Skip to comments.A rant on this asinine Mussolini non-scandal
Posted on 02/29/2016 2:25:59 PM PST by Claud
So Alex Pareene at Gawker "proved" Donald Trump is a complete idiot right? The political enemies of Donald Trumpleft and right--are all rushing to social media to tell us that.
"Ha ha!! Donald Trump you dunce .retweeting a Fascist slogan!"
Folks, if this story proves anything, it's that some Millennial pundits, their closets bursting to gravitational collapse with shiny participation trophies since they first lisped their names in nursery school, are under a psychotically self-absorbed delusion that they understand history better than anyone else who ever lived. Including the people who were there at the time. Andthis is an even worse sinthey are congenitally incapable of even looking up the facts in question.
About this "Mussolini" phrase. This phrase, yes, was picked up by the Fascists and used as a slogan. It's not hard to see why it appealed to Il Duce's bullies, in an era of political strong men commanding battalions of street thugs, rather than simpering Pajama Boys heroically leading their domestic longhaired life companions into a Glorious New Dawn of Hipsterism.
But the intellectually curious person must still wonder--where did the phrase actually come from?
Anyone who can read Italian, or who is so positively brimming with self-esteem that they just know they can read Italian, just take a gander at this:
"La storiografia ufficiale durante il "Ventennio" la presentò come scritta dalla mano di un anonimo fante carico di amore per la Patria invasa. Tale soldato rimase ignoto fino al 1931 quando, in una lettera, l'ex zappatore del 1° battaglione del 201° Reggimento Fanteria, Bernardo Vicario, sostenne di aver tracciato la scritta dettatagli da un suo superiore, il maggiore Carlo Rivoli, sulla parete interna di una locanda, alle ore 19 del 14 giugno 1918, esattamene otto ore prima dell'inizio della Battaglia del Solstizio durante la quale il suo battaglione venne sterminato dalle artiglierie austroungariche."
Basically, Benito Mussolini himself--and here let me use the kind of cutesy made-up expressions that are within the increasingly narrow safe space of millennial political writers--only "retweeted" this slogan. It was first scrawled on the interior wall of an Italian inn by a soldier in June of 1918, 8 hours before the Austro-Hungarian artillery pounded that inn into rubble during the Battle of the Piave River. A slogan that, seems to me, was not much more than a bunch of men bucking themselves up before all hell was about to break loose.
The Battle of the Piave River ended up repelling an Austrian invasion at a very high cost to human lifewell over 100,000 dead or woundedbut resulted in a decisive Italian victory.
The wall with the slogan written on it still stood after the battle you can see a photo of it surrounded by rubble in the source above. And much like the steel cross pulled out of the wreckage of the Twin Towers, it served as a symbol of hope and defiance amidst the shocking brutality of the most terrible war the world had yet known. In 1923 the inscribed wall was incorporated into a military shrine where it is still preserved and displayed to this day.
But the facts of this slogan are also prominently given in Wikipedia....in English. To get there, it just takes three little steps of logic like so:
1) Mussolini was Italian
2) the phrase must've originally been in Italian
3) if I look for the original, I can find out where it came from.
You want to do number 3, of course, because the Intertubes are full of hacks who don't give a fat crap about y'know reality ..if they can score a political point or two. This pertains especially to historical quotes--modern editors who care about the truth must get used to doing extra fact checking and vetting them for accuracy. So here, Let Me Google That For You.
First result? The very first result that comes up in Google??
"Today, to the Italian public two mottos recall the battle: those written as graffiti upon broken walls of destroyed rural houses: "E' meglio vivere un giorno da leone che cent'anni da pecora" ("[It] is better to live one single day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep") and "Tutti eroi! O il Piave o tutti accoppati" ("Everyone a hero! Either (we hold) the Piave, or let all of us get killed"). The two pieces of wall are preserved in the military shrine of Fagarè della Battaglia, a frazione of San Biagio di Callalta."
This phrase, whatever use it may have been put to in the Fascist era, was originally simply a steely defense of his homeland by, apparently, a farmer-turned-soldier who was at that moment being targeted by a ferocious enemy artillery barrage. Its message? Hold the Piave river, or die trying. It was then, and is still now, a symbol of Italian heroism and patriotism.
Patriotism? Oh, sorry, my bad, I forgot they dropped that concept for mandatory LBGTQRß∏ Studies back when you were a precocious young kid in the reeducation camp. Basically, patriotism means filial love of country. Remember that thing your Poly Sci professors were sneering about, in between bouts of turning purple and sputtering with rage when some young upstart correctly pointed out that Mussolini was a socialist? Yeah, that.
Bottom line is this. The writer that Forbes called "ferociously smart and biting" (way to go Forbes) just blithely assumed that his impeccable historical understanding of the Italian Fascist period would naturally be confirmed 100% by the facts. Because, don't you know, history is always exactly what progressives assume it is!! Amazing how that works out!!
So, armed with the best combination of ignorance and hubris his generation had to offer, he tried to take down a leading Presidential candidate by associating him with a hated ideology. Mr. Pareene apparently counted on legions of vacuous flapping gums--none of whom have any intellectual curiosity either but who could smell a TV camera at the bottom of the Adriatic--to support him in this stunt without reservation, without question. And he was largely right about that.
Except said editor was too full of himself to actually find out where that quote really came from and what it really meant. A fatal, fatal mistake.
So in the end, Pareene, with all the ham-fisted, clumsy unreason of a political hack-n-slasher and none of the circumspect caution of a seasoned historian, basically tried to impute guilt by association. An association that tries to tie Trump to....curiously....not the former dictator himself, nor his ideology, but merely a universal truism of human nature. "Trump loves his country! Benito Mussolini loved his country too! Trump eats spaghetti alla Carbonara! So did Mussolini! Trump is a Fascist! Quod erat demonstrandum!"
