At La Tinaia yesterday was a group of Germans, deep in conversation. Their laughter was loud and frequent, and eventually one of them caught my eye, raised his glass, and said “Frohe Weihnachten!”
I smiled, nodded, raised my glass. “Danke!” I replied. “Frohe Weihnachten.”
At another table was a man sitting alone. After a while he was joined by a tall, exotic woman. I wondered who she was. Girlfriend? Wife? Who knows. I continued eating my pizza, and scribbling. And thinking. Always thinking.
No doubt Giovanni and Restituta—and the rest of them—love Vittoria as their own. But then…Giovanni opted to tell Vittoria a big lie. He never imagined the truth would come out. He didn’t forsee the consequences of that decision, how badly the news of adoption would traumatize her.
I presume he meant to be protective. But his present silence is nearly as much an insult to Vittoria as La Prima Donna’s. “No. You may not learn any of the details of your origin!” That’s the message both are delivering to my sweetpea during this holiday season.
“We raised you,” Giovanni says. “That’s all you need to know.”
Obviously the man won’t ever acknowledge his mistakes. Because he never has in 65 years. It’s called Destra del padre. In southern Italy the father of even an adult daughter may do as he pleases with her, because he is the head of the family. A legacy of a long cultural tradition. A charitable view of it is that he himself is but a prisoner, he has no choice but to conform to ancient traditions. He doesn’t dare violate these sacred rules passed on down through the generations since the beginning of time. Even though he's been living in Florida for the past 35 years.
But hey, I’m not charitable. I say he knows this is the 21st century in America, not the 16th in Italy, and he has plenty of choices. But unfortunately he’s a coward. He chooses the easy way. One that minimizes his responsibility. He just pretends he has no choice. He’s not a stupid man. He’s merely a stubborn one. He won’t ever change his mind. Once he makes a decision, that’s it. Maybe he believes that only weak men change their minds.
Which, now that I think of it, is exactly like the American President, Mr. George Bush. And like his concept of sissyhood vs. true Texas brush-cutting manhood.
Giovanni’s pig-headedness hurts just one person—Vittoria.
Bush’s pig-headedness, on the other hand, has led to the deaths of how many US soldiers and Iraqis? Bush’s spin doctors say they don’t do body counts. So Bush just turns his moronic head and reads the script they’ve prepared for him. Words like: “Freedom is on the march.”
Can it get any more sickening than this?
Okay, I’m a Democrat…but I’d be saying the same thing if Bush were one too. Does anyone remember Lyndon Johnson?
Well, as a young newspaper reporter I was sent to Washington to cover the big anti-Vietnam War rally. I stood at the side of bearded scruffy poet Allen Ginsburg as he asked the crowd to join him in chanting “OM” in an attempt to levitate the Pentagon. That building right over there, behind him, the one with the line of armed soldiers guarding the entrance.
“If we can levitate the Pentagon,” Ginsburg said, “why, we might finally get the President’s attention, as well as the attention of all the politicians and generals who are keeping the slaughter going! So: all together now! OMMM!”
I abandoned my reporter’s objectivity and joined them. We all chanted “OMMMMMM” as loud as we could, and we did it for nearly 15 minutes. But unfortunately the Pentagon didn’t move a milimeter above the earth.
So the war continued for a while longer. How many died after that anti-war march in Washington? How long did it take for the politicians to put an end to the madness?
This goes back a long way. I’m entitled to my present anger. Vittoria’s situation is a nightmare of repetition, of history continually folding in on itself.
I scribble in my notebook:
The morons win. Always.
Lies win. Always.
The liars are never caught out, or if they are, nobody can do anything about it.
At a news conference Bush smirks, and tells more lies. He arrogantly refuses to answer reporters’ questions. He reminds them he’s the President and Commander in Chief and is not about to get into an argument with himself, just because they want to write news stories. He may do as he pleases because he IS the president. He’s saying: And what do you think any of you pathetic jerks can do about it? Huh?
New Year’s resolution: I won’t even think of giving up my fight for Vittoria’s identity, and I sure as hell won’t ever give up my fight against pig-headed morons...or even silent movie stars.