Thursday, 23 June 2011

The face of power - by Massimo Gramellini

To know the face of Mr Bisignani is the privilege of few. The 10 or 11 million Italians who talked to him over the phone have never met him in person and the man in the street who has only lately learnt about his existence see every day the same picture, one taken ages ago, with drop shaped glasses on a smooth face.
It’s a paradox, isn’t it? We keep being told that we exist only if we are visible, and in the meantime nobody knows the people with the real power. Never spotted a banker on talk shows’ chairs, not even in the States. The puppeteers send the puppets to shamble on TV. May be they are worried that by having their image reflected on thousands of screens their soul would be taken away. Or may be they simply know that power feeds on fear and nothing makes fear fade as familiarity.
Just one step below the invisibles, are the audio-authorities: those who do not participate to TV shows, but phone the studio live, voicing their looming monologues from the top, over the faces on screen. Another step below there is the one who appears speaking from abroad, on a broad screen the size of a Mao poster. But he appears, which mens he does not count much. The ones that really do not count a thing are the habitual TV guests. The puppets hugging their chairs, clattering for attention, for a close up, while the mutter the mantra “I didn’t interrupt you, do not interrupt me”. The despondent people despises them and votes them. The faceless power despise them and uses them.

[Translation by Anna Marchi. Original available LA STAMPA - 23.06.2011]

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