An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In Celebration of One Another

Yesterday Lisa wrote about it being International Day of the French Speaking World, and her tongue-in-cheek post was humorous and spot on. (I clicked on the link but couldn't read it because it was written exclusively in French . . . go figure!) I guess the French have a reputation for being, well, rather defensive about their language and culture, so much in fact that they seem to look down their very aristocratic noses at the rest of the world . . . the rest of the world as in, specifically, The United States.

I mean, they did protest the opening of Disneyland Paris.

In all honesty, however, I do understand where they are coming from, and in many ways I admire them for their vigilant protection of the purity of all things French. Today, with advanced technology and travel, the world has become a bit smaller, and language and culture as a national identity is threatened.

I have noticed this myself in my travels to Italy. The Italian language is peppered with English, not only with technological and scientific terms, but also in everyday language. As an example, even if you don't know a word of Italian, I'm sure you won't have any problems understanding the following sentences.
  • Andiamo a fare un picnic questo weekend?
  • Vado a fare il jogging. Ciao!
  • Ho tanto stress oggi.
Then, a recent show on the travel channel listed the top ten McDonald's restaurants in the world. The #1 McDonald's? In Rome, Italy. Right there next to the Spanish Steps. Mamma Mia!

Of course, cultures and languages are going to intermingle; they will continue to overlap; and they will even borrow from each other. But I do think we need to preserve who we are, where we live, what languages we speak, what traditions we have . . . all these things that are the essence of who we are.

It's good to celebrate our national identities . . . and it's good to celebrate each other's.

So I may poke fun of French snobbery, but I celebrate their tradition. Just as I celebrate the living chess tournament in Marostica, Italy, the bull running in Pamplona, Spain, and the chitlin' strut festival in Salley, South Carolina.

It is, after all, a wonderful world.


Karen said...

Are you serious? They protested opening The Happiest Place On Earth in their own country?

Lisa said...

It really is an interesting thing to contemplate ~ and a hard concept for Americans, especially, to get our brains around, because we are SO much a melting pot of so many cultures. We're a mishmosh, so the more mishmosh, the more purely American to us. But, I totally respect the idea of national identity among nations who have an identity! I think, in a way, Americans do envy that. (I just love that living chess tournament! I wanna do that!)

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

How appropriate that they borrowed "stress" from English. We do it better than any other culture, that's for sure.

I LOVE Disney Paris. The Space Mountain there is worlds better than the one in Orlando. It's a good thing the protestors weren't particularily effective.

E said...

And their cafes...oh and their sauces...and their shoes...and, oh my...

Kellan said...

Yes it is - a wonderful world.

Hi Bia - nice to see you - hope you are well. Take care - Kellan

Wendy said...

Bia - I'm glad the French are French, but I do remember two distinctly different impressions of France when I went there. I went with a small Sal. Army brass quintet to help a Northern France (Lille) corps with their Christmas kettles. They were the warmest, most welcoming people I have ever met! A few months later, a Parisian officer offered to host me for a weekend. I was snubbed by so many people in Paris for attempting to ask a question. My host was kind, of course, but I thought, if I ever go back, I'm heading to the North of France!

Maria said...

I love to celebrate our Russian heritage. The running of the bull, I must admit though, is not something I like to celebrate. I love to hear about your Italian heritage.