Today the cities were full of people marching to demand action to prevent global warming. A good thing of course. It prompted TV news stations to dust off their stock footage of ‘natural’ disasters and smog-filled cities.
As individuals we can save water, ride bikes and use energy-saving lightbulbs but even if everyone diligently did all these things the problem would not go away.
Animal agriculture is the number one cause of climate change, a fact that governments and businesses have kept quiet for obvious reasons. To make matters worse, Al Gore, Greenpeace, Naomi Klein and other campaigners have also all but ignored this issue. Continue reading
In the wake of the horrific acts of terrorism in Paris, the hierarchy of Bologna University today instructed teachers to devote at least an hour’s time in the classroom to discuss the implications of and possible responses to this violence. The thinking behind this is well-intentioned but the practicalities are more than a little problematic.
Of course, in the long-term, we need to do more than change our profile picture on Facebook and light candles for the victims.
But what exactly are the parameters to such proposed discussions? What should be the responses to hate speak (e.g. All Muslims are scum) or apocalyptic solutions (e.g. Nuke Syria).
Such extreme reactions are understandable but should not be endorsed or legitimized. The role of informed, calm-headed facilitator in any such debate is therefore crucial, but who moderates the moderators?
Teachers may be trained to impart facts about their specialist subjects but this does not automatically mean they have pearls of wisdom to offer to students on such political hot potatoes.
They may be older but this not necessarily make them wiser.
Talking is better than rushing to revenge but when wounds are still raw initiating an open-ended discussion could open up a can of worms that is hard to seal.
SUBURRA directed by Stefano Solima (Italy, 2015)
If, this year, you had been inclined to follow the age-old advice to do in Rome as the Romans do you might have attended a Mafia funeral, joined those protesting against travel disruption or become embroiled in one of the numerous corruption scandals.
2015 has been a veritable ‘annus horribilis’ for the Eternal City.
In this context, the movie Suburra looks less like a work of fiction and more like an depressingly realistic depiction of current events.
The title takes us back to ancient times, referring to the notorious red-light district of the city. The 21st century equivalent is an equally squalid world where prostitution, institutionalised crime, violence and general levels debauchery are routine. Continue reading