Europe Is Partying Like It’s 1939

The world is preparing for war, but not in Europe, where Daft Punk’s beat goes on.

Europe is different from when I first lived there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was not as superficially wealthy then, although this time I rarely wandered far from where the tourists congregate. On the outside, at least, you would hardly see the rot of debt and welfare-state mismanagement even in Italy and Spain. The people were well dressed. The cafés were expensive but still packed. The cars are fairly new and have shockingly little body damage, when you consider the insanity that overtakes Europeans when they slide behind a steering wheel.

But that’s on the surface. Once you get behind the walls and into interior of the homes, the old cramped shabbiness is still there. All their money goes to clothes, food, and drink, because there’s no room in European apartments for the stuff Americans pack into theirs.

Spending Their Money on Frivolity

Like a cheesy disaster movie foreshadowing the apocalypse during Act I, the TVs in the bars where the locals drink wine and gobble pricey tapas cover the looming Greek default 24/7. The coming collapse is background noise to a cacophony of people chattering into iPhones. The revolution is being televised, and no one’s watching.

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