September 14, 2012
GSTAAD—It was far, far worse than the Rodney King El Lay riots of twenty years ago, and it made the London summer fires of 2011 look like a kindergarten’s Guy Fawkes party. This was our Kristallnacht, and then some.
They had hard faces, harder than a hedge-fund manager’s when told a good corner table is unavailable. They came early and there were lots of them. They were squat and dark, tall and wide, their fists at the ready and their firebombs hanging like war medals off badly cut coats. They had pick axes aplenty, but few brains to accompany them. They screamed abuse, their foul-smelling breath escaping like radiation from a nuke, and just as deadly.
Gstaad no longer exists. More than one hundred chalets have been torched. Four billionaires were instantly hacked to death, among them Bernie Ecclestone, whose small size made it impossible to find any of his remains. Seven multi-millionaires were also lynched. The last thing I remember was their hyena-like laughter as I was passing out. And the horrible smell of burned money. I fought like a tiger but had both arms broken by the mob and am typing this with my nose. I am plugged into an emergency hospital unit sending my report into Taki’s Mag. God help us poor little rich people. This is the end.
Well, not quite. This is not the first time I have allowed my imagination to run a bit wild. There were reports of city slickers from Berne coming to Gstaad to demonstrate against us so-called foreign tax avoiders, but then no one showed up. It was a bit like finding a beautiful naked woman in one’s bed that happens to be dead. If I sound like a poor man’s Raymond Chandler, it is on purpose. I was looking forward to interviewing some of the demonstrators—there were rumors of Greek communists being flown over—but there I was with my notebook, in the middle of main street, and the only danger I felt was when a couple of Ay-rab women covered from head to toe emerged from Cartier’s loaded down with goodies. My buddy Raymond would have described them as having eyes as “narrow and as shallow as enamel on a cafeteria tray.” Never mind. To some degree the rich have always secluded themselves from the common herd’s gaze, but this is ridiculous. No one could tell for sure if they were even women; they could have been undercover (no pun intended) demonstrators, even bearded Greek communist undercover demonstrators. One thing is certain—we will never know.
But enough jokes. Chances are that I might have been hurt if there had been a demonstration—but due to protecting the protestors from the locals’ wrath, that is. The natives are not only angry, they’re ready to reach for their pitchforks and teach the city busybodies a few hard truths: The only local employer is the foreign contingent, however indirectly, and the only wealth comes from the taxes foreigners pay to the community. The farmers are subsidized but the rest of the denizens earn their living from us. We buy their food products, spend good money in their restaurants, hotels, and shops, and are the engine to the booming local construction industry. We contribute a hell of a lot to the local hospital and philanthropic institutions. A foreigner even buys a school, rebuilds it, and donates it to a foundation. There are no locals out of work in the region because of us foreigners. We pay our federal and local taxes, and we smile politely while doing it.