Monday, May 2, 2011

Dietrologia and buonismo

Of course I read the Italian papers online this morning as I do every morning; in fact, the news of Osama bin Laden's death first came to me through La Repubblica. I read the news, editorials and comments. The comments section show that copious Italians doubt that Osama was killed, others (with the Vatican) maintain that he should have stood trial and that no one should rejoice for a death.

Well, I'm rejoicing. The Italians I am referring to exhibit two characteristics that are not rare in Italy: dietrologia and buonismo. The first is loosely a kind of conspiracy-theory view of the world, the second a view that if we were all just nice to each other everything would be just fine. Needless to say, these two isms are often used against the US. To wit: respectively, the US lies and is a fraud; and the US is evil, violent and warmongering and the world would be fine without it (and the Jews, of course).

The two characteristics have the little shortcoming that they do not adhere to reality. Others may lie and dissemble, but that doesn't mean that you are a priori honest and objective and all-knowing. Obama may be lying, I don't wholly discount that possibility- but he has more cred than the average guy with his limited sources of information and his axes to grind. As for the buonismo, anyone past the age of 25 who still thinks human nature is benign and the world by default is a sort of Eden deserves a good ole swift kick.

Update May 4, 2011- There's an interesting blog post on today's Repubblica which attempts to counter, or at least question, the opinion (and it isn't only the Italians who have said this) that Osama should not have been executed. The journalist Franceschini reminds his readers that toward the end of WWII Mussolini and his mistress were summarily executed by the Resistance, then exhibited at a gas station in Piazzale Loreto in Milan (you can see the picture here), hanging upside down. Yet the Italians trace the foundation of their Republic to the events surrounding this (the taking of the Milan), so much so that the 25th of April (which just passed) is a national holiday. I am often disconcerted by Italians' forgetting (or even worse, selectively remembering) their past.

My own mind went back to Hitler and the unsuccessful attempts to assassinate him. Who would not rejoice at such a successful attempt?