Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pasquino the Protester

My father recently sent me the link to a website that described one of Rome's famous "talking" statues, Pasquino the Protester. Evidently, a pasquinata is an anonymous lampoon, usually written in verse, and hearkens back to the Roman tradition of citizen dissent. According to Italian Notebook, Roman tradition dictates that the oppressed may lodge a written complaint concerning the government and religious authorities by posting an accusatory poem in Roman dialect on the base of the statue. The base of the statue looks like this (evidently, post-it notes were in circulation during the 1500s):

My father and I often have heated discussions about politics and religion and life in general. He is conservative but moderately so and almost never judgmental. He abhors the ugliness of partisan politics and rarely enters that fray, while I have inherited a bit more of my mother's fiery opinionated character (although my views are literally the exact opposite). I know that my liberal streak can be an affront to both parents and there have been times when we literally speak of nothing at all that pertains to politics because it's just best that way. When my younger sister married a man whose work colleague was no other than William Bennett, the insufferable Washington conservative blow hard (since this is my blog, I get to say what I want -- ahem), I got into quite a "discussion" with him at the rehearsal dinner. At the wedding the next day, my father told me that if I kept my mouth shut, he would pay me $1,000.  My father reads my blog regularly and almost never comments. He has told me that he sometimes cries when he reads it, sometimes laughs and sometimes gets angry. I'm sure the anger is when I go off on a political rant, so when he sent me the email with the information about Pasquino the Protester, he wrote:

Do you think we're related to him?

I'm thinking we are, and somewhere along the way we lost the p and the s in the name, so that I, Elizabeth Aquino, instead of being incorrigibly argumentative and sharp-tongued, am, in fact, part of a long line of Roman protesters.


  1. There is nothing better for the soul and for one's self than to tell the truth and the consequences be damned.

    The origin of the word argument is loosely translated as "to make silver" We should all remember that as Joseph Joubert Pensées wrote "The aim of argument, or of discussion, should be not victory, but progress"

    To silence it to me is nothing more than making rust.

    And btw, did you washed your hands after breaking bread with that greatest of all hypocrites?

  2. Interesting, the juxtaposition of the worn away face and the active base...

    (wv: dinist---my brother's political rants get loud indeed; is the feminine dinista?)


  3. I love this, Elizabeth. And I wish someone (your dad?) would offer me $1000 to keep my mouth shut for a day. I could totally do that.

    I also love that your dad reads your blog!

  4. Yes, I am loving your dad! ;-)
    And your mom, too ;-)
    We know that Love has no politics, really, other than loving.

    While I am at it, I love love love that statue with the layers of papers and proclamations and protests.

    And I believe that you are definitely from a long line!

    My dad often wished I would be quiet, and often in a heated argument I would look up and see sparkling eyes... he was loving it! I wish he would/could(maybe he is!) reading this blog and will pay me $1000, just for the halibut.


  5. So cool that your dad reads your blog. I don't know that mine would even be interested in mine...

  6. Hey how are you liking ' So Much For That ' ?

  7. Your Dad's offer to keep you quiet at the wedding made me laugh out loud:)

  8. I love this post! Your comments about your Dad -- conservative but moderately so and not at all judgmental -- remind me of my own Dad who I, too, adore but disagree with on a few issues.

    I was in Chapel Hill last Sunday and Monday and was walking across campus with my next door neighbor who was wondering aloud what bound all of us to Chapel Hill and drew us back. (Her niece is a student there.) As we passed the Campus Y and strolled across the main quad on a quintessential spring day on campus, I tried to explain how our eyes and hearts had been opened during our years there. Then I told her the story of the time when your mom and I were talking about your little sister and her future college choices. Your mom's concern regarding Chapel Hill was how we girls had turned out, and she whispered the unmentionable word, "liberal." I've always remembered that moment with great fondness.


  9. I love this story :)
    Your Dad sounds like a pretty special guy.
    My Dad Read My Blog would be a great book :)

  10. smiling quietly from the infusion center.
    thinking of dads...and passion.
    conviction and sculpting. (my hands are hungering for this)

    and the beauty of knowing you.

  11. Wonderful post!

    My Dad reads my blog too, and often comments. And though in the past our disagreements were the stuff of family legend, it seems we have both mellowed with age!

    I LOVE that image of the ancient, worn statue with all those 'post-its' on it. Oh, if only the walls could talk...

  12. I like how that even though you and your dad have different views, you still seem to have a good relationship. the fact that he reads your blog warms my heart. I couldn't pay MY parents 1,000 to read my blog... or anyone in my family (including my husband). its funny, but my most faithful followers are complete strangers :)

  13. I want to be you when I grow up.

  14. SO much to comment on re: both the blog and the comments! But I'll just ask this, did you get the $1,000?

  15. I discovered some more relatives (perhaps?) at my new favorite blog. See what you think.

    And the "Tides of Hope" criticism is stupid and offensive. You know there is a very exact calculation that goes into a corporation "giving back." The cynical me thinks they are the ones belittling the victims and preying on customers' empathy.

    Anyway, here is the blog post...

    I'm jealous that I am not as cool as the Jealous Curator.



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