The long-winded translation of ‘saccente’

If any of you has ever studied languages, there’s no appropriate translation for many words between many languages. Linguistics is not an exact science, of course. For example, ‘accountability’ in English has no proper translation in Italian or ‘buonismo’ in Italian has no effective translation in English, at least in the modern meaning of the word. One of those words I always found difficult to translate is the Italian adjective ‘saccente’ and, for your information, it’s a pejorative term too.

In my opinion it’s no coincidence that this word exists as an ‘only word’ in Italian whilst in English it could translate with ‘arrogant, pedantic, conceited know-it-all’. Despite the renown snobbery of some English people who could easily be described by such a word, that is nothing compared to the same level of ‘saccenza’ (the noun at the root of the adjective) displayed by many Italians. Unfortunately…. I guess it is the heritage left by those pompous Romans 2,000 years ago… (I’m neck-deep in studying Augustus’ Res Gestae… most presumptuous thing ever!!) and it seems it’s still ongoing nowadays.

Italians generally hold a grudge on anyone who’s definitively showing some kind of superiority in any field compared to them, whether that’s the truth or not. They regard their lifestyle and ‘their’ system as one of the best in the world (guess what.. like the Romans!), but this particular side of them doesn’t show when they are in Italy, it rears its ‘ugly’ head when they are abroad. No population all over Europe has anything better than in Italy and the worst thing I can do at the end of my day is reading online comments written in Italian and read all that crap about how cleaner, smarter and more beautiful all things are in Italy. I had promised I was going to stop doing it, but sometimes the temptation is strong, sorry my dear readers! Of course, it is an illusion. There are pros and cons in every situation as well as living in every country. There’s no perfect country to live in, there’s only a place you can call home, regardless of where that is. Unfortunately, this is not the message that many accept as truth, even if it’s the person ‘feeling at home’ who’s speaking/writing. I was reading comments on FB on one of my articles in Italian (not written for this website) and the general lack of humility and understanding was appalling. They’ve to tell you that what you’re feeling or experiencing can’t be possible and it is not the truth.

You’ve to know that Italian students have to study ten times more than anyone else in Europe. That doesn’t make any of them a lot smarter, of course, you are smart or you aren’t. However, many graduates still insist they are smarter or more prepared than others abroad. Needless to say, that is not true because quantity doesn’t equal quality most of the time. The quality of their learning process is very low and stiff, many students goes on repeating/parroting what they read in their ‘assigned’ books and usually they have no practical knowledge at all. The information is also politically manufactured most of the time and at present I’m in the middle of unlearning what I had learnt in my secondary school years (Thank God I didn’t complete it in Italy!!). Is this the rule for everybody? Of course not, many brilliant students detach themselves from such a method and bin it (only doing the ‘parroting’ thing at the exams but in the end they actively learnt something). For the others, a huge, general bitterness is felt when they find out what they had to stand for…nothing. Once confronted with a foreign method and process of learning they find themselves at a loss. In a few words, they don’t know how to justify they spent years learning a huge pile of crap and someone got there in half of the time… They’re looking for graduate jobs at 28 and the others at 22-23… And here the ‘saccenza’ and the need of justifying ‘useless study’ come back… “But I know more”, nope, they just read more: reading lots without learning doesn’t make anyone more skilled or smarter. In some cases it just makes them appear as losers (not my opinion here, just what I’ve heard locals say).

The loss of real friendships and the trend of being offended (again!)

This will be a short post just on the spur of the moment.. To be honest it is more like an ensemble of thoughts than a blog post. Recently I was discussing with a couple of online friends that in the good ole days being friends also meant the acceptance of different opinions, when those opinions were not particularly extreme (on a general rule, I never called a friend someone sympathizing with nazi or racist policies). Unfortunately I think that the words ‘friend’ and ‘friendship’ have lost the original meaning in the last twenty years. My mum, for example, has been friends with a couple of people for 50 years… I can’t even get the meaning of that and this is probably due to a society that now equals the ‘freedom of saying whatever goes through your mind’ to ‘freedom of speech’, the inherent human right that you have the freedom to express your opinion with no fear of punishment. But is that really true? Don’t we get ‘punished’ anyway? In a certain way yes…

In the good ole days we used to have political and religious discussions quite often. Surely, that happened more often in front of a coke, beer, glass of wine or a nice meal and not in front of a keyboard. But that was it though… I don’t remember any of those discussions ending up in a restaurant/bar brawl and with people severing decade-old friendships for a discussion or disagreement. Unfortunately… the advent of social media changed that. And freedom-of-speech-more-like-saying-whatever has become connected with:

  • freedom of attacking everyone who’s giving you an unpopular or unwanted opinion or in opposition to yours anyway
  • freedom of getting offended for any silly reason (or an excuse to get offended for anything)
  • freedom of attacking you personally for other things not connected with the topic at hand (kind of ‘oh you, heretic who was living with two men at a time!’ in a LGBT-supporting thread)

Now, the list could be surely longer… but my question would be just one: are friendships still considered of value? Is that something worth preserving or not? At what cost though?

