Friday, December 14, 2007


As Italian tradition has it, we were eating dinner while watching the evening news when the report came on tv that the NY TIMES had posted a front page article blasting Italy. The journalists on tv sliced an open wound and each person interviewed carved the wound deeper, I swear we were wincing as we listened and ate. AND THAT ARTICLE IS 100% TRUTH!
Contrary to a former post, I don't just talk about sex with my friends, every now and then we get intellectual. I'm not exactly the intellectual type, more intuitive, but I'm going to try to explain some of this situation. The article stated:
“It’s a country that has lost a little of its will for the future,” said Walter Veltroni, the mayor of Rome and a possible future center-left prime minister. “There is more fear than hope.”
When the lire changed to the euro prices doubled but salaries did not. People are living on half of what they used to earn monthly and this has people traumatized and desperate. The government did not adequately regulate the introduction of the euro. People are terrified they will not make ends meet, so hell yes, there is fear. Regarding a future, I have never seen such a lack of ambition in a culture, this is the self-destructive force of Italy. The political parties are a joke, they spend so much time arguing and fighting for idealistic causes that the government can never pass a bill. I disregard the political segment of the evening news because after dealing with fighting and bickering preschoolers all day, the thought of watching grown men doing the same is just more than my tired mind can handle.
It's embarassing.
The USA, the land of golden opportunity, a place that guarantees the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness remains the Italian Dream because in the USA opportunities still exist. The saddest part of the article was this:
Doubt clouds the family itself: 70 percent of Italians between 20 and 30 still live at home, condemning the young to an extended and underproductive adolescence. Many of the brightest, like the poorest a century ago, leave Italy.
MEN, MEN, MEN are in their 30s and STILL LIVING WITH THEIR MOTHERS!!!! The high prices of housing, the nonexistent job market, the fact that their Mommies cook, clean and still wipe their asses are all factors. They are lacking ambition, they "work to live," they don't "live to work" like the Americans do...well, just take a look where that mentality has gotten them - smack on the front page of the NY Times. Mothers here are so busy cooking, cleaning the house and smoking cigarettes in their high heels in the local parks that they don't take the time to motivate their kids. A one bedroom, one bath condo costs 125,000 euro and interest rates are 6%. The average Italian salary is 800 euros a month, do the math. I HAVE NEVER SEEN AN "APARTMENTS FOR RENT" COMPLEX IN ITALY!
The public school structures are obscene, falling apart, dungy, depressing with CRUCIFIXES hanging in EVERY CLASSROOM...I'm Jewish, can I complain? A Muslem complained once and the entire country rebelled.
"Let Freedom Ring," "Work Ethic," "For the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave," these ideals are inculcated in our heads and hearts as Americans, we know that we will achieve what we want from life...Italians are insecure, unsure, lacking ambition and DIVIDED, perhaps because of World War II and the fight between Communists and Fascists that still today is waging.
The article mentioned one of my favorite Italians...
“Basta! Basta! Basta!” Beppe Grillo, a 59-year-old comic and blogger with swooping gray hair, howled in an interview. The word means “enough,” and he repeated it to make his point to Italy’s political class clear.
Beppe Grillo exposes fraud like he has done with Telecom the Italian telephone company that charged me 150 euros a month for phone calls to the USA that I now pay 5 euros for thanks to his speech about SKYPE.
On Sept. 8, he...called for a day of rage, to scream across Piazza Maggiore in Bologna an obscenity politely translated as “Take a hike!” (It was called, "Fuck Off Day" and 50,000 people were wearing t-shirts with that slogan)
A few thousand people were expected. But 50,000 jammed into the piazza, and 250,000 signed a petition for changes like term limits and the direct election of lawmakers. (Voters now cast their ballots for parties, which then choose who serves in Parliament, without the voters’ consent.)
The country is messed up, unbelievably beautiful with food to die for, but messed up.
The most tragically true part of all that this article stated,for me, was this:
Italy’s low-tech way of life may enthrall tourists, but Internet use and commerce here are among the lowest in Europe
The internet provides access to information, education, networking possibilities, world-wide interaction, MY YAHOO SUPPORT GROUPS! There are parents of deaf kids in Italy who do not have access to FUNDAMENTAL RESOURCES with the potential of helping their kids. The majority of Italians would not know where to look even if they had the opportunity, they are computer illiterate. I went to the Post Office today, finally mailed my Ci Circle packages because the PO closest to my house has had its computer broken for the past six days and had to explain to the worker how to "scroll down" to speed up the process.
This is a nation with a history of famous sculptors, painters, musicians, architects, engineers, etc. and there is a genetic predisposition for genius. They are just lacking the American mentality needed to motivate this energy. Perhaps the Italian politicians could hit a Friday Happy Hour and discuss all this over a plate of hot wings and a couple of Miller Lites.


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Hi Jodi, I'm also an American expat in Italy (I'm in Calabria) and I just happened to find your blog through a Google alert today. So nice to read another American's perspective--and yes, that article was so sadly right on. I personally think that change is going to have to start with the government--starting to do the right thing with tax euros so that Italians feel like those in charge actually care and aren't just a bunch of thieves...then they just might pay more of the insane taxes levied.

Of course all of that would require actually not having a bunch of thieves in charge....

Unknown said...

Thanks for taking time to comment and it's amazing to meet are right about the tax evasion issues, messed up situation. Un abbraccio, Jodi

Rhonda said...

Now I'm really depressed.

Unknown said...

It ain't easy...we'll just have to have our own happy are responsible for the moquitos, pigs in a blanket and spinach dip...I'll bring myself:)))love you

Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea how hard life is in Italy. I missed that article (we get the times on Sunday, and it takes all week to get through it) thanks for taking the time to expound on this.

Jennifer said...


I am a Ci Circle member. I am new to this blog thingee. I didn't know how else to contact you but I just posted a video of my son, Cormac, 3 1/2 months post bilateral implantation. I don't know how to send you an email but here is a link to my blog. I know you enjoy getting videos and Lord knows, I LOVE to share this with anyone since I am so proud.

I hope it works

Rachel said...

I'm amazed that Italy still has issues today! My high school French teacher is Italian, but was born and raised in Canada. Both of her parents and her older siblings are all from Italy. They left Italy in 1960's due to the country's serious issues, and the parents wanted to give their children more opportunities. My teacher told me that she would never want to live in Italy as it is still too corrupted today. Believe or not, even though she lived in Canada and had a great job after college, she still lived with her parents until the age of 26!!! I think that's an Italian culture issue too, not just economic issue.
Speaking of depressing schools, on my first trip to France, I stayed with a host family and went to school with their daughter and my goodness! ...her school was depressing as hell! There were NO pretty bulletin boards with students' beautiful works at all. Like the schools in Italy, the only object that was on the wall was a cross or a virgin mary!