Smile, laugh or think about prejudice
Amsterdam (APUPI): While the Lewinsky scandal continues to rage on the front of American newspapers, a much different reaction has developed on this side of the Atlantic. To world-wise, sophisticated Europeans, the spectacle is a curious sideshow and another reason to mock and disdain the puritan morals of their American counterparts.
"You feelthy Americans, you make me seek," says sneering French graduate student Serge Tati, 47, expressing a common sentiment. Fashionably clad in a horizontal stripe t-shirt and skin-tight Speedos, he was recently relaxing on the Lido with his mistress Yvette LaFleur, 43. Like thousands of fellow French graduate students, he was enjoying his annual 28-week vacation. "Beel Clinton, he is Euro, no? He eez moderne, he eez now. He has joie de vivre. He ravages zee young geerls. In my country, we geeve heem a medal, no?" asks Tati, deeply drawing on a clove cigarette. "Oui, like Jerry Lewees," adds the topless LaFleur, carefully combing her leg hair. "And yet you treat heem like creeminal," noted Tati. "Ptui! You I speet on you, pheelistine American peegs! Wiss your 'amburgairs and tailfins and your soap. Ha-ha, we laugh at you!" he added, shaking his pinched fingers in a Euro-expression of disgust. The interview abruptly ended when a nearby sunbather was angered after being slapped by one of Tati's errant hand gestures. Tati and the sunbather proceeded to engage in a furious kicking and slapping fight, before fleeing in terror after spotting a German tourist.
At EuroDisney in Marne le Valee, many visitors were likewise perplexed by Americans' scandal obsession. "Mitterand, he eez to having many affairs, no?" We adore heem as a god," explains Jacqueline Robspierre, 28, an adverb specialist at the French Ministry of Language Purity. "You puny insignificant Americans, you treat Beel Clinton as eef he were a mere mortal."
Herve Souci agrees. Like thousands of other EuroDisney workers, Souci, 39, is on strike demanding government designation as an "artiste," which, if granted, will translate into a 47 week annual vacation. "Zee American 'how you say'-right-wingair, he eez blind. He cannot see zee simple beauty of Beel Clinton, of zee Jean-Luc Goddard feelm, of zee European football," says Souci, removing the head of his Mickey Mouse costume for a drink of wine. "Merde! How I pity and despise you," he adds, pausing to kick two children attempting to cross the picket line.
Across the English Channel and long accustomed to their own lurid sex scandals, Britons appear to find the Lewinsky affair somewhat boring. At the Dog and Queen, a picturesque pub in London's Mayfair section, a group of locals discuss the scandal over a traditional lunch of boiled sheep pancreas, bitter spleen pie, rancid chocolate and warm beer. "We do have a 'special relationship' with you Yanks, but I must say you have gone a bit starkers over this Lewinsky business," laughs Nigel Ealing, 32, a quality reduction engineer at Jaguar. "It positively reminds one of your obsession with plumbing, dentistry and shampoo."
Collin Framinghampton-Smythe, an unemployed soccer hooligan for Manchester United, agreed. "Bloody 'ell, you 'aven't got a single snapshot of 'er knickers." "Shut your bloody gob, ye wee bastard," added his friend Derek Hobson, playfully smashing a pint glass into Framinghampton-Smythe's faces, dislodging four of his remaining teeth before vomiting on the snooker table.
In Amsterdam, perhaps Europe's most cosmopolitan city, the locals openly laugh at the perceived Puritanism of their American cousins. "Americans, they must have hang-ups, many, many hang-ups, not like we open minded Dutch," says leather-hooded, whip-wielding Mistress Dominique, 67, a performer at Amsterdam's Elderslutz, a government-operated live sex show featuring senior citizens. The show was created by the Dutch government to provide jobs for unemployed elderly prostitutes. Bart TenBoek, 42, a government-employed heroin addict, agrees. "Bill Clinton is a hero. He is a model of Eurostyle for the backward Americans. No. Wait a minute. He is a tree. A big glowing, pink tree. Flying across the sky making a beautiful, beautiful rainbow," notes TenBoek, laughing uncontrollably as he collapses into a fetal position.
In Milan, where "amore" is way of life, the citizenry is solidly behind President Clinton. "Si, Beel Clinton is multi bello," say Giancarlo Leone, 32, an unemployed movie extra and father of twelve. "He is 'how you say' my-a hero." "Ciao, bella! Bellisima, Bellisima," he compliments a passing girl, pausing to make smooching sounds as he pinches her hindquarters. "Ow!" he adds painfully, fleeing on his rusting Vespa to avoid another flowerpot from his wife, who is screaming from a nearby balcony.
In faraway Barcelona, Juan Ortega has similar sentiments. "Si, I tink de Americans, dey not like Meester Cleenton too good enough," says Ortega, who had a Coke concession at the 1992 Olympics, but has since been unemployed. "Dey should love heem, like we love paella or Generalissimo Franco."
Helga Ericksson, 54, an official with the Swedish Ministry of Furniture and Suicide in Stockholm, agrees. "Yah, Americans are fascists. They moost embrace Clinton. Like ve Svedes embrace depression and death."
Germans Dieter Schaden, 28, and Igo Reinholdt, 34, have a message for scandal-obsessed Americans. "Ja, get mitten der twentiest century," says the couple, between acts of their bondage and discipline show at a dark Berlin discotheque.
Jane, style editor at the New York Times and a longtime Europhile, feels embarrassment over American scandalmania. "All across the continent, they are laughing at our backward, prudish, puritan morals. I almost feel too ashamed to go there anymore," she says, sipping a cup of black espresso. She thinks the continentals are on to something. "We have a lot to learn from them. Americans need to become more open-minded and jaded. We need to adopt sophisticated European ways, like $8 per gallon gasoline and 145 % tax brackets." The recent election gives her some hope, though. "Apparently, Americans aren't as hung up on this scandal as the media thought." "Thankfully, we are becoming more like the Europeans."