Tag Archives: Storace

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.”




Mamma Roma Addio

25 Sep

So, Renata Polverini resigned under yet another corruption scandal. Quite possibly this latest debauchery, made public with ridiculous photos amidst the ongoing economic crisis, was the last straw. Interesting is her quote that she feels she’s been “betrayed by a system that’s existed for years.” Are we to interpret that to mean that she figured what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and now she’s being punished for working within a corrupt system? Who knows. Looking to the Storace debacle as an indicator, she most likely has a long road ahead of her.

Oh, and BTW? if you speak Italian, take a look at how pissy la Polverini gets in this video. She was SOOOO vulgar. The crowd is insulting her and she insults them back. It’s crazy. Listen to her at :54. OMG she comes off like some tough, uncultured woman from the periphery: “AHOOOO’ ECCHECAZZO!” It’s like, seriously? Is this who we wanted representing our state to the nation? Cringe.

Anyhoo. All that to say, it’s truer in Rome than nearly anywhere else: the more things change, the more they stay the same. From the poetry of GG Belli in the 1800s, to the modern-day scandals and mass exodus of Italians looking for a brighter future, people continue to complain about Rome and her problems, and yet, those of us who remain seem to muddle through it just the same, eating our supplì and cheering on our soccer teams.

My dear tesoro Alessio, chatting about Rome the other day, suggested this link to me, which turns out to be very apropos. (Love you, Alessiuccio! He’s my beloved Roman pen pal living the life in Africa.)

So, check out the song. I’ll translate the lyrics below. I’ll even insert links to former posts of mine that touch on what he’s talking about. Now, I don’t profess to be an Italian expert, and my blog is free and for fun, so take your urge to tell me I know nothing about Italian or Roman culture elsewhere, unless it’s in the spirit of sharing knowledge for all of us who love Rome and Roman culture. As Polverini would say, “AHHHOOOO ecchecazzzo!” xoxo ♥♥♥, Shelley

A Roma salutavo gli amici. Dove vai? Vado in Perù. Ma che sei matto?

In Rome I said goodbye to my friends. Where are you going? I’m going to Peru. What? You crazy?

Me ne andavo da quella Roma puttanona, borghese, fascistoide, da quella Roma del “volemose bene e annamo avanti”, da quella Roma delle pizzerie, delle latterie, dei “Sali e Tabacchi”, degli “Erbaggi e Frutta”, quella Roma dei castagnacci, dei maritozzi con la panna, senza panna, dei mostaccioli e caramelle, dei supplì, dei lupini, delle mosciarelle…

I was leaving the Rome of the whores, the stuck-up Rome, the fascist Rome, that Rome that always says “let’s just take care of each other and keep moving forward,” Rome with its pizza shops, milk shops, “salt and tobacco” shops, “herb and fruit” shops, Rome with its chestnut cakes, its pastries with cream, without cream, cookies, candies, supplì, lupini, mosciarelle

Me ne andavo da quella Roma dei pizzicaroli, dei portieri, dei casini, delle approssimazioni, degli imbrogli, degli appuntamenti ai quali non si arriva mai puntuali, dei pagamenti che non vengono effettuati, quella Roma degli uffici postali e dell’anagrafe, quella Roma dei funzionari dei ministeri, degli impiegati, dei bancari, quella Roma dove le domande erano sempre già chiuse, dove ci voleva una raccomandazione…

I was leaving the Rome of the salami vendors, the doormen, the chaos, the “approximately”s, the scams, the appointments where no one is ever on time, the payments that never get made, the Rome of the post offices and the city records office, the Rome of the ministerial employees, the civil servants, the bankers, the Rome where the job openings are all already taken, because you have to know the right person

Me ne andavo da quella Roma dei pisciatoi, dei vespasiani, delle fontanelle, degli ex-voto, della Circolare Destra, della Circolare Sinistra, del Vaticano, delle mille chiese, delle cattedrali fuori le mura, dentro le mura, quella Roma delle suore, dei frati, dei preti, dei gatti…

I was leaving the Rome of the outdoor pissers, the Rome of Vespasian’s “public urinals,” the fountains, the thanking of the saints, the political right, the political left, the Vatican, the thousands of churches, the cathedrals outside the walls, inside the walls, the Rome of the nuns, the monks, the priests, the cats…

Me ne andavo da quella Roma degli attici con la vista, la Roma di piazza Bologna, dei Parioli, di via Veneto, di via Gregoriana, quella dannunziana, quella barocca, quella eterna, quella imperiale, quella vecchia, quella stravecchia, quella turistica, quella di giorno, quella di notte, quella dell’orchestrina a piazza Esedra, la Roma fascista di Piacentini…

I was leaving the Rome of the penthouses with a view, the “Piazza Bologna” Rome, the “Parioli” Rome, the Rome of Via Veneto, of Via Gregoriana, the Rome of D’Annunzio’s “art is life,” baroque Rome, Eternal Rome, Imperial Rome, old Rome, really old Rome, tourist Rome, daytime Rome, nighttime Rome, the orchestra in Piazza Esedra Rome, the facist Piacentini Rome…

Me ne andavo da quella Roma che ci invidiano tutti, la Romacaput mundi, del Colosseo, dei Fori Imperiali, di Piazza Venezia, dell’Altare della Patria, dell’Università di Roma, quella Roma sempre con il sole – estate e inverno – quella Roma che è meglio di Milano…

