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1

Part I: La Sposina

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notes

Pacifico, F. (2017). Part I: La Sposina. In Pacifico, F. Class: a novel. Melville House Publishing, pp. 1-84

9

Everyone in Lorenzo Proietti’s generation got a digital camera for graduation. This was the height of the DIY fad, when Clerks and Il Caricatore had captured the imagination of the untalented. Lorenzo lived with his parents, his allowance 100 euros a week. A cousin at RAI got him an internship at Porta a Porta, which turned into a production assistant gig there and at Buona Domenica. These were bullshit shows for the bullshit public. Lorenzo lent a hand on the set of Boris, the comedy series/indie sensation. (He was twenty-six.) This was when you first heard the “I’m a filmmaker” line, and his version of the English word was impossible to replicate—it was affected, exaggerated, nonsensical somehow; he managed to pronounce it without an r at the end. G. won a prize from the Comune di Roma, which belatedly convinced Lorenzo, at thirty-four, to apply to the New York Film Academy. New York was brimming with the children of the Italian elite—left-wing politicians, journalists, entrepreneurs—and they were all eager to become cineastes. They were at NYU, they were all over Brooklyn and Manhattan. The two of you left for New York, determined to test the waters. Lorenzo’s philosophy grant was your excuse, but if connections were made and the vibe was right, Lorenzo would enroll at the Academy.

—p.9 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago

Everyone in Lorenzo Proietti’s generation got a digital camera for graduation. This was the height of the DIY fad, when Clerks and Il Caricatore had captured the imagination of the untalented. Lorenzo lived with his parents, his allowance 100 euros a week. A cousin at RAI got him an internship at Porta a Porta, which turned into a production assistant gig there and at Buona Domenica. These were bullshit shows for the bullshit public. Lorenzo lent a hand on the set of Boris, the comedy series/indie sensation. (He was twenty-six.) This was when you first heard the “I’m a filmmaker” line, and his version of the English word was impossible to replicate—it was affected, exaggerated, nonsensical somehow; he managed to pronounce it without an r at the end. G. won a prize from the Comune di Roma, which belatedly convinced Lorenzo, at thirty-four, to apply to the New York Film Academy. New York was brimming with the children of the Italian elite—left-wing politicians, journalists, entrepreneurs—and they were all eager to become cineastes. They were at NYU, they were all over Brooklyn and Manhattan. The two of you left for New York, determined to test the waters. Lorenzo’s philosophy grant was your excuse, but if connections were made and the vibe was right, Lorenzo would enroll at the Academy.

—p.9 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago
9

G. seemed to aspire to complete derivativeness—a work of total imitation. It nodded to Pulp Fiction (the gangster’s black outfit, dusty and tight), Lost in Translation (a woman staring at the city from the window of a villa in Gianicolo, holding her knees to her breasts with her arms), La Dolce Vita (conversations from one room to the other via baby monitor). It referenced The Usual Suspects, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Matrix, The Big Lebowski, Breathless. It had a complicated self-kidnapping plot (Fargo)—a long list of derivative shit. The jury, even dumber than Lorenzo, called it “ambitious, a bachelor machine of nods and winks.”

—p.9 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago

G. seemed to aspire to complete derivativeness—a work of total imitation. It nodded to Pulp Fiction (the gangster’s black outfit, dusty and tight), Lost in Translation (a woman staring at the city from the window of a villa in Gianicolo, holding her knees to her breasts with her arms), La Dolce Vita (conversations from one room to the other via baby monitor). It referenced The Usual Suspects, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Matrix, The Big Lebowski, Breathless. It had a complicated self-kidnapping plot (Fargo)—a long list of derivative shit. The jury, even dumber than Lorenzo, called it “ambitious, a bachelor machine of nods and winks.”

