Don’t let the homeless fool you. There’s no shortage of housing. Yet, wherever you look, Italians are looking to sell their properties. In cities like Turin, it’s practically a firesale. Suffering from two decades of decline, incurred by the policies of successive Berlusconi governments, the Eurozone crisis simply compounded what was an already catastrophic economic situation, pushing millions out of their homes. (More…)

The unfinished project of Enlightenment has been traversing an especially dark stretch of forest lately. From restrictions on traditional Muslim clothing, to strong resistance to the building of mosques and Islamic cultural centers, much of Europe has seen a sharp rise of what might be called intolerance of intolerance. (More…)

If only it were fog. One of the Po Valley’s best known winter-time features, there’s good reason to suspect as much. However, for anyone who has lived in the region for a year or more will tell you, the two are easily distinguishable. Thick, with only a few feet of visibility, the fog can make driving, especially at night, particularly hazardous. The haze, on the other hand, is more porous. You can still see through it, and at certain times a day, it’s even pretty. (More…)

Everyone likes street art. Where there’s a mural, chances are, there’s someone taking a picture. Given the decline of music as a counter-cultural idiom (at least a mass one) it seems like eyes are focused on visuals. At least those with something to say. Considering the depressing political climate of the past decade, at least there’s a heart still beating, somewhere in the arts. (More…)

Few austerity measures make a society feel more vulnerable than education spending cuts. Whether exacted on a federal or local level, the consequences tend to be the same: a lessening of opportunities for young people, and a heightening of class differences between those who can afford to pay for their schooling, and those who cannot. (More…)

Non-fiction is too narrow. That is, if you believe that the only narrative for progressive publishing is investigative journalism. Emphasize the first person, or adopt a memoir-like approach, and you become untouchable, the stuff of trade publishing, and public radio confessionals. Literary non-fiction? Too bourgeois. Poetry? It’s feminist, right? (More…)

The slogan sounds so good that it’s hard, at first, to register its strangeness: “We are all Edward Snowden.” Consider how many people had access to the same information he did, whether at the NSA or the private contractor where he was employed. But only he made it public. (More…)

The consensus is clear. Middle Eastern equals conservative. So Westerners have come to assume after decades of politically over-determined news coverage, and militaristic foreign policy posturing, by the United States and its allies following the Iranian Revolution. The assumption is universal. Even Israel is subject to this distortion, albeit for different reasons, stemming from its conflict with the Palestinians. (More…)

The criticisms were familiar. If you didn’t know the article was published in Der Spiegel, you’d have thought it was The Economist. All the same themes were present: Italy is approaching failed state status. Government policies are mired in the past. Businesses are eschewing manufacturing for services. Corruption is rampant.  Mario Monti is the country’s only hope. (More…)

English used to be synonymous with tourism. Visit any European city, and the chances were, if you saw something written in English, it was aimed at foreigners. Or, depending on where you were, American forces stationed in the area. Particularly in Germany, which boasted amongst the largest concentrations of US forces stationed abroad during the Cold War. (More…)

If only we could blame Berlusconi. In the most widely-reported incident of an Italian politician making racist remarks since Il Cavaliere called Obama “suntanned,” Roberto Calderoli, vice president of Italy’s Senate, likened Cécile Kyenge, the country’s first black cabinet minister, to an orangutan. As many newspapers have reported, it’s not the first time that a legislator from the Lega Nord has made such a remark. (More…)

The solidarity flyer seemed apropos. A stone’s throw from the Mole Antonelliana,  the 19th century tower dominates Turin’s skyline, evocative, in some ways, of the Dome of the Rock. Originally conceived as a synagogue, it’s difficult to disconnect the Mole from its religious intent, despite the fact that it was never used as such. (More…)