Why Do I Wake to News of Cyprus?

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Outside parliament in Nicosia, Cyprus.


Cyprus. You’ve been tearing through the news sites, trying to catch up on all this before that conference call or cocktail party. You’ve read the user-friendly stories, the Q&A’s, the “Cyprus: What’s Going on Here?” sidebars. They are aimed at people startled from slumber to discover that Cyprus is in crisis and threatens Europe’s recovery, or just that Cyprus is in crisis, or just that there’s a place called Cyprus.

Are you one of those people? People who haven’t been paying attention, who got distracted by their doctoral dissertations on liminal modes of Gothic festering, people who were making money in ways that didn’t require a knowledge of Cyprus, or losing money in ways that did, or binge-watching “House of Cards,” from which you can learn a good deal about (spoiler alert) homicidal House whips and a fair bit about (spoiler alert) oral sex but (no surprise here) little about Cyprus.

News to Me

Not to be outdone, News to Me brings you our own Cyprus Q&A, by God (an emphatic expression, not the author). We sacrificed nuance and erudition to bring it to you promptly and almost entirely untainted by reporting. In the Digital Age, as you’ve heard, nuance and erudition have become commodities. Swashbuckling guesses at the improbable truth — that’s what people want, and they want it now.

So let us explain all this to you. Then tell us, with a straight face, you learned more from your obligatory skim of the competition’s 1,000-word primer, “Cyprus: Whaaaa?” than from this:

Q. Why do I wake to news of Cyprus?
A. You set the alarm.

Q. But why Cyprus?
A. They tried to tax bank deposits over there.

Q. Whose idea was that?
A. New Coke — that guy.

Q. This is like Iceland, isn’t it? That didn’t make sense either.
A. Yes. And no.

Q. I understand Cyprus is still in trouble, and Europe along with it. Can Angela Merkel keep the euro zone intact by staving off financial contagion while preserving her own delicate political position at home?
A. Who?

Q. What does all this mean for me?
A. You’re looking at two, three more weeks of Cyprus coverage, easy.

Q. Can’t I just watch TV and make it go away, like I did with my marriage?
A. No, it’s on TV, too. In fact, the way things are going for you, a freak snowstorm in April will leave you stranded at O’Hare with nothing but deep-dish pizza, Cinnabon and wall-to-wall Cyprus coverage as CNN pretends it’s a war. In red capital letters on the bottom of the screen: RECKONING IN CYPRUS. By the time your flight takes off, you’re going to look like the “Clockwork Orange” guy with the tweezers on his eyelids.

Q. How do you know so much about me?
A. You’re reading this Q&A, aren’t you?

Q. Could a little island like Cyprus really bring the whole works down?
A. Have you taken a good look at the whole works lately? Let’s put it this way: The weather’s started getting rough, the tiny ship’s been tossed. It doesn’t look good for the millionaire and his wife, little buddy.

Q. What does this mean for countries like Greece and Italy?
A. The professor and Mary Ann.

Q. I see.
A. We knew you would.


Write to Peter Jeffrey at pjeffrey@bloomberg.net

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