Chapter 11. A rich sauce of comedy: Talking and laughing about Italian food in digital spaces

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... In this case, earthquake + pasta. Both Italy's renowned cuisine and Italians' interest in food have been the focus of multiple humorous texts that mock Italians (Chiaro 2020). This frequent stereotype acts as a distancing mechanism (Pickering 2016). ...
This paper focuses on two controversial cartoons that elicited debates around the conflicts between freedom of expression and the right to satire on the one hand, and the protection of the reputation or rights of others on the other. Paying special attention to genre-related aspects, we adopt a comprehensive approach that combines a discourse analysis of the cartoons, the analysis of the legal cases that followed their publication, and the assessment by 68 cartoonists from 33 nationalities on the clarity and offensiveness of the selected cartoons. The cartoons were published in Charlie Hebdo (France) and El Universo (Ecuador), respectively. Based on our analyses, we propose that the main triggers of discursive controversy are the target as well as the modal and rhetorical ways of addressing a theme. We also conclude that: (1) The plaintiff’s most relevant arguments deny the satirical status of these cartoons; (2) The high disparity in the cartoonists’ assessments of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon can be associated with its ambiguity when addressing a sensitive issue; (3) Regardless of their positive or negative assessment, cartoonists have a strong position in defense of the authors’ and newspapers’ right to publish them; (4) No significant differences were found in the assessment of the cartoons in relation to the geographical origin of the cartoonists who took part in the questionnaire.
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This paper examines occurrences of humour in Twitter-fed celebrity-follower communities. Using a small, one-month sample of the Twitter feeds of 12 British celebrities, we examined political and humorous content of celebrity tweets and the first five responses from their followers. From this preliminary study, we found that the notion of “weirdisation” strongly emerges, together with the new conceptual tool of “shards of humour”.
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If Italy in 2011 becomes 150 years old, than how old are Italians? So to paraphrase the title of this paper, we introduce mischievously the idea that Italians have a different age. Obviously, we will try to respond, reflecting on the sense of belonging to a collective identity, in our case the Italian one, in times of globalization or, better, glocalization. The reflexion about Italian identity, or Italic as we are going to call it, comes from the extraordinary and special change due to the global processes that deconstruct the socio-political systems of nation-state created by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which ended the Thirty Years' War. In conclusion, what interests us is the cultural identity is increasingly characterized by processes of human, objects and symbols mobility that no longer recognize, as they did for a long time, territorial barriers and boundaries.
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CittàSlow, which means ‘slow city’, is an international network of small towns that originated in Italy less than a decade ago. Now it is proliferating in many other countries and there are more than 100 slow cities in the world. A slow city agrees to working towards a set of goals that aim to improve the quality of life of its citizens and its visitors. One of these goals is to create borders against the spread of the ‘fast life’, the philosophy and materiality of which are embodied in the ‘fast food’ restaurant chains which are fast replacing traditional restaurants in Europe and in many other part of the world. Drawing on insights from STS and material semiotics approaches, the paper tries to give an account of what CittàSlow produces and how it proliferates by looking at the outline for joining the network. It is suggested that it is a set of technologies for producing slowness. Every CittàSlow produces a version of slowness. Every slow translation is a little different and two slow cities, Orvieto and San Vincenzo, are presented to illustrate these differences. In order to work and to reproduce a new version of slowness in each new and diverse/distant locality, there is always change and adaptation to local conditions and contingencies. But this suggests that both the qualification of the slow objects, practices and spaces, and the variable procedures for joining the CittàSlow network, may be understood as fluid technologies that create mutable mobiles and perform boundaries between slow and fast.
This book is a novel and original collection of essays on Italians and food. Food culture is central both to the way Italians perceive their national identity and to the consolidation of Italianicity in global context. More broadly, being so heavily symbolically charged, Italian foodways are an excellent vantage point from which to explore consumption and identity in the context of the commodity chain, and the global/local dialectic. The contributions from distinguished experts cover a range of topics including food and consumer practices in Italy, cultural intermediators and foodstuff narratives, traditions of production and regional variation in Italian foodways, and representation of Italianicity through food in old and new media. Although rooted in sociology, Italians and Food draws on literature from history, anthropology, semiotics and media studies, and will be of great interest to students and scholars of food studies, consumer culture, cultural sociology, and contemporary Italian studies.
This volume presents a historical and sociological study of humor and jokes. It covers almost every continent and region in the world and also reaches back in time to medieval jokes in Europe and to jokes about the Melanesians in Ancient Greece. It is a particularly rich study of ethnic jokes, political jokes, sick jokes and urban legends and is illustrated with many examples of these. Much of the basic theoretical framework is derived from the German polymath Max Weber and it has also been influenced by the line of thought that proceeds from Aristotle to Durkheim to structuralism but the general approach and findings are original and creative. Multidisciplinary in nature, this volume will be of interest to scholars working in anthropology, sociology, folklore, social psychology, linguistics or literature as well as to historians and philosophers. © 1998 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co., D-10785 Berlin. All rights reserved.
This essay provides a brief overview of English jokes targeting Italians, and sets out to show how internet memes are a progression of traditional jokes in which Italians are the butts but with a modern twist.
Through an examination of British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s cookery TV series Jamie’s Great Italian Escape (Fresh One Productions, Channel 4, 2005), and comparing the original version to the Italian subtitled version of the show this article sets out to investigate a case of cultural translation in which Italian cuisine is adapted for a UK TV audience and then retranslated for the Italian audience whose dishes were originally the source of inspiration for the programme. To provide control parameters, the article also considers a few key passages from the original cookbook accompanying the TV series and contrasts them to the Italian translation. The article will address in particular the topic of how culture-specific contents of the Italian culinary tradition are adapted for UK audiences and readership and how they are then conveyed back via subtitles and written translation to the Italian speaking viewers/readers, who do not share the cultural and the linguistic background of the source text recipients, yet are very familiar with the cultural contents presented in the show. The article argues that power structures between a centre and a periphery of the media industry are relevant for the success and reception of cookery programmes and of their translations. As Italian food culture is presented to the world via a UK perspective, one further line of argument of the article is that this might influence how Italian culinary tradition is perceived by the rest of the world. The article argues that unveiling the power dynamics involved in what is usually considered material for Television Studies or Cultural Studies may have important implications for Translation Studies as well.
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