|The hero Theseus giving Procrustes a taste of his own medicine|
Considering my similar appreciation for German culture, he could have just as easily called me a Teutonophile; or for that matter a Hispanophile, Anglophile, Hellenophile, ad infinitum. “Stick to southern Italy,” he demanded, “I’m not interested in that French s#%t.” Since our content has been broad ranging from the beginning, I’m not sure what specifically brought on this latest infantilized outburst, especially at a time when people should be socially distancing themselves. Needless to say our critic didn’t appreciate my remedy for his problem: Stop visiting our site. If you’re not interested in what we have to say or you don’t like what we’re doing you can just stop coming; no one is forcing you to read our material or participate in our events. Good luck trying to find something you agree with completely.
Funny enough, even I don’t agree with everything that appears on our site. Barring a few egregious submissions, erstwhile guest-bloggers were given a platform to freely express their views without being harassed, at least by us. Despite the differences, we never asked any past contributor to stop writing; they each disengaged on their own accord. Even though we have been open to different opinions in the past, quite frankly, we are no longer willing to squander any more time or resources (proof reading, fact checking, editing, etc.) on contributors who aren’t on board with our mission. They already have innumerable outlets to share their viewpoints; they don’t need ours as well. Besides, they never afford us the same courtesy, so we finally put that ineffectual approach to rest.
Constructive criticism and feedback are always welcome, and to be sure we get plenty of it; however, we don’t take orders from our readers, especially disrespectful ones. We have no problem with good-natured ribbing or passionately discussing and debating talking points in cafés and beer halls, but incivility and nutters will not be tolerated. More discriminating now, the more easily offended are just going to have to cope with our editorial choices. If we lose a few readers because of it, so be it. We are not running a popularity contest.
I am very proud of my Duosiciliano heritage, and heaven knows there is plenty to be proud of; however, this doesn’t mean I don’t value aspects of other cultures as well. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m more interested in traditional guiding principles (faith, family, culture) than petty tribal loyalties (collectivism). We have no qualms with cultural exchange as long as it complements and strengthens our own ancient and revered way of life. For example, I feel a certain esprit de corps with Vilfredo Pareto, Joseph de Maistre, and, if I may be so bold, Giuseppe Sarto, aka Pope St. Pius X, among others. Am I suppose to dismiss them simply because they’re not Southern Italian? What utter rubbish. By the same token, just because Antonio Gramsci, Tommaso Campanella, and Giordano Bruno are southern Italians doesn’t mean I subscribe to their utopian worldview or pseudo-scientific falsehoods.
Sadly, too many are hung up on old hatreds and rivalries, some to an incredibly appalling degree. I recall once being chided for venerating Sant’Antonio da Padova because, of all things, he was “Northern Italian!” His widespread popularity in Southern Italy and the universality of the saints aside, the fact that St. Anthony was actually Portuguese fell on deaf ears. Far from an isolated incident, plenty of others have given me grief for similar trifles too numerous to mention here. I said it before and I’ll say it again, I harbor no ill will or animosity to our Northern neighbors, or to any others for that matter.
Clearly, I’m not saying we should forget the past and ignore historic transgressions; for example, villainous figures like Enrico Cialdini, Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, and Cesare Lombroso, are irredeemable, but we certainly need to resolve our differences and quickly, especially when you consider that we all have bigger fish to fry today. The Occidental world is in complete moral decline. Nihilism reigns, the liberal West’s materialist uniformity (globalism) and virulent secularism are in the ascendant. Assailed from within and without, the remnants of Christendom can ill afford to remain in the current state of disarray.
With all due respect to our critical friends, we will continue to celebrate the West’s shared patrimony, especially its High Culture, albeit with an emphasis on the Two Sicilies. In the meantime, stop trying to fit us into your narrow box. If I want to write about my childhood heroes Jacques-Yves Cousteau, St. Jeanne d’Arc, and the “Red Baron,” Manfred von Richthofen, I will. The same goes for anything else that catches my fancy. The heroic ideals evinced in the Song of Roland, the Poem of the Cid, and the Matter of Britain, not to mention the epics of Homer and Virgil, capture the imagination and speak to the soul as much as Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, Basile’s Pentamerone, Vico’s New Science, and Aquinas’ Summa Thelogiae. This also holds true for Beethoven’s symphonies, Botticelli’s paintings, Chaucer’s poetry, Vanvitelli’s architecture, and all the other greats of the Western Canon. If you can’t discern this, that’s on you.
~ Giovanni di Napoli, March 31, Feast of St. Balbina of Rome
(1) Procrustes was an unhinged Attic highwayman who coerced unsuspecting travelers to lie on an iron bed and made them fit it by painfully stretching or amputating their limbs. Fittingly, he was killed in like manner by the Greek hero Theseus.