You will be aware that nothing inflames my ire (have you ever had an inflamed ire, missus?) more than racial stereotyping. As my dear friend Donn has just written – and please do not dismiss his work just because he is as nutty as a very nutty thing indeed – we are all cousins, and descended from the same woman (what an old slut she must have been). Consequently, we should dwell upon the vast majority of things which we have in common rather than the superficial differences.
It is therefore with a very heavy heart that I now speculate about the shortcomings of a nation. I need to say, before continuing, that some of my best friends are Swiss. Well, Daniel is from Switzerland, and I have never alluded to any differences there might be between our two friendly nations. It was in a spirit of fraternity that one year, for his birthday, we clubbed together and bought for him a bar of Cadbury’s finest Dairy Milk, a quarter pound of medium Cheddar and an alarm clock (sans cuckoo). I need hardly provide more evidence of my tolerant and open view of mon frère Suisse.
However, none of you will have failed to be orgasmatised by the news from Geneva this day that they have found a particle that is moving faster than the speed of light. The best way of describing what this discovery means would be to say that if this particle had written this little essay, then this sentence would have appeared two paragraphs earlier. And probably would not have had the word “this” in it so many times.
It is a well-known scientific phenomenon that the observation of an experiment affects the outcome. I have secretly been fearful of the choice of Cern as the venue for the collision of particles. Until now I have held my peace, and therefore cannot truthfully say “I told you so”, but “I thought you so” is certainly not an exaggeration. It comes as no surprise to me that if you conduct experiments in Switzerland then the results are likely to be suspect. You see, the Swiss are so fucking efficient. Of course their particles will arrive early. They will also be formally dressed, know automatically which side of the collider to drive on, and answer all questions fluently in at least five languages.
“Splendid!” you may say. “Piffle!” would be my riposte. These chaps are looking for the elusive “God particle”. Switzerland would not be my choice.
Yes, I must confess that I would enjoy the universe much less if God were Swiss, or even had Swiss characteristics. Go on, name a famous Swiss comedian. If you fancy a damned good belly laugh, would you go to Basle? Guffaw in Geneva? Laugh in Lucerne? Titter in (find me a Swiss town beginning with ‘T’, Ed.)?
No! If you are looking for God in the Alps you are going to find a very boring God indeed. Efficient, disciplined but totally lacking in joy and spontaneity. When I was at school we learned about the Reformation. It would perhaps be more accurate to say that they attempted to teach me about it. There was a Swiss chap called Zwingli. He was so dull that I can remember nothing about him. What I do remember is that the arch-miseryguts Calvin – one of the most confirmed joy-suckers in the whole sorry history of religion – fled to Switzerland. He felt at home there, and was never troubled by concepts of happiness and fun.
They should have built the collider somewhere more redolent of the type of God that this world needs. Ireland, perhaps; they would give short shrift to precocious particles. Gaelic gluons would not be in such a damn hurry. They could at least have moved over the Alps to Italy. You may not be very impressed with Italian organisational skills, but there would be a damn sight more collisions than those over-polite Helveticans can produce.
There will, no doubt, be very many more discoveries from this overblown circus. None of them will be very interesting, and none of the news will be good. You mark my words.