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Filemazio's words: Francesco Guccini and prophetic resistance.

   Io Filemazio,
   protomedico matematico astronomo,
   forse saggio,
   ridotto come un cieco a brancicare attorno. (2)

Can popular music foster political awareness? Can it accompany a revolution, usher in political action, or at least generate popular indignation? There are several examples of such phenomena--Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Sting all have influenced one of the above movements. Committed folk music of the 1960s and 1970s played a significant role in fostering political awareness against the Vietnam War. However, "musical movements" are not solely American phenomena, but encompass a Western tradition that began a few decades after the Second World War.

"Protest" folk singing was indeed present all over Europe in the 1960s and 1970s; its main influences included both American (Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Canadian Neil Young) and French interpreters (Jacques Brel (3) and Georges Brassens). Comparative studies across the Mediterranean are required, but it is evident how in the middle of the past century there were many cantautori operating in different languages and countries in Europe.

Notwithstanding the fact that the phenomenon was present in other Mediterranean countries, Italian musica cantautorale paid homage and primarily recognized only French and American influences. Such authors as Fabrizio De Andre, Roberto Vecchioni and Francesco Guccini reinvented a way of singing about life and political commitment. Today most of them would deny it, because the spirit of the time has significantly changed, but at the height of their popularity, they all sympathized with communism, (4) and professed some kind of individualist anarchism.

This essay will concentrate on the musical and lyrical production of Francesco Guccini and his political song writing, and provide a close reading of an almost forgotten song by Guccini "Nostra Signora dellTpocrisia," written around 1993. More than any other song of his vast canzoniere this piece reflects the spirit of his time and foreshadows future events that are still relevant in contemporary Italy. The question that this essay will attempt to answer is: what, if any, influence did "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" have on Italians during the crucial 1992-1993 period, or immediately after Tangentopoli? (5)

My analysis addresses these questions by examining Guccini's relevance in the political panorama as an iconic status; it then analyzes music's ability to rally consent or dissent in the political arena, specifically with regards to one of the most important (if ignored) of his political songs, "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia."

Guccini's Work

Guccini likes to define himself as a minstrel, un cantastorie and often, with a neologism of his own creation, un contastorie, a storyteller, making a rather erudite distinction between the two. (6) In his career he created countless political songs; "La locomotiva" (1972) is his best-known, which begins with "non so che viso avesse, neppure come si chiamava." (7) He took inspiration from old anarchist tunes that in the early 1900s recounted the story of anarchist Pietro Rigosi, a "macchinista ferroviere" (a locomotive operator). Written around 1970, the long ballad concluded each one of his concerts. It is a song full of pathos and rhetorical expressions, which Guccini links back to a whole tradition of anarchist songs: "essendo una canzone scritta cercando di imitare i vecchi autori anarchici, doveva necessariamente possedere piu di un grammo di retorica" (Non so che viso avesse 107).

The composition of this ballad, as told by Guccini, has become mythical itself. In several interviews he recounts that "La locomotiva" was bom in half an hour--while he wrote a verse he took notes for the following ones (Cotto 79). (8) He had heard Rigosi's story from his neighbour, Mr. Mignani, a retired cobbler who lived next door to him on Via Paolo Fabbri, in Bologna. "Mignani himself became one of the santi laid (9) that populate Guccini's personal pantheon. To him, he dedicated the song "Il pensionato" (1976)" (Jachia 143).

Guccini's earlier production includes two ballads on the tragedy of Nazi concentration camps. The first, written around 1965, is known either as "La canzone del bambino nel vento," or as "Auschwitz"(1979). Greatly influenced by Bob Dylan, it narrates in the first person the story of a nameless child who died in the holocaust.'"Guccini never licensed the song, which became famous because of the interpretation by "I Nomadi" in 1966.

Recently, Guccini's political orientation seems to have shifted towards a more generic political pacifism. These feelings were shared with another cantautore of his generation, Fabrizio de Andre, who expressed his pacifism in his classic "La guerra di Piero" (1964). In a similar vein, Guccini's 1995 song "Il caduto" (11) (1996) tells the story of a young man born in the Apennines who died as an unknown soldier and was buried in a snowy field, most likely during the Russian campaign. The unsung heroes are the Italian soldiers (12) from poor rural families, who fought and were killed in a remote land. All they ever knew were the familiar profile of their mountains and the miracle of the chestnut hiding inside its burr ("dal riccio il miracolo della castagna" (13)), which is the final metaphor of the song, implying regeneration and rebirth.

Whether he writes about Pietro Regosi, the child in the wind, or the unknown soldier, Guccini's art often interweaves micro and macro history. While representing aspects of the life of their author and being quite self-referential, his best songs effectively interpret the spirit of our time, as well as the spirit of the time they describe. This is both the case of "La locomotiva" and of the beloved "Bisanzio" (14) (1981). In that song, the protagonist and narrative voice is inspired by Byzantine historian Procopius of Cesarea, (15) who lamented the loss of culture and civilization at the time of Emperor Justinian I. (16)

Similarly, "Bisanzio" laments the demise of the Greco-Roman culture; the narrator is Filemazio, inspired by historian Procopius of Cesarea and by Guccini himself. He is fascinated by the passing of time, and by historical similarities; the long history and decadence of Byzantium allows him to reflect upon the decadence of his own time.

In a few, elliptical sentences, "Bisanzio" sketches the end of the Greco-Roman civilization in Justinian's time, just like Procopius, who, in The Secret History, denounced the corruption of the Byzantine court and the destruction of its civilized mores, because of the pressure of Goths and Aleman soldiers who had invaded the city (Nocera, 117-125).

Behind Guccini's poetic skills there exists an aspiration for a better future, a constant attention to word and verse, and a vigilant condemnation of the Italian ruling class. His political engagement transpires through some of his most committed ballads and, as is the case of "Bisanzio," through some of his most erudite pieces. A close examination of one of his less famous but most profound political songs, "Our lady of Hypocrisy," will reveal more about the meaning and extent of his political analysis and beliefs.

Other political folksingers, such as Fabrizio De Andre, were also aware of the importance of reflecting upon the changes in the Italian political landscape that took place in the 1990s. De Andre's reflections on the fall of the Berlin Wall and its aftermath are recorded in songs such as "La domenica delle salme,"(1990) (17) which predates Tangentopoli by a couple of years, but bears testimony of visible, dramatic changes in the Italian political atmosphere. Musicologist Mauro Pagani defines it as a

descrizione lucida e appassionata del silenzioso, doloroso e patetico colpo di Stato avvenuto intorno a noi senza che ci accorgessimo di nulla, della vittoria silenziosa e definitiva della stupidita e della mancanza di morale sopra ogni altra cosa. Della sconfitta della ragione e della speranza (Pagani 2005: 254).

Guccini rejected the idea that "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" might be similar to De Andre's "La domenica delle salme," but some cross-pollination must have happened, especially since they both make reference to the liturgical year. Other than that, "La domenica delle salme" speaks of Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, while "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" focuses more on the end of the Italian First Republic and Tangentopoli.

