Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014



Rome is abuzz about a new proposal from Italy's Culture Minister,  Dario Franceschini. Believe it or not, but he has backed a proposal to rebuild the Colosseum in Rome and convert it to a modern arena. As expected, a tidal wave of cultural backlash has engulfed the capital. "It needs to remain an icon!' shouted professor Giorgio Croci. He believes restoring the crumbling ruin to a usable venue is "beneath its dignity."

Really, Giorgio? Who are you to define what dignity means to a marble building? Let's review the facts. Roman Emperor Vespasian ordered the construction of the Flavian Amphitheater in the year 70 AD. The previous year had seen four emperors executed, and Vespasian was eager to please his angry constituency. Fortunately, he knew what exactly what Rome desperately needed: Bread and Circuses. His first order of business was to build a 65,000 stadium in the center of the city...the largest in the empire.

Vespasian chose a site just next to the Colossus of Nero statue. At 103 feet tall, the bronze behemoth was about the same size as the Statue of Liberty. For the Inauguration Games of the new stadium, excess was in order. Six thousand wild animals were killed. In addition to the native bulls, boars and oxen, emperors imported lions, tigers and elephants from Africa...because it's more fun to kill a bigger beast! Over time, the Flavian Dynasty fell out of favor, but the stadium kept on going. People starting calling the Amphitheater The Colosseum, because it was behind Nero's Colossus Statue.

Why bring this up? Because we think Professor Croci has forgotten about the Inaugural Games and the reason why the Colosseum was built in the first place: To entertain the masses. When the barbarians finally toppled Rome in 476 AD, they melted down the Nero statue but left the Amphitheater intact. For the next thousand years, it still housed gladiator fights and religious services. The end of the fun came suddenly in the year 1349. A major earthquake destroyed a third of the structure, and it was never used for entertainment again.

Fast forward to the year 2014. Finally, someone has the common sense to propose Rome uses their most famous building for what is meant to do: Host grand events. People didn't have the money or the resources to re-construct it after the 14th century quake...but they do now! AC Roma has asked for it to be used for soccer. The Teatro dell'Opera wants to bring La Traviata to the famed stage. The pop music band One Direction could sell it out in minutes! However, we here at the DUNER BLOG want to take it a step further. Let's have the soccer team, the prima-donnas and the Boy Band fight each other gladiator-style! Now THAT'S entertainment...

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