Monday, October 27, 2008

Vantaggio: La Polizia!*

In Italy there is a new "police car" that is stalking errant drivers on the highways. While Italian law enforcement have been using Italian-made Lamborghinis for some time now, they have recently "upgraded" to a newer model, the Lamborghini Gallardo. The Gallardo has 560 horsepower and a top speed of 203 mph, making it the world's fastest police car. Oh, and it costs about $225,000. Hey, hey, hey, they need it, okay? Those speeders are dangerous criminals, alright?

Anyway, for those of you who aren't familiar with Lamborghini, it is one of the most revered Italian sports car manufacturers in the world, founded in 1963 by tractor company owner Ferruccio Lamborghini. Years ago Ferruccio was unhappy about the quality of the Ferrari sports car he purchased, so he dropped by the Ferrari factory to tell Enzo Ferrari in person. A perturbed Mr. Ferrari told Ferruccio that if he wanted a better car he should build it himself, thus Lamborghini was born. Now, the autostrada in Italy are patrolled not by Ferraris, but by Lamborghinis! Blogiorno believes that this is an excellent use of public funds, and anyway can you really ask Italian policemen to chase speeding bad guys in a regular Fiat? Mai, of course not!

Ciao amici!

* Advantage: Police!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The "New Poor" in Italy

The global economic downturn continues on in its devastating path, my friends. Here is an article about how it is impacting Italy. As always, it is those who can least battle such forces who are affected the most. Failing corporations simply pass along their higher costs to the consumer, then provide sumptuous lifestyles for their executives with that newfound revenue, all in hopes that their leaders will be more "motivated" to rescue the company. At least, that is how it is in America. I've heard it said that, "as America goes, so goes the rest of the world". Economics aside, and speaking in the moral sense, this is too bad, as it seems as though America works hard at exporting paradigms for every social ill and moral degradation to the rest of the world. Examples are intense consumerism, family breakdown and reality T.V. shows featuring angry frat boys with frosted hair and unintelligible ditzy California-esque girls who use the word "like" as a noun, pronoun, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, etc. God have mercy on us. Or not.


(You may click on the article to enlarge the text.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Anti-Anorexia Ads in Italy

*** Disclaimer: This entry may be difficult to read and may be offensive to some. It is presented here because it addresses a facet of the devastating problem of eating disorders, something to which I have seen many friends fall prey. This story and the young woman at the center of it struck a chord in me and doubtless will for you as well. ***

In Fall of 2007, an Italian government "watchdog" organization banned controversial billboard ads which had caused much uproar in Milan. The ads featured an unclothed anorexic model in various poses, along with the words, "No Anorexia". You may conclude that the ads were part of a campaign against the deadly disease, but their purpose was not purely altruistic. The ads also doubled as a plug for a new Italian fashion brand, Nolita. Nolita claimed that they commissioned the ads so that they would feature a message to the fashion world, while at the same time advertising their brand. The Italian government differed with Nolita, stating that the ads were offensive.

The woman at the center of the ads is not acting or role-playing in any way, and the photos were not altered. She is a 28 year old french model named Isabelle Caro, and has been suffering from anorexia and bulimia since age 14. She agreed to do the ad in the hopes that she could help people realize the true effects of the disease from which she suffers. Sadly, those effects of her eating disorder were vividly and painfully on display in the ads.

The questions about the Nolita ad campaign still remain debated. Is it proper for billboards (or proper at all)? Is it offensive? Is it pornographic? Is it demeaning to the model or other victims of eating disorders? Is it solely a shrewd and cruel ploy to garner attention for the fashion startup company? Or, is it empowering to those who suffer from eating disorders? Is it a positive step towards shining more light on this affliction? Is it a positive/stern message to an industry which perhaps perpetuates eating disorders via the imagery it purveys? The ethical and moral questions related to this story seem endless.

We here at Blogiorno have never shied away from "controversy" or tough questions, and this is certainly one of those. As always, we invite you to leave your comments. Before commenting, you may wish to watch short news video vignettes about Isabelle to gain the full perspective.

If you would view the news videos of Isabelle Caro, click here.

If you would like to read a BBC article about the banned ads, click here.