Trash TV: Italian leading edge

Posted in Stupidity, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Jul 05, 2008 by Cicero

Stupid TV shows are not an Italian privilege. In any part of the world you can find TV attractions where people do any absurd to get their 15 minutes of fame. What gives Italy a special distinction is how trash TV is well positioned, both in terms of audience and prestige.

An evident example of this garbage is La Corrida, from Canale 5, where amateurs present their special abilities and are evaluated by the crowd. As you can imagine, this kind of show tends to be really funny. But in Italy they crossed the line between funny and lack of humane respect.

The show is hosted by Gerry Scotti and the beautiful Michela Coppa. Their mission is to present weird stuff and make the attenders look like complete idiots. Quite frankly, it seems they present some mentally challenged people just to mock at them. This is completely unacceptable.

Here there is one of the attenders dancing. One wonders how much pain this poor lady had suffered the day following her presentation.

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Italian pharmacies: the fairy tale capitalism

Posted in Daily Life, Economics, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Jul 04, 2008 by Cicero

Pharmacies are one of the most globalized entities in the world. I mean, a drugstore always works more or less in the same way: you go there and get the medicines necessary to improve your health. Of course, there are some variations, but the overall model is like this.

As you might expect, things are a bit different in Italy. Here, although there are pharmacies, they have an old fashioned way. A number of Italian idiosyncrasies produces an atmosphere of the fifties.

First of all, the drug market is state controlled, with tabled drug prices, and no price competition among pharmacies.

Additionally, the pharmacies have the monopoly to sell drugs, even the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. That is, to get something simple as a Tylenol (which is called here Tachipirina) you have to go to a pharmacy. No chance to find it at a supermarket!

And all pharmacies are family-owned businesses. No drugstore chains and no competition, my friend. It is simply forbidden to establish a drugstore chain in Italy. Every pharmacy belongs to a family and attends to a particular region.

As a result, Italian pharmacies form a fairy tale capitalism: controlled prices, regional monopolies, family-owned businesses and no competition. That is the real Italy. An unreal country.

Italian police: more flavors, further inefficiency

Posted in Paradoxes, Politics, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Jun 23, 2008 by Cicero

Some time ago I’ve posted some comments about Italian police. Quite frankly, I was surprised with so much interest. So, I decided to further explore this subject. And, as I expected, I found even more funny stuff. I mean, Italy is an unlimited source of stupidity.

After my research, the conclusion was: Italian police organization is so arcane, that it does not operate properly. Not even by accident.

Like I posted before, there are five (!) national police branches in Italy. But each police force is under the authority of a different minister. And as Italy has a weak parliamentary system, each minister can be from a different party or group. One does not need to be brilliant to conclude that coordination among the Italian police forces is remarkably complex, maybe impossible.

Currently, there are:

  • Polizia di Stato, under the Ministero dell’Interno.
  • Carabinieri, under the Ministero della Difesa.
  • Guardia di Finanza is under the Ministero dell’Economia e delle Finanze.
  • Polizia Penitenziaria, under the Ministro della Giustizia.
  • Corpo Forestale dello Stato is under the Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare.

The Ministero dell’Interno is under the fascist party Lega Nord Padania, all the others under the party Il Popolo della Libertà.

This structure is the best expression of Italy’s savoir-faire: nothing makes sense, neither works properly. Five overlapping and non-coordinated police forces, all with military organization, to deal with civilian duties.

To make things even worse, each police force is further divided into specialized divisions, generating more overlaps and more confusion. For instance, within the Polizia di Stato, among other divisions, there are:

  • Polizia Stradale: patrols the highway system;
  • Polizia Ferroviaria: patrols the railroad system;
  • Polizia Postale: assures the letters and telegrams behave well!

The overlaps are so huge and the waste of resources is so obvious that only in Italy such arrangement could exist. Just to illustrate, the Guardia di Finanza has a naval branch (!), which obviously overlaps with Italian Coast Guard.

Here there are the sailors (!) from Guardia di Finanza:

Naval branch from Guardia di Finanza

And here their ships:

Fastboats from Guarda di Finanza

By the way, here, a fashion police force needs to have boats (in the order, Polizia di Stato, Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza and Polizia Penitenziaria):

Boat from Polizia di StatoBoat from Carabinieri
Boat from Guarda di FinanzaBoat from Polizia Penitenziaria

Everyone who understands a bit about organization management, recognizes that having similar structures dealing with similar problems, it is a waste of resources. More than that, those similar structures tend to compete with each other, instead of to collaborate. Without an unified command and control, Italian police forces will never work in a coordinated way.

