The Swiss, part III
They are the most inscrutable of all the European races. Bret Dawson reports.
As befits a people isolated by geography, the Swiss excel at communicating over long distances.
Today, in the era of high-speed digital networks and converging electronic media, this is an especially useful skill. But the Swiss were moving data across the Alps long before the advent of the New Media.
This craftiness -- this astonishing ability to innovate and solve problems -- is the hot topic in modern anthropological circles. Theorists are more-or-less divided into two camps:
- Those who believe that the Swiss expertise in communication is genetic, and;
- Those who believe it is the product of plain old cultural isolation.
Of course, the how is often more interesting than the why. This is especially true of Swiss communication.
The Swiss communicate across great distances by howling at one another in falsetto, and also by blowing into large tubes. Their messages are subtle and nuanced.
The North American stereotypes of Swiss communication are inaccurate, not to mention toxic for the self-esteem of the Swiss. For example:
- There is no such thing as a "Cheeri-yodel."
- The Swiss do not holler about lozenges very often.
- Many of the Swiss sleep on modern spring-coil mattresses, only using hay bedding during the warm summer months.
- The Swiss did not coin -- and do not use -- the expression "never so good for so little."
There are others, but discretion and good taste forbid their reproduction here.