A pipeline of Italian culture
I have subscribed to RAI Italy, a television channel from Italy that I can get on my cable system. I think television is a pretty accurate indicator of a culture’s true interests, since broadcasters are putting out their what their public wants to see. Yes, that means that the proliferation of the Kardashians and Duck Dynasty says a lot about America. But I digress.
On Italian television, there is lots of Italian “Serie A” soccer. I mean hours of it on weekends. They broadcast them all day live on Saturday and some games on Sunday. Italians are very passionate about their soccer. There is opera on in the evenings. I have never seen opera on U.S. television, but there they show opera singing contests that put American Idol contestants to shame.
This morning was Sunday morning. They showed a Catholic-oriented talk show featuring a priest for about an hour, followed by a full mass from a small church in Italy that was built in the 1200’s. The art in the church was beautiful. It shows the importance of Catholicism in traditional Italian culture.
I am halfway through the first level of lessons in the Pimsleur Italian program. This is a well regarded program that uses mostly recorded lessons. I have finished fifteen lessons. There are lots of Italian I do not understand, and there are shows like talk shows that lose me totally still, but I am getting enough to enjoy basic programs. The church service and soccer games I get on a basic level, for instance. Thankfully, a lot of Italian sounds something like Spanish or English, so I can get the general meaning of the majority of words even if I have not heard them before.
The only parts of Italian television that totally baffle me are the news shows when they talk politics. Italian politics is on a parliamentary system,so they have lots of parties. The number of parties and the difficulty of understanding the formal Italian they use in those programs makes those shows impossible for me at this point. But I hope to understand them some day.