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Le Temps, Switzerland

The Size of Nations



By Joelle Kuntz

Commentators said during the electoral campaign that it was too soon to announce the decline of the United States. I agree with them. If their military potential is not high enough for a victory in Afghanistan and their commercial potential has been dangerously attacked by emerging powers, their sexual potential remains intact. It has even been reduced by the hypocritical puritan cover put down by politically interested bigots. Under all these flags is sex, which keeps the entire nation on its toes, as well as its allies and enemies, taking down a general and destabilizing a president.

Translated By Tara Ferguson

21 November 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer


Switzerland - Le Temps - Original Article (French)

The Swiss are watching the global sex drama unfolding in the United States a little enviously. The Genevan Joel Dicker said this in his novel "L’Amerique est le Paradis de la Quéquette" (America is Heaven for Wieners).

I’ve looked, and I can’t find in the history of Switzerland a sex scandal with such a global dimension as the one that is shaking up the United States at the moment. In truth, there are no sex scandals here, not even in a national scope. If one did happen, with a good scenario, perfect casting and an excellent political opportunity, nobody in Arizona, Belize, Aden or Macao would know about it. It wouldn’t go beyond the borders of Europe. Maybe the east coast of America would report it in a nutshell. That’s one of the injustices of dividing the world into big and small nations, which I have already had the opportunity to bemoan.

Obama is re-elected, and it’s global. He goes to Burma, and it’s global. He says something about the war in Gaza, and it’s global. General David Petraeus sends his confidential e-mails to his biographer, and it’s global. His biographer sends jealous letters to a rival, it’s global. Only Mrs. Petraeus’s reaction to the global fuss is local. It didn’t reach Geneva, but it did reach the European headquarters of the United Nations. Is she asking for a divorce? Is she suffering stoically as did Hillary Clinton globally during the Monica Lewinsky affair?

Commentators said during the electoral campaign that it was too soon to announce the decline of the United States. I agree with them. If their military potential is not high enough for a victory in Afghanistan and their commercial potential has been dangerously attacked by emerging powers, their sexual potential remains intact. It has even been reduced by the hypocritical puritan cover put down by politically interested bigots. Under all these flags is sex, which keeps the entire nation on its toes, as well as its allies and enemies, taking down a general and destabilizing a president. “The opera of all operas,” as Wagner said about Don Giovanni by Mozart.

Genevan Joel Dicker has a keen eye for these realities. In his near Goncourt winning novel, the main character, literature professor Harry Quebert, has the last word: “America is heaven for wieners,” he said to his 300 students, “and you’ll see, in a few years, we will no longer remember that Mr. Clinton recovered the economy… or shook hands with Rabin and Arafat. However, everyone in the world will remember the Lewinsky affair, because, ladies and gentlemen, blowjobs become engrained in our memories… Who else in this room likes that?”

The young Marcus Goldman, the other character in the near Goncourt winner, put up his hand and answered, “I really like blow jobs professor, just like our good president.” Done by boys or by girls asked the master of literature? “By girls, Professor Quebert. I am a good heterosexual and a good American. God bless our president, sex and America.”

The dean of the faculty, of course, choked: “Mr. Goldman, you realize that you’ve used the words God, bless, sex, heterosexual, homosexual and America in the same sentence?” “We Americans like to bless,” replied the student. “It’s cultural. Every time we’re happy, we bless.”

We, the Swiss, though envious, bless the American thrillers. It’s cultural: We have no generals and barely have a president.



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