The loss of ideals and of identity among the Italian progressive parties generated a crisis that began at the fall of the Berlin wall and became more acute with the consequent collapse of the First Republic. "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia," was the most sarcastic and prophetic of all Guccini's political songs. He wrote it in 1993, one year after Tangentopoli, describing it as "un atto d'accusa contro Berlusconi e alcuni politici del tempo, oltre che nei confronti della televisione" (Antonellini 46; Pattavina 227). It is an intricate, complex composition that, besides being harshly satirical is also sadly perceptive; the points that the song made in the now remote 1993 have even more validity after two decades of political manipulation through the media.

Synopsis of "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia"

The complexity of the song comes from the juxtaposition of a number of different semantic levels, from the religious-liturgical "Nostra Signora" to the ethical and political "Dell'ipocrisia", from the historical to the satirical. Because of the complexity of the piece, it is useful to begin with a synopsis.

The piece is divided in four octaves, each one composed of quatrains; each octave represents one part of the liturgical year, from Ash Wednesday to Easter: End of Carnival, Ash Wednesday, Half-lent and Easter Sunday. These three liturgical and non-liturgical dates constitute the structure of the song.

It is appropriate to group each two quatrains in octave units, because each octave constitutes a narrative nucleus; even quatrains (quatrain 2, 4, 6, and 8) are sung one note higher. (See Figure 1)

The accompanying melody is a slow ballad that runs through the length of the song. From the point of view of the structure, the four sung parts are in a minor key, while the instrumental parts, performed respectively after the second, third and fourth stanza are in a major key. (See Figure 2)

Because of the song's gloomy atmosphere, ushered in by the Tangentopoli political scandals, the piece is, for the most part, in a minor key. However, to provide variation and to symbolize the end of atonement and the resurrection of free thought, the instrumental parts and the very end of the last stanza are in a major, and more upbeat key. Moreover, the last stanza is accompanied by a full orchestra along with organ music.

In the middle of the song one can also recognize the first bars of "Pomp and Circumstance," which in this case does not stand for celebration or graduation, but is likely to represent the United States (the NATO influence on Italian politics) without being as obvious as a more recognizable song like the American National Anthem. Guccini includes the first bars of "Pomp and Circumstance" (19) to remind the listener of the presence of American powers in this very Italian political and historical turning point. (20)

Like many songs by Guccini, the structure is symmetrical (and repetitive) --four rigid stanzas of eight lines without refrain. This repetitive structure requires some variation at the melodic and harmonic level, plus a variety of instruments that enter and exit the song. Considering that the minor tones are gloomier and the major are happier, Guccini uses a skillful interplay of instruments and words to promote the sense of the ominous passage between the First and the Second Republic without transforming the song into a funereal march.

The only variation to this scheme comes at the very end--an apotheosis of sorts. While in stanza one, two and three, the movements solve in major only in the instrumental, the cantata of the final stanza of the song is partly in major. In the fourth stanza, when Guccini sings that someone, quietly and silently went back to thinking ("torno a pensare"), that very phrase is sung in a major key, a reference to resurrection and the triumph of free thought.

On a narrative level, the structure of this song is based on the liturgical calendar of Lent, beginning with the end of Mardi Gras (not a part of the liturgy) and ending with resurrection on Easter Sunday. The fact that the scandals of Tangentopoli exploded in the spring of 1992, (21) that is, during Carnival, is probably not relevant. The song's liturgical frame symbolizes the deep Catholicism of Italian culture, (22) and the close connections between the Vatican and the Italian Government. (23) More importantly, "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" resembles a medieval sacred representation, similar to the representations of the evangelical text in medieval theater, which often focused on resurrection.

The song's thesis is that through an adroit usage of the media, the First Republic political establishment quickly metabolized the revolutionary forces that sparked Tangentopoli. In the midst of things, people felt elated by the possibilities ushered by the political transformations that seemed to be afoot. It took a specific amount of time (symbolically, the forty days of lent) before they realized that the changes occurring were insignificant and that political forces and governmental structures had remained the same.

The beginning of the song sketches a quick image of braying and grunting animals, the sad ending of the Carnival celebrations, (24) followed by the inevitable atonement of Lent. Scholars who studied Guccini, in particular Paolo Jachia and Federica Pegorin, read many of the compositions in Guccini's canzoniere in Bachtinian terms. Jachia contends that Guccini's production belongs to the Carnivalesque, both from a stylistic and a semantic point of view. Stylistically, Guccini mixes language registers, high and low-brow, while thematically proposing a vision of the world free of dogmatism and hierarchies. (25)

Stanza 1

The first stanza of the song is technically a hypotyposis, which immediately throws the listener in in medias res: "Alla fine della baldoria / c'era nell'aria un silenzio strano/ qualcuno ragliava con meno boria/ e qualcun altro grugniva piano." As Bachtin wrote, "The combination of human and animal traits is one of the most ancient grotesque forms" (316). This stanza describes the end of Mardi Gras, symbolically the end of the First Republic, that is, the regime led by the Christian Democrats that had governed Italy since the birth of the Republic in 1946. The animals grotesquely represent the politicians involved in the corruption and scandals; their arrogance diminished, they assumed a somber attitude, although they could not help revealing their grunting and braying nature.

In this modern bestiary the characters' performances are set against a haunting backdrop. While the ghost of Weimar is evoked on TV, a dense fog descends upon the land; the day after, people wake up "older and more tired, with a bitter taste in their mouths and a hangover headache." (26)

The second part of the first stanza continues the allegorical description of the somber ending of the First Republic: "alle sfilate degli stilisti / si trasgrediva con meno allegria / ed in quei visi sazi e stravisti / pulsava un'ombra di malattia." The faces of the politicians on trial appeared daily on TV. (27) In the second part of the stanza, Guccini introduces the world of television, as the glitterati attended the usual fashion shows, while the "party system" that they supported had been called to the defendant's bar.

In the following stanza Guccini identifies some of the players of this sacred representation. "Un artigiano di scoop forzati / scrisse che Weimar gia si scorgeva / e fra biscotti sponsorizzati / videro un anchorman che piangeva." With this precise allegory, Guccini reminds us of some of the protagonists of this tragedy. One could assume that the artisan of forced scoops might have been a journalist, but it was in fact Marco Pannella, then leader of the Radical Party, who in a debate with then Prime Minister Giovanni Spadolini said that Weimar was already there. Pannella successfully made a connection between the Italian crumbling party system and the Weimar Republic. He also anticipated a new 25th of April, that is, a new liberation day from the Italian "partycracy", based on a "systematic violation of the law." (28)

The crying anchorman should be identified with Emilio Fede, the director of two prominent news programs in Berlusconi's networks: "Studio aperto" (1991-1993) and "TG4" (1992-2012). Emilio Fede is famous, among Italian anchormen, for having been the strongest supporter of Silvio Berlusconi in his news broadcast. He was not known to cry on air before "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" appeared, however he spoke misty-eyed in 1994, on the occasion of Berlusconi's ascent to power; an uncanny example of Guccini's prophetic abilities.

