Magazine April 2, 2012, Issue

Desperate but Not Serious

‘In Berlin the situation is serious but not desperate; in Vienna, the situation is desperate but not serious.” This quip was heard around Central Europe in the closing days of both world wars, but certainly predates 1918. Political scientist Paul Gottfried, my go-to guy on matters Mitteleuropäisch, thinks it originated with one of the late-Habsburg Hungarian statesmen — Andrássy or Tisza. The point of the quip is to show the different outlooks of Prussians and Austrians: the first soldiering on to the end in dogged hope, the second in fatalistic acknowledgment that while the curtain may indeed be about to

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In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Past The Pump

Driven by new technologies and discoveries — and by rising global demand — America’s recoverable reserves of crude oil are soaring. And U.S. oil production would be soaring, too, were ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Saving Sovereignty

American progressives from Woodrow Wilson and John Dewey to Barack Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have long expressed dissatisfaction with what they see as the constraints of an outmoded 18th-century ...
Politics & Policy

Worth a Kingdom

The English don’t mind if their king has a mistress provided she is what they call “a good sort.” This can mean English, a daughter of the people, and happy-go-lucky, ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

A War in Photos Reading John Derbyshire’s story “O Valiant Hearts” (March 5) on the significance of his father’s picture with Private David Seaton, I was reminded of a picture from ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Newt Gingrich has a flair for the dramatic, except when the stage directions read “Exit stage right.” ‐ Many Republicans have bought the Democratic/media line that the administration’s attack on ...
Athwart

Olive Garden State

The Internet has made it so easy to make fun of nice little old ladies. Kids today have no idea how much effort it used to take. In the old ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

WHAT’S REALLY WRONG Admit it: what disturbs you isn’t flaws within the grand design, not that or this ironic fealty to effect and cause within the cosmic lottery. Dismiss the phony, brief, and adolescent shock at ...
Happy Warrior

Bringing It Home

A year or two back, I started using the city of Bangalore as an all-purpose shorthand for emerging economies. If you’ve heard me on air or in person, you’ll know ...

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