Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Meows Have It

Friday saw a post to NYRBlog that was as entertaining as it was informative. The title was “A Roman Cat Fight;” and the author was listed as Massimo Gatto. This was clearly a pseudonym; and, if I were a betting man, I would probably put my money on Tim Parks.

The story has to do with an effort by Roman politicians to shut down a sanctuary for cats on the grounds of Largo di Torre Argentina, presumably to satisfy more commercial interests behind city planning. One comes away with the impression that this is another instance of what we have come to call “vulture capitalism,” championed in Italy by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. However, when the vultures take aim at historical artifacts, usually destroying them in the process, it turns out, according to this post, that they are maintaining a historical legacy. Thus, the post is framed in such a way as to leave the impression that Berlusconi and those of his ilk are simply continuing a long a path previously trod by both Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein (both of whose names appear explicitly in the post).

That makes for some pretty powerful rhetoric. If Wilfred Owen stated, during the First World War, that all a poet could do was warn; this post demonstrates that a blogger can do more. If the blogger has the right gifts, (s)he can shake the world with a shattering miaou de cœur.

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