—p.9 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago
12

You come from a good family: your parents used to vote for the Communist Party; they taught you to make time for the soup kitchen on Sunday mornings, to spend late winter afternoons at nursing homes, at senior citizens’ dancing groups. But your progressivism was unanchored from theory, estranged from the Marxism you never even knew you had outgrown. What was once open-mindedness became pure exoticism: culture was for collecting. You’re only good for hailing cabs and booking flights that expand your carbon footprint. You refresh ryanair.com while—far from your eyes and farther from your heart—exhausted old ladies crouch on their knees in an industrial Chinese suburb, pulling obsolete cell phones from heaps of waste, from the sewage of techno-capitalism. You watched the Edward Burtynsky documentary that night at the Kino club, the one with the uranium mines and the nickel residue piercing the dark Ontario earth like lava, and those old Chinese ladies, hunched over piles of electric circuits…

—p.12 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago

You come from a good family: your parents used to vote for the Communist Party; they taught you to make time for the soup kitchen on Sunday mornings, to spend late winter afternoons at nursing homes, at senior citizens’ dancing groups. But your progressivism was unanchored from theory, estranged from the Marxism you never even knew you had outgrown. What was once open-mindedness became pure exoticism: culture was for collecting. You’re only good for hailing cabs and booking flights that expand your carbon footprint. You refresh ryanair.com while—far from your eyes and farther from your heart—exhausted old ladies crouch on their knees in an industrial Chinese suburb, pulling obsolete cell phones from heaps of waste, from the sewage of techno-capitalism. You watched the Edward Burtynsky documentary that night at the Kino club, the one with the uranium mines and the nickel residue piercing the dark Ontario earth like lava, and those old Chinese ladies, hunched over piles of electric circuits…

—p.12 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago
21

“I’m sorry. Please, sit down.” He takes a sip of the Orange Crush through a straw. “I was just surprised to hear from you. I get…emotional when a woman enters my life like this. I start wondering if I’m ready to give her everything she needs. Take your time, tell me everything.”

—p.21 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago

“I’m sorry. Please, sit down.” He takes a sip of the Orange Crush through a straw. “I was just surprised to hear from you. I get…emotional when a woman enters my life like this. I start wondering if I’m ready to give her everything she needs. Take your time, tell me everything.”

—p.21 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago
24

THE SUN IS a rich yellow when she wakes up from her nap. Her shoulders and cheeks are heavy, and she lifts herself up on her elbows slowly, as if a sharp gesture might pull her back into full consciousness. The walls are covered in splotchy shadows and diamonds of light. The window feels cold to the touch. She kneels to look out, sees limestone stains on the glass.

—p.24 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago

THE SUN IS a rich yellow when she wakes up from her nap. Her shoulders and cheeks are heavy, and she lifts herself up on her elbows slowly, as if a sharp gesture might pull her back into full consciousness. The walls are covered in splotchy shadows and diamonds of light. The window feels cold to the touch. She kneels to look out, sees limestone stains on the glass.

—p.24 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago
81

You work on the Adidas and Colgate campaigns in bed, then fine-tune the copy for Dash Stain Remover: “Bad news, guys—this promo is for girls only.” It’s you who’s writing this. You studied the philosophy of language, la Societè du Spectacle, the ability of monkeys to figure out other monkeys’ intentions. And then instead of getting your PhD, you began to work for your professor’s private enterprise, researching viral marketing and analytics and buzz. Everything seemed to fit. Now, in bed, after a deep but complicated sleep, after an early afternoon nap in the deserted apartment, you work. You write: “There are so many campaigns for boys out there, but with this product, it’s the ladies we’re targeting first, because they’re the ones who do most of the chores.” (You are La Sposina. You’re the protagonist in a bourgeois story that concerns me only tangentially, which I’ve been asked to observe. I honor you, I may even like you.)

—p.81 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago

You work on the Adidas and Colgate campaigns in bed, then fine-tune the copy for Dash Stain Remover: “Bad news, guys—this promo is for girls only.” It’s you who’s writing this. You studied the philosophy of language, la Societè du Spectacle, the ability of monkeys to figure out other monkeys’ intentions. And then instead of getting your PhD, you began to work for your professor’s private enterprise, researching viral marketing and analytics and buzz. Everything seemed to fit. Now, in bed, after a deep but complicated sleep, after an early afternoon nap in the deserted apartment, you work. You write: “There are so many campaigns for boys out there, but with this product, it’s the ladies we’re targeting first, because they’re the ones who do most of the chores.” (You are La Sposina. You’re the protagonist in a bourgeois story that concerns me only tangentially, which I’ve been asked to observe. I honor you, I may even like you.)

—p.81 by Francesco Pacifico 1 year, 1 month ago