Communists, I'm informed daily, live all around me. If you add in the fascists, that pretty much includes, well, yep, everybody on the boot. You see, in Italy you're either right, or you're left. There's nobody in the middle. Nobody worth mentioning anyhow. This polarization is both arbitrary and comprehensive. How could the mailman be regarded as an idealogue worthy of suspicion? Ragazzo, ragazzo, this is Italy! Every person is a character in a vast conspiracy too complex, too sinister, too convenient to question. Just accept it.
This bit of advice may prove useful for those of you back in the US wondering now how do I spot whether one of my family members, a former college friend, a member of the clergy or Pop Idol contestant is, you know, harboring red or blue tendencies? In Italy you can spot the budding NeoCon coming a block away. (The spikey, gelled hair and thick gold chain -- what you may have once thought of as a harmless "guido" -- is your first clue). Similarly, the shifty Red with three-day's of facial growth, tawdry jeans and Che Guevera t-shirt, stepping off a brand new Vespa is a no-brainer.
So, here's a cheat sheet:
Tucks shirt in: Yes? fascist. No? Commie.
Red wine? Commie. White, fascist.
Showers? Commie. Prefers baths, fascist.
Brown shoes? Commie. Black shoes, fascist.
Ski house? Commie. Beach house? fascist.
Preferred party attire: fascist: Polo/Ralph Lauren. Commie: Cuba/Soviet Union/Che Guevera t-shirt
Name tattooed on bicep: fascist: "mama". Commie: "Che" (scrawled just above "mama")
Favorite musicians: fascist: Maroon 5. Commie: Jackson 5.
Swears by the word of: Commie: "Il Manifesto". fascist: mama
Some Italians even believe certain inanimate objects deserve political classification:
Shampoo: right Bar of soap: left
Milk: right Water: left
Night club: right Bar: left
TV: right. Radio: left
Spaghetti: right. Tortellini: left.
washer machine: left dryer: right
Fridge: left Freezer: right
That's all for today's lesson. I gotta put on my brown shoes and dash out for dinner -- a dinner of tortellini and white wine. Then off to the night club to shake my ass to a little Jackson 5.