Archive for febbraio 2013

The concept of “menata” explained to an English-speaking audience

21 febbraio 2013

Life has many meanings and many aims. Eating good food is one of the aims of life. If you believe in one or more gods, worshipping s/he/it or them can be another aim.

“Menarla” is one of the noblest aims of life.

The verb “menare” in Italian has a range of different meanings. According to the authoritative wordreference.com, it can be translated with to lead, to drag, to shake, to throw, to beat, to bring about, to fight – amongst the others.

“Menata” is the past participle of the verb “menare”.

The actual meaning of “menata” comes indeed from the phrases “me la meni”/ “te la meno”/ “non me la menare”/ “che menata!”.

“Menarla” in this sense means to obstinately try to convince someone about a particular idea or position. It is a sort of intellectual stalking, but made in total frankness and friendliness – even if a well conducted “menata” can have phases of open intellectual confrontation.

The “Menata” is a particular kind of social interaction, with its own rules. Usually there is an opening, a crescendo, a climax, and a closure/ ending. Pauses and silences are very important in the art of a well conducted menata.

The final aim is to demonstrate to the opponent our intellectual superiority. However, the art of the menata consists in attracting the opponent to your side with lateral or subtle moves. Very rarely a menata is won with a direct attack.

The final outcome of a menata – the winner – is often unknown. Because, for example, both opponents think they are winners, of because the actual moment in which the menata ends is undefined/ unknown. A menata you think is ended can restart with the same intensity the day after – or 3 years after.

A menata is always a mutual agreement and should be good fun, even if it is always taken very seriously by the opponents. Even if this statement is disputable, and could be the subject of a good menata.

In this sense, menate can be considered one of the finest intellectual deeds of humankind.

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