Arthur Frommer on How to Talk Politics in Europe, Except with the Swiss

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The repartee of father-daughter team Arthur and Pauline Frommer is an aural delight of travel. Their weekly Travel Show kicked off 2016 with new year travel resolutions, listen to hour 1 and 2.

Arthur and Pauline Frommer

Hour 1 concluded with Arthur’s resolution to talk politics with Europeans on his upcoming travels, they he departed from his congenial tone for a swipe at the Swiss that makes for great listening. The exchange is transcribed here:

Arthur: I have resolved on my next visit to Europe to spend more time talking to the Europeans about their political policies and programs, I think that to me is a New Year’s resolution…

Pauline: Is that considered polite?

Arthur: Yes it is, I’ve never met a European who feels that you’re intruding upon his privacy or that he doesn’t want to discuss it

Pauline: Because I just spent the holidays avoiding all political discussions

Arthur: Alright, but I don’t want to avoid that in Europe, now they consider it not polite in Switzerland, the Swiss don’t want to talk with you about that, the Swiss are just eager to learn how much money they will get from you from your stay within Switzerland.

Pauline: Oh, dad.

Arthur: I, as you can see, I have some very problematic policies, er, attitudes toward the Swiss. Except for them I find that the average European is more than willing to talk with you about their legislation, their rules, their government and how they approach these problems…You don’t take issue with the Europeans you meet, you listen to them, and you try to learn, and you listen to them, and you react either pro or con…

Readers, is Arthur right about talking politics? And about the Swiss?

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6 years ago

What? Residents of the most anal retentive country in the world cold and money grabbing from visitors. Hard to believe.

6 years ago

As a rule I avoid talking about politics. But typically I’ll run into a European somewhere who makes a snide comment about USA politics. I then take the opportunity to crush them like a dixie cup.

6 years ago

He’s dead-on about the Swiss. 🙂