September 04, 2002
Even Older Than 'Take My Wife, Please'

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler offers a joke headline for the historical revisionists at the Independent:

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Alive and Well! WWI Fought By Mistake!

In his comments section, John Cunningham claims that the joke had been anticipated:

I recall reading somewhere that the headline "Archduke and Archduchess found alive! Entire war a cruel Error!!" actually ran in a Prague comic paper or magazine in 1920...

The joke, if it's a joke, goes back a lot further than that. Euripides wrote a tragedy, the Helen, in which Helen of Troy is entirely innocent of starting the Trojan War. The real Helen is stranded in Egypt the whole time, while the Greeks and Trojans fight over a very life-like phantom. I believe Richard Strauss' opera Die Ägyptische Helena reworks the myth. Euripides was writing during the Peloponnesian War, while Strauss' opera has something to do with World War I. Please consult Sasha Castel for the details: I have yet to see or hear it, though I'm told there will be an unstaged production in New York a month from now.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at September 04, 2002 11:56 AM

The Onion had a funny headline along the same lines:

"Archduke Ferdinand Emerges From Hiding:
'How Goes Europe?'"

Or something like that.

Posted by: Paul on September 5, 2002 10:16 PM