Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Italian proverbs- tutto il mondo e' paese

This is one of the very most common Italian proverbs, which can be given the banal meaning that people are the same everywhere. Literally, it means that all the world is a town (or perhaps country, as the word paese means both things).

I used to be highly skeptical of Italians' predilection for this saying, and attributed it to a probable consolatory function due to the widely-recognized messed-uppedness of Italy. In other words, the natives would comfort themselves when things went more or less wrong in their country (which happens daily, I can assure you) by saying that it's the same everywhere. But in my heart of hearts, I knew that my country, the United States, was different. This widespread belief actually has a name, "American exceptionalism."

Well, folks, it may have taken me awhile, but I no longer believe this. Can it happen here? It already does happen here.