Tag Archives: elections

Romans, Go Forth and Vote!

24 Feb

Oh my God. Look at this:

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So here’s me, Little Miss Know-It-All, taking a picture of this sign posted on a shuttered storefront about a week ago, breezily walking by and thinking to my super-know-it-all-little-self “I’m sure I can come up with some snotty comment to poke fun at the store owner who’d post a sign on his business that says “Closed for Flu.” That’s kind of silly, isn’t it? Yes, it is.”

Fast forward to last Thursday night, when the Universe decided to show me just what it means to have to close your business for the flu, as I thrashed about all night battling a high fever and basically feeling like I was on the edge of death, or at least Dante’s vestibule of hell. Yes, folks, I was officially “Chiuso per Influenza” and let me tell you, this year’s flu ain’t no joke. I am just now emerging from my bed after 2 full days.

Can I tell you another reason why I love these handwritten signs? Because they almost always, pretty much inevitably, end up having some smart ass remark scrawled on them, in response to the main message. No exception here. Underneath the “closed for the flu” message, someone who is probably even more know-it-all than I am walked by and wrote “Why didn’t you get vaccinated?”

But, enough about the Raging Flu Monster of 2013. Let’s get on with the voting, shall we?

I don’t really have much to say (that’s particularly useful), except that I wanted to show anyone who comes from my home country (or any other country with less than like 30 different political parties), that voting here looks a *wee* bit complicated.

To answer your question—no, I will not be voting. I still have to finish applying for my citizenship, so there. Not like I’d vote if I had the chance to. Are you kidding me?

I found a paper left on a bunch of windshields by my apartment. It’s a “fac-simile” (I just love how in Italy they write it like that. I don’t know why. FAC-SIMILE. So old-fashioned) of a ballot. Now, this particular one is for Berlusconi’s party so you see that’s the symbol that’s highlighted. But what I really wanted to point out was just how super-duper fun an Italian regional election ballot is! I mean, let’s compare, shall we?

U.S. presidential election ballot:

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Pretty straightforward, no? Black and white, two political parties, check the box, go drink a beer and celebrate. Not much to it.

Italian regional election ballot:

Schedaelettorale

Weeeeee! Kind of makes you want to do a jig, no? I mean, so colorful! All kinds of little round symbols and pictures. A little hand showing where you’re supposed to actually write in the name for the candidate (this I don’t really understand but it’s fun). You get to make X’s on the pictures, and write things, I mean honestly people, voting in an Italian election is, well, it’s like a microcosm of Italy compared to the U.S., is it not?

It’s like the difference between Mr. Arnold Grummer being inducted into the Paper Industry Hall of Fame at the Radisson hotel (97 views, and he makes the questionable decision of revealing during his acceptance speech that he’s recently been diagnosed with lung cancer – hello, killjoy!) vs. Roberto Benigni accepting the Oscar win (it’s all about fun).

God bless Italy. Happy voting. And happy Oscar weekend too!

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Rome: Where Campaign Posters Go to Die

13 Feb

Oh God. Really. Don’t get me started. The city is positively OVERRUN with campaign posters. Between those and the coriandoli (confetti) from Carnevale, this city is one big paper wasteland right about now.

Just thought you might want to share my pain. You know you do.

Campaign season is all about formally renouncing any shred of responsibility for anything unwholesome or imperfect, and doing so on a grand public scale, while simultaneously reassuring the public that your solemn face, if voted for, will calmly restore order and ethical behavior to all the land. And this, in a twist of clever irony, is done mostly in a totally “abusivo” way.

Oh yes, folks, we’re into our manifesti abusivi around here. Literally guys who go around with buckets of poster glue and plaster up posters illegally on top of legitimate paid advertising. You know not of what I speak? Oh dear friends, just type in “manifesti abusivi” into Google images. Lookie, lookie! Collapsing under their own weight!

The sheer quantity of illegal campaign posters could easily provide a fairly warm blanket for a homeless person.

Anyhoo, let’s now delve into our collective failures:

Reproach #1: Monti made you poor. It’s all his fault.

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Sponsored by “The Right” a.k.a. Storace. Remember him? He has signs all over the place lately that say “Now Believe Us.” A not-so-thinly veiled reference to this debacle. The phoenix rising from the ashes, no?

Reassurance #1: Aurigemma, Everyday by your side

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Um, no thanks. Really. I’d rather do without.

Hey lookie here, Egregio Sig. Simcek! He’s almost all like “me cojoni” right? Right? Almost, I said. Geez. Don’t break my boxes. And if you do I’ll just be like, stigranca. Said with a totally American accent.

Brain Conundrum #1: Loving Italy Has a Cost, But It’s Worth It

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It’s all philosophical and what-not. But since you’re already poor from Monti, whatever the price is, you can’t afford it anyways.

Here’s my latest favorite though. You have to forgive me because I had to take a picture of it with my crappy ass cell phone camera (kiddos broke my crappy ass digital camera) as the bus was driving away, so just trust me when I say:

Bad Grammar as “Vote-for-Me-Strategy” #1: I AM US

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With a name like Patanè, you know it has to be good. (I have no idea what that means, actually. But if he’s allowed to say “Io Siamo Noi,” I can say whatever I want too.)

And, for the grand grand finale (say it “fih-NALL-leee” like the Americans do, it’s more fun that way), I give you the ultimate, inevitable, inescapable, ineluttabile solution to all, and when I say all I really mean ALL, of your woes:

Backup No-Fail Voting Choice #1, #1bis, #4 comma 6, art. 8A, ecc.: EVERYONE FOR BERLUSCONI

Ha, and you thought I was kidding. Oh, how wrong you are:

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Illegally posted, natch. How appropriate.

Elections in Rome 2013

7 Jan

You know that you’re in Rome when one of the leading campaign slogans in the upcoming elections reads thus:

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“Imagine regional government offices with competent people, not those with connections.”

Do you just love it?

I mean, ok, yes…it’s sad. But it’s sad in that sad-happy-Rome way.

The way that goes: yeah, we know that it’s all for show, and we know that everything is basically corrupt and we all know that people get their state jobs and appointments through rigged civil service exams and pay offs and other miscellaneous what-not, like, “Oh, you’re Giovanni’s 37-year-old nephew who’s never had a job and is still living at home with mom and dad, and they think it’s high time you get a job because they’ve spent the last 10 years of their lives looking for a place to “settle” you in a job?” Ask anyone about it… getting “sistemato” is the ultimate. Ask Fantozzi. Go on, ask. I’ll wait.

So, you know… “sad” in that happy/funny/youmustbejoking sort of way. (And for you astute viewers out there, why yes, yes, that big and scary semi-rotund window-filled building is in fact the Regione Lazio building. As in, the very headquarters of the regional government. You know, that one you’re supposed to be imagining. See how it all comes full circle? Bravi!)

And, best part? The whole “imagine” part. Because, folks. Let’s not kid ourselves here. What would Rome be without its share of ‘corrupt—wait, appeal—wait, corrupt—wait, no, innocent’ politicians and vulgar, but not in a vulgarly charming way, but just plain old-fashioned gross vulgar politicians? Immagina! Because you know that’s what’s coming around when you see a pig flapping its wings past your window. Or, as we say in Italian, when asses fly. Asses, as in donkeys. You know. Asini che volano. Never mind.

Oh, wait, wait! Second-best part? The part that made the marketing/advertising geniuses plaster this campaign on both sides of the street in front of and next to the below-documented imposing cement “Go Go Gadget Facist Architecture” building with the proud heading over the mammoth door which hereby proclaims:

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“Ministry of Economic Development.”

Economic!

Development!

Immagina!