Religion, sex and money: the hedonism of scandal

Some of you reading the title of this post may think that I am referring to the most hedonistic prime minister in the world: Silvio Berlusconi and his adventures with teenagers as well as professional, and well paid, escorts. Yet, I am actually referring to another, less known and less publicized, case which has been taking place in Australia since May 2009. A quite unknown filmmaker has decided to sponsor his new ideas through the ever- successful use of blasphemy.


The filmmaker Justin Sisely wishes to produce a ‘documentary’ that will follow two virgins (one male and female) as they auction their virginity to unknown bidders. To succeed in his attempt, he, of course, needs certified virgins. Today, as we know, (at least in the ‘Western’ hemisphere) this is not a simple task, and to find two who are willing to prostitute their first intercourse is probably even harder. Continue reading

A real Orwellian story

Few British newspapers, and even less European, have reported the Orwellian plans of Brown’s increasingly illegitimate (and barely democratic) government for a 2008 version of Big Brother’s 1984. The main idea is to collect the largest database in the world though logging all the communications (from old phone to the Internet) of Her Majesty’s Subjects. A massive government database holding details of every phone call, e-mail and time spent on the internet by the public will be held in the most ‘secure’ place: the British Home Office. Of course, the reason behind this massively expensive, and entirely futile, database is to save us from terrorism….or isn’t it?The only way to know if the New Labour government is really fighting terrorism or transforming itself into a party of Orwellian magnitude is to check its record before the word terrorism possessed the ascetic face of the evergreen (nearly immortal, and surely elusive) Osama. Continue reading

And if Hitler were born in America?

Few people, both in the US and in the rest of the world, may know that the US has had its own Nazi Party, which under other different names (such as the Social Revolutionary Party) is still very active. I do not have statistics about how many Americans read or have read Mein Kampf, and even less knowledge about how many may have been influenced directly or indirectly by its ideas. Often I have heard the argument that Hitler, despite his charisma, would have never succeed in reproducing in the US what he created in Germany. This argument, in other words, suggests that something exquisitely German existed in the formation and ascension of the Nazi delirium. As an anthropologist, I have my strong reservations about this suggestion. Continue reading

Spencerdanism: A new cult?

Finally Mr Spencer has answered my questions, of course in Spencer’s style, despite his traditional protestation and much crocodile tears, sees a great degree of victimization, demonization of the ‘enemy’, and manipulation of others’ viewpoints. Yet this post is not about Spencer’s answers, which in any case you can read and draw your own conclusions about. It is not about his lack of humour, and his self-centric business related, attitude. It is more about the kind of people who seem to orbit around him.

Indeed, due to such a reality, it becomes impossible to have any serious (or even humorous) discussion with him. You can read the slandering comments by his supporters posted on his post about me (with some comments lacking humour and sounding more like a jihadist-style rant), and the hundreds that I have received on my blog: some unpublished because of the vulgarity within them, and others which have even included, more or less serious death-threats.

I am an anthropologist, and as such I am fascinated by the situation. I may have discovered a new cult: Spencerdanism. Continue reading

Stop the word, save the world

Sometimes reading an Italian newspaper can provide you with news that otherwise would remain unnoticed in the more globalized Anglo-Saxon mainstream mass media. This is particularly true when the guy in the spotlight is an Italian professor and lawyer, who today is the Vice President of the European Commission, Prof. Franco Frattini. Frattini is certainly not a Google supporter. In different cases, he has criticised the company and their policies. Of course, Google is certainly not a paladin of privacy at all, and the way in which it manages the billions of data and information about us makes it a bit Big Brotherish. Prof. Frattini, who is the commissioner responsible for Freedom, Security and Justice, is a cybersceptic and this is certainly not something unusual for Italian politicians. Not unusual is also the Italian, and increasingly EU, tradition of suggesting ridiculous solutions to serious issues. Continue reading

Collateral damage in the Wars on Terror: between Afghanistan and Glasgow

I left a raining London on the 28th of June. London was busy as usual, noisy as usual, and multicultural and multifaith as usual. While the nation greeted the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London, an increasing number of civilians in Afghanistan were killed and maimed by the increasingly ruthless ISAF attacks. Even President Hamid Karzai, surely one of the most passionate supporters of the coalition forces, and certainly not a Taliban sympathizer, strongly condemned the military actions which have terrorised and killed the civilians in the north of the country. News from Afghanistan attracted little attention for the Western audience.

Continue reading

The Cyber-Crusader Knights of the Beeb

Are you bored? Is the latest gadget not anymore attractive? Has your girlfriend just left you for your best friend? Are you addicted to the Internet so much that you are now unemployable? Well, do not worry, you can become a member of Vigil, a cyber-crusader group which hunts web-terrorists! Fun is guaranteed and you may even become one of the greatly esteemed ‘Knights of the Beeb‘. Yes, we are speaking of grown-up children playing something like cyberspace “Cops and Robbers”. But let me start from the beginning. Continue reading