Originally posted from Italy on December 29th, 2006.
After only two days in country, my initial reactions to Italy, are that it’s a country living in and devoted to the past. There seems to be little industry besides tourism in many places. Though this is definitely colored by my being a tourist, duh. But consider Venice, where two-thirds of the population consists of seasonal foreigners (regular tourists) during the summer months, and in the winter the population bundles up and hunkers down to last out the cold and slow trickle of tourists.
There is much beauty, truly, and Italy definitely has something to share with the world concerning history, art, etc, and with that there is to be no arguing. But consider also that the birthrate is 1.2 per woman (not per couple, per woman), and that children are staying single and staying home until their very late twenties (24-29 yrs old avg max age of children at home). Also, in watching the TV channels, there are several stations of voice-over movies all made in Hollywood California. And several other stations playing “spaghetti westerns” (and yes, that’s what they call them, and they’re all voice-over in Italian). One station of German language sports news and German (mostly) original movies (though a few voice-overs here as well). Two English stations, BBC World and CNN. There is little original Italian art (movies, music, etc) on the telly, which is sad considering the history of Italy leading the art world.
Instead, Italy seems to be constantly living in it’s past. This is not a totally bad thing. If this history existed in America, with thousands of years of awe-inspiring historical structures, we’d have torn them all down for the hazards they posed to Americans with Disabilities and various dummies and tourists of all IQ levels. We’d have sued them all out of existence. We’d have gates and fences keeping people hundred of feet and more from all structures with any non-standard-meeting designs and architecture. Also, America has little enough respect for it’s own history, choosing instead to chase frenetically after the future. This is America’s strength. And its weakness. Italy’s strength is it’s reverence of its history, and this is its weakness.
Italy has no future, and America has forgot its past.