Paolo Villaggio plays his classic persona : the middle aged, hunchback, portly fellow with no skills and no social importance that daily confronts the margins of humanity from the outside, because no single other human being alive interracts with him as if he were a human being himself.
This is the fate of the pointless scum brought forth by our ever increasing productivity, living standards and attendant misrepresentation of civilisation into some pedestrian sort of welfare : the people who have absolutely no business being alive but don't even have the requisite resources to do themselves in (as indeed Villaggio fails even at suicide in this very film) are stuck floating about, pointless and useless debris in a world they don't quite understand, surrounded by others who aren't pointless, aren't useless and don't give two shits about the problems or putative "feelings" of the marginally subhuman. Floating about and slowly sinking, as the indignities of age begin to take hold.
Sinking under the margin of humanity, deeper and deeper into the abyss, without even the possibility of redemption into the status of an object, an item whatever.iii Without the possiblity of salvation through becoming a chair, or a harmonica, or a length of string. Without anything at all.
O, but if only! O, but if somehow it were possible, through some magical instance of moral hazard, that the loathsome nonpeople could have! Perhaps if they had they could be! It doesn't sound convincing, does it ? Well... what if they had a lot! Does that help anything ? What if they had infinity, in the shape of five billion
Turkish Italian lirasiv That should fix anything, right ?
So that's the image above : the rat in a top hat who isn't but has. The rat that's bought so much shit he brings it home in an excavator, followed by a dozen cabs because he doesn't pick a cab, he picks the whole cab station. Problems solved, right ?
I don't think so.———
- 1989, by Neri Parenti with Paolo Villaggio. [↩]
- Yes, that's right, most of the good ones predate the Internet. [↩]
- To be perfectly fair, plenty of women do have such an opportunity, escaping this situation at least temporarily through the ever more popular path of becoming sexual objects. The curse there is that any such salvation is temporary, and as the wrinkles start showing through the make-up and the silicone bubbles start looking ridiculous on the scrawny chest it all fades away like so much snow - while the subject is still living no less! Pretty horrible if you ask me, to have spent a few decades thinking you've made it into humanity only to have it all yanked from under your feet as you cross Dante's midway. [↩]
- I.e. not very much at all, but what do you want, Italians are Europe's gypos, they've always been extremely loud and shockingly poor. [↩]