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Italians Call It a Day

Oct
2
2007

It doesn’t take much to get a river of chanting Italians into the streets for a protest. They regularly exercise a kind of participatory democracy that many Americans would find exhausting, though it certainly contributes to logging in those 10,000 healthy steps.


Lately, however, protests have had a disturbing moniker makeover.
There are plenty of common words in Italian for taking it to the streets: protest, march, rally (protesta, corteo, manifestazione) but when the object of dissent is non-traditional, it gets the word “day” in English tacked on, or is in inglese entirely.
The most recent example is “Vaffa-Day” (to protest corrupt politicians) but there are plenty of others. Most of them are for unpopular causes like the anti-gay partnership rally masquerading as “Family Day,” and the inevitable, depressing “Tax Day.”
As a native English speaker, I am offended that our language is being used for “Maiale Day” (“pig day”). It’s an anti-Muslim protest — perhaps supporters will stand outside mosques defiantly munching porchetta or prosciutto and melon — likely to be held during an upcoming Lega Nord convention.
The proponent is Roberto Calderoli, the same attention-starved politician who had T-shirts printed with the infamous Muhammad cartoon and opened his dress shirt to show it underneath on national TV. The exploit cost the lives of 10 killed during protests in Libya and his cushy Euro-parliament minister post.
Unfortunately for Calderoli, it looks like this time his jester’s folly will be met with indifference. Pig Day — the word carries the same bland sexual connotation in Italian as it does in English — seems to not get a rise out of anyone.
“It makes me want to laugh,” Daniele Parracino, of the Center for Islamic Culture in Bologna, told City newspaper. “By centering this on pigs, he shows he doesn’t know anything about Islam.”
That doesn’t absolve Calderoli from the grave misappropriation of the English language for idiotic purposes.
Anyone want to get a protest going?

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 8:04 AM | Permalink

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