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Ire Italia

June 22, 1986

I was deeply offended by this phrase in Gallo's letter:

"I just chalked it (misspellings of English words in Italian newspapers) up to the incompetence of the Italian journalists--after all, incompetence is the standard there in almost every other facet of life."

I lived in Italy for quite some time, and my impression was just the opposite. When I or a friend needed dental work or a shoe repaired or a book rebound, we found that Italian workmanship was always excellent. Whether it be automobiles, weaponry, fashion, art, music or pasta, if it is made in Italy it is almost always state-of-the-art quality.

Even as journalists go, Oriana Fallaci and the late Luigi Barzini were renowned worldwide for their work. Forgive me for also mentioning Carlo Rubbia, who was Italian born and educated and who was awarded the 1984 Nobel Prize for physics--not for incompetence.

It is precisely this back-stabbing of Italians by Italians that cripples Italian efforts to succeed in other countries. The enduring stereotype is that everything Italian is presumptively shoddy or incompetently manufactured.

How many more musicians, scientists and craftsmen must Italy produce before Italy is given the credit it is due? Lahneen Gallo, you owe me--and Italy--an apology.


Hidden Hills

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