Monday, 13 July 2009

Subversive sideburns!

We know how Italians are concerned with appearance, to the extent that 'fare una bella figura' marks the sharpest distinction between a gentleman and a lout, a refined and an uncouth lady. On the occasion of the G8 in Abruzzo, therefore, the authorities of L'Aquila encouraged the earth-quacked population of the region - still living in tents and caravans - to show the Vips of the world that a 'bella figura' is a precious concern for the descendants of Dante and the countrymates of Dolce&Gabbana.

Thus they enacted a special ordinance for which "the population (...) must respect precise behavioral and hygienic norms" (see the image above - unfortunately it is not a joke...).
The third 'article' states: "Female citizens must avoid wearing mini-skirts, flip-flops and scanty clothes". Now, the prohibition of flip-flops might appear bizarre. In reality, upon careful consideration, it is perfectly consistent with the ban of mini-skirts and scanty clothes as flip-flops expose the feet to unnecessary male sight and might inelegantly recall a G-string, a thong, and the like. But now I am just wondering why they are not banning dental floss...
The second 'article' urges men "to avoid wearing undershirts, short pants and overalls". Well, at first sight it is not clear why wearing overalls is not decorous. But again, with a surplus of reflection and without losing faith in the rationale governing the intentions of the authors of the ordinance it is possible to find the answer. I think that the ban of overalls in front of Obama, Sarkozy and so on had been dictated by the fear that showing Italian men in working clothes in a country with 30% rate of unemployment and one of the highest rates of workplace deaths would have looked a bit ironical; and the authorities (who happen to have a clown as a commander in chief) want to avoid irony above all things. Well done then! Stop overalls!
However, the third article (listed as first in the ordinance in the picture) is particularly amusing. Here "male citizens" are required "to shave the beard with accuracy on the days of the 8th, 9th and 10th July, as well as sideburns and other decorations".
In front of this, I must admit I am speachless. Are sideburns forbidden because hair is regarded as anti-hygienic? So why did Berlusconi want a hair transplant? Or perhaps they are forbidden because body hair is not sexy? And ok, the malevolent gnome - as my friend Savonarola suggests calling him - prefers women who have not yet developed too much body hair...So, I can get it again. Nonetheless, the matter needs more investigation (try here).
In the meantime, I like thinking of 'subversive sideburns' as a new fashion to be promoted again. Here are some examples:

The example above is very minimalist but immediately usable by the anti-G8 movement on the leaf-lets.

This is also very nice. Perhaps more appropriate for a pluralist movement where each current would like to express its own position on the best way to grow subversive sideburns.

But this is my favourite one. Not only does it give more room for expression of political differences, but it also combines a subversive project with a scientific presentation of the different options available. Terrific!

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