View Single Post
Old 07-09-2012, 09:57 AM   #1
sebastianmichael
The Optimist
sebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to beholdsebastianmichael is a marvel to behold
 
sebastianmichael's Avatar
 
Posts: 36
Karma: 11676
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: London
Device: Kindle; iPhone
Grüezi Mitenand - In Honour of Roger Federer: the Swiss Thread

"You know what the fellow said – in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

The Ferris Wheel speech from The Third Man still makes me laugh. Though we know of course that it isn't true. In fact it's wrong in almost every utterance about the Swiss: between the original foundation of the Swiss Confederation in 1292 and the invasion by Napoleon almost exactly 506 years later, the Swiss fought many battles and acquired a reputation as fierce, for a while almost unconquerable, mercenaries. They also didn't invent the cuckoo clock. Like so many other ills, that was inflicted on the world by the Germans...

Since Orson Welles so brazenly dismissed the Swiss though, they have given us many wonders: the Swatch watch, a home for CERN where Tim Berners-Lee invented the worldwide web and Prof Higgs's Boson was discovered, and of course the unreconstructed marvel that is Roger Federer.

What else is there to celebrate about Switzerland? (I think we can take chocolate and watches as read...)

(And a disclosure: I was born in Manchester into a Swiss family and grew up there - I even went to the same school as Federer!- so I'm not quite as neutral in this as at first glance I might seem...)
sebastianmichael is offline   Reply With Quote