At the end of the first stanza, meteorology is used as an extended metaphor to signal the perceived mood of the people, partly induced by soporific TV, partly by the confusion generated by the scandals: "e poi la nebbia discese a banchi / ed il barometre segno tempesta, / ci risvegliammo piu vecchi e stanchi, / amaro in bocca cerchio alia testa." This quatrain is technically an anticlimax, as the intensity of the narration diminishes to prepare the climax in the subsequent lines and verses.

Stanza 2

In the second stanza, the liturgical allegory evokes Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. "Il mercoledi delle ceneri / proclamarono bene o male / che la festa era ormai finita / ormai lontano il carnevale." Here Guccini describes, metaphorically, the elaborate atonement of the old caste, performing public rituals to save some credibility and preserve the status quo. During Tangentopoli, the important and well-attended collective rituals were performed through public confessions (the trials broadcast on TV), repentance and double speak, something that is clearly expressed in the second part of the stanza: "E proclamarono penitenza / in giro andarono col cilicio / ruttando austeri: ci vuol pazienza / sempre adelante ma con juicio."

Here Guccini aims his satirical weapons at the hypocrisy and "double speak" of politicians who invoked patience, austerity and penance for the "sins" they committed. The austere burp that Guccini mentions can be read in Bachtinian terms, if we turn to a passage where he explains the risus Paschalis:

During the Easter season, jokes and laughter were permitted even in church. [...] The jokes and stories concerned especially material bodily life and were of a carnival type. Permission to laugh was granted simultaneously with the permission to eat meat and to resume sexual intercourse (Bachtin 79).

In other words, it was uncouth to eat inordinately during Lent; in "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia," politicians seem to austerely respect the Lenten prohibition, but they cannot disguise their burps. The austere burping (foreshadowed by the grunts and brays of the first stanza) is a representation of the body that typical of the grotesque, while burping refers to their binging on national resources. (29)

At this point, Guccini begins to weave into the fabric of the narration a number of antitheses. On the one hand, politicians proclaimed national penance and self-punishment, by (metaphorically) wearing a cilice. On the other hand, they proclaimed patience; they in fact, "burped" "austerely" that patience was needed.

The last line makes a literary reference that illustrates the historical immobility of any body politics that has ever ruled over Italy. The reference is to Alessandro Manzoni's I promessi sposi, the most important novel of the Italian Risorgimento. This novel is part of the high school curriculum; most Italians are familiar with its content and many immediately remember the reference. "Sempre adelante ma con juicio" refers to the chapter of the "bread riots" in sixteenth-century Milan. At one point during the riots, Abbot Ferrer, Spanish because Milan at the time was under Spanish rule, appears to settle the crowd. A shady character--Manzoni writes that he probably felt guilty for having created the occasion for the riot and he was trying to "spend well his badly-acquired popularity." (30)

Ferrer's doublespeak shows when the Abbot has to use all his diplomacy to save a vicar from the rioting Milanese people, who want to lynch him. While crossing a crowded square, he says in Spanish what is in his heart and in Italian what the crowd wants to hear. Such an iconic example of hypocrisy is reproduced by Guccini in just one sentence, partly in Italian and partly in Spanish: "sempre adelante ma con juicio."

In the quatrain that follows the antitheses multiply and the figure of Our Lady of Hypocrisy is introduced: "e fecero voti con faccia scaltra / a Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia / perche una mano lavasse l'altra / tutti colpevoli e cosi sia. / E minacciosi ed un po' pregando / incenso sparsero al loro Dio / sempre accusando, sempre cercando / il responsabile, non certo io." Here Guccini describes the televised trials, national purging ritual and the astonishment of the audience in few allegorical sentences. He points at the falsity of the televised purges using a complex constellation of images borrowed anywhere from popular culture ("one hand washing the other") (31) to religious lore ("Our lady of Hypocrisy"). The quatrain is intensely interwoven with antitheses: Our Lady, symbol of purity, protects Hypocrisy; vows to her were made with a sly face to propitiate collusions and cover-ups. Besides the austere burping, there is "proclamarono penitenza;" they proclaimed penance, something that is not usually proclaimed, but practiced. The use of alliteration, with the many "S" sounds in the final dyad creates the disestablishing sense of preponderance of sibilants, a reminder of duplicity, or the slithering of snakes:
   E minaccioSi ed un po' pregando, incenSo SparSero al loro Dio
   Sempre accuSando, Sempre cercando il reSponSabile, non certo io ...

To understand the line "tutti colpevoli e cost sia" we need to go back in time, to the summer of 1992. On July 3, 1992, while the scandals of Tangentopoli were raging, then Prime Minister Bettino Craxi gave a speech in front of the Italian Parliament, which represented a turning point in Tangentopoli and a surprising take on the scandals and on the Italian political class in general. Bettino Craxi stated that everyone in the Parliament had to be considered co-defendant in the scandals; he admitted that in every political party of the Italian Republic the members accepted kickbacks from the corporate world, and that was the way the parties supported themselves. He added that if anyone in the Italian parliament swore under oath that they did not take bribes, they would perjure themselves. (33)

Through the antitheses that we have illustrated above, Guccini illustrated the presence of a double truth: the truth that is broadcast from the media and uttered by the politicians implicated in the scandals, and the other truth, the one that can be surmised from the sly faces, the specious arguments and the dismissals of personal responsibilities. The figure of "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" represents a double j'accuse: against the involvement of the Catholic Church in Italian political life and of the hypocritical vows of the politicians implicated in the scandals.

After this second, intense stanza, there is a piano intermission. As previously mentioned, it is played in a major key and it is quite upbeat, to contrast the anxious atmosphere created in the first part of the song.

Stanza 3

In the second part of the song Guccini returns to the allegory of the liturgical year, beginning with Mid-Lent Sunday. "La domenica di Mezza Quaresima / fu processione di etere di Stato / dai puttanieri a diversi pollici / ai furbi del "chi ha dato ha dato" / ed echeggiarono tutte le sere / come rintocchi schioccanti a morto / amen, mea culpa e miserere / ma neanche un cane che sia risorto!"

The concept of "State Prostitutes" mentioned in the first line has a number of meanings, ramifications and unexpected turns in the history of the Italian Republic. As far as Guccini's lexical choices, he is not shy about using vernacular words when discussing real or metaphorical prostitution. (34) Here he uses the more erudite "state hetaeras," which does not refer to real prostitution, but to intellectual and political compromise and coat-turning. The dying regime was to be replaced very shortly by Berlusconi's government; Guccini indicates this turn of events by using the word "haethera," which he also uses in "Bisanzio." Here "state hetaeras" refers both to "organic" intellectuals (35) that defended the First Republic, and to morally compromised politicians who, after decades of collusion, were quick to turn coat and declare that they had never been involved in the scandals.

