The contradiction

Today, you are nobody unless you appear on TV. This assumption is indeed a concept that can be applied to writers and artists, even if at first glance it seems to refer just to showgirls, Big Brother’s housemates and tv presenter Maria De Filippi’s pseudo-friends. It is not the television itself, but rather the showcase that it represents, the public approval that it seems to give.

Writers are interviewed, cuddled, pampered or ignored, despised, excluded, too many of them are by now the product of the last thirty years’ only belief: success no matter what. They long to rely precisely upon the medium that supports the most extreme and systematic destruction of language. They are ready to lose themselves to gain appearance, turning themselves into caricatures, characters at the audience’s mercy as the enemies fed to the lions in the ancient arenas.
In this way they become voluntary slaves of a means of communications that in the very moment in which it mythicizes them, debunks them, it also forces them to a degrading mediation with the dominant thing (‘res’). They are forced to come to terms with the propaganda of official positive values, with a communicative vehicle in which communication itself is the eternal absent as it can only offer models that excludes those who do not adhere to them. This is a compromise which forces the writer to an adjustment to the viewer’s expected needs; moreover, these needs are fictitiously created by the medium itself, in a commercial logic in which supply determines demand, and not the opposite. This is a compromise in which the writer fully gives himself to the consent of mass media, which are reactionary and anti-cultural by their very nature.
The ultimate need of the television medium is to make us forget that the person on the screen is an author of books, to turn them into a character, pleasant or unpleasant depending on one’s requirements: TV therefore to suppresses the writers’ nature in order to make them fit for the stage.
As far as they are concerned,  authors turn out to be mostly ridiculous and unsuitable to the medium; or rather haughty, so aloof to be almost unseemly; at worst, they are pleased to be on television and finally subdued to the show business. They are anyway deprived of their role as writers: they become actors instead of communicating with readers through their work, they become comedians who aim at communicating their self-representation to viewers, similarly to telesales auctioneers who give up their dignity and their role in order to gain a larger number of customers. While drifting away from their nature, they integrate perfectly in the neo-capitalist system, subduing their art and their intellect to a visual culture dominated by a downward adjustment, to meet an audience of disoriented viewers of which they become part. However, you will not find a trace of their own disorientation in their works, because now they have reached the certainty that the book is just merchandise, a product to sell to an audiece of non-readers. Renouncing forever to their originality, to the possible distinctiveness of their voice, to their individuality. Giving up, that is, to be a writer.

Translation by Irene Lami (supervised by Sabrina Macchi)

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Heiko H. Caimi
Heiko H. Caimi, born in 1968, is a writer, screenwriter, poet and teacher of fiction writing. He has collaborated as an author with publishers Mondadori, Tranchida, Abrigliasciolta and others. He has taught at the Egea bookshop of Bocconi University in Milan and several other schools, libraries and associations in Italy and Switzerland. Since 2013 he has been editorial director of the literature magazine Inkroci. He is one of the founders and organizers of the traveling literary festival Libri in Movimento. He collaborates with the news magazine "InPrimis" keeping the column "Pages in a minute" and with the blog of the writer Barbara Garlaschelli "Sdiario". He published the novel "I predestinati" (The Predestined, Prospero, 2019) and edited the anthology of short stories "Oltre il confine. Storie di migrazione" (Over the border. Migration stories, Prospero, 2019).