PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, SEPT. 9, 2013) — Galileo again will be facing the Inquisition. Whether he should or not is a matter from jurists far more capable than we.


Thus, history repeats itself, and thus, Pittsfield gets another round of great publicity, doesn’t it, by serving as the dateline for the many statewide journalistic pieces that have radiated from the case like the dots and dashes of code receding from transmission into infinite space. Do you think this will raise the city’s estimation in the eyes of the Boston Brahmans? Do you think they will think of the hinterlands in the dueling banjos of “Deliverance” terms more than Mitch Miller‘s “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”?


Before we go further, though, two points need to be made: (1) All the accused in this case are innocent in the eyes of the law. Prosecutors have leveled charges and now have to prove them, beyond a reasonable doubt, in court. Galileo Mondol’s defense attorney has strongly refuted the charges. (2) There is a victim, an innocent, high-school freshman. He thought he was attending a morale-building getaway with his teammates. Instead, he found himself brutalized. Who knows what kind of physical, mental, and emotional state this poor boy is in, and who knows if he will be traumatized for the rest of his life. 

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THE PLANET speaks not of Galileo Galilei, world-class scientist and victim of the ignorance of the Catholic Church back in the day, but Galileo Mondol, all of 17 years old and one of three Somerville High School students accused of sexual assault at Camp Lenox in Otis on a recent soccer “team building” camp organized by his school.

THE PLANET points out before all else that the law considers Galileo Mondol, as it stands today, innocent of these charges. So must we. That claim plays out as a profound formality of the U.S. system of justice, so let’s all be clear on that score. That being said, we find reasonable cause for consideration and speculation here. Not to get all philosophical, mind you, but how many road markings can allow for the justified making of a map?

First, the name: “Galileo?”


Not “John,” or “Mike” or “Bill” or “George?”


What were his parents thinking naming their spawn for not just an icon but an iconclast, a man who fathered three children out of wedlock and who found himself afoul of the 800-Pound Gorilla of his day, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church? As opposed to “Steve,” or “Frank” or “Jim,” don’t you think “Galileo” draws just a wee bit of attention of the unwanted kind, especially when its bearer stands accused of being involved in homosexual rape? He’s innocent of the charges, of course, pending trial. Try wearing brown spats at your next formal dinner to get an approximation of the feeling.


The boy’s folks would have done better naming him “Sue” along the lines of the Johnny Cash song. In short, the kid’s precious name is enough to give one pause. In an of itself, it cannot be conclusive, but there are other pieces of the forensic evidence to be discussed.

In this day, where spoiled brats are the norm among the affluent and the affluent-wanna bes, naming your kind “Galileo” stands as the equivalent of taping a sign on his back and telling Mama-Pajamas of-Entitlement to “Kick Me.” You just never know when your child will be accused of raping another boy with a broomstick, not that he did it, because remember, the boy-man Galileo is innocent according to the law and so THE PLANET says, in compliance with the law, that “he’s innocent.” Can we be clearer than that?

Second, Galileo’s appearances in court, as seen in many photographs and news footage, convey a particular message, a judicial, social, and cultural billboard that you won’t need Mick Callahan to erect. You may need us to interpret, however. The accuracy of the impression cannot be judged, of course, but the impression is nonetheless there and speaks for itself.

Prior to his team’s “team-building” jaunt to Camp Lenox, you could Google “Galileo Mondol” and not find ne’er a hit. Today, his name delivers reams of hits, including numerous images of the kid in court. He got his 15 minutes, didn’t he? Does he thinks it’s cool or not?

“Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a … It’s a bird.”

Galileo looks to be a surfer-sandy blonde — but of course; you were expecting a nerdy carrot top? — and has the “What, me worry?” air of a member of one of them vacuous, fluff-headed boy bands, the dweebs that make the little girls go tinkle. Galileo comes off as the prototypical spoiled brat. That doesn’t mean he is, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t. Clues. We are simply following clues here. For all we know, Galileo may be God’s great gift to the world and the finest lad to walk Main Street since Andy Hardy.

