Are Italians naturally dull?

Having swum down to Newlands in miserable conditions on Saturday to watch the rugby, I was disappointed with the atmosphere, the standard of play and the complete lack of general excitement that usually surrounds an international test match. Sure, it could have had something to do with the weather, but being the scientific kind of person that I am, I then extended my research further the following day.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to watch the second bit of my experiment, because it was a Ferrari winning at the French Grand Prix. Formula One is only worth watching for the crashes, and what with all the new safety equipment and silly little rules from the FIA, even those are getting a bit few and far between and less exciting when they do happen. For the rest of the time, it’s just like a procession, with the fastest car starting in pole position and then going round and round the track with no-one able to catch it or overtake it. This fastest car is usually a Ferrari – and Ferrari is?
Yes – Italian. Exactly.

Incidentally, have you noticed how irritating it is when people think that they are “in the know” by referring to F1 drivers by their first names?

Ja, Kimi had a great race as he followed Filipe around the track for 79 laps…

Presumably, these are the same bores who refer to Star Wars films as “Empire” or “Phantom” and their favourite bands as “Jovi” or “Leppard”; their movie and musical tastes giving us further insight into their sad little lives.

Anyway, by now, a pattern was beginning to form: Italy + Sport = Dull.

A last chance to disprove my theory came with the eagerly-anticipated Spain v Italy Euro 2008 quarter final clash. And, dear Lord (even if you did vote ZANU-PF) – they went out of their way to hammer the point home. 90 minutes of the most excruciatingly dull viewing I have experienced since I last watched an F1 race. And then another 30 minutes of extra time as added punishment. What did I do to deserve that?

It seems to me that a country with such a proud military history (well, until about 100 AD, anyway), a wealth of national monuments and treasures, a pretty cool, bouncy, upbeat national anthem and moreover, a well known reputation for passion and excitement, can turn out such mind-numbingly boring sporting performances.

Has the true Italy come to the fore? Is this what Italians are really like, their genuine characters previously hidden under a thin veneer of heated, volcanic emotions?
I don’t want to believe it, but the evidence of late is pointing firmly in the direction of dull.
Convince me otherwise. Please.

16 thoughts on “Are Italians naturally dull?

  1. I agree. It sucks to be Italian right now. Unless you’re a Ferrari employee though. Then it’s good. But if you’re into football (round ball and oval ball) you’re a little bit sad this morning.

    Orange’s last blog post was: Are Cricket Umpires Obsolete? (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  2. Lol… just remember though – as boring as those Italians may be right now (and I personally think penalty shoot-outs are no real way to decide a match!!), they will be quick to remind you that they, at least, managed to qualify!!

    You’d never have thought so, though, as we have so much footie coverage here, I don’t know why we even bothered getting all upset when McLaren’s boys let the country down!

    Ah well – now we just have Wombledon to get through, and a muddy Glasto.

    Helga Hansen’s last blog post was: A Life Without Music… (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  3. From what I have (experienced) been told their reputation for “passion and excitement” is also highly over-rated. They might be able to qualify, but when it comes down to scoring you pretty much wish you’d left after the warm up.

    Pamela’s last blog post was: Run Pamela Run (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  4. What about bocce, spine tingling, nail biting edge of the seat stuff! Italian sport at its best.

  5. Um..now that you mention it you may have a point. I realise that whilst I love to watch World Cup soccer at the Italian Club because they are very noisy and excitable spectators they are not terribly exciting sportsmen. That Italian rugby team was dour to say the least. And now my best friend (an Italian) has just disowned me.

    charmskool’s last blog post was: JZ is not even half guilty! How about a third? A quarter?…. (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  6. Agreed on the annoying habit of commentators referring to sportspeople as if they are on first name terms with them. More annoying is the referring to said sportspeople by their nicknames, usually a contraction of the first or surname suffixed by -o or -s, e.g, David James = Jamo (pronounced Jay-mo); Frank Lampard = Lamps.

    But the thing that really really really gets my goat is pluralisation. Such as when people say “Yer Arsenals, Chelseas and Manchester Uniteds of this world” Or “Yer John Terrys of this world”.

    Henry Crun’s last blog post was: Euro 2008: Germany v Portugal (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  7. Italians are indeed naturally dull.

    Their apparently volatile appearance is just a front.

    They do it to make their restaurants seem somehow “charming”.

    They react violently on a football pitch to liven up an otherwise boring performance.

    I love them all really…

  8. As someone who lived in Italy for 3 years, I can’t but agree with you – the spectators are the most excitable people in the world, but when it comes to competing, it’s all about “not losing” and not about “winning”. They are the most defensive people in the world (except maybe Valentino… you know, my mate the motorcyclist!)

    Now if you really want passion, get out there and eat REAL Italian food – not the pastas in your local Italian restaurant, but the food that real Italians eat at home!

    DelBoy’s last blog post was: Gone West (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  9. Off-topic(ish), and slightly paraphrased, but I was always most struck by the comment of the late lamented James Hunt, who said something along the lines of…

    “People watch Grand Prix in order to see someone die, and for £1M per year I’m willing to take the risk that it might be me”.

    Those were the glory days of F1 IMHO.

    Fleet of Worlds’s last blog post was: Has the Phoenix Lander found Ice on Mars? (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  10. So like, what the heck is going on man? Where are the updates! I have a legitimate excuse of not writing out of laziness so you better have an excuse as good as that lined up!

    [email protected]’s last blog post was: Do not want. (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  11. I used to work with an Italian guy who said the worry about Italian girls was that one day, between the ages of 35 and 45, and somewhat in the style of a self-inflating life-raft, the olive skinned, glowing, dark haired curvy temptress turns into a vaguely spherical and prune-like apparition in black. Perhaps sitting on top of a Donkey.

    My friend Enzo maintained that his happened to his Mama in the space of a night, and the screams of horror of his Papa upon waking the next morning could be heard across Sicily.

    Fleet of Worlds’s last blog post was: Wishful thinking from Pravda (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  12. Boy

    I used to like your blog, but I really didn’t expect you passing judgment on a whole nation based on their performance in sport. I seriously think you’ve spent too much time in the UK and filled yourself with all stereotypes about other nations just like the Brits do. How sad.

    Maybe you could have made some sort of an effort trying to unveil the reasons beyond Italians being shitty at all sorts of sports.

    But I guess, it’s easier to sit down and tap away about those well known stereotypes….

  13. @Chiara: Brilliant comment. Best laugh I’ve had in a long time. The criticism that I have stereotyped Italians based on their sport was probably partially valid, but was then sadly blown COMPLETELY away by your hilarious assertion that all Brits stereotype other countries.
    Er… did you just… er… stereotype the Brits?

    I think you did. 😀

    Anyway, the post was sarcastic and light-hearted. Something which every other reader seems to have noticed.

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