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Krugman vs. Estonia: The opera

You may recall last June, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves went medieval on Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a Twitter tirade (Twirade?). Here’s how it went down: Let’s write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing & patronizing: after all, they’re just wogs: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/estonian-rhapsdoy/ Guess a ...

You may recall last June, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves went medieval on Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a Twitter tirade (Twirade?). Here’s how it went down:

Let’s write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing & patronizing: after all, they’re just wogs:

Guess a Nobel in trade means you can pontificate on fiscal matters & declare my country a "wasteland". Must be a Princeton vs Columbia thing [Ilves went to Columbia for undergrad.]

But yes, what do we know? We’re just dumb & silly East Europeans. Unenlightened. Someday we too will understand. Nostra culpa.

Let’s sh*t on East Europeans: their English is bad, won’t respond & actually do what they’ve agreed to & reelect govts that are responsible.

Now apparently, the whole affair — which really only lasted for an afternoon — is getting turned into an opera. FT‘s Beyond Brics blog explains

Written by US composer Eugene Birman, it will be performed by the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and conducted by Risto Joost during Tallinn Music Week on April 7.

According to the libretto’s author, Scott Diel: “‘Nostra Culpa’ (Our Fault) is a short 16 minutes operatic piece which takes up the age-old economic disagreement of austerity vs. stimulus”. Keynes couldn’t have put it better himself.

As FT‘s Rob Minto points out, even 16 minutes feels a bit long for a four-tweet feud. John Adams had a bit more to work with for Nixon in China. But I’m still curious to hear how it will turn out — and who will be the hero.

You may recall last June, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves went medieval on Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a Twitter tirade (Twirade?). Here’s how it went down:

Let’s write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing & patronizing: after all, they’re just wogs:

Guess a Nobel in trade means you can pontificate on fiscal matters & declare my country a "wasteland". Must be a Princeton vs Columbia thing [Ilves went to Columbia for undergrad.]

But yes, what do we know? We’re just dumb & silly East Europeans. Unenlightened. Someday we too will understand. Nostra culpa.

Let’s sh*t on East Europeans: their English is bad, won’t respond & actually do what they’ve agreed to & reelect govts that are responsible.

Now apparently, the whole affair — which really only lasted for an afternoon — is getting turned into an opera. FT‘s Beyond Brics blog explains

Written by US composer Eugene Birman, it will be performed by the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and conducted by Risto Joost during Tallinn Music Week on April 7.

According to the libretto’s author, Scott Diel: “‘Nostra Culpa’ (Our Fault) is a short 16 minutes operatic piece which takes up the age-old economic disagreement of austerity vs. stimulus”. Keynes couldn’t have put it better himself.

As FT‘s Rob Minto points out, even 16 minutes feels a bit long for a four-tweet feud. John Adams had a bit more to work with for Nixon in China. But I’m still curious to hear how it will turn out — and who will be the hero.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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