Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

The grey denominator

One thing that the worlds of entertainment and politics have in common in Italy is the fact that most of the key figures involved are past the normally accepted retirment age.

The political stage is dominated by figures like Silvio Berlusconi (age 72), Romano Prodi (age 67), not to mention the cabal which recently brought down the government in the senate – Giulio Andreotti (age 88) and Francesco Cossiga (age 78).

Entertainment on both the public and private TV channels is dominated by figures like Pippo Baudo (age 77), and Mike Buongiorno (age 83).

The staying power of these aged men is notable. Reading an interesting essay by Alessandro Portelli (“The centre cannot hold: music as political communication in post-war Italy”)*, this monkey came across a wonderful quote from Umberto Eco. While it was written in the early ’60s, in relation specifically to the then almost spritely TV presenter Buongiorno, it seems to speak volumes about both the political and media class that refuses to go gently into any good night:

“Worshipped by millions [Buongiorno], this man owes his success to the fact that from each and every action and word of his television persona there transpires such absolute mediocrity … that no viewer, no matter how backward, is ever made to feel inferior”[pg 261]

*In the splendid The Art of Persuasion. Political Communication in Italy from 1945 to the 1990s edited by Luciano Cheles and Lucio Sponza, Manchester University Press.