Be ready for the Towel Day!

The 25th of May the whole world (or the part worth to be called as such) will celebrate the “Towel Day”, in memoriam of Douglas Noel Adams, visionary creator of the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.

The Bridge will participate to the celebrations, given the importance Adams’ novel had in the development of the twisted mind behind this blog. As an example, here you are an arrogant quote from my MA thesis, recently brought up to light by Rodolfo Toè:

‎”Most probably, a work like this (or better to say, the attempt to produce this analysis fruitfully) would have no meaning in Hitchhikers’s Guide to the Galaxy’s universe. The existence of the Babel fish would, in fact, sort out most of the misunderstanding, controversies, deceptions and mistakes derived from the different languages we all use.”

What is a Babel fish? Buy the complete five-books saga and find it out. This post is dedicated to Towel Day, thus we shall investigate more on the meaning of such an object, as Adams describes it:

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)”

As clearly proven by Adams, a towel is the most diplomatic, elegant and practical tool for moderns “internationals”. Especially for those, like the undersigned, who are obliged to beg somebody else hospitality during their researches, their leisure trips, their job journeys.

If my 5th & 1/2 sense is right, most of the readers of this blog are inner, hidden (maybe not so hidden…) Hitchhikers. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I would rather say that it is a new status symbol, it denotes a clear understanding of world’s social functioning. It is an expression of a new awareness.

That is why, my dear Hitchhikers, we shall show our devoted awareness to the world and share a towel with the rest of mankind.
May 25th will be the day: bring a towel with you, wherever you are.
Please feel free to share your pics of Towel Day celebrations on The Bridge Facebook Page

And remember: elegance is an attitude.


p.s.: this blog will also advocate for the creation of an international Babel fish day. Unfortunately I am pretty sure that those who believe in any god would not endorse the campaign…

Traveling in Europe part 1

Nowadays the alienation of traveling is immense. Airports are “non-places” where we inevitably live “non-experiences”.

Apart from Brussels Sud – Charleroi airport: there you always have the chance to live unforgettable moments, quarreling with the rude personnel, missing your busses, see your luggage destroyed and many more.

If there should be a prize for the worst airport in Europe, Charleroi would win it easily.
And if there is a corresponding prize for the worst flight company, guess who’s my pick?
I’m sure there no need to explicit it…

From your own correspondent in Bruxelles: first chapter sent

Some says that the first chapter of your thesis is the most difficult to write down. I disagree.

Not just because I love writing, and I love writing about the topic of my thesis (and ergo I love my thesis), but also because it is much harder to find a way to capitalize your writing effort, and make it worth.

I have the impression that for how much energy I might put in my writings, this won’t change much in my future. I am aware that Bruxelles “working environment” it’s not really sensitive to hardcore, mind-blowing, concerned MA thesis, especially if written by a (not so) young Italian wannabe anthropologist. This however does not change the amount of time I spend every day to work on it.

Some others might contest that the value of a thesis relies in its scientific arguments, not in the effort the student put in it. I would really like to find someone willing to sit down and pass through my thesis with a scientific eye. This would be already and achievement.

To be honest, I have found someone. My beloved friends are supporting my editing, helping me polishing the thesis, providing an incalculable added value.
I have also hell of a good “supervisors team”.

But I somehow am sure that, out there, there will be very few people interested in an anthropological criticism of the enlargement policy.
Since I believe it is extremely useful, I am considering the idea of voluntarily (and freely) send it to our Commissioner Füle, once it will be ready.

Maybe this might not be the right approach, but lately I paid to much attention to the so called “right approach” than to the content of the message I was delivering.

It’s time to go look back at contents rather than shape.

A political proposal for enhancing social cohesion (so much for social networks!)

In a bar of Trieste, old people around, some youngster like me watching the final minutes of the boring match.

Then the music started. It takes everybody by surprise, nobody was expecting it. A guy approves, almost furtively. An old man turns to me like if I would have pinched his ass with a pincer.
And then, few seconds after, nobody cares about it.

Someone shares better then others...

In the social networks era it seems so ridicule and so difficult to share something “live”, since the people around you can stare at you right after, heading the yoke of their judgment over your shoulders, crossing your sight. Or when people can just ignore you, no matter how loud you shout.

I love old juke box anyway. There should be more of them around.

Notes for a Manifesto of an apostate of politics

I am reading about medieval history in Europe.

One conclusion and one only rises from those lectures: if you have to devote your life to a religion or to an ideology, most probably the only one that makes sense nowadays is environmentalism. Peoples and their leaders tried many times to take power, and power seems to be the only real pattern in human history. Up to now: if the prospect is not to have a planet to rule anymore, I guess that any power-led ideology (including religions) is pretty useless…

Of course, we are going to show our "best" before environmentalism becomes the new order... (Image taken from "The Economist")

This should sound pretty banal. But if you reconnect the concept of “power” to Carl Schmitt writings, I guess that the whole affirmation becomes more interesting.

Medieval torture

In the name of God, let's see if the wheel of fortune turns on your side today...

Moreover, bearing in mind European Christendom history (from the creation of the papacy, thought the schism, the crusades, up to the birth of protestantism, to finish with the continuos interference of the Vatican in secular power till in recent times) or Communism, you may get an amazing picture of what in the end hierarchies, principles and values of those religious/ideological bodies exist for: manage power on Earth.

Ergo, if you want to be a real progressive intellectual, disembed the discussion around power from the classical arena – made of armies and troops, geopolitics and economical strength, ethnical clashes and historical disputes -and embed it in a new field: ecology.

I am afraid that this might indeed be the future. I say I am afraid because it would be a lifelong exalting experience being involved, as a youth interested in politics, in a new wave of self-assuring, holistic, self-referential, calming and reassuring big political ideologies and/or religious revival. But I think this is not going to happen, at least in Western countries.

So, in order to tackle the issue we are indeed facing (socio-economical on top), a brand new approach has to be found. At this point a bell rings in my mind: Serge Latouche‘s degrowth theory. Too easy-breeezy to be even considered as an feasible option…
We’d better sit down and find a better solution.

A good morning in Brussels

9:00: our hero manages to wake top and to find the energy to realize there’s nothing in the fridge to feed himself and the Princess. So he has to go hunting something in the neighborhood. Nothing easier.

9:15: after long wandering, our hero manages to find an open supermarket (the perfect place to hunt breakfast, as you know).

9:16: the path of our hero is blocked by a 30-something angry Arabian guy, claiming for the life of a second generation Chinese working as shop assistant in the aforementioned supermarket.

9:20: the hero manages to squeeze inside and chase the breakfast, while most of the people in the shop are staring at the front door, where the Arabian shouts like a crazy.

9:25: while our hero pays for the fruitful beating, the Arabian is surrounded by cops. A wise alcoholic customer, waving an half empty bottle of vodka and buying another one of whiskey, suggest the police to beat him and turn the page once for all.

9:30: our hero makes his way through the exit exactly when the police finally decides to chain the Arabian and drag him to jail.

10:00: the Princess wakes up by the smell of the coffee, the breakfast is already on the table, and our hero claims his price for the successful hunting. A short thought of our hero goes to the guy in jail. But

Good morning, Brussels.