The cows are coming down, the cows are coming down, and I’m off to the Bagel. My Swiss neighbours have cut, raked and baled the grass that the sweet four-legged ones with bells around their necks will be eating all winter while indoors. They will parade through the town next week, and it will certainly be an improvement after the kind of tourists we’ve been getting of late. Give me four-legged beings any old day — and I really mean that.
I’ll give you a brief example. Last week, when I was in the Gstaad local bank, a couple came in and went to the teller next to mine. As I had to wait for something complicated (gone are the days when one could send moolah with a simple name and address), I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. The man was tall and blond, the woman was from somewhere in the Gulf and much younger.
They enquired about the amount that can be deposited for a 12-year-old student at the Rosey school to draw on. The teller, whom I know, smiled and asked the couple how much they had in mind. ‘Well, not a million or two,’ answered the man. That’s fine, said the teller, still smiling. But how much? Seven to eight hundred, came the answer. That should do, said the teller. Then came the bombshell: ‘Seven to eight hundred thousand.’ The teller gasped but said nothing. ‘Is it illegal?’ asked the father. ‘No, no, but you said the child is 12.’ I looked at them and they seemed normal enough, but how normal is it to give that kind of dough to a 12-year-old to play with?
See what I mean about preferring four-legged creatures to humans? Exclusivity has always been the ethos of the very rich, but today’s rich bums are out of control. All one has to do is to look south — at Saudi Arabia for one. Forget the bad taste, the outrageous conduct towards women, the killing of dissidents and the bullying of servants that goes as far as torturing them if they don’t execute orders to the letter. For example: Princess Hassa bint Salman, the sister of the present Saudi strongman, was just condemned by a French court for ordering her bodyguard to beat up a plumber in her apartment. He had photographed pieces of furniture in order to put them back in the right place. The Saudi woman was outraged. And this happened in Paris, of all places. This lot sees us as a bunch of money-hungry peons they can manipulate and push around. That bloody woman, needless to say, had left France by the time the verdict was delivered. It will all be swept under the carpet in due course.
And like all cowardly bullies, the Saudis cried foul when two of their oil installations blew up over the weekend. Houthi drones did it. Good for the drones, say I. The Saudis and their allies have killed nearly 100,000 people and are starving millions with their airstrikes and blockades. They are using hunger as a weapon, and have the gall to cry foul when the injured ones retaliate.
One of the reasons I rarely go into the Swiss village nowadays is the horrors that one sees. And it’s bound to get worse. Winter is better because the rats can’t stand the cold. Still, it’s strange to live in one of the most beautiful spots on this earth and hesitate to walk through the picturesque village because of who you might meet. Pundits keep banging on about equality and freedom — but what kind of freedom is it when you have Saudi and Gulf potentates mistreating their Filipino servants behind closed doors right here in Switzerland, supposedly the most democratic nation of all? One of the reasons I think feminism and political correctness are bad jokes is that there are thousands, if not millions, of Harvey Weinsteins in that part of the world, and we refuse to do anything about it. Instead we kiss their extremely ugly asses.
Never mind. Back in good old New York, the Sacklers, the billionaire family behind OxyContin, have offered up to $12 billion to settle more than 2,000 opioid claims. The opioid crisis has caused the death of more than 400,000 people. I’m not at all good at maths — I never passed the course in school and still cannot divide — but 12 billion smackers for 400,000 dead comes to how much per dead person?
The Sacklers, meanwhile, are relocating to Palm Beach. Once they are there the family will be fine. They won’t join the Everglades club, or the Bath & Tennis — strongholds of old money made the old-fashioned way without killing anyone — but they will be welcome to the Palm Beach Country Club, where Bernie Madoff was among the most popular members.
The OxyContin heiress Joss Sackler just had a fashion show in New York, one that raised a few eyebrows, but what the hell. If there were any shame left in this world, there would not have been polite applause at the end of the show. Goody, goody gumdrops: next time I write I’ll be among the vomit-inducing, cynical insincerity of Noo Yawk groupies. Yippee!