Thursday, August 21, 2008

There Will Be None Of That In Italy

Apparently they've gone a little bit law-crazy over there in Italy. Or so say folks I've never heard of over there at the International Herald Tribune. (It's the global edition of the New York Times, don't you know.) According to those guys, there have been several instances this year of "quirky municipal rules concocted by overzealous mayors in the interest of their constituents." Ah, yes. The old "in the interest of their constituents" excuse. That's political talk for "You're to dumb to know any better, so we're going to make all of your decisions for you. Once again, it's only because you're too stupid to do it yourself." There's a lot of that going on in the US right now. Too many cities enacting laws that are for the "good of the people". (Ridiculous Example One: San Francisco passing a law that bans pharmacies from selling cigarettes. because "A pharmacy is a place you should go to get better, not to get cancer." Are they going to ban other things that are bad for you from being sold in a pharmacy? No, of course not. Is anyone forcing you to buy the cigarettes in the pharmacy? No, of course not. Are you going to buy them somewhere else if you want them? Of course you are. What good does this do? None.) Here's the thing about the "good of the people": Those who can figure it out, will get "the good". Those who can't, won't. It's SO much easier that way.

But back to Italy where they have completely lost their minds. "In the Amalfi Coast town of Positano, fireworks have been forbidden except on Saturdays between 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Fireworks can "alter an animal's psycho-physical state," prompting "panic attacks" or "aggressive behavior," according to one rationale listed in the ordinance." Um, OK. But between 8:30pm and 11:00pm on Saturdays, the fireworks do NOT do all of those things to an animal? See, I should have paid more attention during Physics class. Who knew? And is it some tradition or social norm in Italy that I am unaware of where fireworks are set off all the time, every day/night? Why are fireworks so rampant in Italy? Why isn't once a year good enough for these people? It works for us! (Then again, we're too stupid to regulate ourselves, so once a year is probably for our own good.)

"In Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany, lawn mowers and electric hedge clippers must be silent on weekends." I'm not sure if that means that you can't use your mowers and hedge clippers on the weekends or that if you do they have to be silent. I've never seen or heard a silent lawn mower, but I'd like clarification anyway. You know, just to be as big of a pain in the ass and these new laws are going to be. What else?

"In Novara, Piedmont, the mayor banned groups of three or more people from meeting in some public parks between 11:30 p.m. and 6 a.m." Is that a problem in Italy? Informal, middle of the night, park meetings? Are there throngs of park meeters causing havoc in Novara? But, of course, it's not uniform, so some parks = BAD and some parks = OK. And two people = GOOD, but three people = BAD. Oh, sure. Perfectly sensical. And it gets even more so.

Clogs (Yes, the controversial wooden shoe that has no place in any sort of modern day footwear practice. It needs to stay in the past and in children's story books involving Dutch children. Who in the hell wears a wooden shoe and for what purpose? If you're in Italy and you're wearing a clog, you have strayed far, far from your windmill and need to find a map. And while you're at it, put on some real shoes!) have been outlawed on the streets of Capri since1960. And in 2004, sand castles, yes, castles made of sand, were decreed "potentially dangerous to beachgoers in Eraclea, a resort on the Adriatic" Wait. What? Potentially dangerous? How? Ready for this? Because they "obstruct the passage along the beach". The beach? Otherwise known as the freaking coastline? How big were these sand castles that people were making over there and who was making them? So because the people there are so dumb as to not have the mental capacity to figure out how to go around a seemingly obstructive sand castle, they just banned the making of castles out of sand all together. Brilliant. That will help. No one.

Over in Astia, they have started patrolling the beaches with helicopters in order to....that's right! To hunt down "the vendors of counterfeit designer bags." Oh, for crying out loud, what the HELL, Italy?! What the HELL?! I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't think that all of the bag counterfeiters should just walk around the beaches unpunished, but ARE they? I mean, seriously, are your beaches just so infested with counterfeit designer handbags that the only solution to the problem is to call in the aerial reinforcements? That just seems a bit extreme (not to mention really freaking weird!). And do you really need freaking helicopters to monitor this apparently widespread and seedy practice? I don't think you do. And that's just one of the ways to illustrate how different we are. There are others. Good God, there are many, many others. What is wrong with you people?! Do you not see the insanity you are perpetuating? Apparently not. :::sigh::::

So if you find yourself still wanting to visit Italy in the near future and before they've come to their senses, be prepared to have more rules than you did when you were in high school. And if you're not sure if what you want to do is allowed, you're going to have to decide if what you want to do would be considered "fun". If it is, don't do it. Italy clearly has imposed a ban on fun (as well as normalcy) and I'm sure that it's inevitable that they will short invoke a war against Christmas. Stay tuned, won't ye?

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