THE PLANET obviously cannot know this to be true as in 2+2 = 4, but the clothes, the visage, the body language, the gap-mouth braces, the smart-phone sophistication, and the dumb-as-dirt “Can’t find Toronto on a map” expression all seem to speak to us of a smug, “My folks got money and they’ve gotten me out of a bunch of fixes before and this one will be no different.” Could we be wrong? We would be the first to admit for that infinitesimally slim possibility. In the meantime, Galileo is innocent in the eyes of the law, and we must interpret what he has put before our eyes.

Galileo has appeared in court nattily dressed as The Ultimate Preppy in what look to be Belmondo designer chinos, Nino Cerutti white cotton shirt, and Armani blazer. We are making the brand names up. The lad is innocent until proven guilty, or did we say that before?

Yes, some will tell THE PLANET, “And if he showed up looking scruffy, you’d be on him for that,” to which we reply, “Well, yes, we would — and your point is?” The kid’s sum total of public appearances in court, his fabric zeitgeist, if you will, conveys the clueless look of claim and privilege. The $8,000 braces, the $50 haircut, the roboid gamer’s lack of emotion (we are making these prices up; the boy is innocent until proven guilty) add up to something, surely. And no, we are not calling anyone “Shirley,” least of all Galileo.

Welcome to the Big Time, Galileo. As for your team-building trip to the Berkshires, we ask: “How’d that work out for you?” For Christmas, you might want to ask Santa for a good supply of soap-on-a rope. You might need it in the day, months, and years ahead. Then again, you may not. You are innocent, aren’t you?

The final note has to be Galileo’s “Get Out of Jail” card. It cost someone, his family in all likelihood, $100,000 in cold cash. It didn’t appear to be any major obstacle for the party posting this cool 100Gs. Must be nice, for he is innocent … for the moment, at any rate.



ONE WAY OUT — The city council has supported a measure making two more Pittsfield streets “one way” — South Atlantic and Atlantic streets, near Conte school. They’re doing it for “The Children,” as if you didn’t know. Pittsfield has more one-way streets than Obama has grey hairs. THE PLANET suggests no more half-way measures. We propose making every city street “one way,” all leading out of town.

SMOKIN’ — So far, a few days into the “No Smoking” policy at BCC, Prof. Valenti has yet to find a transgressor. Lucky for them. This “culture change,” as it’s been called, has gone off remarkably well. Credit to the college staff for the implementation, with plenty of posters and publicity. Credit, too, to the students, who seem to be playing ball. We have yet to see a student sucking in poison from a ciggy. It had better stay that way.

CREEPY — The city of Pittsfield wants zombies, ghouls, witches, goblins, the undead, and superheroes to march in its annual Halloween parade, to be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, on Tyler Street. In the spirit of the event, We have these suggestions: Zombies: Morandi, Cotton, Conant, and Elias; Ghouls: Bianchi and Barbalunga; Witches: C & K Yon, Amuso, and Mazzeo; Goblins: Connell, Lothrop, Krol, Simonelli, Elias, and Sherman; the Undead, Capitanio; Superheroes, THE PLANET, Kinnas, and Clairmont.

 WINE FLOWS LIKE RIVERS — Talk about [not] connecting with Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, the bedraggled taxpayers and proverbial Pittsfield Little Guys. Donna Todd Rivers, at-large candidate, has a shakedown planned on Sept. 12 for, basically, well-heeled females. At this hoidy-toidy fund-raiser, the candidate will be offering a wine tasting. Cost? A mere $25 bucks. As one of THE PLANET’s astute commentators pointed out, this tells you much about where the GOB-wannabe Rivers’ priorities will be if she makes the council. It does not appear to be with Mary Jane and Joe but with the Smythe-Smythes and the rest of the pinot-grigio-and-brie set. File it under “C” for “clueless.”


