THIS ARTICLE HAS NOT BEEN EDITED AND IS VERY, VERY DATED. IN FACT THE ENTIRE OXTOGRIND SITE IS AN ARCHIVED SITE, HAVING NOT BEEN FULLY FUNCTIONAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME. ONLY THE ARTICLES MOST RECENTLY POSTED ABOUT TAKING OVER THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SHOULD ACTUALLY BE READ. I ADVISE READERS WHO MAY HAVE LANDED HEREABOUTS, INADVERTENTLY, TO GOOGLE “TAKING OVER THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA RICHARD OXMAN” (and then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org OR at email@example.com.
– Something I begin to address directly in the sixth (?) paragraph below –
by Ricardo Oxman (who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
“A pretty move, for the love of God.” — Eduardo Galeano, from his Author’s Confession
in his Soccer in Sun and Shadow
“I feel as lonely as Leopardi.” — The author, as he was writing Pure Euroland: A Cure from An Italian Travel Fan
I don’t give a(n) F, or even a(n) f, that I begged two popular authors recently (1a) to no avail. That promises were not kept, that their personal public profiles have been misrepresented. Fifty million proverbial Frenchmen (or that large a figure from any nationality), contrary to popular belief, are almost always wrong, not right. And what (and who) is wildly popular is invariably anathema to me. I thought that those guys would be exceptions to the rule, that they might respond as guys, not as… popular icons.
F… I am on a mission that — by its very nature — cannot be embraced easily by the masses without trickery, tact up the kazoo… or with the passing of mucho tiempo. This is always the case when the stakes are high, yes? Essentially, only outworn — truly obsolete — (unrealizable) ideas for making an earthly difference are on the table as I write. I want to change that.
“Tell people something they already know and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new and they will hate you for it.” (1b)
Pure as in both exclusive and pristine, healthy. The land part has to do with the landbase (1c) of Europe… which is being made uninhabitable… along the same lines as other parts of the earth. Without let-up in sight.
For a number of reasons, my starting point is Italy. I’ll be glad to go into great detail regarding why, but only upon request.
The environmental abominations which have been going on in Italy — party addressed by Yours Truly in “You Live in Mondragone” (http://oxtogrind.org/archive/248) — have been inflicted upon the living creatures and (increasing number of) locales of the country for quite some time. But lately, the scandals have reached a degree of intensity (2) which begs for citizen intervention. Action on the part of Italian citizens AND citizens of the world.
Many of the victims of this outrage are living in the UK and the U.S.A. They make up a huge percentage of the incessant tourism, and they comprise a great number of potential purchasers of property, buyers of the precious, very limited (aching, dying) land.
The soaring rates of cancer for both locals and visitors is slated to increase. As is the case elsewhere. Here, I merely give the reader a new paradigm for action in a location where I’m sure it can be implemented (3), leaving it up to the reader to extrapolate regarding her/his local environs.
Lots of greedy, destructive people — Italians and others — are making unconscionable amounts of money, hand over (iron) fist, as a consequence of the ongoing collusion of “the authorities” and amoral gangsters. I won’t review the situation here, but rather urge readers to review the works referenced in footnote #2 below.
What to do about the disgusting status quo?
For starters, I recommend undermining much of the financial profit element in Italy’s Cynical Camorra Circus (4). By, for all practical purposes, putting an end to the delusion that purchase of any property in the country is buying a piece of Heaven.
A definitive map of toxic sites (5), constantly updated, both online and circulated on the ground, in the streets (at very select locations), would do wonders. And would cost very little. Such information — once word began to spread beyond the present confines — would make many glamorizing articles (constantly compounding ignorance with ignorance) less likely, less effective(?).
For example, I recently came across a piece titled “The Palace of Caserta” in ITALY Magazine. It’s the typical fare which feeds unwarranted dreams, contributes to feeding the flow of foreigners into Italy… looking to buy/experience a piece of what I call The Romantic Action in this short life. The article claims that the presence of the palace captures “the essence of majestic Italy.” The essence of toxic Italy is more like it.
Any location in and around Naples is suspect these days, but the negative documentation on Caserta and its environs is beyond dispute.
Beppe Grillo’s blog piece “The Plague is All Around Us” (See footnote #2 below) makes it clear that, from north to south, from the Adriatic to Sardinia, Italy is being overwhelmed with a lethal legacy.
And just like in the Spielberg movie, Jaws, one can’t expect anyone in a position of power to call attention to anything that’s going to interfere with… the bottom-line. Professionals in public health, the scientific community and academia tend to suffer from what I call Jaws Syndrome. And if not that, then Ostrich Syndrome.
Politicians and real estate agents, obviously, have very real reasons for not alerting the unsuspecting public — often so invested in their dreams of a lifetime — to what’s coming down, what’s being brought down permanently. Ditto for developers and the like.
But for all of their daunting power, you and I (yes, you, reader!) can do something to put an historic dent in their degradation. Without becoming Sacco and Vanzetti’s friend, Mario Buda… of the horse-drawn wagon filled with dynamite and iron scrap.
A dynamite idea doesn’t need to embrace violence. It can do much more violence to entrenched practice than any explosive. And I fancy that I’ve got an efficacious weapon for you to put in your Fiat, a prototype which will fit into a Toyota, Volvo, or BMW.
Let’s consider — using all your powers of imagination, please — what might happen if people stopped taking for granted that the postcard imagery of Italy (or any country) reflected reality. In terms of real estate values. And going further, what could transpire should the map mentioned above be circulated in the right spots at the right times ad infinitum.
