The Corner


It Sounded Better in the Original German

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant leads a march through downtown Seattle, February 17, 2017. (David Ryder/Reuters)

Molly Ivins had one great line, that Patrick Buchanan’s 1992 Republican Convention speech “probably sounded better in the original German.”

If Switzerdeutsch is your thing, then here is an interview in Neue Zürcher Zeitung (not yet my hometown newspaper, but give it time) in which I discuss some of the themes of my most recent book, The Smallest Minority. I do not know German, but I trust the translation is a good one.

One of the things that occurred to me while doing this interview is that in spite of the fact that I am interested in Switzerland, have spent a fair bit of time there, follow it in the news, etc., my understanding of the country and its politics remains superficial. It is a reminder of something that I write about often but still need to be reminded of myself: Real, useful knowledge about almost any subject is not had easily. Pushing back the frontiers of one’s own ignorance is not easy.


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