Readerinfabula’s Weblog


Final analysis
April 21, 2008, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Senza Categoria

 

 

      Being student at Italian University doesn’t offer many occasions to test writing skills. Overcrowded classes are the first obstacle to written assignments and an enormous lack of time to read every piece, would be the natural and immediate consequence for a teacher receiving in the same time more than one hundred different stories.

        It is quite hard in such a system to make others listen to your voice, especially when there is not enough space and time. The blogosphere has enlarged these two mental dimensions. The stage is quickly enlarging and tired actors have jumped over the front stage, passing the baton on the public.

        Wage earning actors are no more only characters interpreting the role, it is now an interacting play, where everybody can climb the few steps bordering the private sphere from the public dominion, and have his say. 

         Stand up and leave the seat is the only way to make people listen to you, and jumping on the stage means make as many people as possible listen to what you have to say. To blog is the way to say it. Blog is people’ s voice, in our era; an era in which to click means to be free. To click a blog is the measure of  free speech and expression, of the press freedom, the measure of the as ancient as precious concept of free circulation of ideas.

         What can sound to our ears as a rhetorical trite subject, for a lot of countries still isn’t a proved or banal reality. Having the possibility to bring to life an idea and to make it reachable in every day and night moment, is a democratic revolution in the strict sense of the expression. To blog allows, potentially, everyone of us, to share, or better, to dare to share, without having a name, a page, nor a television channel.

          To blog goes beyond the simple news, it opens a window on a bawling and people swarming public square. Voices of the square reaches even highest floors, entailing a space revolution: you don’t need to be an intellectual of a Parisian café, nor to step out your door, to know what the world thinks and to exchange views.

         To blog can be considered as a democratic revolution also because it furnishes a potentially unlimited number of fields of interest to talk about. Every single hobby, passion and even mania, finds a space in the blogosphere. Cultural clubs and magazines have been replaced with virtual communities nullifying time-space barriers. On one hand this process has enormously reduced obstacles hampering culture circulation, but on the other hand, it has forced the same culture to speed and roll on technology wheels.

        Cultural topics in blogs have to be compressed and modulated according readers’ s mental and chronological energies; nimbler an entry is, more people will read it. There is no time left for à la Balzac descriptions, on the Web. The cursor is an heart born to beat just the time for a coffee.

Talk about culture and books requires new skills, thinner and sharper linguistic and conceptual structure. Out of date academic summaries have to give the way to one aspect-focused analysis. Books reviews should be an appropriate example. Chose a topic and develop it, has become the password.

        It is still not easy surfing on the Web and find accurate sites or even blogs debating and commenting last editorial publications. Confusing links sending back to the same copy and paste five lines commentary, represents the predominant tendency. Just a few newspapers really report on the on-line version their third page.

         There is no space left for books, neither for complaints sinking in a nostalgic commemoration of the past. Maybe the actual situation on the Web is just a mirror of the reality. Or rather is that our dear old brains still prefer plume and inkwell? Do we live in the era in which yesterday newspaper is good just to wrap fish up as in the best old Italian tradition? Raise his hand who is not missing yellow and smelling old pages. Books and Blogs have never been so distant letters in the alphabet of culture.

          In the science-fiction novel by Ray Bradbury called Fahrenheit 451 a culture- lovers community escapes from the city and choices to learn by heart some classic books. The target is to save them from fires set on by anti- firemen. Everyone of these man will be called and remembered by the name of the book he knows by heart and his duty before dying is to teach it to someone else.

Luckily humanity has left the book burning praxis some decades ago. But soon or late we will have to well fix in our heart smell and texture of old books.

         One deep message left by the American writer Bradbury in the idea of learning by heart a book, is that destroying a book means wanting to eliminate cultural identity. Books are our spiritual heritage, our memory of the past. Suppress books means to suppress ourselves, as out of metaphor, kill living books would be the only way to forget the past.

          The Italian writer Italo Calvino defined a classic as  a book that has never finished saying what it has to say. Classic books keep leaving us up of date messages every time that we open them and keep whispering their words in our ears even when they are closed. They become part of our character, of our life. As special persons met in life, even when they go away, they leave a track, a mark on our soul. They don’t die because we remember them. 

