Extra curricular: A Happy Hour Ode to Troubled Unions, Currency Exits, Financial Crises and European Cups

by Paul D'Agostino

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Transatlantic grousing and gripes are established traditions much like transatlantic admiration and esteem, and cross-border regards for other nations and their variable othernesses within Europe herself can be much the same. At times it’s convenient to embrace one another, in other words, while at times briery priggery rules the day. This is nothing remotely novel, to be sure.

And to be sure all the more, a great many particularly prickly situations and events might bring such vicissitudes to the fore. Political and economic matters, per force, matter quite deeply to one and all, and they can stir things up for the better or the worse.

Those are hardly the lone tumbler stirrers, of course. Football tournaments are wont to rupture or renew ever-shifting sorts of alliances as well.

And so, in the throes of great and potentially grave, so it goes, economic woes, and with the fervor of the European Cup now upon us, why don’t we just drink to all of the above?

We’ve done so before, we’ll do so again.

For at the end of the day, we’re really all great friends.


Okay, that could be debated.


Thus for the now and the meantime at once, I offer the following freshly minted verses to give voice to a toast. They’re accompanied by drawings by Adam Thompson to further embellish the post.

Enjoy, grazie.

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A Happy Hour Ode to Troubled Unions, Currency Exits,
Financial Crises and European Cups

(So That We Might Enjoy Summer
From the Start, Together or Apart)

Loads of trenching, border-rimmed
loves and loathings long
clothed under folds and
draperies and moldings
of thin lies tether-tied:
Our so-called West.

Long we’ve thunk,
long we’ve all well known it.

So at times we’ve fared,
at times we’ve drunk to it.

And to our books and
our paintings,
our cuisines,
our histories.

And so on the so forth,
our so-called Goods.

Whether now’s woes we get over
in times distant or near,
tonight they’re just news
and numbers:


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Editorial note: Sometimes presumably simple questions are the most elusive to address. A deeply storied and likely eternal example of such a question is the following: What is art?

Writings on After Vasari bearing the ‘Extra curricular’ heading are attempts to explore this query in various ways, to probe the ever-nebulous boundaries of ‘art’ in hopes of grasping, however fleetingly, why it is that some endeavors and objects merit such a name.