Viva L'Italia

Many who read my blog know of my admiration for the blog Port McClellan, so it is with great hesitation that I pen the following word: France?!?

That's right. I couldn't believe my eyes as I read the latest post from the Port: Five Reasons Americans Should Cheer for France in the World Cup.

To be clear, like Mr. McClellan, I have no vested interest in an Italian or a French win. In fact, I have no interest in the World Cup whatsoever. I'm with Mr. Last from The Weekly Standard--any game that promotes flamboyant displays of pain and injury for the express purpose of swaying a call is out in my book.

Also like MBMc, I am more Anglophile than Italianophile (a word?). I prefer Churchill over Mussolini, Locke and others over Machiavelli, and probably even Mary Queen of Scots over Nero. And while the French have contributed to our country in extremely significant ways, I'm going with the Italians on this one.

After all, it was the Italians who:

Found America.
Cristoforo Colombo and Amerigo Vespucci come to mind. While support from the French made the establishment of our government possible, we'd have nothing to fight for had a few Italians not landed on (or pointed toward) these shores lo those many years ago.

After borrowing a little from the Greeks, gave us the model for our democratic republic.
Sure we left out a few details, like ruthless dictatorship, but all in all, I'd say we have the Romans to thank for our system of political representation.

Perfected opera and the arts.
It doesn't get much better than Verdi or Puccini, Michaelangelo or Da Vinci. And then of course, we have the sciences, with masters such as Galileo and Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta. I mean, what Frenchman could come up with a name like that and invent the electrophorus?

In the first century, built one of the most incredible and advanced structures known to man.
This structure, the coliseum, subsequently made possible other similar stadiums making the viewing of our favorite American sports, football and baseball, a dream come true.

Gave us Latin.
Without it, the legal, medical and musical professions would be lost. What would life be like without phrases like "ergo propter hoc" or "quid pro quo," and of course everyone's favorite, "sit non doctissima coniux?" A bleak existence indeed.

I know I've already hit number five, but one could never diminish the feat of the Italians in inventing the substance that makes the world go round: gelato.

And those, ladies and gentlemen, in addition to a host of other reasons, are the very thoughts that should remain at the forefront of your mind should you choose to watch the World Cup match between France and Italy. It boils down to an old adage my dad always said, "Never trust a Frenchman."

(Readers be afterwarned that I am, in no way, a scholar in the subject of history. I, therefore, reserve the right to historical errors. Corrections welcomed.)

Silly me, I forgot to mention:
Dante, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Augustine, Botticelli, Giotto, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Joe Dimaggio, Vince Lombardi, Prada, Dolce & Gabana, Gucci, and the list goes on and on and on.

Posted by Portia at July 7, 2006 09:53 PM | TrackBack

Meh. I'm just happy Argentina kicked the crap out of Mexico.

Posted by: Todd at July 9, 2006 04:58 PM

You forgot Sophia Loren, too. heh

But if you're feeling really sassy, check out the 'Pedia:

Posted by: Muzzy at July 9, 2006 07:59 PM

I'll nominate pizza and cannoli. Ahh cheese!

[honorable mention: Giada De Laurentiis]

Posted by: Marc V at July 10, 2006 08:38 AM

An erudite post Portia.

As a fellow conservative however, I imagine that you would agree that PC nonsense must be challenged, even when, or perhaps especially when it is PC nonsense accepted hook, line, and sinker by many conservatives.

The French people may irritate us (and we certainly irritate them), but they are not our enemy, and as I think I reasonably argued, they have actually done some quite good things for us, and for the West in general.

Posted by: MBMc at July 10, 2006 09:45 AM


I've also chimmed in on Mr. McClellan's blasphemy over at AllTheseThings. In response, I've posted the "French Challenge". Maybe you can challenge your readers to come up with a solution to the challenge. I think the mutual effort of the blogs should show MBMc that there is no MODERN reason anyone should back his team. The best he could offer from the 20th Century, or later, was their inability to win WWI.

Thanks for standing up to this attack on common sense!

Thomas More

Posted by: Thomas More at July 10, 2006 04:52 PM

MBMc, erudite was certainly not something I was aiming for, but thank you. I was thinking more...playful and horrible attempt at a Monty Python-esque (not really) defense of my country of origin. I certainly meant neither harm nor foul, forgive the pun.

In writing, I found that indeed I am more of an Italianophobe than once thought. So, if I erred on any front, it was extreme ethnocentrism, not pc nonsense. I assure you, I have no interest in being pc in any situation. :)

Mr. More, what a wonderful surprise to see your comment. Portia Rediscovered is always proud to be in the company of saints.

The French are an interesting lot. I have absolutely nothing against the people, just the government. But I think it's unfair to classify just the French as resting on their laurels. I would say the whole of Europe has been guilty of that since the end of WWII. They're the flirty, irresponsible little sister of the world. Ironic, as they've been around millenia before we were.

Posted by: Portia at July 10, 2006 06:09 PM

All of Europe is open to your critique. But half was under the yoke of Communism most of the time, and thus without the same opportunities to thrive the others had. As for those in the West, it seems only the French openly display arrogance, and it is based on past glories. The Italians, English, Swiss, etc. all seem perfectly happy to meet you and make you feel welcome. They don't maintain an air of superiority because their ancestors were great at making frescos, long bows, or watches.


Posted by: Thomas More at July 11, 2006 08:39 AM