In "Our lady of Hypocrisy" the nearly synonymic couplet (eteraputtana) recurs with a slightly different twist: "etera" (haetera) is the prostituting intellectual and the turncoat politician, whereas a "puttaniere" is a client of prostitutes. This thick metaphorical cluster refers both to clients of prostitutes and also to those who appear frequently on TV. (36) As previously mentioned, this song is meant as an indictment of Berlusconi, even though Berlusconi's self-aggrandizing fame of tombeur des femmes had not yet surfaced in the public discourse. (37)

The second part of this stanza features a clearer and better-flowing system of metaphors. Every night on RAI 3 the nation witnessed the agony of the First Republic. Here the sequence "Amen, mea culpa e miserere" is technically a hysteron proteron, as it is logically inverted. Normally, first one admits to one's crimes (mea culpa) then begs for forgiveness (miserere) and finally accepts one's destiny (amen). The hysteron proteron however works better in the scheme of the verse; since the line had to rhyme with "sere" it needed to end with "miserere." In this well-crafted verse we also see the foreshadowing of a foregone conclusion--the sequence refers to a request for forgiveness in the court; acquittal in fact arrived for many of the defendants. Guccini laments the fact that notwithstanding public confession and rituals of atonement "not even a dog resurrected," meaning that there was no resurrection, no redemption, and all this display of contrition was only lip service paid to a temporarily vengeful Zeitgeist.

Stanza 4

For a short while the spirit of the time raged against the scandals; Guccini describes it in the following verse: "Cosi domenica dopo domenica / fu una stagione davvero cupa / quel lungo mese della quaresima, / rise la iena, ululo la lupa. / Stelle comete ed altri prodigi / facilitarono le conversioni / mulini bianchi tornaron grigi / candidi agnelli certi ex-leoni."

This is the lowest point in the story, the darkest hour in the demise of the First Republic. In order to do so, he evokes different forces of nature; similarly to the Divine Comedy, feral beasts appear out of nowhere (in Guccini they are just two, the hyena and the she-wolf) as allegories for human vices. We can surmise that they might represent real people and places (possibly, Berlusconi and Rome) (39) but in any case the hyena and the she-wolf reflect the feral state into which the First Republic had fallen. The reference to Dante's proemial canto helps better identify this ominous atmosphere.

If the appearance of "comets and other prodigies" in the song is to be taken literally, in the years 1992-1993 two comets appeared in the sky: Swift-Tuttle (1992) and Shoemaker-Levy (1992-1993); the latter crashed into Jupiter and gave way to a number of smaller comets known as "String of Pearls." However, Guccini was probably referring to comets as they traditionally predicted further tragic events, momentous signs that, since medieval time, forecast changes in the social and political climate. (40) One key to reading this reference to comet and other prodigies that facilitated conversions is to see it as another not-so-covert warning that all the "prodigies" that were broadcast during that time were created to distract attention from the reality of scandals and corruption.

The last line of this quatrain, "mulini bianchi tornaron grigi, candidi agnelli certi ex leoni", is steeped in Italian recent history and needs to be carefully analyzed, because in a few words it summarizes the past and present of the Italian Republic. White mills refer to a famous Barilla TV commercial. Barilla started creating and selling baked products, such as cookies and crackers in the 1970s. They created the brand "Mulino bianco," which catered to the Italian imagination and sold popular baked products, billed as both wholesome and healthy. The Valley of the Mulino Bianco, a nostalgic invention that speaks to the never-forgotten peasant roots of all Italians, is in "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" the epitome of all televised happiness.

This particular line is constructed as a chiasm, with emphasis placed on the last three words--"certi ex-leoni," (some ex-lions). This expression most likely refers to Giovanni Leone, one of the most controversial Presidents in the history of the Italian Republic. Giovanni Leone stepped up to the presidency in 1971, but because of a public war waged against him on the part of journalists and political adversaries, most notably the radical party, he resigned in 1978, six months before the end of his mandate. The allusion to "certain ex-lions" turned "white lambs" refers, by antonomasia, to Christian Democratic politicians of the First Republic, who, in the confusion that followed Tangentopoli, were able to affect a new purity, symbolized by the white lamb. (41)

Once the system of metaphors that constitutes the fabric of the previous stanza is clearer, the resolution of the last stanza is much easier to understand: "Soltanto i pochi che s'incazzarono / dissero che era l'usato passo / fatto quelli che ci marciavano / per poi rimetterlo sempre la in basso." Guccini's choice of words here is very idiomatic and somewhat scurrilous, falling clearly within the genre of the invective. (42)

Much of Guccini's canzoniere should be interpreted as a poetic of indignation. The lexical choices of his sharpest pieces still raise some eyebrows, especially when it comes to "L'avvelenata" or "Quattro stracci," because of the sequel of coarse words present therein. The last stanza of "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" utilizes linguistic choices that belong both to an erudite register (such as "l'usato passo" and "vinse ragione") and to a more idiomatic one ("si incazzarono").

The author resolves the narration that he had begun three stanzas before at several different levels. The liturgical allegory turns into a resentful resurrection; the choice of words expresses the anger of understanding what the scandals and purges of Tangentopoli really meant. He contends that, after the metaphorical fog cleared, too few people the intellectually awake--became enraged. They felt that they had being duped by the political class, which used the same old methods to re-establish the status quo in the face of the scandals. Guccini here repeats, in his own words, a famous adage present in Il gattopardo, by Tomasi di Lampedusa: "If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change." This adage, uttered by Tancredi (the Leopard's young nephew) about the Risorgimento, is reported by Guccini talis qualis to explain Tangentopoli. (43)

The ample usage of profanities and the baseness described both in the incipit--the grunting and braying animals--and in the end should be read in light of the reflections proposed above about the grotesque body. According to Bachtin, "exaggeration, hyperbolism and excessiveness are generally considered fundamental to the grotesque style" (86). Politicians and their televised public confessions are all described similarly, in hyperbolic tones that fuel satirical humor and invective. The profanity of language, that Bachtin would call "the language of the marketplace" (17) is introduced here to emphasize a particularly poignant line of thought that is linked to (bitter) laughter and indignation. The language of laughter, replete with profanities, is also the language used to break down barriers; it does not circulate in official discourse, but belongs to popular culture.

Only the few who got mad noticed that it was the usual trick, executed by the same people who knew how to take advantage of the situation. The words "per poi rimetterlo sempre la in basso," are a periphrasis for the act of sodomy, which in turn is a well-known Italian metaphor for deceiving someone with practical consequences. In other words, Guccini warns of the deception that was taking place, orchestrated by the usual suspects, to deceive, once again, the Italian people.

As mentioned above, "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" was written in 1993, shortly after the inception of Tangentopoli. The descent into the political field by Silvio Berlusconi only happened one year later--in 1994, when Berlusconi won the national elections. Shortly thereafter, the sodomy metaphor connected to Berlusconi became commonplace, when political satirist Francesco Tullio Altan took to calling Berlusconi "Silvio Banana" and portraying him with a banana in his hands. (44)

The gloomy atmosphere of the final stanza resolves upwards, with words that speak of intelligence and hope: "Poi tutto tacque, vinse ragione / Si placo il cielo si poso il mare / solo qualcuno in resurrezione / piano in silenzio torno a pensare." The meteorological metaphor introduced in the first stanza is here resolved with an elegant series of regular and irregular past tenses: "Poi tutto tacque, vinse ragione, si placo il cielo, si poso il mare." The weather metaphor in the first stanza evoked fog banks that had descended upon the land and a barometer that forecast a storm. While the country resurrected, the rightful indignation of the thinking few resolved the song in hope--not all the Italians had been duped by the old disguised as the new.

