Thursday, December 13, 2007

Libel, reversism, and other abuses

James Agee, in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, wrote:

"For in the immediate world, everything is to be discerned, for him who can discern it, and centrally and simply, without either dissection into sciene, or digestion into art, but with the whole of conciousness, seeking to perceive it as it stands: so that the aspect of a street in sunlight can roar in the heart of itself as a symphony, perhaps as no symphony can: and all of consciousness is shifted from the imagined, the revisive, to the effort to perceive simply the cruel radiance of what is.

This is why the camera seems to me, next to unassisted and weaponless consciousness, the central instrument of our time; and is why in turn I feel such rage at its misuse: which has spread so nearly universal a corruption of sight that I know of less than a dozen alive whose eyes I can trust even so much as my own."

Here are some recent odd notes from the Italian symphony, well represented or no.

Men are constructing a new structure next to the town sports bubble, but first they had to clear the space. Apparently they could not find George Washington to borrow an axe or Texas Massacre people to borrow a chainsaw, because they knocked down the problematic trees with a small excavator. The perfect tool for the job.
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Graffiti in Italy sometimes seems nearly ubiquitous. I am still investigating this phenomenon. Few Milanese buildings are completely clean of paint. Churches and monuments do not escape inclusion in the defacing/expression. Here is a stencil I found recently here in Codogno. Perhaps it was a first draft. Or maybe there is some Satanic message to be heard when the text is read backwards...


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Among the legion of small vehicles plying Italian roads, my favorite is the Ape (or Bee, a companion of the Vespa, Wasp). Essentially small wee trucks, Apes can be equipped with a flat bed or a closed back, usually have only three wheels, and sometimes have handlebars instead of a steering wheel. They are more common in Tuscany than here in Lombardia, unfortunately; even more unfortunately, this next picture documents a good Ape turned bad. I do not blame the Ape.



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Where else but Italy are you likely to find graffiti scrawled against both the current and preceding Bishops of Rome, using their pre-Papal names?!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boicotta Coca Cola!!

leigh andrew said...

Lovin' the apes, bees and wasps - fabulous names - i understand naming them bees/wasps because of their sound, but apes?

graffiti - we saw it all over south america as well - mostly in Argentina and Chile - is this because they are descendants of Europeans or because of their economic status? Regardless, we felt the graffiti itself make some beautiful things ugly, but it gave us (as transients) a quick sense of the local politics and humor.

Fango said...

"Apes" means bees in Italian. I should have been clearer. I like to think they and the Vespas are also so named because they zip zip around.

One of my favorite graffitis from Chile: "Clinton, el mundo no es tu juguete."

leigh andrew said...

oh yes apes!!

interesting graffiti. while we were in SA most of the graffiti was anti-Bush - no shocker there.

paolaccio said...

Yes, there is something wonderful and magical about these Api.

If only they weren't so polluting - were I king of the world, I'd mandate their use everywhere.