Yes, it's true: Italians do everything better.
Take, for example, the latest ad campaign from Tuscany's regional government. It's tagline, Sexual Orientation Is Not A Choice, appears alongside a new-born infant with "Homosexual" written on its hospital wristband. Thousands of the posters will begin appearing around the city. Walls, offices and other public spaces around the largely Catholic area will unabashedly promote a uniquely Italian sensibility about sex and sexuality.
It's all part of an anti-discrimination campaign launched by the Tuscan government to promote tolerance, acceptance and understanding. And the last time we saw something like this out of the United States was, well . . . never.
Even in forward-looking Europe, though, the campaign is not without its critics. Conservative politicians - no surprise - are condemning the posters.
"Exploiting newborns to suggest that homosexual tendencies are innate is a misleading and shameful act," said Lucio Volonte a leading parliamentarian for the Union of Christian Democrats.
Ignoring science, though - which long ago concluded that sexual orientation is innate - is, maybe, the "Christian" thing to do?
No wonder it took these people a little longer than the rest to get on that whole "the earth is round" bandwagon. And goodness knows, there have never been any gay boys in the Vatican . . . have there?
In Italy, a gay baby's first words are "Gimme the Pope's Prada," after all.
But wait, wait! There's more. It's not just the anti-gays who are in a tizzy about tolerance. In true Italia style, somebody had to drag a philosopher into the middle of it . . . and a gay philosopher at that.
Gianni Vattimo, who is also a Member of the Italian Parliament (what kind of crazy people put deep, philosophical thinkers in public office?!), called the whole thing "excessive." The slogan "is too biology-centric," he said.
But biology-centric excess is, in my experience, exactly what the Italians do best!
The debate, nonetheless, is at least a bit more entertaining than the top-volume, ear-splitting debacles Americans tend to find themselves in when it comes to things like this.
Philosophers, gay babys and tacky paper bracelets! Even when it comes to right-wing rants, the Italians do it better.