In his book about Guccini's spirituality, Giancarlo Padula notices that the theme of resurrection is present in Guccini's work since his earliest compositions, such as "Dio e morto" and "Noi non ci saremo". Padula goes as far as arguing for a subconscious Christological vocation in Guccini's musical compositions. (45) Even without espousing Padula's theory, it is obvious that many of Guccini's compositions address the tension between death and resurrection. (46)

In the last stanza, a tight series of metaphors makes the argument that public cleansing and apologies amounted to the same old story, "l'usato passo," to change everything, in order to avoid changes. However, it ends poetically with an ode to freedom of independent thought: "solo qualcuno, in resurrezione, piano in silenzio, torno a pensare."

Conclusions and a Hypothesis

"Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" is one of the most intricate, layered and lucidly aware political songs of Guccini's Canzoniere. Guccini was able to summarize Tangentopoli and foresee what occurred afterwards. He saw the confusion generated by the so-called political, and denounced the obtundation of people's critical thought while members of the First Republic recycled themselves into the political class of the Second.

In "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia," Guccini concentrates on the media representation of the passage from First to Second Republic, and on how the "new" was nothing but what was left over of the "old." (47) This song also sends a prophetic message: the final lines about keeping up one's critical thinking are a commentary that applied both to 1993 and to the twenty years that followed. His prophetic abilities derive from a keen sense of observation of Italian affairs; they are not divining abilities, but a meticulous practice of intellectual observation and criticism.

The origin of his ability to foresee the future derives from a Cartesian epistemology of doubt; as Aristotle points out, doubt is the beginning of the enquiry and the first step to uncovering the truth. (48) Be it healthy diffidence or skepticism, this kind of metaphysical doubt is an attitude most readily present in times of transition (Hecht 2). In "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia" doubt builds up throughout the narration and is instilled in the listener through antitheses (e.g. "Our Lady of Hypocrisy") and oxymoric statements. The "strange silence" evoked in the first line, followed by a long sequel of oppositions, successfully infuses in the listeners an initial sense of disbelief, which will accompany them through the entire piece.

If Aristotle's lesson in the Nichomachean Ethics is heeded, appropriate doubt (aporia) is important in enquiries that will result in invention and discovery. Guccini's description of the transition from First to Second Republic insinuates doubt, which turns out to be prophetic; in Aristotelian terms, he engaged in "appropriate" doubt, which implanted the seed of discovery.

Stefano Benni, in his La compagnia dei Celestini expressed a similar idea, which was similarly ignored:
   non siete mai spariti. Non avete perso nessuna guerra. Il vostro
   spirito e rimasto chiuso in una fiala, che poco alla volta si e
   riaperta e ora avvelena questo paese. Uccidevate una volta e lo
   fate ancora: [...] ora guidate questo esercito di ladri, di
   grassatori e di servi, che un giorno potrebbero diventare come voi

Why did people not take to the streets, when Guccini and other similar voices denounced the travesty of the Second Republic? Some considerations from Adam Krim's Politics in Music may help clarify this last question. He states that music and politics, music and economy, music and real life are not separate systems that can influence each other. They are instead one system; they interact with each other in complex modes:
   Neither production [...] nor musical culture [...] evinces either a
   self-sufficiency nor a primacy that could be isolated as
   determinative of the other. Both find unity in the context of
   totality, and only a fetishized approach would look for some
   instances such as "culture" or "economic production" to take
   precedence that could be called upon for explanatory privilege.

In other words, we cannot expect a protest song, or even many, to change the status quo, because that particular song is already part of the system that it fights; it was generated within the system, so it can no more influence it than a blood cell can influence a body. Hence, one cannot expect Guccini's music (or Guccini's, De Andre's and De Gregori's productions combined) to act outside of the political totality. In other words, there was no revolution, because the totality did not push in that direction.

But we are left wondering why. Why would the totality, whatever it was, not push in that direction? Why was there no revolution? After Tangentopoli, why did people accept only mock changes in the status quo, without protesting? Perhaps the time for the revolution had passed, either because the revolution was stopped by Tangentopoli or because Tangentopoli was a revolution in and of itself, and there could not be another immediately after.

The first hypothesis, that Tangentopoli stopped the revolution, is supported by economic evidence. As explained above, in 1992, the government requested "blood and tears" sacrifices of the people, to pay for Tangentopoli. People knew that the high taxation went to fuel the party system, and in fact, episodes such as the famous protest against Prime Minister Bettino Craxi on April 30, 1993, on the day the Parliament denied the judges who had investigated him the possibility to interrogate him, seemed like the beginning of a popular revolt that could have taken Italy by storm. So the first hypothesis is that Tangentopoli, by publicly trying the politicians involved, appeased the people who would have otherwise taken to the streets.

The second hypothesis, that some form of revolution did happen, is supported by theoretical considerations. A revolution is a change in government, which may happen by violent or non-violent means. This supposed revolution was less violent than the French Revolution, and was spearheaded by a small group of judges operating in Milan, who at the beginning of Tangentopoli were hailed as heroes.

It does not matter that the number of judges that initiated this supposed revolution was small. In the words of Mirabeau, "ten men acting together can make a hundred thousand tremble apart" (qtd. in Aarendt, 238). Moreover, any revolution will couch its power in a mandate from "the people." A sort of deification of "the people" went on during the French Revolution, although Hannah Arendt demonstrated that "the 'general will' of Rousseau and Robespierre" is still "the divine Will that needs only to Will to produce a law" (175). This means, at the very least, that laws in a revolution will be claimed to be coming from the people, but they will come from the revolutionaries themselves.

Finally, it is a feature of any revolution to rewrite the history that preceded it, to the point (sometimes) of changing the calendar and the course of time. In Italy, since 1992, there has been a clear caesura between the First and Second Republic. History has been slowly rewritten; Tangentopoli has been revisited, with its focus shifted from bribery to the political orientation of the judges that initiated it. Politicians who were condemned or self-exiled are being slowly rehabilitated, and the whole history of the First Italian Republic has been depicted as the eternal struggle between Good and Evil; that is, Love versus Hate, and Freedom versus Communism.

Either hypothesis (that the revolution was stopped by Tangentopoli, and that Tangentopoli was itself a revolution) amounts to the same conclusion: if there was a revolution, then it was quickly aborted either before or after it took place. Guccini saw all these changes happening, and foresaw "l'usato passo," the usual tricks to maintain the status quo. "Nostra Signora dell'Ipocrisia," like many protest songs, "voiced objection to a state of affairs that is somehow connected to a level of disfunctionality between the state and its citizens" (Brown 181). Of such disfunctionality Guccini bears witness, and so do all those who allow his songs to be the soundtrack of their lives. With this song, he constructed an epic of Tangentopoli, (Sanfilippo 10) through which he prompted his listeners to maintain their critical thinking, which is the only means to secular salvation and political resurrection.


