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What Måneskin's Runaway Success Says About Retrograde Politics In Italy

Since winning this year's Eurovision contest, Italy's rock band Måneskin has been taking its message of breaking down stereotypes around the world, while its native country's politicians are stuck in last century's prejudices.

What Måneskin's Runaway Success Says About Retrograde Politics In Italy

David Damiano, Maneskin's singer, performing on stage in Paris

Maria Corbi


ROME"We're out of our minds, but different from them..." Måneskin, the Italian band that won this year's Eurovision contest, sang those lyrics recently in New York in front of a delirious audience. Few in the American crowd can imagine how significant those words are in Italy right now that the Senate has rejected the Zan bill, which would have instituted new measures to fight homophobia.

Perhaps Italy's politicians should go for a stroll below that stage, be among those young people, in the real world where rights — and the freedom to be as one is, and not as one should be — are recognized. It's not even an issue for them. It's just part of life.

Sterile and stale discussions about gender wander like ghosts around the corridors of political power in Rome. They should instead belong to a chapter of a history book, turned into a distant memory.

Maneskin won the Eurovision song contest in May 2021


Damiano's message

How great it is to see Damiano singing with a collar that says "sex" and a thong with the Rolling Stones' tongue on it worn over his pants. How sad it is to see Simone Pillon, a senator with the far-right League party and one of the staunchest voices against LGBTQI+ rights, congratulating another senator, Gaetano Quagliarello: "You've given us a dream."

What's for sure is that Pillon and his gang took the dream away from the invisible, from the discriminated, from the targets of hateful behavior who hoped to be protected by a nation's law and its politics.

Fluidity is simply a non-issue among the young.

From the Bowery Ballroom in New York, Måneskin showed the world how much distance there is between reality and politics. So much positive energy in their songs, in their colorful clothes, in their freedom from stereotypes, classifications, cages. So much negative energy among those who continue to play with words and minimize a huge problem. Italy ranks low in Europe when it comes to LGBTQI+ rights and very high for the number of victims of transphobia: 36 killings from 2008 to 2016, considering only the cases reported by newspapers.

Gender and fluidity are simply a non-issue among the younger generations. It would be enough for the politicians to check out a Måneskin concert on YouTube to understand what kind of world they live in. Maybe it would be enough for them to talk to their own children to get a sense of what's happening — to understand, for example, why so many young people don't vote anymore.

To understand that the Måneskin's refrain — "we're out of our minds, but different from them" — reflects all their failure.

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A Naturalist's Defense Of The Modern Zoo

Zoos are often associated with animal cruelty, or at the very least a general animal unhappiness. But on everything from research to education to biodiversity, there is a case to be made for the modern zoo.

Photograph of a brown monkey holding onto a wired fence

A brown monkey hangs off of mesh wire

Marina Chocobar/Pexels
Fran Sánchez Becerril


MADRID — Zoos — or at least something resembling the traditional idea of a zoo — date back to ancient Mesopotamia. It was around 3,500 BC when Babylonian kings housed wild animals such as lions and birds of prey in beautiful structures known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Ancient China also played a significant role in the history of zoos when the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) created several parks which hosted an assortment of animals.

In Europe, it wouldn't be until 1664 when Louis XIV inaugurated the royal menagerie at Versailles. All these spaces shared the mission of showcasing the wealth and power of the ruler, or simply served as decorations. Furthermore, none of them were open to the general public; only a few fortunate individuals, usually the upper classes, had access.

The first modern zoo, conceived for educational purposes in Vienna, opened in 1765. Over time, the educational mission has become more prominent, as the exhibition of exotic animals has been complemented with scientific studies, conservation and the protection of threatened species.

For decades, zoos have been places of leisure, wonder, and discovery for both the young and the old. Despite their past success, in recent years, society's view of zoos has been changing due to increased awareness of animal welfare, shifting sensibilities and the possibility of learning about wild animals through screens. So, many people wonder: What is the purpose of a zoo in the 21st century?

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