American tourist snaps finger off priceless statue in Florence

Today’s headlines all seemed to be linked by time!  Which to choose?  600 years for the statue, 150 years for mummified maori warrior’s head to be returned, 20 years for a dolphin’s memory, 7 years for a German whistleblower illegally imprisoned, 1 year birthday of Curiosity on Mars and zero-hour contracts scandal of McDonalds.  Tempus fugit.  With all the recent controversy about internet abuse and crime I thought the story of the statue would give a new twist to the notion of “digital crime”.

Digital Crime

For six hundred years the statue exists,
then fate intervenes in a most savage twist;
an American tourist breaks all the rules.
That much is clear, even to fools.
But he can’t understand
as he grabs at the hand
and near the knuckle breaks off a finger,
then pauses to linger.
He’s seen and arrested
for having molested
that ancient and venerable work of art.
And that’s just the start.
In court he’s arraigned
and publicly shamed.
And what did he say?
“An accident,” he claimed,
I’m more used to rodeo
and in that museo
a bronco-esque feeling swept over me.
Please hear my plea,
I just wanted to see
how big it would be,
the statue’s phalange
compared to mine!”
He’ll be heavily fined,
judicially instructed to toe the line
and sent back home with a flea in his ear,
never again to reappear
at the scene of his digital crime.


6th August 2013 – headline from the Independent

Notes:  “Don’t touch the exhibits! American tourist accidentally snaps finger off priceless 600-year-old statue in Florence.”  An American tourist has accidentally snapped the finger off a priceless 14th century statue in Florence.  The unnamed man was reportedly spotted by a security guard as he began touching the statue and trying to measure its finger, but attempts to stop him came too late and the digit broke off.  The incident took place in the Italian city’s world famous Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, with the 600-year-old exhibit believed to be the work of eminent medieval sculptor Giovanni d’Ambrogio.  The tourist is said to have apologised for damaging the priceless artwork, but could still receive a large fine for his careless behaviour.  Before any financial penalty can be arranged, however, the American tourist has suffered the full force of Florentine fury over the incident, which locals consider symptomatic of a modern thoughtless and disrespectful attitude towards fragile ancient artworks.

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