Tag Archives: Europe


My history professor posted this on Facebook today, and I couldn’t resist reblogging it.

“PEOPLE who find their neighbours tiresome can move to another neighbourhood, whereas countries can’t. But suppose they could,” begins the story in The Economist. “Rejigging the map of Europe would make life more logical and friendlier.” (Click the image to see the whole story at Economist.com.)

As a geography (and history) student, I both love and—well, not hate, but—mildly dislike the idea. I love that as serious and sometime surely of a publication as The Economist can loosen its tie enough actually reference the make-believe country of Vulgaria, the setting of the movie “Chittty Chitty Bang Bang,” and I’m extremely pleased that it’s used the medium of mapping to do so.

But I think it’s telling that instead of sending Western countries in to fill the space vacated by migrating Eastern countries, the magazine put imaginary nations into Eastern Europe. Sure, says the West, we’ll let a lucky few of you join us over here if you’ll assimilate, but don’t expect us to head your way. But who can we Other now? Oh, where’s that Child Catcher from that old Dick Van Dyke movie? He’s sufficiently backwards to fit our stereotypes. Yes, he and Dracula will get along well!

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a scene from a movie I once thought was Truly Scrumptious. Listen closely when they discover the trap door and tell me you don’t here the Catcher cackle, “The feminists will have your teeth for a necklace and your eyeballs for earrings!” Mom and Dad, how did you ever let me watch this?

For the sake of fairness, he actually says baroness, not feminists.