Published January 19, 2011 by Tony


American fans

We can call him Americanist, American tender or  American fan or wannabe but they all identify any person fond of the USA and its lifestyle.
I guess this keenness came out in the postwar period after American military men came in Italy for Italian Campaign of World War II through a combined British-Canadian-American invasion of Sicily started on July 1943. On September forces of the U.S. Fifth Army landed against heavy German resistance at Salerno while the main allied effort in the west initially centered on the port of Naples, selected because it was the northernmost port city that could be taken while under cover of Allied fighter aircraft operating from Sicily. Then the allied advanced into Northern Italy too.
On that circumstance, Naples inhabitants showed their innate warm-heartedness and willingness apart from the joy to be delivered from Nazism persecution. Some woman willingly gave hospitality to American soldiers even sharing – to the rhythm of boogie- woogie  – her bed then, inheriting – nine months later – a half-breed child. Who knows how many Italian persons today have an American parent as ancestor!
Do you know “PAISA’” film directed by Roberto Rossellini?

Italian Campaign

Well, in the second episode you find a plausible story set in Naples during the Italian Campaign. I could mention the famous song “Tu vuò fa l’Americano” (literally – “you pretend to act like an American”) wrote in 1956 and with a lyric about an Italian who imitates American lifestyle (of that time), and acts like a Yankee, drinking whisky and soda, dancing to rock ‘n roll, playing baseball and smoking Camel cigarettes.  Just a sarcastic jibe at Italians trying to be ‘hip’ and American but, American lifestyle became a fashion, anyhow. In 1958 only the 11 per cent of all films exhibited in Italy were Italian , while 73 per cent were American or British production. Subsequently, the relationship between the new generation of film-makers at Cinecittà and Hollywood then, bought to the first Italian Westerns well-known as “Spaghetti Western”. As a stereotype the actor Alberto Sordi plays the role of a young Italian living in the early ’50s in Rome and  completely crazy for everything that comes from the States. He tried to speak American-English (the funniest ever), to wear like he thinks Americans do, to walk like John Wayne trying to eat cornflakes with ketchup…and dreaming to go to the USA. We could write a lot about this social and cultural influence but my purpose only was to highlight as it somehow became, in the time, an instinctive matter and which is why many persons still are Americanist nowadays.
Am I one too? Maybe, because I find no other valid reasons to explain my love for English language and affection for who is living below the stars and stripes flag!

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