The Gallery of Wrongness – Page 16: “Magic Italy” (Bis)

We’ve already had our say on the Italian Ministry of Tourism, its Folies Berluschère Girl Minister, Michela Vittoria Brambilla, and its essentially useless money-pit of a web site,

(Just to bring you up to speed: was launched in 2004 with an initial investment of €45 million. Not long afterward, the site was shut down for what La Repubblica called “utter pointlessness.” A few years back, however, an additional €6 million were allocated to exhume the site and get it online again. From that point to the present, has made a meager, not to see howlingly embarrassing showing: web statistics put it at 4,562nd place among sites based in Italy and in 148,594th place worldwide. [Source:, “Magic Italy in tour: limiti, costi ed errori della promozione turistica nazionale,” 24 June 2011.)]

Similarly, we’ve had our wanton way with the Minister’s latest laughable publicity gaffe campaign, “Magic Italy in Tour” (see below).

Four words in English. Two of them are wrong.

And at that point we’d probably just have left them alone. But they keep freaking asking for it.

This week, an article appeared in the Friday magazine of the daily newspaper, La Repubblica, entitled “Quando Shakespeare non si addice alla Brambilla” (When Shakespeare Isn’t Good Enough for Brambilla”).

In the course of criticizing in general and the “Magic Italy in Tour” campaign in general, reporter Tiziano Fusella dutifully obtained quotes from spokespeople for the Ministry of Tourism, the body that is chillin’ like a villain wasting money like a mofo producing the Magic Italy initiative.

And it’s the foolish, insulting comments of these worthies that merit another post. To wit:

“che sarà mai una piccola svista linguistica” minimizzano al ministero del Turismo, mentre Barbara Bonura, direttore dell’ufficio stampa del dicastero, commenta “Quello slogan si può leggere come un gioco di parole, un mix tra inglese e italiano”.

“‘… what’s all this fuss over a tiny little oversight in the wording?’ asks the Ministry of Tourism, downplaying the issue, while Barbara Bonura, Director of the Ministry’s press office, comments, ‘You can read the slogan as a play on words, a mixture of English and Italian.'”

Right. Because that’s all translation ever is. Mix a couple of languages together and see what comes out. Translating is more-or-less like making a smoothie. And spending a multimillion-euro budget to get the wording kind-of-sort-of right is all in a day’s work for Ms. Brambilla and her staff.

But yeah. What’s the big deal? It’s not as though Italy’s economy is in trouble or anything. It’s not as though Italians would benefit from more accountability regarding how their government puts their outrageously high taxes to use. It’s not as though language matters.

Meanwhile, when Berlusconi is out of power, I’m sure there will be a job for the capable Ms. Bonura in the Italian Ministry of Silly-Ass Excuses.



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