The other laughable side of national and international politics

Through his satire, news and customs merge into an exhilarating synthesis of our society in Roman dialect: this could be a good way to introduce Federico Palmaroli and the biting and genuine spirit that animates his cartoons. An even better and certainly more fun way is to read “Come dice coso” (Rizzoli, 2022, Euro 16.90, pp. 192. Also Ebook), travel diary of the past year, compendium of dazzling jokes, manual to understand contemporary society and to read between the folds of a policy increasingly distant from the people.

Federico Palmaroli’s latest book is this and more. Because it gives good humor and manages to make us laugh at facts and characters who, in reality, have especially irritated us in the past months. The trick to doing this is simple and complex at the same time: the author’s skill lies not only in the search for the joke, always happy and penetrating, but also in the choice of the photo and the situation on which to graft the effectiveness of the joke. And anyone who has a profile on social media, or communicates via chat, will certainly have seen, at least once in the course of the year, one of his sensational visual puns, which he finds in this volume, ordered in a chronological sense, in an irrepressible humorous crescendo. .

In Palmaroli’s photo-novel model shots, the voice of the square bursts into the Palazzo and, once again, offers us the definitive synthesis of an often disappointing political and social situation, once again turning the spotlight on one of the peculiarities of us Italians: the innate tendency to desecrate and distrust everything.

How are your visual puns born: do you start with the photo or does the joke come to mind first?

«Before I got involved in politics, my cartoons parodied a typical spiritual master from India, the famous Osho. A pose by Osho was enough and I added the joke, playing on the contrast between his fame as a mystic and wise man and the banality I made him say at that moment. The image resumed the master with a wool cap and I added the classic banality of the type: “It’s not so much the cold. It’s the humidity that matters to you”. Switching to political satire has increased the level of difficulty: it must be done a synthesis between what you want to express, the right joke, the right pose. Generally, therefore, I start from a fact that strikes me, I analyze it, then the joke comes and then I look for the photo».

What amuses you so much about the world of politics that you want to satirize it? Or does satire spring from annoyance with today’s politics?

«It amuses me to think that the dialogues I put into the characters’ mouths could be the ones they actually exchange. Of the sort of off-the-beaten-path that have escaped officialdom. I like the fact of bringing out the contradictions of powerful characters as the Roman people once did by leaving messages on the statue of Pasquino. The statue of Pasquino was a sort of social media of the past with which to mock the power: of the popes, of the cardinals, of the aristocracy».

Among your sources of inspiration were also the traditional humorous cartoons, model Forattini?

«Surely there are links given that it is in any case a political satire even if I have never been, for personal taste, a lover of the classic cartoon genre. Honestly, I’ve never even thought that my satire should make you think, it’s not my goal. I want to make people smile, without necessarily fueling a reflection. Political figures are an opportunity to make jokes, as I might do for other situations. It’s my way – made of teasing and “perculate” – of habitually relating to people and life».

Is there any woman or man of politics who particularly amuses you in this period?

«I miss a character like Luigi Di Maio, a great loss for me. Salvini is always a certainty, then Mattarella: precisely because he is so authoritative he lends himself well to satire. The same is true for the Pope or for President Biden. The narrative on Biden is that he’s not really in his head and this in itself is funny. Returning to Forattini, his great fortune was to satirize being able to count on characters of great depth and authority and in a period in which competition from social networks did not exist. At the time you waited for the newspaper to see the cartoon and the joke and the whole thing certainly had a more disruptive effect ».

But does anyone get angry about his cartoons?

“Honestly not. On the contrary, politicians, from all sides, have always paid me many compliments… Should I start to worry?».

The cover

The cover

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The other laughable side of national and international politics – L’Unione