Detritus of 2012By
I’ve never been keen on New Year’s, nor have I ever felt an urge to celebrate it. My instinct is to hide under the bed until after midnight. But that’s just me.
I can’t do one of those end-of-year reviews, it would wear me out. Living it once was enough. But bits of detritus are still flying off the stern of the Good Ship World as we speed toward the next 12 months, at least as seen from over here. Before they sink (and may it be soon), here are a few:
Mrs. Ex-Berlusconi’s alimony. Veronica Lario is certainly ending the year on a high note. It’s been determined that she will get 36 million euros ($48,000,000) a year in alimony. Or $4 million a month. Berlusconi is trying desperately to get himself re-elected premier of Italy, but I think a settlement of these dimensions makes it hard to take him seriously as a person who has the well-being of his country in his hands. But I think she would make a fantastic prime minister! Secretary of the Treasury! Chief Comptroller! If she ever wants to run for anything, she’s got my vote.
Don Piero Corsi and his opinions on “femminicidio.” The parish priest of the church of San Terenzo in Lerici published a broadside last week concerning the endless series of murders of women in Italy, awkwardly termed “femminicidio.” First of all, I learned that more women meet a violent death in Italy than in any other European country. But he went at the subject from another angle, urging women to take a good long look at themselves to see how far they might be “provoking” such a crime.
I’m not going to translate it for you, but you can imagine the mushroom cloud of outrage that’s bloomed from all sides. He hasn’t published a retraction, but the bishop has put him on what might be termed “administrative leave.” (Spiritual retreat? Re-education camp?). I was following all this with some form of calm until a perfervid feminist wrote a letter to the Gazzettino objecting to the ugliness of the word “femminicidio.” Let me go on record as saying that compared to the act it represents, the word is as the “Hallelujah Chorus” sung by seraphim. Let’s not waste time niggling about terminology — at least he got people talking about something that obviously needs to be talked about.
Divorced fathers sleeping in cars. This isn’t a funny line, it’s another view of the economic crisis as lived over here in the so-called Belpaese where, according to a cliche’ I sometimes hear, “people really know how to live.” There is a disturbing number of men in Padua whose alimony payments have eviscerated their budgets (is one of them Silvio Berlusconi?). By the time they’ve paid the monthly support, they have almost nothing left over. So they are sleeping in their cars under an overpass, banded together for protection. They wash at work and eat at the Mission with the destitute immigrants and alcoholic street people. I feel sorry for everyone, but these fathers have punched a hole in my heart.
Most dangerous items on New Year’s Eve: Homemade fireworks and clams. Tons of bivalves from Tunisia were checked at the port of Salerno and found to be harboring so many contaminants that, to protect the environment as well as people, the clams are being incinerated. The importer has to pay the incineration fee: 10,000 euros. And a fine. Nice. But there are undoubtely plenty of other clams out there waiting for their big moment. Eat beans. Make your own explosives.
Last non-news of 2012 and probably first non-news of 2013: The Calatrava Bridge still has problems. The ACTV continues its extraordinary managerial contortions. I can’t remember the rest, but the list is long.
Now to something beautiful. I do love one thing about New Year’s Eve here, and that is going to the last mass of the year at San Marco, and hearing them chant the Te Deum in Latin — the only time in the year that this occurs. I love it, not because I think it’s a spectacle, but because in spite of everything, we’re supposed to thank God for all His blessings, even the ones we don’t know about, and especially the ones we thought weren’t. The Te Deum does all that.
See you on the other side.