I've dissed Carnival before... and Venetians hate it. (Oh, and while we're at it, they despise masks too, and most of the ones you'll ever see were made in China, so there.)
And just in case you needed any proof that Carnival is completely irrelevant to the 60,000 or so Venetians (whose average age is somewhere in the 50s... Not a joke, a fact!)
Usually, a small fake dove (as you can see on the embedded video, when it works) flies down on cables from Saint Mark's belltower and release confetti from its insides to inaugurate the start of Carnivale. This year, it was apparently instead the rap star Coolio! (You can even see the picture at Venice Daily Photo.)
I'm (nearly) speechless!! And I don't even want to know how he released the confetti. Nothing against him personally, but it's not like all the resident octogenarian little old Venetian ladies I know are huge fans of hip hop!
Ladies and gentlemen, the Venice Carnival is now officially a sham...