Oct 25, 2011

Gheddafi, political leaders and prominent scholars: degrees of semiotic and intellectual contradictions

Last spring semester, we held the Interdisciplinary Session of the GIF Social Science Track “The Quest for Freedom in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)”. Here the slides of my lecture: Degrees of semiotic and intellectual contradictions. You can carry out a semiotic analysis of the pictures, check the project of a book in the name of Muammar Gaddafi (with an accompanying programme of visits by 'leading international thinkers'); Saif Gaddafi awarded with a Ph.D. by the London School of Economics.

Merkozy, Berlusconi and the Bella Vita

The French and German leaders – now dubbed 'Merkozy' – exchanged glances and smiled when asked if they were confident Berlusconi would come up with reforms, prompting a gale of laughter from journalists: see the CLIP
Leading daily Corriere della Sera , which has criticised Mr. Berlusconi for delaying the economic stimulus package demanded by Europe, called the behaviour of Dr Merkel and Mr Sarkozy “excessive” in a front-page editorial, adding: “For an Italian it was not great, and it matters little if you are pro- or anti-Berlusconi.” “No one is authorised to ridicule Italy, even after Berlusconi’s obvious and embarrassing delays in tackling the crisis,” said Pier Ferdinando Casini, the head of the opposition UDC party, adding: “I didn’t like Sarkozy’s sarcastic smile.” It seems that Germany and France have their own problems too: DebtBurden Falls Heavily on Germany and France; anyhow: Italy's DownwardSpiral Accelerates and the Bella Vita lifestyle seemsto fall apart.
Let's finish with some exploits of Berlusconi: Does not understand English; I need to pee; Humiliating Merkel; Obama is tanned; with Bush; Queen Elisabeth; Best Moments; and a couple of the statesman Sarkozy: Drunk, with Hilary.
Check the slide "Berlusconi, TV, Education and Italians".

Oct 17, 2011

Rome Exception: Indignados and Black Blocks

Rome has been the worldwide exception; the indignados protest of October 15 has been hijacked by the Black Block. Read some related articles: The Vandals Occupy Rome, Briefly: How a Demonstration Was Hijacked; Rome violence exception to peaceful global ‘Day of Rage’; Stashes of Gas Masks and Clubs Prepared Days Before Rome Riots; In Italy, Rioting Leads to Recriminations. Here some images of an assault, the sequence of a caress by a police officer to a girl and a video.

2minutes@twilight: Florence Phone Film Festival

ASAUI, Comune di Firenze, in collaboration with Corriere Fiorentino and SNCCI – tuscan group present a short film contest open to all students of the Universit√† di Firenze and to university students enrolled in any other university program in Florence. Every film (in English, Italian, or both) could have as a topic any aspect regarding the city of Florence and its life, culture or experiences; it must last two minutes (including credits) and must be filmed in Florence at twilight, and shot entirely with a smartphone. Films should be copied on miniDV (PAL) or as an AVI file (DV compression, frame size 720x576) on a CD-Rom. Videos on NTSC format will not be accepted. All films entered will in no way be returned. Deadline for all entries is no later than November 25, 2011. The final awards evening will be on December 7 2011, when the prizes will be awarded to the winners: 1st place: iPhone 4 32Gb; 2nd place: iPad 32 GB WiFi + 3g; 3rd place: iPod Touch 32. GB
To enter the contest: download the entry form and the disclaimers from the ASAUI webpage, www.asaui.org, fill them out and send together with the video to: florencefilmfest@gmail.com

Oct 15, 2011

I don’t feel Italian

Recently an Italian singer, Daniele Silvestri, made a cover of the song Non mi sento italiano (I don’t feel Italian), by Giorgio Gaber, singer-songwriter, actor and playwright, (groundbreaker of the musical genre known as teatro canzone (song theatre). This is one passage  of the song: "Excuse me, President," sings Gaber, "It's not my fault,/ But this country of ours,/ I don't know what it is./ Excuse me, President/ If I am so impudent/ As to say that I don't feel/ Any sense of belonging,/ And despite Garibaldi/ And other glorious heroes,/ I don't see any reason/ to feel proud." Below an English translation of the lyrics by Cristina Caimotto.
I do not feel Italian
I was born and live in Milan.
I do not feel Italian
but thankfully or unfortunately I am.
Excuse me President
It’s not my fault
But I dont' know what it means
to have patriotic feelings.
Maybe I am wrong
Maybe it’s a good idea
But I fear it may turn into
An ugly poem.
Excuse me President
I don’t feel the need
Of the national anthem
Of which I feel a bit ashamed.
As for football players
I don’t want to judge
Our players do not know it
Or maybe they have more decency.
I do not feel Italian
but thankfully or unfortunately I am.
Excuse me President
If I'm impudent enough
To state that I do not feel
Like I belong to anything.
Apart from Garibaldi
And other glorious heros
I don’t see any point
In being proud.
Excuse me President
But I have in mind the exaltation
Of black shirts
At the time of Fascism.
From which one fine day
This democracy was born
And you need a lot of fantasy
In order to praise it.
I do not feel Italian
but thankfully or unfortunately I am.
This wonderful Country
Full of poetry
Is well pretentious
But of our western world
It is the outskirt.
Excuse me President
But this Government of ours
That you represent
Seems to me a bit wrecked.
It is even too clear
For people to see
That everything is calculated
And nothing works.
It’s maybe that Italians
By long tradition
Are too keen to engage
in any kind of discussion.
Even in parliament
The atmosphere is incandescent
They slit each other’s throat
And then nothing changes.
I do not feel Italian
but thankfully or unfortunately I am.
Excuse me President
You must admit
That we should talk about
The shortcomings we have.
But apart from defeatism
We are what we are
And we also have a past
That we do not forget.
Excuse me President
But maybe us Italians
to other people are only
spaghetti and mandolini.
Then I get pissed off
I’m proud and I show off
I throw in their faces
What the Rinascimento stands for.
I do not feel Italian
but thankfully or unfortunately I am.
This wonderful Country
Is maybe not too wise
It has confused ideas
But had I been born in other places
It could have been worse.
Excuse me President
Now that I’ve said so much
There’s something else
That I believe is important.
Compared to foreigners
We believe less
But maybe we have understood
That the world is a puppet theatre.
Excuse me President
I know you’re not too happy
If people shout “Italia, Italia”
Only at a football match.
But in order to survive
Or maybe as a joke
As we’ve made Europe
Let’s make Italy as well.
I do not feel Italian
but thankfully or unfortunately I am.
I do not feel Italian
but thankfully or unfortunately
thankfully or unfortunately
thankfully I am.