September 27, 2007

Anti-politics

Everyone is talking about the big A, "L'Antipolitica". It started with Beppe Grillo's "vaffa" day and doesn't seem to go away.

Today, Ezio Mauro, the Director of la Repubblica newspaper wrote an editorial entitled, "Anti-politics, for Whom the Bell Tolls", which is a bit rhetorical as it goes on about the "decadence of the country...and the loss of cultural identity" before exploring how this has led Italians away from change and towards rebellion, as if,"Changing Italy was an impossible task, or worse, a useless one." He cites the static quality of the political class as leading Italy into, "An atelier of the West, or a home for its elderly." The Antipolitica is just "an outward sign of a diminishing public and national spirit, a lost sense of citizenship, identity, cultural reference point."

Not an uplifting editorial and really not a very thoughtful one either. I think I have already heard all this. Blablabla.

Instead, a few days ago, I read another editorial -- train rides are condusive to this kind of activity -- one by Sandro Viola, called "What Feeds Anti-politics." This was more interesting. He first acknowledged that while there has been lots of talk, no one wants to dig deeper to the roots of the problem. He instead addresses the role of the media in the Italian people's growing sense of nausea at all that smells of politics. At the top of the list are the TV news programs, so full of comprimises, starting with the practice of "the sandwich" (they actually call it "sandwich" as the practice has Anglo-saxon roots). First politicians from the governing party speak (or have their declarations read) for a pre-set number of minutes, followed by those from the opposition, finishing up with a summary by the governing party's spokesperson. The end result, Sandro Viola calls, "fried air, an avalanche of words." So we see the same faces, every evening, year in and out, that do nothing but repeat the same empty phrases. "The Italians need air," he concludes, "they can't breathe anymore. They don't want to see or hear these people anymore."

The newspapers are not much better as they put out an average of seven or eight pages dedicated to internal "news", of which only one or two pages are of any pertinence or interest to the public. The rest is a repeat of the TV news programs -- detailed analysis of every empty phase pronounced the night before, long declarations, interviews that go on and on. In other words, a dialogue between journalists and politicians with no distinction between what is relevant and what is not. The Italian people are exasperated by this deluge of nothing and have developed an allergy to all that tastes of politics.

The Italian people, he concludes, are no longer divided between "us" and "them" (as in left and right political leanings) as had been the case for over a hundred years. Now, previous enemies march together in disgust of what they see on both sides, while chanting Bebbe Grillo's slogans, abandoned not only by the political system, but also by the media.

Anyone want to rally Italians to a nation-wide TV strike? Maybe for a week or even a month. Where is Beppe when we need him? I know you don't get to hang out in the piazza with your friends or throw a walking street party as you do with a normal style strike and demonstration, but you would get to read a few good book. I read Suite Francese by Irène Némirovsky for the September meeting of my book club and I am halfway through Terrorist by John Updike for the October meeting -- both qualify as a good read. Why not just turn off the traitor and tool of political jibberish and cuddle up with a book.

a domani,
E

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

As you know the audience has gone down for years now, because TV is so horrible, but the "TV people" are so self-absorbed they just don't care, as long as there is duopoly (sp?). BTW did you notice that the guests of most talk-shows are always the same people who talk like experts about female orgasm or the war in Iraq, how to cook risotto or the Cogne murder?
It's like a small army of professionals whose job is to go on the air blabbering about everything like they know what they're talking about. And no one even knows what their original job was. Insopportabile.

Enrico

Kataroma said...

Enrico - you're so right. I remember when I first moved here and my boyfriend was watching sports shows on TV. A lot of the football "experts" had such dubious credentials as being a) the former girlfried of a Rome player or b) a guy who is "always on TV."

Elizabeth said...

There are a few decent shows, Ballerò, Invasioni Barbariche, Che tempo fa. You just have to stay away from Porta a Porta and never, never turn on the TV on a Sunday! Now that we have Sky, I only watch an occasional movie (in original language when that is English), South Park, CNN and BBC. Italian TV has become impossible to watch and it is so tiresome to see and hear the same people over and over about things they know nothing about.

Lucky for me that I like to read!