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Brief Encounter: July/August 2007

Pressed into our seats for a standing room only event at the Jewish Museum, a small, grey-haired woman to my right leaned over and whispered in my ear: “I’ve just come from Carnuntum,” she said conspiratorially. “I’ve been helping on a dig.” I like Roman ruins; I’m sure my interest showed. But I certainly wasn’t […]

Brief Encounter: July/August 2007

During a recent vacation in Croatia, on our little TV with troublesome reception and problematic picture, we watched the Miss and Mister Croatia pageant, held simultaneously. The contest looked semi-glamorous, a bit cheap, but it cannot be denied that the Croatians are a good looking nation. The show flowed smoothly, until the questions section, when […]

Brief Encounter: July/August 2007

At the Donauinselfest on Saturday the 23rd of June, the band Gentleman was playing at the FM4 stage, and while the Bass from the nearby techno stages boomed throughout the writhing masses, this crowd was waving lighters to songs like Evolution, Different Places and Send a prayer. Two girls in a Woodstock trance swayed on […]

Brief Encounter: July/August 2007

With near native-speaker proficiency in German have come revealing and sometimes unflattering insights into how Austrians (and Germans) think and behave. But when I recently saw a headline in the Austrian media referring to brutally offensive behavior of Austrian soccer fans directed at their own captain, Andreas Ivanschitz. I made an instinctive interpretation of the […]

Cowboys & Presidents

American politics under George W. Bush have led many to seek explanations for the U.S. reaction to the tragedy of 9/11 and the country’s subsequent attack of Iraq. For a European, it boils down to a seemingly neverending attempt to understand and explain America – a close friend, even relative, while at the same time […]

Our New Knowledge

In the olden days, the encyclopedia was a series of volumes, helpful for verifying dinner debates or writing a report on salamanders. All the articles were written in the same omniscient voice. This is where Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger step in. The co-creators of Wikipedia, launched in 2001, rocked the traditional encyclopedia’s boat by […]

Letters to the Editor: July/August 2007

To the Editor, In regard to the controversies about Poland’s role at the EU Summit [Dossier: European Constitution, p.4] some of the problems can be traced back to the Polish media, who often assume the government is wrong, no matter what, and so do not do a good job of informing people. Most support the […]

Bright Future

These first years of the new Millennium have left a trail of disaster, fear and loss. Acts of terrorism, natural disasters, famine and genocide, manipulated elections, corruption in high places, loss of civil liberties and back sliding on human rights – the list goes on and on. So how to explain the ebullient optimism of […]

Waldheim Was Inevitable

Before coming to Vienna, I had always thought of Austrians as Germans. I was not completely wrong since even Austrians wanted to be Germans and have “a greater Germany,” after the collapse of the monarchy. Even with the Anschluss in 1938, many Austrians still thought Germany was their hope for the future. It wasn’t until […]

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