Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's all about the Burckhardts

This post is not just to show you all how rich we are. It is also to show how pretty Swiss money is.

(It doesn't look as great here as it does in person, but I have to say I am relieved that there's no chance of unknowingly being party to any shady business. Swiss banks already do their own share of shady business.) 

I suppose everyone has his or her own opinion about currency -- whether it should be of the same size, big or small, paper only, brightly colored or monochromatic, etc. -- but I think we can all agree that Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897) looks good in pastel purple. 

Who is this serious looking fellow? Politician? Philanthropist? Musician? No. Historian! A Swiss historian of the Renaissance, the "Father of Cultural History," in fact! He was an ahead-of-his-times kind of guy, innovative and detailed, but a pessimist who turned out to be more appealing to those cranky cynical types who came just a bit later. Thus ends the amateur biography.

It is not for you to know why I have 1000 franc notes all over my desk. But I can say I like having them. You can walk around with a month's salary in your pocket, win friends and influence people with a browse through your wallet, buy a round of drinks for the entire bar...and many other things I haven't yet tried. It's surprising, but they accept these 1000 franc bills at the grocery store without batting an eye. I've never even laid eyes on a real $1000 bill (do they even exist?) but I'm not sure where they could be useful; in the US you get dirty looks for trying to use a $50.

1 comment:

Julie & Captain said...

Yay for a culture that celebrates historians! Woohoo!! Take that, globalization!