          Tracks left by books appear on our lips through words, and on our papers following the sweet bend drawn by our fingers. Speaking and writing is a way of evoking them. Every time we write we tell a little piece of our personal story, even when we write about someone else. To write means to give a deeper and deeper look to a mirror. We have to be connected with ourselves when we write because what we are looking for is already inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 



When Fear Becomes Measure Of Well- Being: Liquid Fear In A Liquid- Modernity
April 14, 2008, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Senza Categoria

Who of us has never said or heard a friend saying “This morning I woke up with a sense of anguish.”? Once a time unusual words, today more and more frequent. Anguish for what? Of who? Anguish is a term used in contemporary philosophy and it can be meant as a particular form of fear, it is a post- modern concept. It is our era’ s son, it is something that belong to us, and we can’t do without. It is not related to 18th century concrete fears, anguish is a shadow whose boundaries are faded, fleeting, liquid.

Liquid Fear is a further plug of the portrayal of our Liquid Modernity mosaic. Zygmunt Bauman, emeritus Sociology professor at the University of Leeds, analyzes prominent aspects of our post- modern era, refusing its own definition: he is the first to elaborate the idea of Liquid Modernity to indicate the actual historical phase, and Liquid Fear is one of its outcome.

In his essay the Polish thinker analyzes the origin of our post- modern fear, trying to individuate its origins and all remedies welfare states are trying to sell us, or better, the fact that they try to sell us the idea that a panacea to our fears, can be bought.

All human endeavors in 18th century have been done to establish a primacy of Man on Nature, all efforts have been achieved to manipulate natural forces and to reduce mortality margin. Real threats to our lives safety have been nearly reduced to zero in all wellness societies. Nevertheless a persisting sense of fear and instability molds our reflexes and actions.

As Bauman explains in his essay “This life of ours has proved to be different from the kind of life which the sages of the Enlightenment and their heirs and disciples envisaged and set out to design.[…] In the liquid modern setting, however, the struggle against the fear has turned out to be a lifelong task, while fear- triggering dangers, even when none of them seem to be intractable, have come to believed to be permanent, undetachable companions of human life.”

Bauman seems to talk about an hopeless world, “skating on a thin ice”, during an interview with Stuart Jeffries for The Guardian. “What in the 18th century seems to be a great leap forward was not. What happened in those years was just a detour. We’ve just returned to the starting point after all this tremendous investment in science and technology. The difference now is that we no longer trust the future or believe in progress, we are without the illusions that sustained the modern project.”

Worst catastrophes are unexpected and without a rational explication. “The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was followed by a wave of fear because it seemed too contrary to reason. Until then, the notion was that the virtuous are rewarded and the sinners punished. Suddenly, very good people were destroyed.”

It is evident that this era, faraway from ending, has rather, just begun. There is a fear of a collective disaster. Terrorism, genocide, flu, tsunamis, are just the most evident expressions of a liquid fear, that as a liquid can penetrate every corner of our unconscious.

Fear is a primordial instinct that we share with animals, but as Bauman points out, what differentiates our feeling is a deeper, second level of fear, that can be described as the sensibility to fear, the sense of vulnerability molding our behavior and coming from a bad memory. The worst side of this second level of fear, is that it is self- powered because it rests upon invisible threats persecuting the imagination. ” Fear is at its most fearsome when it is diffuse, scattered, unclear, unattached, unanchored, free floating, with no clear address or cause; when it haunts us with no visible rhyme or reason, when the menace we should be afraid of can be glimpsed everywhere but is nowhere to be seen. ‘Fear’ is the name we give to our uncertainty: to our ignorance of the threat and what is to be done to stop it in its tracks.”

The sense of fear is generated by three type of menace, the first involving body and goods; another menacing the stability of the social order, warrantor of our livelihood – income and job-, and of the survival for old age or in case of injury. The third type of menace is given by the danger for our position in the world, the menace for the social hierarchy, for the sense of membership to a group.

It is against the foregoing dangers that the State has founded its raison d’être: a word that it hasn’t been able to keep. A despairing outcome of the negative globalization process is that there is no place left in the society where to escape. There are not refuges where we can repair against the fear. “In the liquid- modern world, dangers and fears are liquid too.”

