After decades of sci-fi movies, we knew it was going to happen, in a mix of fear and excitement: a good reason to rebuild and celebrate a renewed identity of ours as members of the humankind. It is now here, with the flavour of a new beginning, the epics of yet another glorious ‘Independence Day': people from all over the world are standing and fighting together against little Pokémon monsters that have infested our streets, museums, shopping centres and any other possible venue. The same humankind even Woody Allen would now feel proud to belong to has evolved into a united army of walking hunters, who wield their smartphones (upon which to spasmodically roll their fingers) in order to capture those virtual creatures that are so affecting our real lives.
Pokèmon have invaded Italy too. Eike Schmidt, the German Director at Uffizi, in Florence, seems not too worried: ‘Our visitors capture them’. This is the closest epiphany modern Italians could display ever of Kennedy’s words ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country’.
And still, it would be very remiss of him, not to acknowledge there can be a serious hazard in dealing with Pokémon: people who have been infected end up being run over by cars, falling from bridges and docks, displaying autistic behaviour and ignoring other people and the surrounding.
Thanks heaven, other and higher Italian authorities are paying more attention and seem well aware of those dangers. Prime Minister Renzi, for example, during a conference with Putin, must have noticed some of these monsters in the hall, as he could not refrain from fingering his mobile. As an act of courtesy, Italy kept Russian President safe, and gave attending journalists something to giggle about. What a pity Thomas Mann could not write the sequel of his Death in Venice nowadays, given the current state of unseen decadence: too few Pokèmon are available in the old city, and local business are signing an online petition to increase their number. Hopefully, a Pikachu would bring it to the Italian Parliament, where a prompt response shall be given, in the next 25 years or so. Luckier are those who hunt in Rome, and -sit tight- in the Vatican especially, where Aerceus, the Pokémon god, is said to be located: this could somehow explain the willingness of Pope Francis to embrace a more open view on ecumenism and tolerance towards other religions than his predecessors. Pilgrims, tourists and Romans alike, however, are concerned of the amount of monsters riding the roads: finding a car park is becoming more and more difficult, and even double parking is no longer enough; scooters bigger and more powerful than Machamp are making pedestrian life a nightmare; other monsters prevent the big AMA lorries from collecting waste. And whilst Milan seems a ghost town in August (a recurrent miracle similar to St. Januarius’ blood in Naples), Pokemon monsters still patrol undisturbed in Sicily, although people seem becoming less fearful and more impudent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMKqRw4Yr3E . Do not delude ourselves: it will be a long, harsh and cruel fight against those monsters. But eventually one day soon Italy will be freed. Of Italians, one would hope. Come on Pokémon, come on!