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Letter to the Editor: "Bratislava, you're no Paris!"

Although The Slovak Spectator already provides a plethora of useful features on politics, business, and culture, I was pleased to note the launch of your new satire column in the November 6-19, 1996, issue (Vol. 2, No.19). Hats off to Ellen Dechesne ("I'll take 'Blava' over Paris any day") for providing a bit of comic relief from the all-too-serious business of page one.

The first requirement of good satire is verisimilitude, and I'm sure Ms. Dechesne left more than a few readers believing that her preference for Bratislava over Paris was meant to be taken seriously.

She gives the game away, however, by the points of comparison she chose not to make: the time one saves in Bratislava supermarkets by not having to sort through hundreds of cheeses and wines, fresh meats and seafood, and fruits and vegetables; the money one saves by not having to patronize elegant shops and boutiques. And think of how much more pleasant life is here without all those Asians, Africans, and others who subject the poor Parisians to a bewildering array of exotic foods, music, and ideas.

I suppose one could prefer life in Bratislava to life in Paris the way one might prefer Albany to Manhattan, Worcester to Boston, or Harrisburg to Washington, DC. But to paraphrase perhaps the most memorable exchange of the 1988 U.S. vice-presidential debate, "I've been to Paris, I know Paris, I have friends in Paris, and Bratislava, you're no Paris!"

Thomas W. Skladony, Bratislava

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