I came across a 45 second clip of an American speaking Italian and I got an idea for an article. Rather than take my recent outing seeing Spotlight as inspiration on how to successfully research and complete a story, I’m going to tell you how I pictured it going, how it could have gone and how it did go.
I was listening to the No Agenda Show podcast and they played a clip.
In mid October, Secretary of State and prominent resident of Beacon Hill, John Kerry, spoke to an Italian audience. He decided, as a sign of respect, to speak to them a few words in their native tongue. The story gained traction in Italian media because he misspoke and tried to refer to something as “wonderful” but accidentally called it “shitty.”
The podcast host said that what Kerry had said was something along the lines of the fact that he thought that American pizza was shitty.
I found the original source of the video on the Italian Newspaper La Republica website and tried to find out more.
Thanks to the “translate” option that chrome has, I was able to read what the text said. Unfortunately there was no text of Kerry’s speech. If I attempted to listen to the speech and type it into a translator I certainly would have been way off with what I was hearing.
My first attempt to find out what he said, was the comments section on newspaper’s website. I posted that I was an American and asked if someone could translate it for me. No luck there.
My next idea was a post on craigslist. I posted the link to the video and asked if anyone could translate it for me. No bites there. I did however get an email about an opportunity to purchase boner pills from someone in China, so I guess you can call that a tie.
How do people communicate today? Facebook! After getting no bites on my fb post “Who speaks Italian?” someone suggested I ask my grandmother. You see, her mother was Italian. So I gave Nonna a call. I played the clip from my computer speakers into the phone. The combination of the bad audio from the video, it being played into the phone, and her hearing aid made that attempt unsuccessful.
After thinking about it for a while, I remembered there was someone I interacted with at work who may have spoken Italian. I’m not really to chummy with her but she did confirm that he did at some point call something “shitty.”
After not being able to get confirmation on what he actually said and thinking that if I did succeed it might have too much of a negative impact on my life, I decided to give up. Then, I thought, “I’m not a real journalist! I’m not being paid for this! I’ve never received any official training! Why not talk about what could have happened had all the dominoes fell into the right place!?”
Assuming I had received confirmation that Kerry called American pizza shitty, which, again, I don’t know if he even did here is how I would have proceeded. Upon further reading it sounds like he tried to call the world record pizza they made wonderful or something. I don’t know what he called “shitty.” So assuming I got confirmation that he thought our pizza was shitty…
My plan was to reach out to his local pizza establishments for comment. One of my favorites that is right down the street from his Beacon Hill home is Upper Crust on Charles Street. I was going to send them Kerry’s comment on how he felt about their pizza and they would undoubtedly be upset with the former senator’s comments and would respond, hopefully with some jab about how he could go to Dominos or some garbage. It would have been glorious!
After the article was published on The Packie it would be passed along to Universal Hub and Boston.com and various other local media establishments and then eventually would gain nation wide attention!
The Packie would gain thousands of readers. Some website would be so impressed with my writing chops I would be scooped up and paid handsome sums of money to write articles and movie reviews!
And then we would all live happily ever after. For a while.
Eventually Kerry would catch wind of the article. He would be furious. He would have been disgraced by his favorite local pizza place and would not be able to set foot in there again.
He would pull some strings and get revenge. I would lose my job and my second job as a writer. I would be disgraced. I would be alone.
And then one day I would end up like Gary Webb.
Gary Webb “committed suicide” by shooting himself in the head…twice. Webb was the newspaperman who exposed the fact that the CIA was importing cocaine into the United States and selling it in order to find South American contras. There were some powerful people that were unhappy with him.
I don’t wanna get killed and people to think I did it. I just wanna make people laugh and maybe convince someone to pay me to be my creative self.
So I didn’t write the article. I mean I did write this article but this article is a different article. Also, I don’t know what the facts are so we still have that going for us.
Upon the publishing of this article, a dozen people read it. The author went on to continue to be sad and unfulfilled. People didn’t like him but it had nothing to do with this article. He sucks.
image credit: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/09/chain-reaction-dominos-handmade-pan-pizza.html