The Rt Hon W Gladstone, MP, GOM is currently discharging the contents of his bladder in the vicinity of this particular contribution. You are cordially advised to stand well back, as decades of consorting with courtesans has left his aim somewhat lacking in containment!
Ok, so the big question for me is pretty much summed up in the comments - how do you make it funny, without making it a hate-filled pile of twaddle? A couple of points from me to knid of set out my position on it all - I'm British, and hence I have the fundamental love/hate relationship with those bastards over the channel other Europeans that you expect. But I also think that, to be funny, it has to show an insight about the person making the joke. Having a go at Europe/Europeans is only really funny if you have something to cotnrast it to - so I would refer any editing this substantially to read the lyrics of A Song of Patriotic Prejudice to get a bit of an idea of how this can be done.
Anyways, on with the review.
Opening quotes-6- Not awful, not particularly insightful - it's basically two versions of the same joke about Europe (continent) vs Europe (Dodgy 1980s Swedish Rockers). Not sure of the point of the Beatles quote? (50% weighting)
Opening paragrah-3- Oh dear, oh dear. I've read it three times now and I cannot, for the life of me, work out what the hell the first sentence is on about. The second one I'm guessing is an attempt at insightful observation of Asian racism, which entirely misses the spot. This whole section just doesn't work for me, anyway.
History of Europe-4- Rambling nonsense really, and not at all funny. The first two senstences are entirely irrelevant, and just annoyed me more than anything! What's the point in name-droping Bob Marley, Star Wars, Mel Gibson and Marylin Manson?
Asking when Europe was discovered is a little different I guess, and brings an interesting if not entiirely original spin on the whole colony/former colony issue. However, it's not pulled off very well - Guatemala/Iran is an American in-joke which adds nothing.
Geography of Europe-5- The first sentence about the French was the first in the article to raise a smile. The next couple don't - the bit about Constantinople/Istanbul is a bit random. As for the British - that could (and if you're coming at it from a UK perspective probably should) have a whole separate section of its own. Namedropping Jimmy Wales has got to be a big no-no as well - what's the point?
The rest of the seciton is bobbins, quite frankly. I'm once again struggling to translate the next paragraph, while the bit about Glasgow doesn't fit in with the article at all (and even if it did - it fails to highlight the irony of having a "Capital of Culture" which whose greatest contribution to the artistic canon is the slogan "Fack of tae Edinburgh").
The Smell-5- I'm not sure about this. It could be funny, potentially, if it had been built up to a bit. It refers to Australia, but that's the first time in the Article that it's even mentioned. The section reads like three or four people have added the tuppennyworth without seeing if it makes sense together.
European Empire (and a bit more of European History)-4- Another oh dear I'm afraid. It's too much train of thought and not enough coherence - Catholics, World War II, Charlie Chaplin, Sleeping Spaniards, Tea, Islamists - what? I'd almost be inclined to delete the whole lot.
The Average European-5- Completely from an American point of view, and poorer for it. Oh, and some facts, which detract from the overall gist of the article. Like for instance, that Europeans are divinely perfect...
It's not, actually, very good. Now, I don't think that is anyone's fault, just a feature of how it has come about in the first place. I mean, look at what you have in Europe. For about 4950 of the last 5000 years we've been fighting, taking each other over, stabbing each other in the back, interbreeding...
I think the article needs substantially rewriting, but in a planned way. Let's see a particular viewpoint which highlights some of the absurdities of Europe; a structure which allows it all to be brought through; some wit which draws together and gently mocks the myriad stereotypes - surrendering French, over-efficient Germans, Drunken Irishmen, and so on; and a punchline at the end that tells the world what really matters (that we, Europeans, are better than you, Americans. So ner!)
Prose and formatting:
To break it down by each area in turn.
Prose-5- Not, awful, but not brilliant either. As highlighted, there are too many sections which go a bit train of thought, which is actually very hard to read (try reading it out loud, and see if it makes sense). A couple of stylistic things:
An N.B. section should really be as a reference rather than a paragraph in the main text I think - it looks clumsy.
There's several random lists which look like they're just bulking the article out. I seem to recall reading guidance on that... anyway, have a look and see what you can find.
There's too many sentences in brackets - while they're a good way of mimicing written speech where you would go off on tangents or bring snippets of other info into the conversation, it works less well in encyclopaedic articles as it just leaves the reader struggling to keep up.
Spelling and Grammar-3- This is pretty bad, to be honest. Lots of spelling errors (briliant, debated on, innebriated in the first section alone), while there's some pretty basic punctuation errors (it's, for instance, should only ever be used to shorten 'it is'; otherwise, no apostrophe). Countries and other personal pronouns should be capitalised (Yank rather than yank, Egyptian ratehr than egyptian).
Formatting-7- Not too bad; there's reasonable use of headings, infoboxes and the like, and there's plenty of links to the page. It could very easily include far more outbound links though.
5 pictures, none of them brilliant but they're there nonetheless.
Map of Europe - funny only to LOTR lovers, which I'm not.
Penis picture (moving gif) - The moving thing really annoyed me, simply because it catches your eye far too much as you're trying to read it. I didn't find it funny, but there's always someone who finds penis jokes funny, so I've no problem with it being there.
Starving Children - I didn't get that, I'm afraid. Seems a bit random, and might be considered by some to be in bad taste (not inherently a bad thing, but means it needs to be done slightly more carefully to ensure funniness).
Alex Ferguson as King George XIII - random and a bit meaningless - the article doesn't mention him or any other King other than Jonny Depp as Pirate King).
French Letter - possibly the best one in the article for its retro shitness, but the caption is a bit naff. And come on, it's a letter in French but no allusion to condoms?
Well, you now know what I think anyway. I think it needs concious and deliberate rewriting rather than just ad-hoc changes, because the major criticisms relate to the general incoherence of the article. Good luck!