And what ‘being a friend’ entails nowadays… Probably shutting up all the time and following all the trends and crowd moods 24/7 unless you want to be alone. Because… let’s face it, God forbid that you express a controversial opinion about anything and the so-called friends will block you, won’t speak to you anymore, will try to badmouth you behind your back like you’re evil personified and so on. So I am making a decision together with this post. I’ll try to be as sensitive as possible concerning some broad issues but…. I am NOT attempting NOT to offend anyone anymore.

Judging from my fiery nature and the reactions I get at anything I say, I must appear like Satan to several people… Well, you know, let it be. I’m the devil and I like it. I don’t need a huge amount of people around me fanning over what I say. Anyone who can’t deal with what I say, OUT. You don’t like me as I am, FUCKOFF. That simple 😉

To be totally precise and on point:

  • I totally dislike homophobes, racists, nationalists, hypocrites, bigots, do-gooders, and anything that implies extremism of any kind.
  • I’m a non-religious person, apolitical and I’m not sure I’ve a national identity (yet). I don’t identify as an Italian at all. I’m terribly outspoken and cheeky. I’m full of faults and I like it that way (plus none of you is my husband so shut up).
  • I don’t condone corruption, fraud or cheats of any kind (so people supporting Greece’s mess, fuck off too, thank you; Greek people are responsible for their own mess!!)

Happy? See you in hell.. and be careful because now I’m becoming skilled in literally shooting real arrows 😉

Merlin

P.S. For people without a sense of humour or common sense, the last part about me being the devil is evidently sarcastic. Just wanted to point that out in order to avoid that satanists contact me (I’m just missing that one, really… LMAO)

The realm of the easily offended…and the start of Merlin’s travels series

It is evident that only a few people who were present on the friends list of my old Facebook account ‘really’ got what I had written in my previous post here on WordPress. It still baffles me why some people would ask for your friendship whilst they never liked what you’ve to say. If you don’t like my opinions, block me or better… avoid to ask me to be your friend, right? I am deeply annoyed that some people, in the last few days, were all over Facebook posting crap and once that you comment under their crap showing that your opinion is different or it is completely the opposite of theirs, well…  then you’re a bad person, a real devil incarnate. I might also be a bad person, not sure. However, I’m surely better than all those ‘keyboard hypocrites’ that believe that having a different opinion from them or calling them out on their bullshit mean I’m evil. Ok, down to the list (done for a few laughs!) and then the introductory part of Merlin’s travels.

The list of the easily offended internet user:

1) The ones who troll their own feed to see who they can be offended at

These people have nothing to do most of the time, half of their followers already got bored of what they had to say and they try to find the most absurd stuff to clutch at straws in terms of offence. I called a woman out on her spreading misinformation and she started holding a grudge against me. Saying ‘I’m wrong’ is outdated. Opinionated and informed people are evil, didn’t you know? Under another of her posts I wrote ‘please be patient, I’m an obnoxious academic’ and she transformed it in ‘I’m obviously superior to you because I go to university, you’re an idiot, so I need lot of patience’. Apart from the fact that nobody gains brains as a collateral effect by just going to university, but above all if I study at a higher education institution, it only means that it is my choice and something I really wanted to do, of course it doesn’t imply the rest of the planet is stupid! So she switched the onus from me to her, clutching at straws to find the most absurd excuses to start a fight. I started being online nearly 20 years ago, so these petty tactics don’t work with me anymore. Blocked and with no regrets. She had a friend who was going down the same route and… Bye byeeee…..

2) The ones who troll everybody else’s feed to see who they can be offended at

These category includes everyone who’s so bored, whose life is so empty that they need to fight for something possibly against someone. They will get behind every topic, every lost cause, Greece, change.org petitions of any kind, even the flowers in your garden.. it doesn’t matter. They will start chatting or replying to your comments and tweets just to show you’re in the wrong and you insulted them. This happens mostly on Twitter if you have an open account. Last week I got an idiot who wanted to make me feel guilty by telling me that ‘all of us are worse than the bankers because we do nothing to save Greece’. I replied that if she had 300 billions of euros she was welcome to help them as much as she liked and no, I’m not a banker and I don’t feel like one. I’m mostly on the poor side and surely if I had a job I’d help my relatives, not sending pennies to the whole of Greece.

