Please follow me as we journey into the senseless.
I mean – who would think of preserving a beautiful building by building an ugly building around it? A prick. And then it snowballs from there.
Augustus was one of those kick-ass emperors that movies are made about. One day he called his people and said: ok, listen up. I want this thing built. It’s gotta be so and so. It’s got to be beautiful, and it’s got to be massive. Also, you gotta get it done fast: an old witch foretold me that in 13 years’ time a little kid is going to be born in Judea, and he’s really gonna rattle things around…
Exit Augustus. Enter two thousand years. Enter prick number one.
Benito Mussolini was a prick (and Italy was a nation of pricks for even listening to him, but that is a different story…) who did all kinds of stupid things. One day he calls his guys and says: there’s this massive thing buried under four meters of silt, somewhere off the Via Flaminia. Ok. I want you to dig it up. No, wait, don’t complain yet. I also want you to dismantle it piece by piece. I want you to carry all the pieces about ten kilometers into the city center and put it back together. No, i’m not finished. I then want you to build a huge great thing around it to preserve it. And try not to scratch it!
Exit Mussolini. Enter prick number two: Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno. Who has mussolini’s thing torn down and replaced by this. He first inaugurates the building and then, when all of Rome complains about the hideousness, he blames everyone else. Above all, he blames prick number three; American architect Richard Meier who designed this graceless, massive contraption.
Prick number one was trying to out-emperor Augustus. Prick number two wanted to one-up prick number one. who also happened to be history’s number two Jew-hater. So prick number two chooses to let the out-pricking of prick number one to be carried out by prick number three. Who also happens to be a Jew. some people hint that this was his revenge for the horrible, horrible things that prick number one’s Italy did to his people…
The result? Just great. Never before had a mayor been able to get so many Romans to agree on any one thing.