A friend shared this article on Facebook:

130804113120-italy---flattery-horizontal-galleryI could easily write an essay about every single paragraph, if only I had the time, revealing how it is condescending, insulting, saddening… If I maintain this impetus, I might just.

But for now:
I always considered myself to have a crap sense of humour, or rather, having such a dark dark sense of humour that most people would just get terribly offended and hurt. However, as I love people to laugh, if they laugh because they tease me, I let them tease me. I don’t care. I let people tease stuff I care about, stuff they have no idea what I really think about, but it’s fun to tease it and it’s fun to assume stuff about it so as long as it makes them laugh, who cares.

I also choose where to fight my battles. I have learnt to only dedicate my energy to people and events I can affect directly.

This and countless other articles, shows, and talks demeaning what I cared about have surrounded me since forever. Sometimes, when younger, these sort of talks regarded Rome, the city I was born in: I would get so furious I would unceremoniously dump a lot of “friends” as they showed their stupidity and ignorance all without even knowing I was born in the city they were slagging off, and I actually loved it to bits.

Of course Italy has suffered from a majority of idiots choosing its governants, politicians who only care about their own advantage, a swathe of population who only cares about their own small selves and their own small needs completely missing the bigger picture… but which country doesn’t? Certainly, two of its major pisstakers, England and the US, cannot claim to have a better condition in those respects than Italy. The difference between Italy’s crappy people and policies and the US’ and England’s, is that Italy is completely flamboyant and unashamed to show them openly, England is the absolute master of making the stuff they do look far better than it is, and Americans are protected by a massive steel curtain of blind self-righteousness.

I have lived in all three countries and more, and of the three, Italy is the least horrifying in what reality lurks behind its outspoken reality.

Italy is what you see. Yes, it is also all the things this article talks about. Yes it is all the things everyone teases it about. But it is also professionalism to the extent that I find it too hard to work in any Italian environment because they take what they do way too seriously. It is building a house that is straight, where plumbing actually works (for decades!). It is not doing something if you are not going to do it REALLY well.

Italy is people who manage to be warm and friendly and caring despite being professional, practical and level-minded. Italy is easily talking to other people about what affects you, big or small, without having to constantly worry about embarrassing, offending or just getting too personal for someone. Italy is about no child ever being allowed to be mistreated within anyone’s view (or hearing), because EVERYBODY would respond and act upon any child mistreatment. Italy is about easy passion, easy laughter, easy companionship.

I am fed up but it is useless to say so.  Italians are not like the English, where they tease the world over (being very funny about it, admittedly), but try saying anything against them and you’ll immediately see their defensive walls come up. Italians are not like the Americans, where all they do is justified, explainable, and they believe they are so incredibly great about a few things that everything else is pretty much forgiven. They care about their veganism but they don’t care about their MASSES of poor, obese people, for example. Italians have always (perhaps it’s due to that “flattery” instinct the CNN article starts with?) allowed foreigners to laugh at them, laughing in unison and saying eh, yes, it’s so true. Because they didn’t give a toss and they would get on with their lives, and let the foreigner go home feeling all superior when they had gotten what they wanted out of him, so they didn’t care. Italians are pragmatists, not fools.

Perhaps this article got to me because my late mother used to love CNN, back in the day when she thought it was more objective and serious in its news coverage, and Italian news about International affairs were too limited. Perhaps it got to me because I am deeply disappointed about the Guardian becoming yet another propaganda tabloid, just as I was when the huge CNN started becoming enormously partial in the Bush era.

Whatever the reason, it will almost certainly end here, as I have no time to tear that article down paragraph by paragraph as I’d be inclined to, but there you go, I just thought I’d express my opinion.


2 thoughts on “Italia

  1. I had a feeling there’d be controversy when I posted that link…. That is to say that I do not necessarily share the views of the article. I am in love with Italy and I always will be, for better or for worse.


    1. Oh no don’t worry JC: I got it from Toby and I know all of us would easily talk like that were we to get together and have a laugh. But amongst mates there is an understanding of underlying respect. I think the CNN, such a big important media channel, shouldn’t assume that privilege.


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