Saturday, 31 May 2008
(There's also a photograph of me in my new desert boots pretending to read the book...)
Friday, 30 May 2008
I've just been reminded of this in a very personal way. I put this blog on Facebook (I know, I know) and couldn't understand why I kept getting a very different blog whenever I clicked on the (admittedly also different) image. This is what I got each time. Don't worry, you don't have to read it all. Here's a sample.
| ||A. ||Some would depart from the faith and go into devil worship-1 Tim 4:1. This is perfect. |
| ||B.||People would mock about the last days and not believe-2 Pe 3:3; Jude 18.|
| ||C. ||People would become lovers of themselves-2 Tim 3:1,2. Remember the TV commercials—"I do it for me"? |
| ||D.|| |
People would be disobeying their parents-2 Tim 3:1,2.
| ||E.||People would be grateful for nothing-2 Tim 3:1,2.|
| ||F.||Homosexuality would increase-Lk 17:28,30; ref Gen 19:5; Ro 1:24,26,27.|
| ||G. ||People would be without self-control in sex-2 Tim 3:1,2,6; Rev 9:21, Lk 17:28,30; Jude 7. Is this not the great sex generation? |
| ||H. || |
People would love pleasures more than God-2 Tim 3:1,2,4. This is true. Shall we go on a picnic, watch football, or sleep. Church?—we can go another time. Our American motto "In God we trust" has become a joke. Remember, these were all predicted centuries ago as part of the signs that we are at the time of the end.
| ||I. ||People would be taking drugs-Rev 9:21. The Greek word for sorceries, in Rev 9:21, means pharmaceuticals or drugs. God’s Word is 100% right on every one. That’s 6 out of 6. How could you have any doubts at this point?|
Note: Fifty years ago, many people seldom locked their doors at night. There was little or no profanity on television, radio, or in the movies. One of the biggest problems in public school was gum chewing. Those days are long gone.
Alemanno strikes again.
Note the writing to the right of the door.
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
PS. I thought I'd check the spelling of 'gueule' - how could I fail to after the spiky post below - and I found this fascinatingly complete (as in, containing strictly irrelevant but nonetheless fascinating information) definition, on Everything2:
In the most literal sense, amuse gueule translates from the French as an amusement for the mouth - but not a mouth in the human sense - amuse bouche would be used in that case (which indeed it sometimes is). It seems that gueule means a non-human mouth, either that of an animal or more intriguingly, a gun. When used in reference to humans, gueule is a slang term, roughly translating as gob. It gives you an idea of the playfulness of the dish.
Does this make me Lynne Truss? Or I am becoming sad in my own quiet way?
Sunday, 25 May 2008
Yesterday’s Independent had two stories that reflected each other in the revelatory way skewed mirrors sometimes do. The first had to do with Naomi Campbell, who is still spitting fire about her treatment at the hands of British Airways. She denies that the company has banned her from its flights, and her luggage from Terminal Five. It has, however, ‘disrespected’ her. In the Devil Woman’s own, reported, words:
Someone from British Airways asked that I return to fly with them but this will not occur so early. I am speaking for all those that have been disrespected.
As a teacher of English (‘in my spare time’, according to the still mysterious ‘Luke Rocchi’), I wouldn’t know where to start with a text like this. Its sheer unnaturalness suggests machine translation from some arcane bureaucratic dialect. I may be quite wrong, of course; it may simply be the way people chat to one another in the world of high fashion. As in: Jean Paul asked that I share a line of coke in the back room but this will not occur so early. I particularly like the second sentence, which bears no logical connection to the first but smacks of Ms Campbell in what she probably imagines to be Nelson Mandela mode. Naomi, champion of ‘all those that have been disrespected’. It’s good to know she’s prepared to speak up for all the little people whose luggage also went astray but who didn’t have sufficient elegance or promptness of spirit to gob in a copper’s face.
