updated 12:25 am EDT, Fri October 1, 2010
"What Country" generalizes about Italy, others
A minister in the Italian parliament's Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati) who is the undersecretary of tourism has directed the country's equivalent of the attorney general to investigate legal action against app maker Apalon for their program What Country. The minister believes the app defames Italy by mentioning that the country is best known for "Pizza, Mafia, Pasta, Scooters."
The app touts itself as a "humorous tour of the world," helping users locate and learn about different countries. In addition to the mention of the Mafia on the main page for Italy, What Country also features a juxtaposed picture of a gag "Mafia Parking Only" sign next to the famous Trevi fountain.
The main objection, says minister Michela Vittoria Brambilla, is the association of Italy with the Mafia.
Other countries also get generalized as well, though only the entry for Italy has engendered controversy so far. For example, Germany is listed as being known for "beer, discipline and autobahns," and South Africa is apparently known for "Vuvuzelas, tribal dancing, world football championships." The US is described as "melting pot, hamburger, the American Dream."
Brambilla, a close associate of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is demanding Apple remove the app from the App Store. Thus far, neither Apalon nor Apple have commented on the complaint.