Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kettle calls pot (and boot) black

Englishman Martin Kettle wrote a would-be scathing article on Italy on Christmas Eve of last year, called I've changed my mind about Italy. Peace on earth and good-will toward men, except them Eye-ties.

The inescapable Wikipedia informs us that Guardian journalist Kettle is now sixty years of age. Just a little late for a sexagenarian who admits to numerous visits to Italy to realize the country is corrupt, with a strong right-wing, and very many racist and nasty inhabitants. He therefore concludes that he "almost" doesn't care if he ever sets foot in the Boot again.

There's just one little problem with his giving the boot to the Boot. Italy is not responsible for people's illusions about it. If you're a damn fool, especially a sixty-year-old damn fool, you cannot hold the object of your delusion responsible for your subsequent burning disappointment.

Foreigners, especially English-speaking foreigners, have long seen Italy as a dream and a paradise. This absurd opinion, which would seem to be flattering, is actually insulting, as if the Italians were a form of Noble Savage, or children, exempt from the ugly realities of the world. From which no one is exempt, I can assure you (I've tried). No, Italians are every bit as bad as everyone else. But they also have the most beautiful country in the world, that has given this same world countless gifts of art, music, discovery, invention, thought, and style. If Kettle can't handle this paradox (which is the paradox of man itself- read Hamlet's soliloquy on human nature), that's his problem. It is downright silly for him to go crying in his (warm) beer that the Italians have deceived him. He's gone from one wrong opinion to the equal and opposite wrong opinion, and it's his own damn fault.

Beccati questo, Martin.