Sources:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/politicsphilosophyandsociety/story/0,,1640877,00.html#article_continue

 



The Legend Of Navigating Mountains: Tales Of The Drowned And The Saved In Nowadays Italy
March 31, 2008, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Senza Categoria

La Leggenda Dei Monti Naviganti is a perfect hendecasyllabic line formed by three consonant sounds which introduce readers to the central metaphor of Paolo Rumiz’ s book. The poetical cut the author has chosen for the title of his text, has a lot to say about the content of its pages.

Literary translation in English of the title is The Legend of Navigating Mountains and it refers to “the metaphor of the mountains that emerge from the sea and navigate as a big Armada” as Rumiz writes in his closely preface. What kind of sea is Rumiz talking about? Is it the out of metaphor sea appearing to our eyes as the water touching Italian coasts and everybody soul? Or is it, rather, the sea of fog hiding the core of mountains whose tops emerge like veils of boats in a regatta? Maybe Rumiz is just referring to the sea of indifference coming from the usual Italy to the minor Italy.

The legend is the secret story of an uncontaminated Italy, unknown villages and people, common people or famous artists who have chosen the “pure and voiceless Italy” as a place to live. This part of Italy is pure because far away from being tourist non- lieux: they have their own identity and beauty, so far away from criteria barbarians look for. But at the same time they are voiceless places, they have no representation, isolated places. This represents the secret of their beauty and their ruin.

La Leggenda Dei Monti Naviganti is an eight thousand kilometers journey along the Italian rocky spinal column covered on foot, by bike or by a 1953 black Fiat Topolino. It is a journey undertaken thanks to Paolo Rumiz’ s job as a reporter for the daily La Repubblica whose steps have been published in its columns. The physical journey starts from the top of Alps and ends in the lowest point of the toe of the boot. The intellectual path is endless: descriptions and personal experiences of people met, keep living in the feel of leaving and discovering the same face of Italy.

It is enough to read the first page of his book to guess what kind of job Paolo Rumiz does. His approach to events and places reveals the wonder of a documentation lover. Richness of details is paid by the glow of stories told by men who have been able to respect Nature’ s rules in harmony with the environment.”Journalists are ignorant, indeed they have to keep being in this way, to not allow events submerge them, to preserve a bit of genuine wonder for life. But in compensation, they learn soon what they don’t know.” Paolo Rumiz says and every line of the book seems to repeat. Detailed documentation of maps and photos guide our imagination trough inns, country roads, woods, fields, lakes, but still omitting exact names almost frightening to reveal a secret by sponsoring virgin lands, to avoid the invasion.

La Leggenda Dei Monti Naviganti reveals all this wonder for newness in a new elaboration of the concept of travel. The same author explains what the word travel means for him during an interview for the newspaper Il Corriere delle Alpi. “A travel is the discover that nothing is yours […]. If a man travels, he dies in peace with the world, he learns that the earth is not his own. When we die, it is not the soul which leaves the body, rather is the body which leaves the soul, making it lighter. There are men who hoards and other men who set themselves free, when they understand. We have to dump the superfluous, otherwise the balloon can’t raise, nor fly.”

When the journey trough the Italian Navigating Mountains is over “I know,” writes Paolo Rumiz, “that behind every flood, behind every drought, behind every climatic emergency, there is not only the greenhouse effect, but also the systematic war of the power against the most vital peripheries, the peripheries able to keep the territory alive, to avoid the final devastation.”Rumiz’ s book is an appeal to politicians to “make them get down of their helicopters and to learn to walk; otherwise Italy will become a land of locusts and we will have not one, but a thousand banlieues of furor. Thrashed peripheries take revenge, and mountains are peripheries.”

Sources:

http://corrierealpi.repubblica.it/dettaglio/Mediterraneo-mare-di-montanari/1317910

                                                                       

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Bismillah: Voices In The Desert
March 24, 2008, 11:20 pm
Filed under: Senza Categoria

       “I say Bismillah, “In the name of God”, to check if you have the jinn ( a magical fiery spirit). At the beginning and at the end. When we eat, we say Bismillah and the Devil doesn’t eat with us. A person breathes, and the spirit too, and if I say Bismillah when I breathe, the Devil doesn’t breathe. Say “In the name of God” to protect yourself.”       

