il paese anormale
Well Italy continues to border on absurdity but be lovable just the same. Today the country was alternately threatened with a transport strike (which means you have to go to work but can't possibly get there), a general strike with an exception for transport (which means you can get to work but there's nothing to do), and a plain old general strike (which means you can't do anything at all). Eventually the whole thing was canceled.
Last night I went to see a play, Porcile (Pigpen) by Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Italian writer/director known, among other things, for writing a poem in which he said that a tram driver, who happen to die the same day as Pope Pius XII, was more worthy of praise (there are probably many Jews who'd agree with this, even without meeting the driver). The plot, if I understood it, involved a young German male who cannot relate to women but instead loves pigs, who reward his love by tearing him to pieces--unless, as it seemed to me, he was really eaten by his father and his business associate as part of a deal to surpress the associate's participation in wartime murder of Jews in return for surpressing the son's unusual proclivities. The good news: I paid for a balcony ticket but was invited to sit in the (largely empty) orchestra, yet another example of the ambivalence about rules that characterizes the country and which may have saved a fair number of lives (Jewish and otherwise) in the 1940s. The further good news: the play was so weird that whatever words I missed in Italian can't possibly have mattered, anyway.
One happy note: the image of the U.S. has certainly improved with the election of Obama, who appears to be a inspiration to young Europeans in particular. Luckily, few of them know exactly where Chicago is, or how the same state can have a senator who is so brilliant and a governor who is such a dope. Probably better they don't find out.