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[personal profile] fpb
My five-questions meme has resulted in several people asking me questions. And since you lot do not know each other and you may all be curious about me (I'm so vain), here are a few, with my answers.
[profile] hobsonphile asked:

1) If an American were planning to visit Italy for the first time, what is the number one piece of advice you would give her?
1)The country has changed greatly in the last ten years, especially due to immigration. One piece of advice would be look after your wallet. And there is one that I actually did give to an American friend twenty years ago: never accept help from an Italian man unless you want to get laid. You may be disappointed from time to time, but you had better realize that even nice Italians regard foreign tourists as fair game.

2) Have you ever visited and/or lived in the United States? If so, where?
2)BAck in 1985, I spent three weeks in Westchester County, north of New York City, visiting various places in NY and New Jersey on business. I also made a short dash to Chicago. That's all, I'm afraid.

3) What is one piece of fanfiction you would really like to see written? (Fandom is your choice.)
3)I have written it myself: Buffy, "What if Glory had won?"

4) Can you recommend a good book on Italian history?
4)Mmmh, not really. I have my own ideas, which I have not seen any recent work quite agree
with. On the other hand, I have not yet seen any book I would warn you off from, either - not even those by Communists. One very good one about a particular period is Hans Baron, The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance, but even that is not exempt from criticism.

5) Describe the worst book you've ever read.
5)I can think of two candidates for that illustrious position. One would be the anthropology textbook by Roy Wagner, Lethal Speech, whose title is unconsciously ironic, since I feel sure that undergraduates have died trying to make sense of it. I once mentioned Roy Wagner to my former teacher, a most kindly and benevolent person, who volunteered the opinion that the man (whom he had met) was insane. The other would be Gloriana by Michael Moorcock, a piece of literary bombast whose basic core idea is that murderers make good politicians and rapists make good husbands. Dishonourable mention for Orientalism by Edward Said, a vile piece of propaganda that has poisoned the minds of two generations of undergraduates.


[personal profile] dustthouart asked:

1. Have you ever had a pet?
1)No. My family lived in a succession of flats, and besides my mother had been scared by a dog when a small child.

2. What first introduced you to Harry Potter?
2)I just started reading all these stories about this brilliant children's book written by this single mother in Edinburgh...

3. If I could only visit one place in Italy, where would you recommend?
3)Venice. Rome is thunderously magnificent, and there is no place in Italy that is not beautiful (almost), but Venice will break your heart.

4. If I could only visit one place in Britain, where would you recommend?
4)Cambridge. Or one of the really exquisite villages.

5. Do you plan to live in Britain the rest of your life?
5)I never make long-term plans.

[profile] soavezefiretto asked:

1.) Top nr.1 all-time desert-island favorite book? (I ask everyone, I know. I am obsessed with books.)
1)Shakespeare complete works, or Dante, or the Bible.

2.) Book you recently read that impressed you the most.
2)Julien Benda - La trahison des clercs (1946 edition)

3.) Top nr.1 all-time desert-island favorite piece of music (song, opera, orchestral piece, whatever.)
3)Hard to say. According to which one I have heard last, it can be Beethoven, Schubert, Bach, Verdi, Bruce Springsteen, you name it. The greatest musical experience I ever had was the 1936 Toscanini and The Philadelphia Orchestra version of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, which, infuriatingly, appears to be unavailable today.

4.) Have you ever lived in Italy? How did you end up in Britain?
4)Bawn'n'bred, miss, bawn'n'bred. I ended up in Britain because my parents did not trust the Italian educational system in the late 1970s, and I stayed for a blue-eyed, brown-haired reason who married the other guy.

5.) Where do you work? (If that's not too nosy, if it is, I'll think of another one.)
5)At home as a translator.

More as they come.

Date: 2008-06-11 09:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] affablestranger.livejournal.com
1. Name someone you might like to meet, just for the sake of the conversation, whom you think you may not like when and if you do, just the conversation (or debate) would be good.

2. What is the best pasta dish there is?

3. Describe the current state of the 'popular media' as it appears to you.

4. If you could go back in time and smack a leader on the back of the head, just because they should've had it done back then, who would it be?

