In a self-referential moment, the New York Times interviews its own reporter, Ian Fisher, about the nationwide soul-searching set off in Italy by Fisher's Dec. 13 article that depicts Italians as wallowing in a collective funk. Fisher's description of a dispirited national mood has prompted an impassioned response from all corners.
Fisher has seen reactions from Umberto Eco, Sophia Loren, and the Catholic Church, among many others. Most ordinary Italians who e-mailed him about the article, Fisher says, "thanked me for writing it," while politicians slammed the article as "parody" and non-Italians who'd vacationed in Italy wrote insisting that Italians are very happy people. (Read more Italy stories.)