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November 08, 1991 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-11-08

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7

Three Views of Mussoiini
by Antonio Roque

STRUNZ & FARAH-
Primal Magic

Mesa
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BRANDFORD MARSALIS- Columbia ALEX BUGNON- Epic
Beautiful Ones 107 In The Shade 12.99 CD
Are Not Yet Born 12.99 CD

SUZANNE CIANI- Private Music RICHARD ELLIOT- Manhattan Jazz
Hotel Luna 12.99 CD On The Town 12.99 CD

NESTOR TORRES- Verve
Dance Of The Phoenix 12.99 CD

Back in grade school I
knew this kid Daniele.
This was only the first
grade, but already Daniele did
not give a fuck. Sometimes in the
back of the classroom us guys
would start fighting, just scuffling
around, male bonding
superiority type of stuff. I wasn't
too bad at that. I was kind of
strong, but Daniele was clearly
the toughest kid in the class.
When you fought Daniele, you
had to spend half your time
making sure he didn't rip your
eyes out or tear your ears off or
bite a huge scar into you,
because he would if you'd give
him the chance. And then when
you were tired of fighting and
you were just trying to give up,
he'd get you in this armlock and
start pounding on your head and
he'd shout "I AM DANIELE
AMILCARE AMATO LIVRANO! I
AM DANIELE AMILCARE
AMATO LIVRANO!" Over and
over again, like it was so
massively important that we
knew who he was. And this was
only in the first grade. I just
couldn't understand it.
In the sixth grade Daniele
dropped out of school and
started working in his father's
bakery. I was terrified of him
because he had this gang of
people he was always hanging
around with. They carried knives,
just pen-knives, but they'd get
you with those if you hassled
them. Then, years later, I met
this guy Francesco, who
reminded me a lot of Daniele.
Francesco really talked violent,
but it was strange because he was
also into reading all these
philosophy books, so you kind of
knew he'd never kill you. He read
people like Nietzsche and
Derrida and Kant and Hegel. le
was all the time buying books
from this used book store, and
when he'd hang out with his
friends after work he'd drop
some of these ideas he'd learned
and they'd all think he was
awesome.
Francesco read a lot of
biographies of all these people
who'd had a huge impact on the
Antonio Roque is a senior in
LSA. He writes for the Daily Arts
Staff and Weekend.

world. One time I was hanging
out at his place and he told me
that lone hero types were only a
myth in America, that in reality
there were no great American
individuals. So we started talking
about Napoleon and Stalin and
Mao and Mussolini, especially
Mussolini. Francesco thought
Mussolini was awesome because
he'd knifed two kids in school
and had still become the leader
of a country. You couldn't do
that in America. Then I told him
about Daniele who'd been really
tough even in grade school and
we thought that if Daniele was
still alive he'd probably be the
head of a gang or something.
Francesco said yeah, and he'd
probably also be a womanizer,
but then Francesco was a
womanizer himself. He had this
girl he had wanted to marry, but
he had been too young. So now
he was just engaged to her, and
he romanced all these women
on the side. I said that that was
crude, but he said that I couldn't
understand, because I was an
American. He said that there
were no good American lovers,
and that the only good lovers in
the world were Italians. I thought
that was funny so I left and two
days later I returned after having
started to read this book about
Mussolini. I told him that
Mussolini had been cool
because he'd fixed the Italian
economy. If he hadn't gone
racist and gotten involved in the
war, he would have been a hero
till the day he died because of
all the awesome stuff he did for
Italy. Francesco said yeah, that
was true, because when he'd
visited some relatives of his in
Rome, the place he'd stayed in
was called E.U.R., which
Mussolini had built. When he
was there, Francesco had been
hanging out with his cousin, who
was a skateboarder. His cousin
was crazy, Francesco said. They
were once by this monument
somewhere downtown and there
was all this traffic around. There
were two lanes of traffic going in
either direction, and this crazy
skateboarder cousin of his
suddenly just jumped right in
front of all this oncoming traffic,
on his skateboard, and started
zooming straight ahead, all while
shouting out weird things in

i

Italian. The drivers going by
cursed at him and honked their
horns but this guy just laughed
and he finally reached the other
side. Francesco waited for a
break in the traffic, and while he
was 'waiting, he shouted out to his
cousin, "Why did you do that?
What are you, crazy? Why did
you do that?" And his cousin
shouted out "Because I am
Gabriele Andrea Alfredo Briata!
I am Gabriele Andrea Alfredo
Briata! I am Gabriele Andrea
Alfredo Briata!" But then a
couple of months after
Francesco left Rome his cousin
got hit in the traffic, and almost
died. Francesco said it was too
bad, the guy must have been
crazy after all. Or maybe not. It's
tough, because you never can
really figure out what it is that
makes some people do the
things they do.

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