing control widely, and by making it impossible for any single faction or institution to dominate, a networked business can combine its global presence with innovation and diversity to gain the kind of edge normally reserved for smaller entities.

Great, Europe as internet company, like Cool! I'm not sure how this synchs with the anti-globalization idiots' vision, but let that be. I think the operative word in this passage is "impossible".

[...] Third, Europe "syndicates" its legislation and values, often by threatening others with economic isolation. [...] But this model of passive aggression has had its most dramatic effect in the EU's backyard. [...] The US might have changed the regime in Afghanistan, but Europe is changing all of Polish society, from its economic policies and property laws to its treatment of minorities and what gets served on the nation's tables.

Passive aggressive? Sounds like a continent run by actor/waiters.

The key to this whole piece is in that last sentence. Let's recall the last two attempts by European powers to externally control Poland's "tables" and laws. We generally refer to those powers as the "Axis" and the "Warsaw Pact".

So there you have it:
World domination through communal "non"-decision making, passive-aggressive threatening, stealthy overriding of national traditions and laws.

Okay, let's just drop the Middle East and invade Brussels.

Posted by campbell at May 17, 2003 01:04 AM | TrackBack

The first two "innovative ways" sound a lot like what I've heard about Al Quaida.
Very scary.

Posted by: Paulineee at May 17, 2003 11:11 AM