Rome has an astonishing
Thus a nation
and a culture such as Italy which has historically placed so high a value
on art and sensual delight as first considerations when designing civic
architecture or expressing the ideals of it's regime cannot be surprised
if successive generations of Romans seek to imprint the city-scape with
their own pet forms of contemporary art, in this case, graffiti.
If Italy hopes to raise future generations of artisans of the calibre and originality of the Renaissance, it is clearly failing miserably to inspire them with new, original creative hope and aspirations. Italy's love-affair with America has continued for several decades now, and American pop-culture has always threatened to engulf Italian tradition, as indeed elsewhere in modern Europe.
Wanna see modern Italian culture? You may as well save yourself the airplane fare and have your vacation in New York instead, because this is how Rome looks today. Heck, they don't even write their graffiti in Italian anymore - Most of it is scrawled in English!
is this degenerating homogenisation of popular art, fashion, music, culture
and lifestyles from, not the best, but the worst of North America more
powerfully witnessed than in these aerosolled stones of Rome, and it is
the international style gurus, fashion houses and corporate music industry
pandering to an ever-vacuous MTV worldwide generation that are partly
to blame. The other culprits are the Italians themselves, who, weak of
national fortitude and moral principle as a study of history will show,
have always been easily led, easily charmed, easily bewitched, easily
corrupted, easily conquered.
UPDATE, August 2009:
The BBC have just caught up with what we wrote eleven years ago, and report here:
For Italian higher
education goes on until average age 25, and Italian law forbids parents
to throw kids out until they have finished their education. Many live
at home until into their thirties, jobless because they do not need to
work - mamma and papa give them everything they need. Besides, they are
not, as the Italian sociologist wrongly says, without hope of good jobs.
There are plenty of good jobs in Italy, but today's young Italians al
want to be architects and marine biologists, and turn up their noses at
plumbing or clerking.
My teenage son here (who is not a tagger himself) has school-friends who actually attend 'graffiti classes', run by left-wing anarchists (themselves spoilt bourgeois mummy's boys) who, under the guise of 'youth-workers' and probably with local government grants, teach the boys how to be yobbo's and rebel against their mummy's cooking.
Graffiti in Rome justified? You decide.