Somehow, my first day of the year 2005 ends on the second day of the year, and with the following quote on my mind, from The third man:
"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they have brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cockoo clock."
I always thought this quote to be great, but today I don't really think it's that great. I think it's too demagogical, too cool in a superficial and even irresponsible way. Somehow, artists like Orson Wells want their work to be more than a simple intellectual entertainment, and they want to describe it as the product of an era, the depiction of a society or whatever you want to think of. Artists that think being on the ethical and well-behaving part of the society is too nice and beautiful, and definitely not "artistic". They need evil, they need sadness, they need misery: it's like the poet who thinks only suffering can be transmitted through poetry. That only suffering is of artistic value. And thus they need to create a dramatic character out of themselves.
Is the quote valid today? I think we sort of changed our way of thinking. Maybe because nowadays we can witness everyday the outcomes of a period like the one of the Italy of the Borgias. We witness terror, wars, crime and misery everyday on TV; we witness everyday the personal dramas that emerge from this situations, we know personal stories of a mother that lost her son and husband after a bomb targeted their home. No, the Italy of the Borgias is today something terribly present, not just a distant period of ancient Europe. I know I don't make my point very clear, I know I can write what I'm writing in a better way, sorry I'm tired. I go to bed, just take the thought and try to create out of it something better in your minds.