It’s all about culture. The way we speak, the dinner you had, every text you read, your mobile, the travels you enjoy… in everything we do there is a cultural meaning, the sum of those is your contribution to the definition of modern culture in the country you live in.

On another level, you own family education was of course based on culture and what you got from school (no matter the level) was a massive injection of culture in your brain. Public media as television are a form of culture (sometimes at a good level, just think about BBC’s best efforts).

Culture is not natural. It comes up from humankind thru the ages, it’s a part of our heritage and a bridge to our collective future. We got artist of all kind, writers and performers, musicians and comedians, film makers and poets. By the way, an interesting number of people lives on this peculiar field.


In a country like Italy we are surrounded by history. We should be knee-deep immersed into culture, we should know by heart that every single stone around here could speak volumes about thousands of years ago. But it’s not true. Not now, not in the last five decades. You see, the problem is that an acculturated man or woman find himself/herself able to think in an independent way.

Independent thinking is something disturbing for who like to control people. It’s something that could be spread without warning, it could be dangerous, it could lead to discuss the everlasting circle produce-buy-die that works so well in our little country. How could you stop culture? It’s easy, you cut the money. No funds, no results. That’s the it works in the economy, isn’t it?

Then you can denigrate culture, using its lower level (public media) to spread the word against the upper level. Two generations of politicians who tell with pride “I’ve never read a book in my life” are a strong message; two generations of corrupted managers, university teachers, public officers and such took care of everything else. As a result we’re closing theaters, museums, public libraries… and we are at the lower places in the european chart for reading, for math, for all the scientific fields.

This is the perfect paradox: we’re the richest country in the world when it come to culture, we’re unable to use this wealth to improve our nation.   Once again, welcome to Italy.

Meanwhile in England… look here.

4 thoughts on “Culture!

  1. La tristezza è tanta. Solo ieri la nostra scuola pubblica era una delle migliori del mondo. Gratuita e dove si insegnava “tutto a tutti”. Vale a dire che l’intera eredità culturale veniva trasmessa alla generazione successiva e non solo la parte “funzionale”, buona a creare mano d’opera di concetto, ma anche la parte considerata “inutile” (latino, greco, filosofia, storia) forse poco sfruttabili in una “società azienda” ma utili, anzi indispensabili nel formare individui dotati di più ampia capacità critica.

    • Bisogna avere il coraggio di dire le cose come stanno e ripartire. Siamo ancora in grado di farlo se smettiamo di fare stupidaggini. Quello che è certo è che ci vorranno anni (o decenni) per rimettere le cose nella giusta prospettiva. Il disprezzo trasmesso dai media sui temi culturali ha scavato una ferita nella psiche collettiva di questo paese.

  2. The same old story. The wrong part of it is that we still have to tell it, ’cause apparently under these respects nothing changes.
    I concur with everything you said, and let me add another pessimistic note as well: of course the policies of our governments have a very huge impact on what’s going on, both via a lack of an active support of culture and even worse by a real discouragement of it. The struggle for culture is a war, as you correctly point put they are frighting it against us, and they know it. But we, what are we doing about it?
    The responsibility of all of this is also ours (on a broader meaning of course, I’m not talking about you, me and all your other wonderful readers 😉 ), not only theirs. By proudly telling us that they never read, that with culture one doesn’t eat, and the likes, they are just throwing a seed, but for this seed to grow it must find a good soil. And for these kind of seeds, our beloved countrymen are the best and most fertile soil, manure included.
    Are we just a damn flock of stupid sheep? Here, if you can’t use something to look cool, well, that thing is completely useless.
    Technology? Yes, but only if it concerns a cool app for their top-notch smartphones, because I suppose that talking about the New Horizon probe will label you as a sociopath nerd; in the end knowing more about Pluto isn’t useful to the Alpha male (funny how all these poor succesful men refuse all our evolutionary history and still think about ourselves as nothing more that club-wielding apes…).
    Culture? Lately small talk revolve about how culture can be profitable, that all our patrimony can generate a lot of money; it’s true, and really desirable; but I’m not happy at all about this story, because it seem that generating profit should be the only legitimate purpose of culture: create money and jobs, nothing more than this.
    But is as clear as hell that it has a very much higher dignity and role, we are talking about the opportunity to enlarge our views, to better understand this pale blue dot and its surroundings, to better know ourselves and the people around us no matter where they came from and how different their views could be, in the and the fight for culture is about our freedom, our rights, and our opportunity to understand and to be understood.
    And we are not fighting it, we are not even thinking that it’s a worth fight.
    Under these circumstances, if nothing changes, it won’t take years or decades, it will take forever.

    • You’re right, this is a war. A conflict against our recent history, against an inertia that’s bigger than a mountain. Even the rural Italy of the ’40s and the ’50s had a better attitude versus culture, not to mention a great deal of respect for the national institutions. I was thinking about the heritage of the fascist era, about the error we did as a country when we collectively choose to “forget” the burden of a civil war to force a strange peace based on economy. In the late ’40s we had the choice to grow as a nation, there was the room for an italian version of the Nurnberg trials.
      We did not. We forget.
      Our beloved nation is still the same as it was in its beginning, back in 1861. A flag and a few labels to cover a deadly mix of local interests, of little lobbies tied with everything from organized crime to the Holy See. What the culture have to do with it? Everything. Because without a real freedom there’s no choice at all for culture to develop.

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