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Rome’s Talking Statues to be Silenced?

Filed under: Creative Activism

Protesting a Bit Too Much in Rome?
by W.J. Elvin III
May 12, 2009

462535-pasquino-200A tidy-up campaign in Rome intends to halt the centuries-old tradition of posting satirical protest notes on six “talking statues” around the city. Begun when rulers restricted public speech, the tradition continues today with nasty notes that go up under cover of night. The notes often ridicule the antics of celebrity Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Other targets include dignitaries of the Church and societal elite.

The notes will be removed and the statues fenced off. While the project might seem, to anyone with a lick of sense, doomed to fail, authorities have concocted a brilliant tactic to counter any recurrence of the protests. They plan a web site where people can express their feelings freely. Hey, that”™s gonna work.

It will probably work as well as efforts to stop the posting of love notes on the wall below the balcony at Shakespearian heroine Juliet”™s house in Verona. Despite a ban put in force five years ago, the love notes are still posted, stuck to the wall with bubble gum. What next? They’ll probably tell people to stop rubbing the right breast of Juliet”™s statue. That’s a popular custom thought to bring luck in love.