… and co-decision with the Council of Ministers applies!

by Henry on October 11, 2004

I posted a few weeks ago about the bland soggy pap that is EU official art – last week, I found a particularly entertaining and incongruous example of it in the European Parliament’s information center. Troubled Waters is a graphic novel put out by the EP to explain what it does in language that the young uns can understand; it details the adventures of one Irina Vega, crusading Parliamentarian, whose nationality and party identification are left deliberately unspecified.[1] Surely, this is destined to become a kitsch collectors’ item in years to come, if only for the contortions that it goes through in its efforts to reconcile a watered-down and slightly incoherent version of the comic book political thriller (evil chemical companies conspire to pollute the water supply and blacken each others’ names), with the legislative minutiae of co-decision, conciliation and voting in plenary. ‘Immiscibles’ is the technical term, I believe. I’ve scanned a couple of pages and PDFed them for the curious – available here and here.

fn1. Although Corkonian and former president of the Parliament, Pat Cox, is clearly identifiable in some of the drawings.

{ 22 comments }

1

dmm 10.11.04 at 4:59 pm

“Just what I was going to sugge’st”

Is this supposed to be a pun of some sort, or does the EU fail to follow the relevent international standards regarding placement of apostrophes?

2

Alex Fradera 10.11.04 at 5:24 pm

Is this following the Japanese approach of releasing public information as manga or via cartoon avatars?

3

g. svenson 10.11.04 at 5:27 pm

I like to think that this was a case of somebody getting the job to do this through the infamous EU nepotism, if only because the thought of this being an honest attempt at P.R. outreach is by far much more disturbing…

4

Matt McGrattan 10.11.04 at 6:02 pm

And while Irina Vega’s nationality may be left unspecificied I’d be willing to bet, with a name like Irina Vega, the he/she’s not from say, Denmark or Ireland.

5

Seth Gordon 10.11.04 at 6:21 pm

I guess it’s easier to translate an educational comic book than 6

Katherine 10.11.04 at 6:38 pm

This make Schoolhouse Rock look like Citizen Kane.

Please, please post the whole thing!

7

Nick 10.11.04 at 6:47 pm

Suggested alternate titles:

“Are we sure Liechtenstein isn’t in the EU?”

and

“I don’t care! I’d rather fail cloture — than call the Deputy Head of Protection of Water & Marine Environment for help!”

8

Kevin 10.11.04 at 6:47 pm

Ha! I got that comic on my visit, too. The art actually isn’t too bad, but the story, especially when compared to what actually takes place, is like a Parliamentarian’s wet dream… in nearly every way. Who knew the cultural appeal of James Bond was so pervasive.

9

Saheli Datta 10.11.04 at 6:50 pm

Years to come? Years to come? Hell, I wanna run out and buy my copy now!! This is awesome! Bring this on stateside!

I mean, sheesh, if Homeland Security is going to be so useless, it might as well provide us with graphic novels!

10

Saheli Datta 10.11.04 at 6:51 pm

Years to come? Years to come? Hell, I wanna run out and buy my copy now!! This is awesome! Bring this on stateside!

I mean, sheesh, if Homeland Security is going to be so useless, it might as well provide us with graphic novels!

11

Saheli Datta 10.11.04 at 6:52 pm

Years to come? Years to come? Hell, I wanna run out and buy my copy now!! This is awesome! Bring this on stateside!

I mean, sheesh, if Homeland Security is going to be so useless, it might as well provide us with graphic novels!

12

Matt McGrattan 10.11.04 at 7:06 pm

The art and the typography look pretty Hergé-esque (with a modern veneer) to me.

“Tintin and the Corridors of Power”

13

Antoni Jaume 10.11.04 at 8:00 pm

If “Irina Vega” is neither Irish nor Danish, it would rather be because such countries are small, than the supposition that Europeans do not migrate. Usually Vega came from Spain, but too from Latin-America, and economical migrants or exiles may have easily brought that name to any of the two. Irina may be Slavic or Greek, but is sometime used in other countries that have no direct relation with them.

DSW

14

Kieran Healy 10.11.04 at 10:06 pm

The topic is pollution, the setting is the EU bureaucracy, and the characters — well, just look at them. This thing should absolutely have been called _Eurotrash_.

15

Giles 10.11.04 at 10:26 pm

Here’s the meainig of the name:–
IRINA f
Usage: Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Finnish
Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Finnish form of IRENE

IRENE f
Derived from Greek eirene meaning “peace”. Irene was the Greek goddess of peace. Another famous bearer was an 8th-century Byzantine empress, the first woman to lead the Empire. She originally served as regent for her son, but later had him killed and ruled alone.

VEGA f
Usage: Astronomy
The name of a star in the constellation Lyra. Its name is from Arabic (Al-Nasr) Al-Waqi meaning “the swooping (eagle)”.

So ironically the “heroine” is probably not from the EEC but is a sounds Slavic but ahs Arab conotations. Which is unfortunate because later in the series we’re probably going to discover that she’s either selling uranium to the Russians or planning to sell water to the Arabs. Or at least her name leaves this avenue of attack open to ukip et al!

Still priceless – can we have more please?

16

KCinDC 10.12.04 at 1:17 am

Giles, Vega the surname isn’t related to Vega the star. It’s Spanish for (according to my Harper Collins dictionary) “fertile plain; valley”. No Arabs hiding there.

17

jb 10.12.04 at 1:44 am

on the etymology point, i wouldn’t be too sure about the “no arabs hiding there” bit. you have to keep in mind that arabic was a pretty strong influence on spanish.

granted, you have to go back a bit. but i’ll bet the now normative spanish word is indeed arab in origin.

18

Peter Murphy 10.12.04 at 10:30 am

On the subject of Tintin, I think the comic book authors should have livened it up with everybody’s favourite detective duo: Thompson and Thomson – now repackaged as MEPs from the U.K. Load it up with couplets like: “Co-decision with the Council of Ministers applies!” “I mean! The derision of hounding sinister supplies!” Even the Eurosceptics would get a chuckle from it.

19

Antoni Jaume 10.12.04 at 1:27 pm

In Spain, Vega is not only not arabic but even pre-roman, but not Basque.

DSW

20

Giles 10.12.04 at 10:36 pm

“The practice of a person being given to family names became the custom in Spain largely because of Arabic influence”
http://spanish.about.com/cs/culture/a/surnames.htm

If surnames arose in Spain through arabic influence I think that’s unlikely Jaume

21

matt 10.13.04 at 10:26 pm

Any idea of how I can get a copy of the whole thing? I’ve a EU law exam coming up in about 2 months and it might help me finally remember how to keep the commission and the council straight

22

Antoni Jaume 10.14.04 at 7:46 pm

Giles, I’ve verified your link, and what it says there is not what you seems to mean. Firstly I reckon there is a typo, the sentence you cite should read “The practice of a person being given two family names became the custom in Spain largely because of Arabic influence”. Secondly that does no imply Spanish surnames to be of Arabic ethymology. There are a lot of Arabic surnames, but Vega isn’t one of them. Jaume is Catalan for James from low Latin Iacomus, from Iacobus. For example Arrom, Rom, Arrumí, Rumí, are Arabic, they mean “the roman” and was applied to Christians, so when used as a common name it is frequently translated as “Christian” or “Unfaithful”. Other Arabic surnames
are Alcántara, Almohedano, Mesquida, Mirabete, Amorós, Alcaide, Alcalde, etc. The frequent ending in “z” (Gómez, Sánchez, Rodríguez, …) has roots in a Basque suffix, and has the general meaning of “son of”: Pérez is equivalent to Peterson, …

Now you may know something.

DSW

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