Thursday, March 15

Thumbs Up for Italian Conspiracy Theories

I have oft-repeated how Italians love conspiracy theories.  In fact, it seems to be the oil that greases the entire Italian machine.  Nothing is taken at face value - ever.  Sometimes, I not only buy into the ones floating around the coffee bars, I make up my own as well.  From the closing of a factory to everything political to Rome's 2011 snowstorm and cleanup, you will find dozens of theories to go around with them.  
But I always thought these were innocent remarks representing a way for the everyman to sort of get a one-up on the powers that be.  Watching a Pixar flick recently with some teens, I realized just how ingrained the David & Goliath mindset is solidified right to the heart of my paesani.  
When David came back from his mission, he ended up King for years & years, fathering a zillion offspring for all of his efforts.  In short, he was lauded and rewarded for the deed (or as Mr. Monti would say, Meritocracy).  Had the fight happened in today's sarcastic world (from which, I confess I am a by-product), David would have returned holding the giant's head and the scriptures would have been filled with rabble-rousing commentary the likes of:  He obviously had help from our enemies, It was all a ploy and David & Goliath were in cohoots so he could rise to power, He didn't really take his life in his hands, he had secret weapons ... and so on endlessly.  
Mantova's Palazzo Te
showing off 25 years of the
 Art of Pixar
(until 10 June)
So, there we were, watching the little old man from the movie Up -- in it, the grumpy guy refused to leave his home while skyscrapers were going up all around it.  A pudgy little boy scout comes to offer him help, he slams the door. Next thing you know, a truck slams into his old wooden post box, one of his most beloved items and the flag carrier of his life with his wife.  He storms out of the house and raps the driver on the head with his crutch, knocking him out. In lawsuit-lusty America, he was naturally sued.  Forced to give up his home, he sets out for his lifelong dream of adventure.
I grew up in an area in which this very scenario had transpired. In Troy, Michigan, you can still visit the bucolic farmhouse set right smack in the middle of luxurious shopping malls, 3M corporation and the K-Mart headquarters.  Thankfully, the corporate suits turned this historic plot into the Kresge Foundation, promoting environmental goodness.  Whether the former owner just faded away, or whether she set off for her own Argentinian adventure is unknown, but either way, it seemed like a Happy Ending to at least this viewer.

But, before my good-feeling goosebumps could fade away, I heard from a corner of the room:  Of course!  The construction company people knocked over his mailbox on purpose so they would have a good excuse to evict him.
And thus, the problem of conspiracies:  Let's assume the accusation is true.  How they would have known that the fender bender of the mailbox would have set off a series of events starting with the little ol' guy getting up from his rocker, wielded his cane, beaten the truck driver senseless, and not simply have set out to repair his trusty mailbox and go back indoors for some prunes?
I had a good chuckle until I realized there are those who say the Brothers Grimm were packing in the subliminal messages in all their fairy tales.  As for our modern day fables, maybe there's more truth in fiction than meets the eye.

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