This is a monition  given to the umma, the Islamic observant community, by Mustafa, the imam of a little village near Perugia. Mustafa, is an imam, a spiritual guide for Muslim in Italy, and he is also a herbalist whom worshippers refer to, when they need attention for problems requesting religious rites for their solution.        

Fiorella Giacalone, a teacher at the University of Perugia, has gathered Mustafa’ s  experiences and knowledge as a faith healer. She is interested in studying the Moroccan community in Umbria and everything concerning their culture and uses; results of her researches are available in her last book, titled Bismillah.         

The text is a compendium of all Moroccan popular knowledge in the field of natural treatments employed to heal  physical and psychical illnesses. Natural methods described in the book represent an unwritten heritage of most people in Morocco, and they are passed on son by father through generations.

Bismillah is a precious source to delve into the fascinating culture of all the Maghrebian area, a tradition as old as the Holy Muslim text, the Koran, which has a fundamental role in these rites. The Word has a savior value acting on souls and on bodies ousting negative tensions.          

Faraway from being a simple list of ritual practices, Bismillah follows step by step biological and spiritual life of people born in Morocco; its pages are crossed by women’ s  voices telling gone-by life tales. Their stories are words whispered in the wind, direct experiences told by a woman to another, the author of the book, whose page is of a vivid pink.          

In a linear style Fiorella Giacalone describes us all rites practiced by women in the cure of themselves and of their body, unveiling well- groomed women, careful to their hair, skin and nails health. Bismillah is a relaxing evening in a hammam, a meeting place, an happy island where women can freely take care of their spirits having a chat and of their bodies thanks to estheticians and hairdressers. A place well known in the rest of the world under the name of Turkish bath, where women can put aside for a while their hijab.        

  The Moroccan veil occupies a whole section of the book. The distinction of its several meanings in Islamic culture learns us the ancient origin of the hijab and make us know that the practice of covering the head is just quoted two or three times in the Koran and not always referred to women. It is mainly linked to a mean of protection or even to hide the face of the Prophet Muhammad. His eyes have seen the Revelation and they can’t be seen.         

  The same word hijab – and the word referring to the Iranian veil, the chador– means curtain, and it  has the function of protecting, of occluding the view, and as Giacalone writes, “It is the veil which allows the contact, which filters the divine light, which gives access to the knowledge, the Word of God becomes human through the metaphoric shape of the veil.” It is a mean, not an obstacle. It is not possible to leave without. “According to Muhammad, the face of God is protected by seven thousand curtains of light and of darkness and without them everybody reached by his look, would be incinerated.”           

 Fiorella Giacalone in her book underlines the fact that the practice to use a veil in order to separate is not strictly linked to the Islam, but that it is rather taken from “the Christian- Byzantine tradition; indeed in Oriental churches, curtains used to divide the zone of the apse from the altar, in order to protect the basileus.”      

     In the Koran, there is the telling of the exact moment in which  the hijab was sent to Humans. The event is recalled under the name of the descent of the hijab. “We are in Medinah and in the first years after the Hijra, and in the life of the new community rose around Muhammad, there is a dimension of promiscuity. Muhammad has just married with Zaynab and he wants to stay alone with her. Zaynab is very beautiful and some disciples want to talk to her. The Prophet, irritated by such a big intrusiveness, spread out a sitr ( a curtain), between he and the disciples to expel them and he has a revelation.”

         This is the descent of the hijab which indicates two different elements: on one side the descent of the Koranic verse, on the other side, the descent of a curtain of tissue what the Prophet puts between himself and the man on the doorstep of the marriage room.

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The Barbarians: An Essay On The Mutation
March 13, 2008, 12:10 am
Filed under: Senza Categoria

  

If we want to investigate the big success which has interested the novel as a genre, we have to flip through the pages of newspaper read by XVIII century middle classes.

In that social period reading novels became the favorite occupation of a growing number of people and it was in some way a new form of entertainment. Reading novels was the last tendency, it was à la mode.

But there is something better than a tendency. That is an engaging tendency.

Editors had the great idea of sharing novels in episodes and to publish them weekly or biweekly on newspaper. In this way the reading was never boring because of it shortness and it had the big advantage to stimulate readers to see how the story ends and, of course, to raise newspaper selling.

