Monday, August 6, 2007
I love reading the crime news in Switzerland
There was a fight on Saturday in Steinen (aka "stones"), the downtown bar area in Basel. (Original version here). One person was mildly injured, and a window worth 500 Francs was broken.
Okay, naming the nationalities of the participants? Not cool. Not cool at all.
But the fact that this fight is page three news in the newspaper?
I love it here.
Posted by benrosen at August 6, 2007 10:21 AM
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I've given this a lot of thought but am unable to come up with an answer to my question... What's so funny? What's on page three in the rest of the world?
I have fernweh like crazy right now. I think I will have to go away and come back in order to remember what I love here.
Sorry for the obscurity. My point was that in DC, a scuffle where someone gets bruised and a window gets broken does not make page three -- or any page -- of the newspaper. I think it's accurate to say that in nightclubs in DC, on a monthly or even weekly basis, people get shot and knifed... and if it's not accurate, reading the newspaper would not disabuse you of the notion.
Washingtonpost.com requires registration, but if you go to the crime news for today, after two political items (beltway-insider corruption, crackdown on brothels) we get "Marshal Charged With Beating Prisoner, Coverup", "Man Once Held on Rape Charges Is Rearrested", "FAIRFAX POLICE STATION SLAYINGS", another murder, "Police Still Seek Suspect In Shooting at Murry's", "One Man Arrested, 2nd Sought In Shooting That Wounded 7", "DUPONT CIRCLE AREA SLAYING", "Actions Taken To Make Path Safer: Va.'s Four Mile Run Area Is Site of 3 Sexual Assaults", "MONTGOMERY HOMICIDE", "'Killing Machine' Sentenced To Death: Defendant Shot 3 In Dumfries; 2 Died", "Credibility Is Key to Md. Shooting Case".
That's all August 4th through August 7th. It goes on, but nothing less serious than rape and murder makes the list. This is the crime section, not page three. Grand larceny, for instance, is not news (I love reading the Swiss crime news about theft of lengths of pipe from a construction site).
Fisticuffs are so not news, they would not even be gossip if you went to that bar, unless you knew the participants personally. And then they would be funny gossip.
Now, part of this is surely moving from a largish East Coast city to anywhere else. What if I had moved from a small town in the Midwest? Depends on the town: crime page for Youngstown pop. 80,000. (Shout out to Chris Barzak, busy making a difference there). Now there's some high-profile sports cases mixed in with the murders. Still no fisticuffs, though. (The exception would be Hollywood celebs engaging in fisticuffs. That's news. But then, so is what they wear.)
How's that fernweh doing? :-)
I should mention that, very sadly, a high-profile child abduction case broke into the news in Switzerland, just after I wrote the original blog post, making this all less funny. It's a terrible story and I'm sad about it and worried about Ylenia. The chances don't look good, but I hope she makes it home.
But in a way that proves the point. In America I don't actually have the luxury of feeling that kind of personal worry about the hosts of missing kids on all those milk cartons.
Ok, guess I've been away too long. I tried not to read the newspapers or watch the news when I lived in the states, because I had trouble looking at all that pain empiracally. (And the few times i've seen CNN over here show me that it's not just my imagination that they milk it for all it's worth, too.) I've gotten a bit thicker-skinned with time, I guess. Yes, the story of Ylena has made me so sad. I have trouble finding places to file things like that. Her poor parents.
The Fernweh is very bad, but I will go to visit my dad and brother/sis-in-law and finally meet my two cool nephews (who have yet to their cousines!) in september. It's been more than 7 years since I was in the states.