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University of Ottawa


(1) I wish to thank Claudio Barro of Woodstock Music Village for his advice and for his musicological insights.

(2) Guccini, "Bisanzio" (1984).

(3) Unless otherwise noted, all the translations from Italian in this article are mine. "Mi trovavo a Pavana. Una ragazza mi disse: 'Tu che scrivi canzoni, ascolta questa roba.' Guardai la copertina e lessi il titolo. Era Ne me quitte pas di Jacques Brel. Mai sentito prima. Dopo l'ascolto, rimasi come folgorato, in silenzio, per qualche minuto [...] Io, pur senza essere all'altezza, provai subito a cimentarmi con un pezzo francesizzante, che intitolai Ti ricordi quei giorni." (qtd. in Cotto 124-125).

(4) See for example the iconic, "official" picture of a towering young Francesco Guccini, with five other comrades all dressed in Sunday attire, that is, in suit, tie and Fedora hat in front of the section of the Partito Comunista d'Italia, with the left fist raised. (Cotto 88).

(5) The bibliography on Tangentopoli is vast. See among others: La banda dette tangenti. Il testo integrate dell'atto di accusa del giudice Di Pietro, 1992; Barbacetto and Veltri, 1992; Daga, 1992; Mongini, 1992; Turani and Sasso, 1992; Tangentopoli. Le carte che scottano, 1993; Cucchiarelli and Regis, 1993; Della Seta and Salzano, 1993; Nascimbeni and Pamparana, 1993; Bellu and Bonsanti, 1993; Ricolfi, 1993; Andreoli, 1994; Bechis, 1994; Canteri, 1994; Mazzacurati, 1994; Sapelli, 1994; Teodori, 1994; Boschetti, 1996; Colajanni, 1996; Colaprico, 1996; Magatti, 1996; von Roques, 1996; Imposimato, 1999; Corrias, 2006; Carlucci, 2002; Borrelli, 1999; Barbacetto Gomez and Travaglio, 2002; Travaglio, 2006; Petrella, 2008; Barbacetto, Gomez and Travaglio, 2012; Petrella, 2012.

(6) "Per questo io mi sono sempre considerate) contastorie, piu che cantastorie. I cantastorie erano di razza molto diversa. Li conosco bene perche avrei dovuto fare la tesi di laurea sui cantastorie padani del dopoguerra. La loro e un'altra impostazione, un'altra struttura. Mi piace considerarmi un poligrafo"(Cotto 28). "Guccini [... ] non nega la sua parentela con i cantastorie, confessando fra l'altro che la tesi di laurea mai scritta avrebbe avuto per argomento proprio i cantastorie padani del dopoguerra e dichiarando, in un'altra occasione, "scrivo canzoni per esprimermi, per raccontare delle storie" (Antonellini 57).

(7) Non so che viso avesse is also the title of Guccuu's latest autobiography (Guccini 2010). However, the fact that Guccini says that he does not how the name of this hitherto unsung here, is a poetic licence, as he knew at the time his name was Pietro Rigosi.

(8) "Mi sentivo ispirato, scrivevo la storia e gia pensavo aile strofe e prendevo appunti per le rime. In mezz'ora la locomotiva era finita." (Cotto 79).

(9) Lay saints, according to the definition given by Paolo Jachia (143).

(10) "[I miei amici Victor Sogliani e Pier Farri] un giorno mi regalarono una copia di Freewheelin' secondo album di un per me ancora sconosciuto menestrello Americano di nome Bob Dylan. Fu uno sconvolgimento senza precedents sia formate che culturale. Dylan mi spalanco le porte della contestazione studentesca di Berkeley, della canzone di protesta e del folk nonche del fingerpicking, un maledetto arpeggio che avrei decifrato compiutamente soltanto nel 1969 grazie a Deborah Kooperman [...] Profondamente influenza to da quel disco regalatomi da Victor, in un solo mese, nel novembre del 1964, scrissi tre pezzi: Auschwitz, E dall'amore che nasce l'uomo e Noi non ci saremo. Tutte figlie del verbo dylaniano." (Cotto 59).

(11) Francesco Guccini, "Il Caduto". D'amore, di morte e di altre sciocchezze, Bologna: Fonoprint, 1996. About the difference between the two songs, Michele Antonellini writes: la differenza sostanziale tra le due canzoni e la diegesi: ne La guerra di Piero e quasi interamente eterodiegetica, mentre ne Il caduto e omodiegetica." (Sanfilippo 170).

(12) The song begins: "Io, nato Primo di nome e di cinque fratelli." On the monument to the victims of war in the central square of Pavana, Guccini's family hometown, there is also the name of Guccini Primo.

(13) "From the burr, the miracle of the chestnut" ("Il caduto").

(14) "'Bisanzio' mi piace ancora molto. E una canzone molto complessa, dove la citta diventa metafora, ponte tra passato e future, ma anche incapacite di capire, il tutto emblematizzato dalla figura di Filemazio, "amico della conoscenza" realmente esistito. [...] Filemazio, perduto tra ozi e noia, e come noi in vista di un nuovo millennio" (Cotto 110).

(15) Procopius of Cesarea (c. AD 500--c. AD 565) is the probable author of a Secret history of the time of Justinian. Guccini must have read it in the following edition: Procopio, Storia segreta, Roma: Newton Compton, 1972 (Nocera 117-125).

(16) "Il protagonista stesso, tale Filemazio (in cui molti scorgono lo stesso Guccini), percepisce la decadenza della sua civilta, in un parallelo con quella occidentale, e Tavvicinarsi della fine. Nonostante la sua cultura, egli non sa piu leggere il future, trovandosi di fronte all'impossibilita di capire e si lascia trascinare dallo scorrere nichilistico degli eventi. Guccini, forse, traspone in Filemazio--protomedico, astronomo, matematico, (forse) saggio del V secolo--le preoccupazioni dell'uomo moderno. La canzone e ambientata all'epoca delTimperatore Giustiniano I (483-565), con molti riferimenti storici a quel periodo (ad esempio "quest'imperatore sposo di puttana" e un riferimento a Teodora; "che importa a questo mare essere Azzurro o Verde" si riferisce alle due fazioni di tifosi delTippodromo di Costantinopoli che lottavano in quel periodo a Costantinopoli, cioe gli Azzurri e i Verdi; "sentivo bestemmiare in alamanno e in goto" rivela la presenza in citta delle popolazioni barbare), che Guccini stesso ha spiegato piu volte." (Cotto 110-112).

(17) The title, "La domenica delle salme," {Corpse Sunday) is a metalogism (a rhetoric figure that concerns the value of the sentence) modelled on "La domenica delle Palme" (Palm Sunday) for substitution of "palme" with "salme" (corpse is "salma" in Italian). The piece was awarded the prestigious "Targa Tenco" in 1991 (Salvatori 123).

(18) Guccini has a difficult relationship with television: "Odio andarci, in televisione, a meno che mi consentano di essere me stesso, al limite senza cantare." (Cotto 97).

