“Magma mia, that’s a spicy volcano!” said Giuseppe.
Photo by Sharon Roth
Historical anniversaries are often met with mixed emotions, but the tragic eruption that occurred in Pompeii, Italy 25 years ago today is one many people find worth embracing. The Italian American community of Little Italies across the nation has been exploding with anticipation in recent weeks. Pauly Giuseppi of San Diego’s Little Italy offered his thoughts on the anniversary, stating, “Mamma Mia, to be honest I feel like that was centuries ago, those poor bambinos were pressed like paninis weren’t they?” Giuseppi’s restaurant, “You Cannoli Betray Me,” is promoting a special molten lava cake called “Vesuvius’ Revenge” during the month of May.
Awareness has been brought to the fateful anniversary by recent riots caused by the growing “Parm Not Harm” coalition, which is fighting to de-bread-stick-matize the preservation of “The Mortal Coil in Ash” in more communities globally. Still, some Pompeii deniers are challenging the coalition, claiming that the eruption of Vesuvius occurred centuries before 1996. Scientist Dan Imals researched the phenomenon, stating that, “like the notorious Mandela effect in which people misremember historical facts, Pompeii is rarely considered a current event by a large slice of the ‘Papa John’ population.” Imals continued, “Because Pompeii was so traumatic for those involved, people try to repress any reminder of it into the bowels of history. Really, it should be celebrated as one of the most Italian events of the 20th century.”
The 1998 film Parent Trap affected Pompeii orphans negatively, yet many alumni of the tragedy were recently cast in the sequel, Godfather: Trapped in the Trevi Fountain, to resolve past lawsuits. Still, many millennials have fond memories of watching the controversial reenactment of the explosion on the Barney and Friends PBS special, “Dinosaurs Go to Burning MAN!”
It is rumored that the British band Bastille may even perform an exclusive concert with their breakthrough hit, “Pompeii,” on loop for an 18 hour benefit concert at the Vatican, to commemorate every hour of the fateful eruption. Interestingly, an 18 hour loop of “Pompeii” was already accomplished by KBS 99.7 in the summer of 2013. The song’s release was inflamed by much public outrage during the controversy, as many felt like the 17th anniversary of the natural disaster was too soon for lyrics like “The walls kept tumbling down in this mid 1990’s town.” Nonetheless, Pope Francis has blessed the band and they are set to perform a second show in the Roman Colosseum to mark 100 years since the last gladiatorial battle.
Locally, students of UC San Diego’s MMW writing sequence have been tasked to reimagine recent historical events as if they were ancient, and one student stated that they would imagine Pompeii as an ancient event during the rise of the Roman Empire. Much like a savory margherita pizza, this ficticious Pompeii would rise from the ashes.
The Backstreet Boys, The Gulf War, Kurt Cobain, and Pompeii are phenomena that play special roles in the rustic charm of the 1990’s. Each has left an imprint on public consciousness, either for better or worse. Make sure to take advantage of the deals with Jimmy Dean’s “Smoky Italian” sausages, and Buca Di Beppo’s half-off “Ash Wednesdays,” available till the end of this month. In order to celebrate and commemorate the tragedy of the eruption, a listen to Mozart’s latest album, “Watergate (Amadeus’s version),” might strike a chord with those seeking to fan the flame of their cindered souls.