Bear and I just returned from Rome a few days ago, where we hung out with Gashwin, Pietro, and Giuseppe . When Bear and I are overseas, we usually spend our downtime watching BBC News. Our room in the Hotel Columbus, however, had a limited number of channels. After a momentary lapse into catatonic schizophrenia when I realized that I couldn't get my favorite fix - I frickin' need 24/7 news, okay?! - Bear and I started to flip through the channels.
You can complain about American television. I certainly do. But realize that the depths of its awfulness are nothing compared to those plumbed in Italy. Italian gameshows operate on the approximate intellectual level of an American third graders (we could answers the questions, and we don't speak Italian). Italian soap operas put Days of Our Lives to shame. Italian reality TV ... well, Americans might watch shows about transvestites, but at least Discovery Health doesn't show them naked.
In this vast desert of suck, however, one oasis sustained us. In Italy, MTV shows videos. So every morning and every night, Bear and I watched European music videos. All of the them appropriated the standard tropes established in America - with no understanding of what those signifiers meant. Hilarity ensued. Especially with Italian gangster rap. . Check out the Euros - not dollars - showering down from on high. And watch for the nun and the priest. Every good gangster rap video involves clergy.
Gangster rap nonwithstanding, Bear and I did find some great videos. My new favorite artist is Mika, a Lebanese transplant to Britain of seriously dubious sexuality. Sort of a pop-y Franz Ferninand with a healthy dose of exuberant Freddy Mercury. Check out my favorite video of his, Big Girl (You are Beautiful), which he wrote for his mom (awww), after he saw the prejudice she encountered over her size.
"Diet coke and a pizza please/ Diet Coke and I'm on my knees"
For the divorce of signified from sign coupled with Surf Wax America, Baustelle's Charlie Fa Surf. We can only assume that this means "Charlie Surfs", but it's far more hilarious than that. Baustelle's got a great beach-rock, Weezer feel. Plus their lead singer looks as awesome as only an Italian emo boy can.
The lyrics, as best as Babel Fish can tell me, somehow involve ET.
There's some other great videos not posted to youtube, including one that involves artful somberos, a revolution, and the revolt from the modern world. Finding it is now my Holy Grail ...