A few pages later in the same issue there’s an article about the cosmetic surgeon, Martin Kelly, who died unexpectedly, and tragically, a few days ago. Kelly spent a fair amount of time reconstructing the septums (septa?) of people who share Ms Campbell’s world and habits, but he also, and principally, dedicated himself to people who don’t, including a small girl in Afghanistan, whose face was so deformed the local Taliban considered her a ‘devil child’ and wanted to have her stoned to death (with stones, not cell phones). Thanks to Kelly’s work, she is no longer a devil child. Now 11, she wrote to thank him:
First of all I say hallow to my doctor Moten Kalli. I’m Hadisa Husain from Afghanistan. I’m at school now and I’m very happy. I don’t have any problem and I’ll never forget you, and I’m waithing for my next opration. Thank you.
The spelling might not be perfect, but for efficacy of communication Campbell could learn a thing or two from it. No disrespect intended.
Monday, 19 May 2008
If any of the above conditions do not apply, I suggest you do something more rewarding with your time.
Like waste it on Facebook, for example. I swore I'd not fall into the maws of another over-hyped time-devouring virtual monster (Yes, I did visit Second Life; no, I didn't go back), but Baroque in Hackney lured me in with promises of
Still, I now have 34 friends. Not bad.
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Numbers are part of the rhetoric. The number of Italians who want gipsies expelled, according to a recent opinion poll, is 61 in every hundred. And yes, that includes the 70,000 gipsies with Italian citizenship (as potential expellees, obviously: they're hardly likely to have been asked their opinion on the matter). But what was the question, and how was it framed?
On Annozero the other night, a middle-aged man from, I think, Morocco said that immigrants weren't chattels, to be bought and sold, but human beings. He went on to accuse Roberto Castelli, ex-Minister of Justice, of being a delinquent. This is the kind of language that's used all the time during political debates on Italian TV; it's actually tamer than most. It isn't unusual to hear politicians merrily calling each other shits on prime time telly. Normally nobody bats an eyelid; at worst, there's some muttering about vulgarity in the next day's papers. On this occasion though, Santoro, the ringmaster, silenced the man (physically, by turning his microphone off) and, using the familiar 'tu' form, said he was doing his cause no good and should be more careful before he spoke. Castelli was then allowed to use this act of lèse majesté as an example of how 'they' come over here, insult us, think they have the right, etc. etc.
But how many people watched the show?
Friday, 16 May 2008
I don't think this is true any longer. I think the mood has changed and that what looked like a sort of prelapsarian innocence - because, of course, it wasn't innocence at all, but nuanced and humane - has now been lost. It would be easy to point a finger at the Northern League and its shameful exploitation of racist sentiment in the north, where half the factory workers are illegal immigrants and 100 percent of the live-in carers, without whom the old and ill would be institutionalised or alone, come from outside Italy, from the Ukraine and Indonesia and Brazil. It would be easy to blame the press, which for political motives or worse, has exaggerated the criminal impact foreigners have had, devoting pages to Romanian hit and run drivers and paragraphs to the home-grown kind. It would be easy to blame the last government for its failure to understand the extent to which the agenda - in this as in everything else - was being set by others, which crucially underplayed the security issue, which flip-flopped between the draconian measures taken in Bologna by Cofferati, ex-darling of the left, and the ill-thought-out laissez-faireism of those who wanted to woo the radical youth of the centri sociali, paying lip service to both. It would be easy, finally, to blame the tiny percentage of immigrants who do rape, and murder, and plough down pedestrians in cars they're too drunk to drive.
They're all to blame, I suppose, and the people who came to Italy to improve their lives, and those of their families, and who, in doing so, have also improved the lives of those around them by doing jobs nobody else wants at wages nobody else would accept, by looking after the people we don't have time for, for whatever reason - well, those people are going to have to sit out the storm, hoping their papers, if they have them, are in order, contributing to a national insurance scheme that would soon be belly-up without their money, being humiliated on a daily basis by people who now feel what they had in common with the other has somehow been rubbed away by a too daily contact, by too much friction. On Rai 2's Annozero last night, someone commented that what we really want from immigrants is for them to work from Monday to Friday and then to disappear until they're needed again, and this was wryly accepted by almost everyone there. And now there's a comment on my THES article about lettori in Italy, which shocked me, by someone who left the country because he couldn't take the racism here. And it makes me wonder how I managed not to see it for so long.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Of course none of this supposition would be necessary if 'Luke Rocchi' had the courage and, indeed, decency to use his/her own name instead of skulking behind a pseudonym.