And doubtless now, Pavlovian leftists and the soi-disant intelligentsia are parading around on Facebook parroting this phony outrage of the week and sneering in prudish superiority over....what....exactly? A statement by an Italian soldier that it is sometimes better to be brave and risk death than live a long life as a coward? A statement that has been echoed since the dawn of history in the hearts of soldiers and civilians and every single person who stared down a mugger, a bear, or cancer?
Now Trump must apologize? Trump disavow? Trump backtrack?
No Alex, you apologize. You backtrack. You are supposed to be the editor here. You aren't relentlessly barraged to give press replies off the cuff but actually have the time to put together an argument, research it, publish it, and make sure your case can stand up to scrutiny.
And that's exactly where you spectacularly failed as an editor. Like some jihadi wired up on Captagon but with more frenetic energy and vitriol than sense, you plopped an IED in the road to take out The Great Satan and only blew yourself into pink mist in the process. You strode out from Gath decked out in the best armor and laughing at your opponent, only to end up intellectually dispatched with your own sword.
And you called Trump an idiot. Well guess what then, my friend.....you just got bested by an idiot. Because he's right. You're wrong. His position accurately reflects where that phrase came from and how it is still used today. Yours doesn't.
Anyone who wants to play this ridiculous association game can play it way better than you. Mussolini was the editor in chief of a leftist rag called Avanti. You are the editor in chief of an even more asinine leftist rag called Gawker. Hmmm....sorta makes a guy wonder, don't it? Do please say hi to Clara Petacci, and tell her to stay away from gas stations.
Next time you are tempted by that perverse journalists' paraphilia of deriving unnatural pleasure from "taking down" a Republican Presidential candidate, do your homework and read some history first. And for the sake of your own soul, lose that damnable smugness and imperious arrogance. Like all irrational hatred, it poisons your reason. If Trump's head is as empty as you say, then why are you making your living gnawing on it day and night without end like some modern-day Count Ugolino in the Ninth Circle of Hell? Maybe Forbes was right after all about the "biting" part.
No one in the sycophantic media is going to say this, but I will, because heaven help me despite my spitting nails over your stunt right now, I was young and dumb once myself and I actually want you to do the right thing with your life.
So grow up, stop listening to those dimwits who don't know the difference between snark and wit, and do the job you are getting paid for. Be an editor--a professional, serious one who knows how to investigate stories and check facts. Print some factual, verifiable, and well-corroborated information on Trump and other candidates that the rest of us of whatever political stripe can actually use to choose a President. Political bent notwithstanding, I might even read Gawker once in a while if that were to happen.
And if you and other folks in journalism learn nothing else this presidential season, don't ever ever arrogate to yourselves the role of unprincipled political assassin unless you want to drive your countrymen into the very arms of the guy you are trying to bring down.
I read Italian fairly well.
So it was easy enough to look up, in Italian.
The author of the line was Ignazio Pisciotta, an officer of Bersaglieri, serving as a staff officer at the Piave in 1918. He wrote the original grafitti. So on its face its Mussolini’s only at second hand.
However its not that simple. Mussolini, a veteran, led what amounted to a veterans movement, filled with, especially, ex-elite soldiers like the Arditi. A lot of the Great War military culture made its way into the fascist movement, including much of the wartime propaganda, and for that matter Italian fascism wasn’t much more than 19th century fanatical Italian nationalism-irredentism on steroids and out of patience.
This was a very common slogan of the regime, in fact it became a popular Italian saying. So its hard to say that there isn’t a fascist connection.
Of course the really silly thing is that people think anything of it. They quote Napoleon all the time, and he was a much nastier man than Mussolini.
VERY well done!
People forget Mussolini was on the side of the Allies before he switched to Hitler. Mussolini was one of the “negotiators” who agreed to the Munich Accords right along with Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain and F. Daladier of France. I wonder if we would still hear all this noise about Mussolini if he hadn’t been bought off by Hitler.
Politics makes strange bedfellows. Stalin was only on the side of the Allies AFTER he was betrayed by Hitler in Operation Barbarossa.....Hitler’s invasion of Russia.
Um...did I say it was simple? Did I say there wasn’t a Fascist connection? I am saying the opposite. It didn’t start life as a Fascist quote, and it isn’t hanging in the shrine to this day as a Fascist quote.
My point is that there WAS a Fascist connection, just one based on common patriotism and not any of the Fascist distinctives.
By the way, I think your characterization of Fascism not being “much more than” 19th century patriotism on steroids completely misses the socialism/statism aspect.
The prosecution rests.
Hitler and Bernie called themselves “socialist” and that doesnt seem to bother the press at all
Because they can’t admit that a national socialist is not really all that far removed from an international one.
So all socialists are Nazis because Hitler led the National Socialist Party, right? That is, if you follow the “logic” of the left.
Oh, Rupert Pupkin said it better and more succinctly:
Better to be King for a day than schmuck for a lifetime!
Recently revised Tagline...
To the surprise of nobody, Mussolini relied on platitudes rather than original thought.
Nothing wrong with platitudes if they are accurate, but one shouldn’t attribute them to recent users of them.
Unless Trump knew it was a famous Mussolini quote(which is unlikely)and decided to retweet it anyway, this is nothing.
Obama actually used Mao’s “The great leap forward “) when he ran and everybody inc. Romney basically said it was harmless and we shouldn’t associate the slogan with the man ( who was the biggest mass murderer in history ) !
Being a student of history you know but many are unaware that Mussolini stopped Hitler on his first attempt to invade Austria.
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