“What was it that we never caught? / What was he, and what was he not?” — E. A. Robinson, from “Flammonde,” (1916).




  1. Ron Kitterman
    September 9, 2013 at 4:27 am #

    Tend to agree with your position on the $pending for the city council at large candidates in particular. Seems a little hypocritical to be raising money in a race with 7, well known candidates competing for 4 seats. With a 60% chance of gaining a seat, it would seem to me that if you can’t convince Mary Jane or Joe to cast a vote for you based on your credentials , surely another sign on your neighbors yard , or radio advertisement will not persuade you to in November to vote for another GOB.

  2. Foxy Lady
    September 9, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    I for one will NOT be attending Rivers wing ding thing. Too bling. That diva thing has gone to her head.

    • danvalenti
      September 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

      Thank you for your views, FL.

    • FatOldBaldGuy
      September 9, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      Amen, Sister!

  3. joetaxpayer
    September 9, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Let’s no forget the $ 30,000 for a feasibility study on whether Pittsfield needs a new police station. Yes we do, the question is can we afford one

    • danvalenti
      September 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

      JOE TAX
      Agree. Does the city need one or not? Clearly, the leaders think so. Why, then, can’t they make a decision without blowing $30,000 on a “study?” The likely answer is that you have a lot of timid bureaucrats, afraid of making executive decisions.

      • dusty
        September 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

        Aww schucks. That is thirty thousand less dollars available for the rowing team.

  4. Joe Blow
    September 9, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    I will be voting for none of the above in this local election. There isn’t one person running who represents my beliefs. I was fooled by Bianchi last election and won’t be making the same mistake twice. As far as that kid is concerned how does Pittsfield look bad? He is from Boston and it allegedly happened in Otis. If its true and he’s guilty they should sentence him to the max…but that won’t happen here in liberal lala land.

    • danvalenti
      September 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

      You can write in “Dan Valenti.” He is your “None of the above” option in the election.
      As for the kid, our reference to Pittsfield has to do with the datelines on all the state coverage, which is “Pittsfield” (because of the court address). That’s all some people will see. They’ll see “Pittsfield” and wonder what goes on back in the hinterlands that would lead to such tragic actions.

  5. allthesame
    September 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    I agree, we should all write in Dan Valenti….

    • danvalenti
      September 10, 2013 at 7:12 am #

      Check out today’s post.

  6. Giacometti
    September 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    When the present Police station was renovated about 25 years ago the police took out the public bathrooms and threw out into a giant dumpster ten foot long sheets of beautiful grey marble that was used as dividing walls in the individual toilets
    …hard to believe..but true… right into the dumpster…what a waste of money…but in the area of the station where you enter from Allen Street the grey marble walls were not thrown out…
    they were painted grey to match the carpeting ( far worse than throwing the marble out )…painting marble…when asked why they kept the marble walls that they painted grey the officer on duty at the time said…” when a suspect gets out of hand it’s always good to have hard surfaces around “…even if they are painted to match the carpet

    In no other town do they throw out giant sheets of inch thick fine Italian marble to make way for sheet rock or paint it to match the carpet….yeah no other town is like Palookaville….
    where public money has no meaning and marble has no value.

    • danvalenti
      September 10, 2013 at 7:11 am #

      Great recall here, and a splendid example of the thinking that has become a “mindset” in Palookaville. That particular mindset, where Italian marble gets replaced by sheetrock or painted over, perfectly characterizes the poison politics that have become the norm.

  7. Ron Kitterman
    September 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    Good recall Giamcometti that is the same time the communications center was moved to the second floor only to move it back to it’s orginal position years later, The building has about the same self life as the city charter, way too old to do anything with just ask any progressive.

  8. joetaxpayer
    September 10, 2013 at 4:50 am #

    The young man could be innocent. Maybe it was just a quidich match gone wrong.