With so many specialized police branches, I wonder why there is no police branch dedicated to fight Mafia.

Embracing the reality: Italy needs immigration

Posted in Economics, Immigration, Paradoxes, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on Jun 21, 2008 by Cicero

Let’s face it. Italy is an old country, not only considering its history, but also considering its current population. Comparing Italy’s population to that of one of the BRICs (Brazil), it is evident that both countries are in different phases, considering population distribution.

Italy - population pyramid

Brazil - population pyramid

DTM (Demographic Transition) is a model used to explain how a population behaves during the time. This model has five stages in which a country population can be placed. The Stage Five has countries whose populations are reproducing below their replacement levels. Clearly speaking, countries unable to produce enough children to replace their parents, in the future.

Italy is in Stage Five. Without a significant immigration effort, the Italian population will soon begin to fall, with obvious geopolitical and economical consequences.

Italy will soon be unable to produce wealth for its next generations. Without a smart immigration policy Italy will be unable to cope with future changes, to innovate.

Italy will continue shrink in power, wealth and intelligence.

Emilio Fede: TV anchorman or opera diva?

Posted in Daily Life, Stupidity, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on Jun 21, 2008 by Cicero

Although counted as a developed country, Italy is still not capable to have a minimally acceptable TV. There are life shows, many from the Endemol lineage. There are journals, all of them superficial and amazingly primitive (they read news from piece of papers, instead of electronic panels!). There are talk shows, better classified as a bunch of complainers unable to do anything but to blame the government, either local or European.

Perhaps the only good exception is Striscia la Notizia, which presents a satirical view of the Italian life.

But even considering the low level of the Italian TV journalism, TG4 from Rete 4 is something beyond the curve. That piece of junk is presented and directed by the infamous Emilio Fede, a completely biased journalist and psychologically disturbed human being. To prove what I am stating, no one better than Emilio Fede himself. Observe his performance while presenting the TG4, look how stable he is, how gentle and professional.

This video was compiled by Stricia la Notizia. It is a combination of images which were in fact transmitted to others which were smuggled by Rete 4 employees. This is obviously their revenge for being continuously offended by Emilio Fede. By the way, every time you hear a beep, Emilio is swearing. And every time you see Fuori Onda, that image was not publicly transmitted.

Is Emilio Fede the Italian version of Tom Brokaw?

Genuine Italian pizza? Maybe not

Posted in Daily Life, Paradoxes with tags , , , , , , , , , on Jun 16, 2008 by Cicero

Anyone concedes, when one talks about food, Italy has an edge. I mean, there are Italian restaurants almost anywhere in the world and Italian food became part of daily diet in many countries. Pasta and pizza bring Italy into mind instantaneously. One can argue that pasta was in fact invented by Chinese, but pizza is a real Italian champion and the pizzas here are very good indeed.

But as usual, in Italy there is always a glitch, even when pizza is the subject. I mean, in a great portion of Italian pizzerias, the pizzaiolo is from a foreign country, mostly from Egypt! Yes… That’s true… Egyptian pizzaioli are the real working horses behind Italian pizzas. And the Italians blame immigrants…

In its way towards the misery, Italy is even losing its cooking heritage.

Cigars and cartoons in Italy

Posted in Daily Life, Paradoxes, Stupidity, TV with tags , , , , , , , , on Jun 07, 2008 by Cicero

If you have children, you a concerned person. I mean, you are concerned with your child happiness, health, school, friends and many more. One of my top concerns is what my daughter sees when she watches TV. I do my best to avoid her contact with violence, pornography, racism and drug usage. That’s a real challenge, in any country in the world. But here in Italy, as always, things are harder…

Just another day, my daughter was watching TV, in particular, a cartoon called Marcelino Pane e Vino, at RAI Gulp, a state controlled TV channel, dedicated to children. Suddenly, my daughter asked: “daddy, why is everybody smoking?” Of course I came to check the TV, and she was right: in a room, every cartoon character was smoking a cigar! Of course I tried to minimize the fact, saying to my daughter that those were only bad people (in fact they were the vilans). But from time to time, my daughter remember those guys smoking, like as asking for an logical explanation for such nonsense.

But if you ask any Italian, they say here is a First World country. Here one can buy cigarettes only at special places. Here, there is also a fine if one smokes nearby a child. Here, each cigarette pack is full of warnings about how deadly is to smoke. But here, in Italy, your child can also see cartoon characters smoking on a children TV channel.

That’s a true story, and it shows how stupidity is disseminated in Italy. My three years daughter is more capable to evaluate cartoon quality than RAI executives.