Some of those stories, after years or just when they came to the end, were published in the form of a book. This is the explanation of how some famous authors conceived their texts and how some of the greatest titles came to light.

This short story gives a general idea of the work undertaken by the Italian journalist Alessandro Baricco on the pages of the newspaper La Repubblica.

He started publishing from June to October 2006 short pieces then gathered in the form of book for the Fandango libri publishing house. The result is that his texts reading is accessible both on the web version of the newspaper La Repubblica, that on the paper traditional version.

The editorial choice to publish a book collecting journalistic pieces has raised critics’s voice.

It is in discussion the concept of book and what has to be considered as such. Furthermore the same analysis about books destiny and life – survival?- in contemporary society occupies three chapters of Baricco’ s book.

An article appeared on June, the 24th2oo6 on the columns of Il Giornale focuses its attention on these three chapters in which Baricco analyzes the actual condition of the still reading Italy in relation to the reading public of about fifty years ago. The author of the article, Fabrizio Ottaviani, opens the piece declaring himself surprised in discovering Baricco’ s nature antiromanzesca which literally means against novels. Ottaviani refers to the thesis expressed by Baricco that novels of the past represents a better production than contemporary ones because readers were less in number and more sophisticated in taste.

What had to be pressed was not a choice made by publishing houses, whose target has always been selling, but it was the public choosing, by their buying. It is a natural conclusion that a great novel was such, as long as it had critics public and readers approval.

An important point taken up from the book and underlined by Ottaviani is the observation that as the number people able to read and write grow up, automatically, the quality of novels knocked down.

“It is true,” Ottaviani writes, “editors started printing less and less cultured and refined books. To the trial balloon of The Leopard, they soon added Bebo’ s Girl and The Garden of Finzi- Continis.”

The consideration about fifty years ago publishing choices is functional, in Baricco’ s texts, to the analysis of the actual crisis involving readers literary taste. He takes as starting point the fact that it was not books molding public taste, rather public cultivated taste to address the book market. The same criterion has some value today. It is not the fault of a businessman clan if we have bad quality books, but the fault is attributable to our own will. Or, more exactly, it is the will of a new emerging generation, a parallel society that the author names “barbarian”.

Barbarian society is a metaphor for the persisting globalization process. Barbarian people are taking possession of our cities and of our traditions, staining every peculiarity of local cultures with the featureless mud of easy victories and ephemeral good taste.

This new generation is described in the term of a biblical grasshoppers invasion that spare nothing. They are controlling every aspects of our culture. And for culture we mean books.

In a key passage of the three chapters dedicated to paper publications Baricco synthesizes the criterion used by barbarian in the choices of their reading, and as a consequence, the root of good taste crisis. He writes “barbarians tend to read just books whose use instructions are given in places that are NOT books.” He explains “they are books from which they have made a movie, novels written by TV personage; tales put down by in some way famous people; they tell stories already told somewhere else, or they tell events that already happened in another moment, in another shape.”

The sensation is of widespread garbage, but the principle is less vulgar than we may imagine. He goes on saying that barbarians have ” the idea that the value of a book stays in its ability to offer itself as the starting point for a wider experience […] they use books to complete sense sequences born elsewhere.” A book has no sense when barbarians can’t place it anywhere, in none transversal sequence.

Everyone can draw its own conclusions. But far away from considering the passage through printed press- on line press- paper book, a transversal sequence. The idea to publish on line and then in a book articles just give a democratic cut to Baricco’ s publications.

The same content, accessible through different channels.

Mirella Appiotti on La Stampa ‘s columns refers an interview to Giulio Mozzi for Vibrisselibri, a publishing house which has started the first on line collection called sans papier –without paper.

A choice “born from the necessity of founding a space in the books world, placing itself in an intermediate space between industrial publishing and little book publisher” explains Mr. Mozzi adding that the aim is to give voice to works of value.”

Sources:

http://www.lastampa.it/_web/cmstp/tmplrubriche/Libri/grubrica.asp?ID_blog=54&ID_articolo=492&ID_sezione=231&sezione=Prossimamente

http://www.ilgiornale.it/a.pic1?ID=99524&START=0&2col=

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Edward Bernays: the father of Public Relations
February 24, 2008, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Senza Categoria

Today there are few people, except Public Relations professionals, who can connect the name of Edward Bernays with one of the main inventor of this key contemporary discipline.

