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Getting Personal

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September 27, 2010 News & Oddities, The Rome Journal No Comments

After our summer break, I thought I’d take a few moments to go into a little bit of depth about what drives my writing for the The Rome Journal. At its core, The Rome Journal is about providing an understanding of Rome and its culture and society, at practical and philosophical levels. However, each of our contributors has their own set of interests and beliefs, which shape not only the perspective from which their articles are written, but also the topics they choose to address.

Over the past month or two, I have had some time to discover some new blogs, and I came to realise that my favourite ones are written by bloggers who take their writing and their views to a personal level, and who continuously articulate and develop their position. I, in contrast, have always refrained from giving my writing an overly personal twist, because I thought that would just bore you. But then, for all I know, I may have bored most of you already – I have no proof either way. And so, I felt that this is worth an experiment.

What factors determine my approach? In political terms, a certain social progressive edge certainly shapes the writing perspective and choice of topics. I have also noticed that it is my default setting to side with the underdog. It sounds pretty stupid when laid out in such clear words, but I guess that at least being aware of it helps me balance out and challenge my own views. I also hate power games, dishonesty, and when the powerful exploit the less powerful. These are characteristics that I often seem to find within politics, and organised religion, which is why these two topic areas have become my favourite pet peeves over the years, and I have thoroughly enjoyed dismantling them on some occasions.

But recently, I find both of these topics very boring. I simply cannot be bothered to keep up with the latest personal antics of some political figures, or their bickering, which is all that politics seems to be about these days – at least the publicly available biased and inaccurate information. Hope for change always appears to die discreetly once the political processes set in. Equally, I have not seen any changes in organised religion over the last few years which empower the individual instead of the religious leaders, and which are sincerely aimed at finding truth. All I see are attempts at covering up mistakes, preserving power through low means. And so I have become less interested. Less sure that my small voice can change political systems and organised religion. (Oh, the naivité of the young!) But it is still a voice.

Nowadays, I am intrigued by the idea that there are no absolute truths. I have developed a profound interest in how people talk about things, and how this shapes the society we live in. Specifically for my writing here at The Rome Journal, this means focussing on local conversations, accounts, and perspectives, to uncover aspects of Italian culture: The way in which people deal with their society and environment, and how it makes sense in their context. At the same time, I still see myself as an advocate for those with less power.

This sets the scene for one of my next topics: Minorities in Italy. I would like to explore what minorities there are in this country, and how they are dealt with. If you have any views or experiences, help me with this, and leave a comment.

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