Monday, 12 May 2008
Still, a hit's a hit!
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Carfagna announced last year that gay unions shouldn't be recognised because 'homosexuals are constitutionally sterile.' No one is quite sure what this means, but it certainly feels offensive.
And if you're wondering why I've been inactive these past few days, let me show you a sample of the 40-page text I'm supposed to be editing for a certain unnamed international agency:
"The farmers organization without the money", that falls the farmers are to be an only the beneficiary of the grant aid, that is free of charge, by the government and/or donors with passiveness, no ideas against the trouble shooting, and they are just like only being gathering group. How extent of the grant aid could help the poor farmer's hope? When considering the disturbance of the "free of charge" programme which being spoiled the farmer's self-help efforts, it was really necessary to discover the right direction for the International Cooperation that will not be a "free of charge".As Sophie Tucker once said about a TV healer: "Honey, he can heal the sick, but he can't raise the dead."
Thursday, 8 May 2008
I became a lettore in 1982, in Rome. The building I worked in was a box of concrete and rattling glass that would soon be declared unfit for purpose and abandoned. My first class, for beginners, had almost 100 students and was held in a room the shape of a boot. Standing at the toe, I watched what I taught being relayed to the hidden third of the class beyond the heel. Students would turn up hours before class began for a seat within sight and hearing of me. It didn't surprise me that only 10 per cent of Italian students graduated.I didn't have space to describe the room we were given in the place to which the faculty was moved a few years later. The building had been a private clinic of some sort. There was a padded cell on the third floor and in some ways I'm surprised we weren't told to store our books and receive students in that. But someone had a better idea. The morgue. Perhaps it was felt that the chilly atmosphere would help us to preserve our linguistic freshness. (You'll need to read the piece to understand this reference, and the title. And if you'd like to leave a comment, I'd be delighted.)
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
Some Forza Italia token gay, god love him, suggests that we should do the march in suits and ties. This reminds me of the time I saw a member of the gay commune Bethnal Rouge - oh heady days! - in unusually sober attire. 'I'm wearing man drag,' he confided. 'I've got to go to the job centre.' On the other hand, Rome is worth a waistcoat...
(It's worth remembering, of course, that Rutelli, the PD candidate for mayor, also withdrew support for Gay Pride on similar grounds. You see how fair I am?)
PS No-neh is the noise Roman matrons make when denying children some small pleasure; it's accompanied by a wagging finger.
Monday, 5 May 2008
Not to speak of the wonderful pain/paint slip-up from Lion Lion (Tom Raworth).
PS I've also just realised how ambiguous my final sentence is in the post below. I'll be thinking about this and getting back to you with some kind of clarification. Or not. Why waste a layer of meaning?
PPS I'm quoting myself. I'm very tired. I'll tell you why tomorrow. To prepare you for what's coming, I'll whisper the word 'train'. And that reminds me of perhaps the worst printing error I've ever come across. If you haven't read Anna Karenina, there's a spoiler coming up. (On the other hand, if you haven't read Anna Karenina, you deserve a spoiler.) At the end of the novel, in the edition I read some decades ago, Anna commits suicide by throwing herself under a 'good strain'. What a misplaced 's' can do.
PPPS And given that tiredness encourages this process of random association, I'm reminded of a comment made by Julian Bees from the ANSA English desk some years back, when told that human beings and chimpanzees share 90-whatever percent of their genes: 'Genetics isn't maths. It's spelling. You change a letter, you change the word.'
Personally, I'd be happy to see a little more attention being given to an industry that still manages to produce worthwhile cinema - Crialese, Moretti, Soldini, to cite three very different directors - despite the massive attention given by the media and distributors to foreign (read, US) movies. Maybe a little autochthony will do us all good. It will also be refreshing to see less of Walter Veltroni fawning over Hollywood starlets as though they were envoys from the planet Beautiful.
Is this the beginning of the backlash?