(19) Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance, op. 39, March number 1 in D," also known as "Graduation March," is the first and most famous of a series of marches for orchestra, used for graduation both in Britain and America.

(20) The American government was involved in the Italian political affairs since the fall Fascism. An organization called Gladio, operated secretly in post-war Italy. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it became common knowledge that the United States had sponsored the Christian Democrats in Italy throughout the First Republic to hinder the Communist Party's efforts to gain majority in Italy. This notwithstanding, in the 1976 political elections, the Christian Democrats gained 38-39% and the Communist Party alone obtained 34% of the votes. On Gladio, some documents are declassified and available online. There is an internal memo of the Italian Ministry of Defence that describes birth and purposes of Gladio. (see Report Gladio on

(21) "Tutto era cominciato un mattino d'inverno, il 17 febbraio 1992, quando, con un mandata d'arresto, una vettura dal lampeggiante azzurro si era fermata al Pio Albergo Trivulzio e prelevava il presidente, Tingegner Mario Chiesa, esponente del Partita Socialista Italiano con l'ambizione di diventare sindaco di Milano. Lo pescano mentre ha appena intascato ima bustarella di sette milioni, la meta del pattuito, dal proprietario di una piccola azienda di pulizie che, come altri fornitori, deve versare il suo obolo, il 10 per cento dell'appalto che in quel caso ammontava a 140 milioni." (Biagi, 145).

(22) In an interview to Giampaolo Mattel, Guccini expresses a similar idea: "La nostra cultura di base italiana e nel bene e nel male, una cultura cattolica. Mi riferisco qui alla culture cattolica di massa, non a quella genuina, piu vicina al vero cristianesimo. [.] ho nei confronti del cristianesimo un grande rispetto." (Padula, 29).

(23) See Ruffini 1974 and Beretta 2006.

(24) One is reminded of "la fine triste della partita" (the sad end of the soccer game) that Guccini poignantly evokes in another landmark composition, "Lettera" (1996).

(25) "... l'appartenenza di Guccini a quella letteratura che Bachtin ha definito "carnevalesca", e questo per due ordini di considerazioni formali linguistiche, contenutistiche e tematiche. In primo luogo per il dato stilistico, ossia per questo suo mischiare immagini e termini colti e alti a immagini e termini popolari e dialettali, e poi perche le sue canzoni sono in grado di veicolare una visione del mondo libera da ogni dogma, da ogni morale precostituita e da ogni imposizione gerarchica, sono cioe capaci di ricreare quella particolare atmosfera di liberta e spregiudicatezza che caratterizza appunto il carnevale e le feste carnevalesche" (Jachia 127). See also Antonellini 55-56, and Pegorin Steccherino 2006.

(26) There is also, in the subtext, a reference to the "Paese dei balocchi," the Land of Toys imagined by Carlo Collodi in Pinocchio. The braying donkeys were in reality children, turned into animals as a punishment for having followed Mangiafuoco's mirage of the Land of Toys.

(27) During the "Mani pulite" (Clean Hands) trials, then magistrate Antonio Di Pietro questioned politicians about kickbacks and collusions with the Italian industrial world. These trials were broadcast by RAI in 1992-1993, largely during a TV show called Un giorno in pretura. These publically broadcast trials were never published on DVD and they have not been released on the Internet.

(28) The historical leader of the Radical Party thus spoke during a TV show broadcast from Berlusconi's Canale 5, entitled "Italia domanda." The host of the show was Gianni Letta, who has always been one of the closest collaborators of Silvio Berlusconi, "e Pannella risponde al professore: "sbagli perche Weimar e gia qui," titled the Corriere della Sera on November 14, 1992. Pannella explained that he was hoping for a new April 25th, that is, a new "liberation" from what he called the dictatorship of political parties, or "partycracy."

(29) Corruption has a national cost that in Italy escalated through the years. The bill for the political corruption of the First Republic was presented to the Italian people in 1992. The Amato government asked the Italians to repay part of the public debt. From 1980 to 1992, in fact, public debt rose from 60% of the GNP to 120% of the GNP. In 1992, the Amato government approved a budget that included 93 thousand billions of Italian liras (about 46 million Euros) in new taxes and shortly thereafter, everyone who had a bank account had to pay 6/1000 to the government to help with the budget.

(30) "Infatti, alTestremita della folia, dalla parte opposta a quella dove stavano i soldati, era arrivato in carrozza Antonio Ferrer, il gran cancelliere; il quale, rimordendogli probabilmente la coscienza d'essere co' suoi spropositi e con la sua ostinazione, stato causa, o almeno occasione di quella sommossa, veniva ora a cercar d'acquietarla, e d'impedirne almeno il piu terribile e irreparabile effetto: veniva a spender bene una popolarita mal acquistata." (250). [...] "Un po' di luogo," aggiungeva subito: "vengo per condurlo in prigione, per dargli il giusto gastigo che si merita:" e soggiungeva sottovoce: "si es culpable." Chinandosi poi innanzi verso il cocchiere, gli diceva in fretta: "Adelante, Pedro, si puedes." [...] Il luogo si fece; "venitepure avanti" diceva piu d'uno al cocchiere, ritirandosi o andando a fargli un po' di strada piu innanzi. "Adelante, presto, con juicio" gli disse anche il padrone, e la carrozza si mosse." (Manzoni 255-256).

(31) The sinners hoped that "one hand could wash the other," which is the Italian equivalent to "scratching one another's back." This same expression is also used by God in Guccini's humorous remake of the Book of Genesis: "Ma cosa vuol dire corruzione, corruzione: una mano lava l'altra! Vuoi che uno nella mia posizione non conosca nessuno ..." ("La Genesi" 1974).

(32) Gemma Nocera noted a similar preponderance of the consonant "s" in the song Bisanzio: "BiSanzio e forSe Solo un Simbolo in Sondabile" (123).

(33) "In quest'Aula e di fronte alla Nazione, io penso che si debba usare un linguaggio improntato alia massima franchezza [...] Si e diffusa nel Paese, nella vita delle istituzioni e delle pubbliche amministrazioni, una rete di corruttele grandi e piccole che segnalano uno stato di crescente degrado della vita pubblica [...] E tuttavia, d'altra parte, cio che bisogna dire, e che tutti sanno del resto, e che buona parte del finanziamento politico e irregolare o illegale. I partiti, specie quelli che contano su apparati grandi, medi o piccoli, giornali, attivita propagandistiche, promozionali e associative, e con essi moite e varie strutture politiche operative, hanno ricorso e ricorrono all'uso di risorse aggiuntive in forma irregolare od illegale. Se gran parte di questa materia deve essere considerata materia puramente criminale, allora gran parte del sistema sarebbe un sistema criminale. Non credo che ci sia nessuno in quest'Aula, responsabile politico di organizzazioni importanti, che possa alzarsi e pronunciare un giuramento in senso contrario a quanto affermo: presto o tardi i fatti si incaricherebbero di dichiararlo spergiuro." (Craxi 1992).

