Tag: history

A joke is a serious thing

Jorge da burgos nome della rosa

Jokes have a double reputation. If many people consider them the heritage of a long gone sense of humor, other ones underline their historical and popular value, like any form of culture passed down orally, a sort of collective patrimony made of folk songs, proverbs, traditions, maxims and principles…

Genoa, stingy and generous

Closed, cold, grumpy, but also tenacious, prudent, gifted… every great city and Italian region has its own, and these are the first negative and positive stereotypes that you hear about the Genoese. “Some are Sampdorians”, someone jokes. But above all they are said to be stingy (the famous “little short arm”), and at the same time, they are said to be generous… but the negative stereotype is often more famous! And that’s all the proof we’d need of the fallibility of the stereotype itself, being able, over time, to affirm everything and the opposite of everything…

Coronavirus, a chance to walk on the other side

When the whole world was looking at Italy with worry, the virus was spreading everywhere else. This is because that worry wasn’t always “genuine”, but more often led by a stereotypical consideration of Italy, (one of) the“open flank” of Europe. With all the lack of controls and weak structures… (allusion by some news from England), being the country of disorganization and slowness “par excellence” (tacit from some French news). And this attitude came also from our debate. Is this disturbing? Yes, because it doesn’t tell the whole story…

Beard trends through History

beard styles

The symbolism assumed by the beard affected trends and fashion throughout centuries. Growing one could have been seen as a sign of poverty like in ancient Egypt, of rebellion like during the Italian Risorgimento or of a lack of hygiene like during proto-Christianity. The Roman emperor Julian the Apostate even wrote a satire against the beard detractors (Mispogon)…

The Middle Ages weren’t just “dark”

When you think about the Middle Ages you usually picture dearth and pestilence, violence, tortures and wars, peasants under the rule of a sadistic king or feudatory, creepy monks, scheming popes, inquisitors, ignorance, superstition, the end of the world in the year 1000 a.D. A long period too quickly labeled as “dark”, just a time of passage between the splendor of the classic era and Renaissance. That’s another misinterpretation, because history itself is a constant transition, an ongoing process, not only the Middle Ages. But this is what we learn at school…

You can’t be neutral on a moving train

Historians, such as journalists, focus on the most important people. “What really matters are the countless small deeds of unknown people who lay the basis for the events of human history”, Howard Zinn once said. Why did he write a history book? Because there wasn’t any like it. It’s A people’s history of the United States, published in 1980 and corner stone of this specific sector. Because Zinn was one of those who changed the narration perspective, placing the last ones with the greatest characters…