What was the innocuous joke? When Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz read the word "BĂĽndnerfleisch," an air-dried beef product, he suddenly burst
into giggles, as the gallery and other politicians also joined in. When he tried to keep going, he sunk into more giggles.
According to the Guardian
, this outburst has "even led one maker of air-dried meats to advertise their products with the slogan: 'Never lose your sense of humour.'"
Merz isn't usually associated with a sense of humour. The AP reports
he was widely criticized recently for signing away much of Switzerland's banking secrecy and "failing to secure the release of two Swiss citizens held by Libya."
But the viral videos of his gigglefest might polish his image, or at the very least publicize him to the world. Dozens of YouTube videos capture the minister's laugh attack, with SpiegelTV's video
attracting more than 200,000 views since it was posted on Monday.