June 7, 1999
Andy and Mike arrive unannounced at the London office of Twelve Stars Communications wearing ridiculous costumes based on the Twelve Stars comic strip Captain Euro. The woman answering the door laughs, waves them inside and calls upstairs for her co-workers to come look.
Twelve Stars is a PR agency that has helped to promote some of the largest companies in the world. They created Captain Euro in 1998 to sell the ideas of European unification and free trade to children. Unlike Captain America, who was created to hurt Hitler, Captain Euro was created to help him – or at least to leverage some of his nasty racist ideas to promote corporate free trade.
Before you condemn this as nut-case conspiracy theory, have a look at the comic book. All the good guys are Aryans (except for Marcus, who doesn’t actually appear in the adventures), whereas the bad guys are swarthy “financiers” (Jews?) and members of a “traveling circus” (Gypsies?) who spend their time and money hoarding the great art treasures of Europe (Jews again?).
Although British parliamentarians have already condemned Captain Euro and similar efforts, Mike and Andy decide they need to go to the source to get the full poop.
Once inside the Twelve Stars HQ, Andy and Mike explain that they represent the American Fan Club of Captain Euro, and that they are dying to meet the creators of their favorite comic. Within minutes they are sitting at a grand table eating pastries with the entire Twelve Stars staff. The director of Twelve Stars, Eduardo de Santis, has called an emergency meeting to find out what makes these two Americans tick. More tea? Pastries?
De Santis begins by showing an upbeat promotional video featuring an interview with his forty-something son Nicholas.
“The concept of Europe is too complicated,” Nicholas explains in the video. “It’s too big, there’s too many institutions, too many dates, too many things going on. The public cannot follow this. We have made it into a grassroots, lighthearted concept that people can finally understand….
“We want to be a lighthearted, commercial and entertaining approach to Europe,” Nicholas continues. “The people are rejecting these approaches of political discussion. They’re not interested. It’s boring. Making Europe fun and interesting -that’s our objective.”
For the next hour, Mike and Andy force the PR folks to answer childish questions about European unification: “When the countries are closer together, will it be easier to travel?” “What about using the new money in the trolleys?” Andy and Mike don’t let on that their questions are actually the real questions of children, collected on the streets of London the previous day by the costumed American freaks.
The PR folks don’t seem to notice anything weird about two grown men in spandex speaking like children, and they bend over backwards to explain the virtues of a strong and united Europe, and of the necessity of fighting age-old “bad elements” and “the enemy within” in order to achieve a “whole, united, strong” Europe.
At one point Andy asks, echoing a child, “What about all the danger stuff? Like when all the countries are brought closer together, won’t it be easier for enemies to travel?” A staffer succinctly explains: “In the new Europe, there won’t be many enemies.”
As the conversation comes to an end, Eduardo DeSantis looks confidently around the table at his staff, and pronounces: “This is what I like about America. Any idea is accepted – without discussion!” To make sure he’s understood, he repeats the declaration a second time, then sends Mike and Andy off laden with dozens of promotional gewgaws.