August 10, 2007

Colosseum for Sale

An article in today's Cronaca di Roma section of Il Messagero has the headline, "Colosseum for Sale." Basically, it claims that Prodi wants to alleviate the national debt with an alternative to dipping into the gold reserves of BankItalia. Government official Roberto Calderoli is quoted as saying, "Let's keep the gold and sell en bloc the Colosseum, the Imperial Fora, and, if that's not enough, some other old stones of Rome." Apparently not one to be impartial, Il Messagero comments that this suggestion is ridiculous because the Colosseum is a national patrimony. They quote Pino Battaglio (aside: wouldn't it be awesome to have the name Pine Battle?), a member of the leftist democratic party Ulivo as saying, "Certainly, let's give the Colosseum to a private group so that they can be free to reprise the gladiatorial games. And while we're at it, let's use it to allow ferocious beasts to devour all those illegal immigrants against whom every day they hurl the maximum force of the law." Further, a liberal undersecretary of the economy, Paolo Centro, called the suggestion "barbaric" and said that Calderoli needed to "shut up and take a nice little walk through the capital." The article concludes with the author saying, "I firmly believe that in certain cases, before speaking, a cold shower works wonders."

This article was a hot topic of conversation at lunch today, with my coworkers alternately calling Calderoli and Prodi the Italian equivalent of motherfucking assholes. I don't even think Bush or his cronies would ever joke about selling the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial to reduce debt. The Italians (at least the ones I talk to) really hate their government.

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