October 13, 2008


I’ve found the forerunner to the modern sitcom: a cycle of seven one-act plays from 1893 by Arthur Schnitzler titled Anatol. In the act “Episode,” our philandering hero Anatol is bitterly disillusioned when Bianca, a circus-girl with whom he has once had an affair, fails to recognize him on her return to Vienna. In the act “Abschiedssouper,” he gives what he intends to be a farewell supper for the ballerina Annie, whom he’s tired of, only to find to his unjustified indignation that she has come with a similar intention.

The English have always wanted to break up with the rest of the contintent. At last summer's Euro 2008 tournament, England and Europe were officially over. But who dumped whom?

In June, Schnitzler’s country Austria co-hosted with Switzerland the
Eurocup of soccer, which has a higher worldwide following than the Olympics, second only to the World Cup in the gathering of humans for any peacetime reason. One national team with intermittent success and constant participation in the Eurocup is England. During qualification England drew an easy group and took their chances for granted. After all, they had countless superstars on their men’s national team. However, like Anatol, their performance wasn’t memorable and they failed to impress. In a last-ditch effort with home field advantage at Wembley against lowly Croatia, England fully intended to serve their opponents a farewell supper but instead saw themselves dumped in an embarrassing 2-3 loss last November. This year’s Eurocup tournament events had the dubious distinction of being conducted largely in Continental English for the masses of tourists, but lacking any national team from the English speaking countries of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, or Malta, all who failed to qualify.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am from Malta. I was so disappointed when they did not qualify. They will one day win the EuroCup. I hope they take on the French in the semi-final and then whoop up on the Greeks in the final. Wishful thinking. Go Malta!