It is the year 1900. A group of men have banded together and decided to create something new and unique. They wanted to stand out, so refused the name of their city. Drawn to exhaustion by their creative effort, next they settled for a more direct approach; they copied their colors from Greece.

Six months ago, the laziali united in a equally identity-diluting exercise when they for a period of weeks primarily supported another team entirely. A team with a different history, with different colors, a different name. They supported this other team, Inter, against Roma, and even against their own team, Lazio. In essence, they copied their allegiance from the interisti.

A mere few weeks ago, Claudio Lotito announced that Lazio would copy yet another aspect of the patchwork that is lazialità, the Lazio identity. This time by taking Benfica's tradition of having an eagle fly over the Olimpico before kick-off, to the tune of the club's official hymn (in itself a copy from about a billion bad rock songs). As any good copy-paster would, Lotito took the entire concept and just tied baby blue ribbons to the bird, rather than the original red and white of Benfica.

More innocently, but yet far from innocuous, was Zarate's copying of the fascist salute. He gave the salute during an afternoon of raunch populism when he and then aspiring politician Renata Polverini stood in the Curva Nord for a March game against Bari. Yesterday the Italian football federation, FIGC, handed out a €10,000 fine for the act (which he copied, obviously). The fact that it was such an obvious act of copying those around him makes me fairly certain it wasn't done with any real malice in heart. His older brother's (also his agent) defense that Mauro "doesn't even know who Mussolini or Hitler were" is entirely plausible.

Which is sad too, if in a more pitiful manner.