Graffiti, Blockbuster, McDonalds…

Photo by Stephanie
Photo by Stephanie

November 7, 2007

Twenty minutes after our arrival into Rome, and after a brief traverse of the city to our hotel, I’m annoyed and frustrated with the comments of my tour-mates.   “Blockbuster here?  How disgusting!”  “Oh, good – a McDonalds!”  and “Did you see all the graffiti?  How awful, I can’t believe we pay to travel this far to find graffiti.”

Of course, Ms Georgia, Rome –  thousands of years old, should have shut down all of its history and foundation to spiff itself up for you.   Did you not listen to the introduction to the city?  Did you not pay attention to the civic significance of graffiti in Rome over eons of regime change and political upheaval?  And why, Ms Southern Belle, do you think that this city should be preserved as a decoration?  Why do you refuse to embrace the living, breathing, changing society that it is?  If you would be so kind as to step outside of your regular routes and high-society socials, you might (gasp!) find graffiti in your own city.

Yes, I’m peeved.  I think it’s thoroughly disgusting that one would embrace the proliferation of McDonalds yet be irritated by the presence of a Blockbuster location.  I’m annoyed that these people think the entire city should look like Disneyland – a designed entertainment venue complete with scripted and costumed characters.   Instead of appreciating the marvel of natural characters and many forms of expression that have been creating Rome since the days of Romulus and Remus, they’d rather sit in McDonalds and bitch about how the coffee is still too dark and the people aren’t very nice.  Why would they be nice to you?  You’ve been complaining since the very instant they welcomed you.

You are an ugly American in all of your department store finery.  Please stay in the hotel and talk to no one.   Call your husband and tell him how nice Rome would be if only there weren’t so many Romans.  Next time you take a vacation, stay in the Bible Belt and pray for all of us sinners out there in the world who embrace art, music, expression and passion.