3) The ones who hold a grudge against some discriminated categories and they act like they’re offended to hide their own prejudice

Those are the ones who are never on any social media and they explode when any of the discriminated categories they hate are celebrating for good news. So the internet imploded with homophobes and religious extremists after the legalisation of same sex marriage in USA, sexists and racists commenting on Cosby’s rape charges, you get the trend. I’ve lost count of many people I blocked in the last two weeks, I hope I cleaned my account of any sexist, mysoginist, racist, bigoted and homophobic idiot who was around.

4) The ones who adore celebrities and get offended if you express a negative opinion against their favourite celebrity or his/her fans

This group include the ‘blind’ fans who put their favourite celebrity or celebrities on a pedestal and God forbid you have a different opinion from them…. I dared to post on Tumblr the screenshot of a silly tweet about a lady who was sad that Tom Hiddleston hadn’t tweeted in 3 months and that her life was lacking something. 150 notes. 150 bloody, fekkin’ reblogs for something so stupid. Not even if I had written the Iliad I would have gotten 150 reblogs!! First, I’m entitled to my opinion and I don’t give a flying whatever if anyone is annoyed because I said such a thing. Second, in what alternative universe a person waiting for 3 months that Tom Hiddleston tweets is normal? Because in this universe I’d bet that even Hiddleston agrees with me.

5) The ones who are offended, stat

This is the perennially unhappy group; the one whose personal mission is to trick you into feeling guilty whatever the topic of discussion is and therefore to make you DEEPLY unhappy too. Yes, the miserable internet users who are eternally offended by everything and everyone. I don’t know how they can look at themselves in the mirror. You can’t be online and escape someone belonging to this group. They are like dementors, they want to suck the life out of you and you can’t escape them. Go figure, I was able to get people offended because I got married, well… you get the type of person.

MERLIN’S TRAVELS series:

Ok, on twitter I did a very short poll about how people would feel if I was posting pictures and a sort of diary of the countries I’ve visited. Indeed it seems that interrupting the usual and discussions with something positive and beautiful to see gained a wide consensus.

So in the next few weeks, if hopefully my photo editor software starts to work, I’ll post a few articles about places I’ve visited with information and lots of pics… and much banter too!!

See you soon then!! 🙂

Merlin x

Why it is necessary to dump a Facebook account in the bin sometimes

Hello everybody,

A few people on my friends list wondered why I suddenly deleted my Facebook account 2-3 days ago. Well, the first reason was mainly practical.

One of the suggestions I had received during my recent online networking course was that having a public Facebook page and account could be useful when you want to promote a blog/website (in fact Facebook links have been added to the ‘About me’ page). Now, ‘in theory’ Facebook policy doesn’t allow people to have two accounts with the same name, you can’t have a ‘business’ account and a personal account of the same person. I didn’t want to use my personal account for the page either. Summarizing, I was made aware that having a clear, and clean, digital imprint was quite vital if you want to have an online profile well-coherent and also interesting for the audiences and my ex personal account was not refleting this. Starting over with a new goal in mind was necessary, so my decision went towards deleting an account and opening another one.

Many of my followers also know that I became quite paranoid about the privacy settings of Facebook, so before asking Facebook to delete the account I had to delete every single picture and post posted on the account…. which took me three days to achieve LOL Yet, it was worth it, for more than the originally stated reasons.

Changing accounts also makes you realise who’s interested in you and what you’ve to say. It is not the first time that I deleted my account (probably the tenth one LOL), however the ‘goal’ of the account is slightly different this time. The page also has to be visible to a worldwide audience, contrary to all previous pages that were aimed to just a group of friends. Page and account are also connected with this domain now.

As you can easily imagine, half of the friends on my original friends list didn’t follow the page or sent any friendship requests. Well, you could wonder why I hadn’t unfriended the ones who didn’t care about me anymore. How could I know for sure, though? The fact is, as many of you already know, when you unfriend someone on Facebook, unless it is caused by a heated argument/discussion, you should also provide an explanation, as per net-etiquette. Would you unfriend anyone who doesn’t give a crap about you based on a guess or two of yours? Hmm……

Perhaps I’ve this old-fashioned notion of mine that I still believe that friends that are meant to stay will follow me anywhere even online (if indeed they signed up for any social media, the ones texting or emailing me are excluded by this, of course!). Or why even being friends in the first place if anything I’ve to say or believe in is so annoying and boring to you?

Sending hugs and have a nice Sunday everybody xxx

Merl