I was leaving the Rome that everyone envies us for, the “caput mundi” Rome, the Rome of the Colosseum, the Forum, Piazza Venzia, the Altar of the Fatherland, the University of Rome, the always-sunny Rome–summer and winter–the Rome that’s better than Milan…

Me ne andavo da quella Roma dove la gente pisciava per le strade, quella Roma fetente, impiegatizia, dei mezzi litri, della coda alla vaccinara, quella Roma dei ricchi bottegai: quella Roma dei Gucci, dei Ianetti, dei Ventrella, dei Bulgari, dei Schostal, delle Sorelle Adamoli, di Carmignani, di Avenia, quella Roma dove non c’è lavoro, dove non c’è una lira, quella Roma del “core de Roma”…

I was leaving the Rome where people take a piss on the streets, the stinking Rome, the middle-class Rome, half-liter Rome, ox-tail stew Rome, the Rome of the rich boutique owners: the Rome of the Guccis, the Ianettis, the Ventrellas, the Bulgaris, the Schostals, the Adamoli, Carmignani and Avenia sisters, the Rome where there’s no jobs, there’s no money, the Rome that’s the “heart of Rome”…

Me ne andavo da quella Roma del Monte di Pietà, della Banca Commerciale Italiana, di Campo de’ Fiori, di piazza Navona, di piazza Farnese, quella Roma dei “che c’hai una sigaretta?”, “imprestami cento lire”, quella Roma del Coni, del Concorso Ippico, quella Roma del Foro che portava e porta ancora il nome di Mussolini, Me ne andavo da quella Roma dimmerda! Mamma Roma: Addio!

I was leaving the “Mountain of Pity” Rome, the Rome of the Italian Commercial Bank, the Rome of Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza Navona, Piazza Farnese, the Rome of “D’ya gotta cigarette?”, “lend me 100 lira”, the Rome of the national Olympic teams, the horse races, the Rome that has the Forum that carried and still caries the name of Mussolini, I was leaving that shitty shitty Rome! Mamma Rome: farewell!

To Rome, With Dignity

23 Jul

Usually I could care less about politics here in Italy. You’d need a freaking Ph.D. and then some to even touch the tip of the iceberg in trying to understand it all, anyways. So, for me usually the phrase “ignorance is bliss” is my M.O. However sometimes even my minimal knowledge of Roman politics is enough to make me nearly laugh to the point of having milk come out my nose when I see an ad like this all over the city:

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“Rome Deserves Dignity”

Wow, really? This dude, Storace, has scandal all over himself, and he wants to come out preaching dignity? I think there must be a statue of limitations when it comes to dirty politicians. Maybe every 6 years they figure they’ve been laundered like mafia money in a fancy yet totally tacky restaurant with no customers. Because that’s what Storace seems to think.

Lest we forget he came under investigation in 2006 for “associazione a delinquere” which is a fun term that basically means conspiracy in committing a crime. He called it a “lynching.” It had to do with fabricating signatures in order to defeat a political opponent (Mussolini’s granddaughter, no less) and misuse of public databases for this purpose. He is the ex-Minster of Health and the ex-President of the Region of Lazio. He has a long political history in Rome.

Given the slow process time of Italian “justice,” in 2010 Storace was actually convicted. He was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months behind bars. The mayor of Rome, Alemanno, also a member of the political right like Storace, said he hoped the sentence would be reversed on appeal. Storace, upon hearing the sentence, sarcastically said “complimenti” to the Italian justice system and declared that he was ready to go to prison without any special treatment and that he was willing to resign from his political position as a “consigliere” for the Region of Lazio. No one actually goes to prison until appeal, apparently, at which point the sentence would either be confirmed or rejected. And he never resigned from his post, which he still holds.

Fast forward then to last month (yes, last month, June 11), when news was released that Rome’s attorney general has asked for the sentence to be completely reversed as in “assoluzione con formula piena” which would relieve him of any prison time. This request isn’t based on the fact that Storace wasn’t involved in tampering with falsifications or accessing the regional database for his own purposes. It is based on the assertion that there was a regulation that authorized access to the database by one of the other men convicted, Maceri (the one who accessed the database).

In this commentary shortly after the prosecutor’s request, Storace says he’s seriously considering campaigning to be Rome’s next mayor.

Rome deserves dignity? How about an entire Wikipedia page available on the scandal, titled “Laziogate”?

Wait! Wait! This just in! I forgot to mention that between the conviction and the request for absolution in appeal, Storace won a civil suit in which he received €20,000 in damages, which explains the title of the article: Laziogate, Storace goes from defendant to victim.

If at this point you aren’t confused, I certainly am, which is why I give up and go back to being blissfully ignorant. But not ignorant enough to know that, guilty or not, once you’ve come under investigation you can’t certainly go on using “dignity” as your tagline unless you live in a some kind of parallel universe. Which is exactly where I think most Italian politicians live.

And now, you can see why it’s nearly useless to try to untangle the knotted and thorny web of Roman politics. What’s the point, really? The justice system is notoriously slow and corrupt. Appeals go on for years and legal loopholes are many.

So we make a full circle and come back to the beginning, Rome deserving dignity. I totally agree. I just don’t see how it’s possible given the political climate and culture though. So blatantly ridiculous it’s sadly comical. And people wonder why nothing works around here? It’s no surprise. Somehow things keep moving, and yet somehow they never go anywhere. That’s pretty much Rome in a microcosm.