Yesterday I had lunch with my friend Jan F.
We started to talk about the Berlinale and we briefly discussed the Monuments Men, movie and ‘project.‘
Jan asked me, half-jokingly, how many such men―the monuments men ― would be necessary today to ‘save’ Italian heritage from the ones who are supposed to take care of it.
The thought made us immediately dismiss the sheer possibility of such project.
At that point, I had to mention the ongoing political crisis.
A comment to which Jan replied with: Ah, yes! I saw a tiny little note on today’s NYT.
It sounded like: what’s news under the Alps? One more crisis.’
For a moment I sat thinking.Then, it dawned on me.
There was something news: the last scandal of the Italian Academia, which showed the level of detachment and self-isolation that the latter has managed to achieved.
A scandal which showed the Italian Monument men,’ or mediocre self serving academic men.
Briefly told, what happened it this: a public call for paper had been launched to select the candidates who, depending on their curricula, be ‘eligible’ for academic tenure.
Whomever was interested, was invited to apply by sending his titles, publications, credentials.
Generally speaking, 50% of the candidates, in most disciplines, got selected, without much fanfare.
In the architecture design department, however, things evolved differently.
The commission of the so called five ‘wise men’ formed to select architects eligible to teach design studio showed no practicing architect in it.
Just critics, historians, academicians and, generally speaking, people who never had to get their shoes dirty with mud.
Accordingly, the commission selected only 20% of the applicants, most of whom reflected the very quality of the ‘wise’ men, namely the quality of having the shoe well cleaned an sined.
Needless to say, the ‘eligible’ ones were either in a parental relationship with senior tenured professors, or were members of the academic underworld who have been mostly making photocopies for twenty years for some academic baron, or pseudo-baron who has himself never even thought of practicing architecture in his entire life.
So far, nothing new. The news was that the motivations of such selection was made public.
The publication showed, beside all kinds of grammatical errors, an endless list of convoluted rhetoric to justify utter nonsense with added humiliating judgment offensive of the sheer dignity of the candidates, expecially the one who did not have a standard accademic curriculum, makin photocopies, that is.
The publication of the motivations featured, in short, a bar-like kind of talk language that should, in theory, be barred from public office.
It also showed, between the lines, the level of corruption of the Academia ond of its official members with all kind of subliminal and not so subliminal messages reflecting the usual academic power struggles for little, or nothing at all.
Ah, commented Jan in stupor: that is news! That is ‘transparent corruption,’ namely the kind of corruption that normally characterizes dictatorship, or people who thinks are beyond the law, or common decency.
The italian Monuments Men have made themselves transparent.
Ladies and gentlemen: here is the latest Italian invention!!!
Let us drink to the Italian Monuments Men!
Three hurras for Italy!