Thankfully, The New York Times has a sense of humor.

Amid the reports of daily tragedy, doom and disaster, a clever editor included John Tagliabue’s “Appenzell Journal.” It exposes naked hikers in the Alps, as if they needed exposure. Apparently, it is a common practice there to hike wearing only shoes (and sunblock), and there is a cheeky photo of two hikers doing so, accompanying Tagliabue’s expose. “… the hills,” he writes, were “alive with the sound of everything but the swish of trousers.” One is left to ponder where they keep their car keys.

On a day when wars are waged, one reads of global financial corruption and fraud, where even a sports bulletin noted an Iraqi soccer player was shot and killed by a fan of the opposing team as he attempted to score, a light note was necessary to keep readers from reaching for their depression pills. Mr. Tagliabue’s racy piece told of the arrest of a local nude hiker named — appropriately — Peter in a town that feared becoming “a Mecca for the unclad.” The journalist was kept from viewing the crime scene because of clouding of “the surrounding peaks,” he wrote, no doubt with tongue in cheek.

An earlier “cover-up” law on banning nude hiking was declared illegal, as practitioners claimed the experience provided them with freedom of body and head. An expert told the Times reporter he worried about sunburn and ticks. As one interviewer told the reporter, “For everything, there’s a law.” What a jail that must be. Imagine the lineup.



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