Now let’s say that one real estate agency — only one honest, incorruptible company to start — agreed to do the right thing always. To never take on the challenge of selling toxic property, to never hide known carcinogenic areas from home buyers… or renters. To be up front — imagine that! — with customers respecting the truth about the environment which comes within their business ken.
Such a business could be a candidate for a Pure Euro Seal of Approval.
All kinds of imprimaturs are given to this and that enterprise. Some are highly suspect, such as the ones given out by the FDA in the USA. Others are bought outright. A few deserve the admiration intended, can justify the trustworthiness suggested. Here, I’m talking about a kind of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for the Italian real estate market which would count for something, which the public could truly trust.
In these cynical, apathetic, jaded. amoral times, the good word would travel fast and well. If it were backed up by unassailable documentation. That’s my bet.
There’s a world of difference between there being a warning emblazoned on cigarette packages and a smoker ignoring the cautionary label, and a potential property buyer facing the decision of whether or not to purchase a new home in the Love Canal (6) realm. Elaboration upon request.
Yes, “smoke at your own risk” is quite different than “hand over your life savings at your own risk.” At present there’s really no warning label attached to the real estate market.
My guess is that once one or two or three real estate agencies with a conscience embraced the Pure Euro imprimatur the phenomenon would become quite newsworthy. On a new dimension. That it all would beg the question of why every outfit couldn’t boast the same.
Again this is not to be paralleled with the organic vs. commercial food industry… where there still seems to be a perceived basis for argument. And where price often enters the “debate,” clouding matters to no end. No, the analogy should not be made, for here we’re addressing the toxic address vs. non-life-threatening address.
I’ve got a helluva lot more details to lay out here, but I’m going to hold back for the moment for a number of reasons.
But permit me to underscore that once more spotlighting goes on on Italian terra firma, there’s a likelihood that the incessant flow of foreigners into Italy — keyed on eating up the countryside and beaches, and draining the nation’s cultural integrity — will be slowed, at the very least. And/or the attendant loss of tons of revenue on several fronts may very well force attention anew on Italy’s degradation. On several fronts.
For sure, the glossy full-page “Book your 3 Day ALL INCLUSIVE Personal property viewing trip in PUGLIA today!!!” ads on the back cover of highly popular magazines may become less frequent, once Taranto — one of the region’s major provinces — is properly exposed for the cesspool that it is. Ditto for similar delirium associated with Liguria, Piedmont and Lombardy up north. (7) Many travel agents –having traded on disingenuousness for years — would likely take a well-deserved hit too.
The demise of the Parco dell’Etna and the permanent fouling of the Cervaro River is not rubbish. It is NOT the same as the well-publicized, unconscionable piling up of rubbish — which is bad enough — in the Naples area. No, the long-term desecration of places like the green hills of the Canavese area make me into Cassandra.
I am forced to see what lies ahead.
The difference between me and the Greek gal is that — my prescience notwithstanding — a fair number of particulars don’t have to happen. Certainly not in their worst form.
This has nothing to do with belief, popular or otherwise. It has to do with the pure you.
(1a) See Sunrise with Castagno and MÃ¡tÃ©… and Il CafÃ¨ Dario: L’Isola Non Trovata. Please note that virtually all of my pieces are written for very specific (varied) audiences for particular purposes at the time of posting… and, consequently, may be impossibly challenging or off-putting in the extreme. I lose a lot of potential friends because they don’t understand/believe this point. This piece, for example, was hastily put together to simply serve as a general introduction to my idea for “Miguel,” the partner of Grace Brophy (author of A Deadly Paradise). Just why I’ve done that is quite complicated, but is something I’d be happy to delineate upon request.
(1b) If really new, probably kill you for it. This is the header quotation for www.monbiot.com, a truly trustworthy, worthwhile site dealing with controversial topics.
(1c) I get this word from Derrick Jensen (www.derrickjensen.org), especially as per his Endgame.
(2) See “The Plague is All Around Us” (Beppe Grillo’s June 8th entry at http://www.beppegrillo.it/english.php) and Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah. Do not look for such information in the likes of ITALY Magazine, The Italian Magazine or ITALIA!. For such sources thrive only by committing sins of omission (dis)respecting environmental problems, horrors.
(3) “A pretty move, for the love of God.” Implementation of my model for action would constitute the kind of “pretty move” alluded to in the opening quotation from Galeano. Eduardo Galeano is referenced in a relevant way, by the way, at the very end of my “You Live in Mondragone” article (http://oxtogrind.org/archive/248).
(4) The Camorra make essentially the same kind of contribution to Italian society as the (much more publicized) Mafia, but on a larger scale. They’re in charge of toxic waste disposal throughout the country, for one. And they are virtually immune from prosecution when they’re caught illegally dumping hazardous waste… wherever.
(5) At present there is no such animal. All the public gets is this and that scandal announced, the shock subsiding for a given expose… to make mental room for the next in the (opportunistic) journalistic line. There is a need for a central focus (The Map of [Un]Inhabitable Italy?) which is cumulative.
(6) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Canal.
(7) There are pristine-looking, rolling hills in Umbria, Molise and Abruzzo too which can never be the same, where aquifers and much else has been abominably altered… forever. And with the way things are at present in Italy, one can’t be totally sure what lurks below such seemingly inviolate blessings as Capodimonte. It all begs for investigation. And when investigations produce definitive details, they must become part of the public domain.