Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Euro Trap

Earlier this week, I wondered if there would ever be fresh news items again. Once again, Lindsay Lohan violated probation (after looking near death at her court appearance a week and a half ago), and once again, the EU extended bailout funds and austerity stipulations to Greece (after looking near death prior to the summit). I'd like to point out that despite several stints in rehab, neither party looks poised for success any time soon.

Interestingly enough, our friends LiLo and Greece have more in common than meets the eye. Both had great starts: Lindsay was an adorable child star in The Parent Trap, and Greece birthed Western Civilization: to paraphrase Vizzini in The Princess Bride, "You ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Greeks." Unfortunately, despite promising starts like having Dennis Quaid as your movie father and creating democracy, the going quotation seems to be "You ever heard of Lindsay? Greece? Spencer Pratt? Morons."

To be fair, both of our friends had tremendous obstacles to overcome. For Lohan, the typically warped life of a child starlet meant a difficult home life. After a couple of sweet movies, her role in Mean Girls seemed to open her eyes to the possibilities of life outside the Disney halo, much like her character Cady Heron. Finding out the hard way that the press is every bit as ruthless as high school girls, Lindsay's future with substance abuse would be a public affair.

Greece has had a rough time since Nazi occupation during WWII. They've experimented with a variety of governments (monarchy, parliamentary democracy, parliamentary republic, military coups, socialists leading a parliamentary republic, and the EU), and experienced a variety of strikes, natural disasters, wars, and other internal conflict since 1944. Discovering that the euro may glisten without being gold, Greece adopted the now-famous currency in 2002, and in 2004 was found to have lied about its deficit numbers before joining.

Lindsay has had multiple DUIs, arrests, prison stints, probation attempts, rehab stays, and a really terrible relationship with DJ Samantha Ronsen. Greece has had a variety of binge-and-purge-without-the-binge relationships with austerity measures and EU emergency funds, coupled with strikes, credit downgrades, and some deadly wildfires on top of it all.

Lindsey is now doing community service in a morgue, and recently bared it all in Playboy for a $1 million payout. Greece is about to begin its community service in its own morgue as it increases austerity measures and gets another multi-billion-euro bailout that will (if everything goes perfectly) reduce its debt to a mere 120% of GDP by 2020. EU leaders were criticized for suggesting that Europe bare it all and beg "Chinaboy," President Hu Jintao, for a big payout.

Sadly, until Lindsay steps away from the drugs, alcohol, and expensive necklaces she doesn't own, she's going to keep showing up in court, and keep having to pay the bills unconventionally. She's lost her honor, and shows no desire to regain it. She'd need to cut ties with old friends and bad habits and set out anew—less fame and fortune, but more respectability.

Greece might have a little bit more of a chance, but it will be an uphill battle given its massive debts,  and repeated tax hikes and austerity cuts. Greece lost its honor by lying to join the EU in the first place, and allowing other member nations (notably France and Germany) to repeatedly bail it out despite their own massive debts is hardly a step in the right direction. If Greece wants to maintain national sovereignty in any capacity, it must cut ties with old friends and bad habits and set out anew—less EU economic blessing, more internal stability.

I'm not sure if Greece can survive on its own at this point. But I am almost certain that the EU cannot survive without some drastic changes. Last week's "rescue" was closer to the teeth tune-up Lindsay got than to solving the problem. It may have fixed the aesthetic, but the internal problems are still raging. Sadly, our friends seem to be staring as twin disasters hoping to get their lives (not parents) back together in the Thanksgiving blockbuster, The Euro Trap.

I drew analogies between starlets and states in:
Gray slacks with faint plaid, white oxford, black one-button blazer with rolled sleeves, purple bead and chain statement necklace, gunmetal and rhinestone ring, and teal suede pumps.