5. Tell me three things that happened to you yesterday.

Date: 2008-06-11 10:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fpb.livejournal.com
1)Katharine Hepburn. I had my doubts about her since I heard that she worked in the Wallace campaign in 1948, but she still looked and sounded unique.
2)Fresh tomato, garlic, olive oil and herbs.
3)Let me put it this way: twenty years ago I thought it could not get worse.
4)If it did any good - Mussolini. If he had not started the fad for uniforms and militias, we just might have been spared a lot.
5)I broke some plate glass. I watered a couple of plants. I found that I did not have enough money to pay the rent.

Date: 2008-06-11 10:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] affablestranger.livejournal.com
Mmmm. Pasta. I like mine unfancily adorned as well.

Date: 2008-06-11 10:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] helixaspersa.livejournal.com
Interesting you choose Venice. My Nuisance Ex has just bought a flat there, so I suppose he would agree with you. I've never been though. (Nor to Rome, shamefully.)

Date: 2008-06-11 10:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fpb.livejournal.com
I have been to Venice three times as a child, and I still do not have the words to describe the sense of excitement as you got there and the total uniqueness of the experience. The place is overrun with tourists, of course, but even so it is something that, if you do not see, you never will understand; not even in photographs or video.

Date: 2008-06-12 02:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eliskimo.livejournal.com
Venice is unique and Venice is heartbreaking. Still, I could go back to Venice again. I would tomorrow if I had the means. There are days when I question if I could ever return to Prague...

Date: 2008-06-11 11:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stigandnasty919.livejournal.com
Some Questions

1. Do you enjoy writing fan fiction as much or more than reading or watching the original inspiration?

2. Have comics had an influence on your political and social views, or do you think your views inform your reading of comics?

3. As a translator I presume you 'think' in a number of different languages. Are there concepts in one language that are literally 'unthinkable' in another. Not a question about you, but one that has interested me for a long time and you are probably the only person I know who could make an attempt at an answer.

4. Who has had the greatest influence on the development of your world-view?

5. What do you find most frustrating about internet discussions?

Date: 2008-06-11 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fpb.livejournal.com
1.Hard to tell. I do get a rush when a story is really well made, but I also did every time I saw a new episode of Buffy or HP.
2.It certainly strengthened my contempt for establishment views. After the experience of Kirby, Miyazaki, Sergio Toppi, Moebius, or George Herriman, I had no time either for the average movie critic hack using "comic-book" as a term of abuse or for comics fans with inferiority complexes. To the people who spoke of comics as against "the real world", I used to answer that "the real world" included The Sun.
3. Absolutely. One that I have thought a lot about is the Italian adverb of time ormai, which cannot be rendered in English. In terms of pure time, it means by this time, but it has an emotional content - of regret, lost opportunity, "it's too late now" - for which I can think of no English equivalent.
4. Two men, Karl Popper and Georges Dumezil.
5. The same as real-life: people who get "bored" and change the subject when they are losing.

Date: 2008-06-12 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eliskimo.livejournal.com
my parents did not trust the Italian educational system in the late 1970s

Interesting. My parents were told not to trust the Italian educational system in the mid-80's, so I took correspondence courses from Canada. I regret it to this day. I think my Italian would been a lot better if they had let me go to school. Even if the system was broken, I was still would have been an quasi-autodidact seeing as I read so voraciously, and I think I would have turned out OK.

Date: 2008-06-12 10:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fpb.livejournal.com
Ah, but then my going to Britain resulted in my speaking English (and German), which I would never have managed even in a decent Italian school.

Date: 2008-06-13 11:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] headnoises.livejournal.com
And since you lot do not know each other and you may all be curious about me (I'm so vain), here are a few, with my answers.

Hon, we all read the blog, we care about you; I can't imagine anyone being a long-term reader and NOT caring.

Date: 2008-11-07 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] expectare.livejournal.com
Would you be willing to go into why you disapprove of Orientalism in more detail? I think I'm supposed to read it.

Date: 2008-11-07 12:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fpb.livejournal.com
You'll find out. If your instincts are half as good as I think they are, you will see its flaws within a few pages. One thing its other critics have not pointed out, but which particularly disgusted me, is that the book moves under false premises. It struck me particularly because I was interested in India; and this is a book that claims to be about "Orientalism" - a supposedly ideologized Western approach to "the Orient" - but in fact it never seemed to stray away from the Islamic world. India, China, Japan, and minor cultures, might as well not exist. So in effect what claims to be an attack on culture imperialism performs a particularly pernicious feat of culture imperialism of its own - talking as though Islam were the one and only non-Western "Oriental" culture.

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