Enno Flaiano: Nel 1968 / In 1968

[English translation below]

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Nel 1968

I porti invecchiano
Venezia è sempre da salvare
L’Inps assediata
Gli statali in sciopero
L’edilizia in crisi
Gli ortofrutticoli danneggiati dal Mec
Il turismo regredisce
Le acque sono inquinate
I treni ritardano
La circolazione in crisi
Lo sciopero dei benzinai
Gli studenti preparano la protesta
Rivolta nelle carceri
La riforma burocratica ferma
Napoli paralizzata
Sciopero dei netturbini
La crisi del latte
La pornografia è in crisi
Il divorzio è in crisi
Crisi dell’istituto familiare
I giovani svedesi non si sposano più
La torre di Pisa ancora in pericolo
Il porto di Genova paralizzato
I telefoni non funzionano
Posta che non viene distribuita
La crisi dei partiti
La crisi delle correnti dei partiti
Lo Stato arteriosclerotico
Il Mezzogiorno in crisi
Le regioni in crisi
Il Comune di Roma aumenta il disavanzo
Ferma la metropolitana a Roma
Duello di artiglieri a Suez
I colloqui di Parigi stagnano
Nel Vietnam si attende l’attacco
I cinesi preparano una sorpresa?
I negri preparano la rivolta?
Gli arabi preparano la guerra?
I russi nel Mediterraneo
De Gaulle in pericolo
La sinistra in crisi
La destra in crisi
Il centro-sinistra in crisi
Fine del parlamentarismo?
Il freddo ritorna.

(Ennio Flaiano, Diario degli errori, 1976)

In 1968

Seaports grow old
Venezia still needs to be saved
The national pension system is besieged
The State employees on strike
Building industry in crisis
Farmers suffer because of the EU market
Tourism regresses
Water is polluted
Trains are late
Traffic in crisis
Station attendants are on strike
Students prepare a demonstration
Rebellions in the jails
The bureaucratic reform has stopped
Naples paralyzed
Dustmen are on strike
The crisis of milk
Pornography in crisis
Divorce in crisis
Crisis of the family
Swedish youngs don’t get married anymore
The leaning tower of Pisa still in danger
The seaport of Genoa paralyzed
Telephones won’t work
Mail is not distributed
The crisis of political parties
The crisis of trends within political parties
The arteriosclerotic state
South of Italy in crisis
Departments in crisis
The deficit of the municipality of Rome increases
The subway in Rome has stopped
Duels between gunners in Suez
Negotiations in Paris are at a standstill
In the Vietnam people are waiting for the attack
Chinese people are planning a surprise?
Black people are planning a rebellion?
Arabs are planning to start the war?
Russians in the Mediterranean sea
De Gaulle in danger
Left parties in crisis
Right parties in crisis
Center-left parties in crisis
End of the parliamentarism?
The cold comes back

(Ennio Flaiano, Diario degli errori (Journal of mistakes), 1976)

Bell towers

In the last two years, I have been spending almost every long weekend (Friday evening to Monday morning) in a small town in Italy, staying in a comfortable flat facing the main square and a typical village church. Next to the church there is a bell tower, which is supposed to beat time during the day. I would not be able to say whether the bells were really ringing every hour, but I seem to remember they were not. For sure, there was no bell ringing between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am (probably a consequence of the message Basta con le campane! – which means Enough with the bells! – which I saw hand painted on a side wall of the church). There was a long loud ring every day around 7:45 am, and at some other time during the day, with intensifications on Sundays, but I was not able to deduce a specific pattern.

In the last four days, I have been staying in a small German village, roughly the same size of the Italian above. My (uncomfortable, this time) flat again faces the main church and its bell tower. Its bells not only ring every hour, but every quarter of the hour, according to the following system: each 15 minutes account for a dong. So if you hear dong dong dong it means it is 45 minutes after some hour, which is not specified. When the clocks strikes an exact hour, you hear 4 dongs, and then as many dangs (a tone slightly different from the one before) as the number of hours, from 1 to 12, without distinguishing between am and pm (which is perfectly reasonable, you should be able to tell yourself). So if you hear dong dong dong dong dang dang dang dang dang dang dang it means that it’s 7 o’clock, either am or pm. And yes, the bells continue with the same procedure all night long. The system is consistent and robust (if you cannot distinguish the dongs from the dangs, you just have to count), even if maybe a little redundant (for instance, you could agree that 12:00 count as no dang, and spare the bells and everybody 24 dangs a day). Ah, and there is no message painted on the walls of the church.