Venice: Whoring for Culture

Do you like advertising on your historic monuments?

Folks in Venice are outraged. Adverts for expensive items cover their cultural heritage. Temporarily, it is hoped.

Francesco da Mosto was spitting with fury. “Venice,” he said, “has put its dignity up for sale.” The architect-turned-presenter of a string of popular TV series was commenting on the giant hoardings put up in some of the most aesthetically sensitive parts of his native city. ~ Outrage in Venice as giant ads smother cultural jewels

bologna pictureNow, for you in the US, you might need to know that the word “hoarding” might not mean what you think. In medieval times, a hoarding was a temporary wooden structure put around the ramparts during a siege so that soldiers could better defend the base of the castle. Thus, in this context, a hoarding is that unfortunate mesh that covers the scaffolding around a building you wanted desperately to see. Just a few years ago these hoardings were decorated exactly like the building underneath so you could get some idea of what was below the skin. In today’s troubled times, they are covered in ads, like in the picture.

Ok, so I deplore the (Mussolini’s) “corporate state” mentality that’s got us into this economic mess as much as the next reasonable individual, but you know what? Scaffolding is ugly. Ads for Rolex are ugly. Its pretty much a wash. And if the Rolex boys are prepared to give money toward the restoration of some bit of cultural heritage, well, that’s something anyway.

Whoring for culture. I never thought I’d be the one to say it’s ok. Of course, I wish we’d take half the money we currently use for war and dedicate it to cultural heritage so this sorta thing wasn’t necessary—but culture, in this dreary environment, is pretty near the first thing sacrificed. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is sad.

Besides, just gaze at the picture up there and think of the education that group of school children in Bologna is getting.

Venice: Whoring for Culture originally appeared on , updated: Jan 23, 2021 © .

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