In praise of the Neapolitan helmetless
Long live the boys of life.
I have to tell you: a good 30% of the reasons why I love Naples, the Middle East, Africa, the south of the world in general, are because of this Many people still walk around without helmets. A gesture that is above all metaphor. Free, beautiful and rebellious, spontaneous like children; impervious to ultra-security progress, to the bourgeoisie as a state of mind even before it is a social state, to surveillance capitalism; to control freaks and contemporary fears. You have a natural resistance to a cultural imposition, an age-old rejection uncivilized in the sense that it stands outside and before duties citiesof the citizen.
Enough with the citizens!, snapped Carmelo Bene! How right he was. I’ve never read it, but I’m sure CB somewhere praised the helmetless, men rather than commoners.
So the video published a few days ago by Neapolitan fans gave me hope: a splendid army of helmetless who accompanied the blue bus on the way back from Turin, between horns and flags, with these children jumping and swaying on mopeds as if they were toys. They swarmed like bees protecting the hive, the club bus. A truly memorable, amazing show: poetry in motion, suburban fiction, cinematic realism; vivid snapshot Pictures of Italian profiles.
Scenes that we can no longer accept, as much as we are afraid of everything that disturbs them our miserable life in vitro posthuman. Get used to existential bell jars, with which we want to minimize the risks and thus also the living space of the people. That’s why we’ve witnessed so many attacks, because basically we want to be a little bit like them and can’t: as good citizens educated, so to speak, but above all repressed. Wolves disguised as the moralists and traffic cops that we are.
But then what do you care if you’re walking around without a helmet. His own thing as he falls, hits his head and dies: don’t act like you care because you don’t care. And don’t even start with those formulas like “eh, then they go to the hospitals that we pay for with our taxes!” – which doesn’t happen anyway because, like the good guys in life, they have an ancient and street-ready ability that you dream about. An absurd logic, however, according to which nobody should do anything, not even smoke or eat fast food, in order not to increase the risk of hospitalization.
The truth is that witness this form ofillegal freedom It infuriates those who cannot break the law and therefore demands that everyone respect it. If you play by the rules, you pay taxes (which are inherently inhumane things) and freak out when someone doesn’t.
At least for taxes, there is the excuse that tax evasion hits all “honest taxpayers” (almost always people who have no way or courage to evade), while for helmets there really is no justification: Yes refers confusedly to an assumption (and incredible) respect for the rules, actually a frustration ripened by those who cannot accept that someone can flout the law (bare-faced) and get away with it. Thus, under the noble cloak of respect for the rules and concern for others, one vents one’s bad feelings by resorting to an intolerable and hypocritical judicialist moralism.
The controversy has also reached the palaces of power (indeed now in the direct social networks of our politicians), starting from Salvini who, caressing the protective and repressive instincts of the housewives of Voghera and the entrepreneurs of Treviso, insulted the Neapolitans: «no no no, it’s not like that. Long live Napoli, but boys, on motorcycles and mopeds, helmets, head, prudence, distance and you don’t ride in twos, threes or fours. So celebrate yes, but with your head». But enough of this bigoted, moral populist right that is sure to poison us. You and the exponents of the Brothers of Kiev, forgive Washington, forgive Italy, who speak of respect for the rules that they cannot even guarantee. How boring.
Then we complain as the anarchist, libertarian and Trumpian conspiracy right grows, which sees in vaccines and seat belts an intolerable invasion of the state. At least some thrill, some life. I don’t even talk about those on the other side, at least those who are represented in Parliament: a new left that is not very radical and very chic and even wears a helmet to ride the electric scooter. But beyond politics, many attacks, especially on social media, have highlighted a entrenched, folkloric and above all dialectical discrimination against Neapolitans – nothing beyond insults and territorial stereotypes, nothing to overdo.
But here is an appeal to many Neapolitans: stop with this unbearable e wailing victimhoodwith racism and inferiority complexes.
Enough with the Maurizio De Giovannis scraping the (sweet) bottom of the barrel every time to complain about the nasty northern or central racists insulting the poor big-hearted Neapolitans. Instead, reclaim your vitalismfor better or for worse, Laugh in the face of those who call upon Vesuvius – and who has the right to it, like those who conjure up the fire for Milan or the match to burn Turin: nobody who hopefully really wants it. Refrain about how life isn’t just about rules and per capita income, it’s also about irony and spontaneity. Don’t complain about the clichés about Naples, but feed them, deform them, mythologize them, make them theatrical while perhaps contesting them on the field by winning a well-deserved championship.
Celebrate with your head, says Salvini. But whenever! Matteo, a piece of advice: come back and be happy on the treadmill for the victories of Milan and leave the men of Partenope alone. They haven’t won a Scudetto in Naples since Maradona, but what a head. Throw a huge party instead awful, like never seen before, shakes the bowels of the city: color it like never before, even illuminate it at night. Since ancient times, true festivals have eluded reason and social constraints. So here we are talking history, for a city where football is a secular religion and hasn’t exploded in over thirty years. And history lives on historical events, not on petty-bourgeois fears and side effects.
In a beautiful interview yesterday at La Stampa, for example, Ottavio Bianchi, coach of the first Italian champion from Napoli, said of Maradona: «I loved him very much, started hating myself to try to save him at the most difficult moment. I will never forget his bold and at the same time resigned look when he answered me: but I just want to live with my foot on the accelerator at all times». That’s why Diego is still considered a god in Naples: not just for football, or because he was the greatest (or maybe the strongest) player of all time.
But also because he was a Neapolitan, put his foot on the gas pedal and – figuratively speaking – without a helmet on the head. Ready to stop in the chest at a wedding where he was dressed in white, a balloon dripping with mud.
In his name, Naples still celebrates and still celebrates the Scudetto, in homage to Don Diego, one of them: a deity so earthly that it perishes, a human being all too human and pushing himself to the point of self-destruction can drift and always live it in his own way; because there, really, Winning isn’t the only thing that matters. If we won without hundreds, thousands of kids without helmets, without a party exaggeratedwithout the fireworks, without a few minor injuries and a city transformed from the center to the suburbs, if without history and the Dionysian we won, it wouldn’t be Naples, it wouldn’t be their victory.
So let them lose these children of life, people who are not yet tired of being people who are at best tired of being citizens. And here let me shout it out: long live the Neapolitans without helmets! Children of existence, more alive than ever, in the flesh, in our faces. We’re so obsessed with codes, rules, laws, and social media that we’ve forgotten how to feel the wind in our hair.