Sometimes I don’t know if it’s me or reality that is monothematic. In this period, for example, it seems to me that the news only offers me events that evoke a film from forty-six years ago, “Berlinguer I love you”.
In that film there, the guy from the Unit party stopped the bingo with the announcement «suspension of recreational activities, begin curtural work», and now every day I ask myself: yes, but this blessed cultural where does it begin, in a world in which even spaghetti al dente is considered food-culture, and even what makes no one laugh is recreational?
No, I’m not talking about the prevalence of fugitives, of Italy which the day before yesterday was discussing a fugitive from seven hundred years ago (Dante Alighieri) and yesterday was discussing a fugitive from the day before yesterday (Matthew Messina Money). I’m not even talking about Morgan and Sgarbi’s chat (which would require five hundred lines all for her, maybe tomorrow).
I could be talking about that time they used two hours of French literature to take us into a classroom with the blinds down to see a film based on Victor Hugo with Gina Lollobrigida, which today would be something parents encourage because it can’t be done the frontal lesson with modern kids who need diversified stimuli.
Am I more familiar with Hugo’s work because I saw the film at school? Of course not: with the light off and the vhs playing, there were those who made out, those who made hearts in the diary, those who slept. No seventeen-year-old looked at Lollobrigida playing Esmeralda, but really nobody.
Were the parents satisfied with the diversified teaching? I don’t know, at the time parents weren’t interested in what their children were doing in the morning, they had more adult occupations. Had they known, they probably would have thought what was reasonable to think: that teachers must be desperate indeed, to entrust the task of educating us, if not about Hugo, at least about the plot of one of his novels, to the film adaptation.
Was it recreational or was it cultural, watching Lollobrigida in the morning? Last week a television program started, whose name I won’t mention, because in Italy we all know each other and I can’t get sulked by people I dare to criticize. The program should, as I understand it, combine the recreational and the cultural.
Among the regular guests there is a guy who should point out the mistakes in Italian that those present stumble upon. It seems like a gag but I’m afraid it’s not: the presenter gives him the floor saying that her job is to point out the fundamental, basic errors. The presenter says «basic errors», the literate public faints thinking «to distinguish them from acid errors», and the Italianist replies that no, no error has been made. Then I switched off: I hope that the recreational part went better.
On the other hand, Fiorello returned yesterday morning, who is so bad-tempered as to start a programme in late autumn and then say ah sorry but it’s Christmas, I have to go to Cortina, let’s suspend the program for three weeks. He came back and had Jovanotti as a guest and they seemed to be making fun of the acid and base program, because Lorenzo said that the inhabitants of Gubbio aren’t called Gubbiesi, and the two giggled that culture was being made there – but it was certainly a coincidence.
But that’s not why I felt like writing about Fiorello for the two hundredth time, the two hundredth although since he started he’s been more on the Tofane than on the air. And it’s not even for those wonderful four minutes with, yes, Matteo Renzi.
Perhaps the most successful idea of ”Viva Rai 2″ is “Belvo”, in which Fiorello plays Franco Fagnani, a parody of Francesca Fagnani and her uncomfortable questions (in the sense of the stools one sits on in the television studio). Obviously Fiorello is Fiorello: celebrities queue up to be guests, and those who work for other broadcasts die of envy and have to work hard to convince famous people to accept an invitation and in exchange must lend themselves to showcasing the ham that every famous has for sale. In short, the others have excuses, justifications, and a basic as well as acid disadvantage: the others are not Fiorello.
However Fiorello makes Renzi go to “Belvo”, he says to him «in order not to feed his ego I will call you with an anonymous invented name, Carlo Calenda», «Forty-eight years old: you wouldn’t think so, he looks like my father», he tells him «I see the blood on his jacket» and he replies «It’s his», she asks him if his favorite place is Pontevecchio or the service station – but none of these things deserve mention: it is obvious that Renzi is smart enough to know that if you go you have to let Fiorello take the piss out of you.
The television miracle is that, when the “Belvo” space closes, Renzi does not reappear. He just recorded that (excuse the banality: like the Americans do). It doesn’t come back so that Fiorello can say “we were joking” (as do those who don’t know how to do recreational work) or can promote his book (as do those who delude themselves that they are cultural). He made a gag, in exchange they don’t give him a showcase. Of course, to have the strength to do it you have to be Fiorello. But if you don’t have the strength to do it maybe it’s better to avoid the gag, watered down is crap that is neither recreational nor cultural.
It’s not for this, I said a hundred lines ago, that I felt like saying what a lesson in communication is the morning variety show that costs like an evening variety show. It is for when Jovanotti says that he put a video on TikTok in which he eats a papaya. It’s just a video of me eating a papaya, he says, and it’s had four million views. And if you play a song?, Fiorello raises the ball. Three thousand, crush him.
Fiorello, who likes to rage against the weak (that is: on the Democratic Party), recommends videos with papayas for the party primaries, but while those two were making us happy they revealed an important cultural truth that only a few knew before (that is: me and my readers) : on social networks nobody cares about acculturating. They want to recreate themselves. And they don’t think they can do it with your cultural product. They don’t want your book, your record, your movie: they want your snack. In this they are identical to the seventeen-year-olds we were, those who already recreated themselves while a cultural film was projected at the back of the classroom, well before the actual recess.