The civilization of physical respect for housewives

Recently I had the pleasure to read a book by the seven-time Italian prime minister Senator Giulio Andreotti and would like to share the following quote, representative of the insightful observations and the distinguished prose of its author:

“Our concierge, Laurina Volpi, was a good-natured woman from the Marche region who hadn’t been subject to the rigors of compulsory education as a child and every so often she would come upstairs to have my mother read her the letters she received from relatives who had emigrated to Pennsylvania. […] Both reader and listener became ecstatic, involving me as well in their feelings of admiration, when they learned, for example that the laundry over there was washed in machines which eliminated those cracks inflicted upon the hands of my mother and of the kind doorkeeper by the European way of doing the “wash”. Fifty years later when I heard people criticize consumerism and household appliances in general I was careful to remain aloof precisely on account of my childhood memories. America for me was the civilization of physical respect for housewives.”

Giulio Andreotti, The USA Up Close: From the Atlantic Pact to Bush, New York University Press 1993, p. 1.

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