(34) In "Quattro stracci," (1996) the song he composed after the divorce from his second wife, he calls her "casta che vuol esser puttana (chaste who wishes to be a whore).

(35) The "organic intellectual" is a intellectual who acts as a spokesman for a party or an ideology. The most important discussion of this particular figure of intellectual can be found in Gramsci 1933, 19 and 34.

(36) The expression "a diversi pollici" refers again to television. Since Italy uses the metric system, TV sets are the only thing measured in pollici, inches.

(37) In a more recent song, Guccini takes on the same topics with more cogent and hopeless words: "io dico addio, aile commedie tragiche dei sepolcri imbiancati / ... alle lampade e tinture degli eterni non invecchiati / al mondo fatto di ruffiani e puttane a ore.... / A questo orizzonte di affaristi e imbroglioni / fatto di nebbia, pieno di sembrare / ricolmo di nard, ballerine e canzoni / di lotterie, Tunica fede in cui sperare" ("Addio" 1999).

(38) Of the 4,520 people involved in the scandals and tried, 1,254 were found guilty and sentenced, 430 found innocent (or not punishable) and the rest were left free because the offense was prescribed. See Barbacetto, Gomez and Travaglio 473-474.

(39) The she-wolf may easily represent the city of Rome. The possible connection between the hyena and Silvio Berlusconi (sometimes satirized as Cavaliere ridens) is only conjectural. The dates do not seem to add up in this case: Parnassius Guccinii, the CD that contains "Nostra Signora del'Ipocrisia" was recorded in 1993 and Belusconi's famous "discesa in campo" that is, first appearance on the political scene, happened right after--on January 26, 1994.

(40) See for example Agnello Ravennate (IX century) who in the Liber Pontificalis wrote: "nel mese di gennaio apparve una Stella cometa di mattina e di sera e nello stesso mese mori il pontefice e la Stella scomparve". (Agnello Ravennate, 5).

(41) After Tangentopoli all Italian historical parties, such as the Communists and the Christian Democrats, experienced divisions, splintering and diasporas; the Communist party, PCI, divided into three splinters that had a tormented story of coalitions and permutations. The Christian Democrats also splintered severely and ended up supporting Berlusconi's Forza Italia coalition. A few of the metamorphoses that the Democrazia Cristiana party went through in the years following Tangentopoli are: the Partita Popolare Italiano, Centro Cristiano-Democratico and Movimento Cristiano Sociale, a leftist branch that merged into the weakest Leftist coalition of the history of the Italian Republic.

(42) In an interview, Guccrni wrote: "quanto aile battutacce e alla volgarita che ogni tanto colorano i miei dialoghi con il pubblico, e in effetti Temergere della mia natura emiliana, di pianura, che accanto a quella montana e una componente del mio carattere." (Jachia 174).

(43) "Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga com'e bisogna che tutto cambi." (Tomasi di Lampedusa, 40).

(44) See, among others Altan, Banana (2003). The banana metaphor, directly connected to the idea of sodomy as deception, conflates a number of different secondary meanings, including Woody Allen's Banana Republic. For a more extended discussion on contemporary Italian satire, see the September 2009 issue of the Almanacco Guanda, entitled "Satyricon," which features on the front cover an iconic vignette of Silvio hiding a banana.

(45) Padula's book, Dio non e morto. L'altro volto di Francesco Guccini (2007) is an attentive compilation of Christian and Catholic suggestions in Guccini's Canzoniere, as well as in his interviews and books. Guccini speaks rather of an almost pagan attitude towards spirituality, as expressed also by this excerpt from an interview that Padula cites: "Ho una mia religiosite naturale, mi piace moltissimo vedere il passaggio delle stagioni che mi riporta poi all'infanzia ... vedere come da gennaio in Avanti la natura spinga per uscire Le gemme che escono, vedere i primi fiori che cominciano a fine gennaio o ai primi di febbraio ..." (Padula 30).

(46) "There are many instances of this hopeful attitude, even in the most subdued of his songs. In "Le cinque anatre," (The five ducks) (1978) tells the story of five ducks who migrate south and all but one dies along the way. The final verse of that song says: "ma quel suo volo certo vuole dire che bisognava volare.

(47) La prima Repubblica muore affogata nelle tangenti, la seconda esce dal sangue delle stragi, ma nessuno ricorda piu nulla. Si dice che la storia e maestra, ma nessuno impara mainiente" (Travaglio Promemoria 15).

(48) "Those that investigate without having previously doubted, resemble those who are ignorant whither they ought to go." Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics, VIII, c. i.

(49) Taylor 424-5 and 442-443.
Figure 1

Stanzas         Stanzas        Stanzas         Stanzas       Stanzas

Allegorical     End of           Ash            Lent          Easter
level          Carnival       Wednseday

Quatrain 1,   End of the        On Ash           TV          How the
summary          First        Wednesday,     processions    political
               Republic         public       of contrite      class
              and public     confessions     politicians   survived the
              contrition      and public         "La        scandals;
                of the       penance. "Il    domenica di    prodigies
              politicians     Mercoledi         mezza      and comets:
               involved      delle Ceneri     quaresima       "Cosi
              "Alla fine          ci             fu          domenica
                 della       confessarono    processione       dopo
               baldoria         bene o       di etere di   domenica fu
                 c'era        male ..."      stato ..."    una stagione
              nel'aria un                                    davvero
               silenzio                                       cupa"
              strano ..."

Quatrain 2,      Media         Vows to      The political    How the
summary       reaction to    Our Lady of    class begins    political
             the political    Hypocrisy       a public        class
               scandals       "E fecero     condemnation   survived the
                  "Un          voti con        of the       scandals;
             artigiano di   faccia scaltra   excesses of    prodigies
                 scoop         a Nostra     the previous   and comets:
                forzati        Signora         decade;        "Cosi
              scrisse che       della       introduction     domenica
              Weimar gia    Ipocrisia ..."       of            dopo
                  si                         Berlusconi
             scorgeva ..."                      "E i       una stagione
                                              cavalieri      davvero
                                             di tigri a       cupa"
                                               ore e i
                                            ritegno ..."

It refers    The excesses    Politicians     Television     Converted
to:             of the         need to       takes over    politicians
                Italian      build a new      and sends        bore
               Socialist     credibility;      out the     testimony of
               Party and       they are       buzzwords     incredible
                  the         willing to    of the time,   prodigies to
              doubling of     engage in       everyone       distract
              inflation;    self-criticism   follows and    attention
              the somber      for self-     they quickly     from the
               attitude     preservation.   try to regain  scandals at
                 among                       credibility     hand; at
              politicians                                  resurrection
               and VIPs,                                    some woke
              compromised                                     up and
                 with                                        started
               the dying                                     thinking
                 First                                        again.

Figure 2

Stanza   Stanza   Instrumental   Stanza   Instrumental   Stanza
    1        2     (piano)           3    (piano and         4

Minor    Minor    Major key       Minor    Major key     Minor
key      key                      key                    key
                                                         for the

(piano and

Major key
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Author:Perissinotto, Cristina
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Dec 22, 2014
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