Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti
The Supreme Futurist, Mussolini's Man, the Poet of Speed, the Radicalizer, Tommy, Flipper
Male—very male—and masculine, too. Who needs women?
The real irony is that I was born in a place stuck in the past—Alexandria, Egypt, to be precise. Maybe that's why I grew up to love all things modern—who knows? Mom and Dad (not married—oops!) were from newly formed Italy, so I grew up in a pyramids-meet-pizza sort of culture.
I later lived in France and then Italy, but I never forgot about those Egyptian sand dunes. All that nature and empty space gave me the willies. Someone should have saved the situation and put up a Wal-Mart or an airport.
Back in my day, writers were writers—they weren't also teachers or graduate students or employees of any company. I did a lot of hanging out in cafés with like-minded individuals—you know, haters of history and worn-out culture; people who complained that Italy was too old-school; and rabid anti-traditionalists. So, in addition to being a poet, publisher, propagandist, and philosopher, I was a serious rabble-rouser. I published pieces in all of the most sophisticated publications of the day. My "Futurist Manifesto" more or less became, well, a manifesto for living the modern life and rejecting institutions, conventions, and ethics in general. My attitude was basically: quit your job, and join the mob! (Which is only something you can say if you are independently wealthy, which I was.)
I had one of those no-nonsense educations that you get when you go to a school run by Jesuits—French Jesuits, in this case. In spite of the rigorous curriculum, I still had time to start my own school publication—Papyrus (Le Papyrus: Revue bi-mensuelle littéraire, artistique, fantaissiste et mondaine), which sparked a bit of a scandal—it was just the beginning—when I used it to spread the word about Émile Zola's novels (highly indecent!) I was obviously an intellectual, so it was straight from Alexandria to the Sorbonne in Paris for my undergraduate studies. Then I went on to law school at the University of Pavia, Italy. I know, right? Why on earth did this hater of tradition go to law school? I mean, laws are so bossy and passé. I wanted to change the world, not litigate, represent, defend, and draft contracts. Well, I did it for dear old Dad. Huge mistake. Follow your dreams, I say—even if they involve obliterating culture and a sizable fraction of the population. If I hadn't continued contributing poems and other pieces to some of the hotshot literary publications of the day, I would have lost it. I got out ASAP. Good thing I was a trust-fund brat.
Full disclosure: I was a wild man. Italian Futurism started as an art movement and a cry for social change. It wasn't a political party, but it did have some very reactionary ideological loyalties—like to anarchism and fascism and a no-holds-barred approach to government. Eventually, I had to start a separate branch of the Futurists just for political causes—aptly named the Futurist Political Party. We spelled out our political affiliations in 1909 in the "Futurist Manifesto," basically calling for a new world order: thumbs down to the church and kings, thumbs up to Italian nationalism. Things like that. I was also pretty taken with that famous dictator Benito Mussolini, so we Futurist politicos joined forces with him for a while. He gave me a coveted academic position, so what's not to love? We would get together over bottles of Chianti and share our hopes and dreams about Italy's nationalist future, as well our affection for conflict, combat, bloodshed, and nationalist supremacy. It was time to put Italy on the map—we wanted everyone to respect, fear, and admire us as a nation. We would be a spiritual; we would be aesthetic; and we would be military force to be reckoned with. Andiamo!
I'm not into God, capisce? How could anyone so vocally opposed to tradition, morality, institutions, and the past actually practice a religion? My religion is the airplane blazing through the sky; the will of the Italian nation; and virile, muscular men. Technology! Boom! War! Crash! Forget The Old Testament; read my bible: "The New Religion-Morality of Speed."