Public Relation is everywhere society is, and its rules influences constantly our lives.

The main organization using PR’s rules is the Government of a state; it assures its own life thanks to Propaganda, which is not only the best way it has to communicate to citizens, but also the title of Bernays’ book published in 1928.

Propaganda’s mechanisms are detected and explained in that text that, even if published at the beginning of last century, is unbelievably actual. Bernays pioneered the PR industry’s use of psychology – whose inventor is his Austrian uncle, Sigmund Freud- to design its public persuasion campaigns.

Bernays has proved that modern propaganda can mold public opinion acting on groups’ unconscious. He analyzes the behavior of groups, its psychology, which is something totally different from those of the individual. The “group mind does not think in the strict send of the word. In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits, and emotions.”

Bernays writes that “Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group.”

The shocking truth which this book leads to is that people are unconsciously not free in their choices, interests, way of perceiving the reality. People are not free even when they believe to act upon their own will. Propaganda can sway people’s predilections and mind.

Propaganda has a noiseless step: it creeps into our rooms and choices our furniture, dresses in our closet, their color, tissue, pattern and number of buttons; propaganda establishes what kind of food we should eat or if it is more in vogue to buy a new car or a piano.

Bernays’ studies has been used since the 20’s to sell all kind of goods, even governments.

An example related in his book, is about mechanism used to sell bacon in the U.S.

Public relation counsel asked physicians to recommend to their patients to eat a heavy breakfast. Over time, bacon and eggs became the “true” all-American breakfast. But increasing sales of bacon was nothing compared to his ability to sell cigarettes.

In 1928, Bernays took a job promoting Lucky Strike cigarettes for American Tobacco. Part of his assignment was to get women to smoke. At this time, female smoking was considered taboo. American Tobacco, however, envisioned huge profit potential if it could encourage the other half of the adult population to light up.
Bernays first focused on the “health benefit” of smoking – with the slogan “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.” The goal was to get women to smoke if they perceived cigarettes as a way to lose weight. This campaign, however, was not as successful as hoped. So Bernays consulted with A.A. Brill, a psychoanalyst in the U.S. to better understand how to manipulate the female mind. (Uncle Freud was still in Europe.) Brill explained that women tended to regard cigarettes as symbols of freedom because they equated cigarettes with male behavior.

During the beginning of the 1900’s there was a growing movement demanding a woman’s right to vote. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed finally granting this right. In 1929, Bernays seized the public imagination by hiring young models and debutantes to join the Easter Parade in New York. They rode on a float and posed as suffragettes while lighting up cigarettes and wearing banners describing their cigarettes as “torches of liberty.”
Bernays shows how fundamental is the engineering of consent, the scientific technique of opinion- molding, to assure survive and wellbeing of “industries, public utilities, educational movements, indeed all groups representing any concept or product, whether they are majority or minority ideas”.

The same “Governments, whether they are monarchical, constitutional, democratic or communist, depend upon acquiescent public opinion for the success of their efforts and, in fact, government is government only by virtue of public acquiescence.”

In the final part of his text, Bernays analyzes the new role assumed by mass media as spreading means of the propaganda; he recognizes means of propaganda all “means of human communication” .

In the 1928 Bernays writes that the newspaper is “a primary medium for the transmission of opinions and ideas—in other words, for propaganda.” But he establish a huge difference between newspapers and other means of communications such as magazines and radio.

Newspapers’ criteria governing the publication or non- publication, is to prefer something perceived as a news rather than something interesting for someone’s economic aims.

“What the newspaper does strive for is that the news which it publishes shall be accurate, and (since it must select from the mass of news material available) that it shall be of interest and importance to large groups of its readers. […] It does not ask whether a given item is propaganda or not. What is important is that it be news.”

Sources:

http://www.prmuseum.com/bernays/bernays_1929.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZYTrFokPHY

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James Frey’ s Hero VS Jerzy Kosinski’ s Child
February 16, 2008, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Senza Categoria

As answer to TSG accusing him to have embroidered his book, A Million Little Pieces, introducing a bunch of lies in some important sections of the text, James Frey, the American 39-year-old much- discussed author, compared his book to JerzyKosinski’ s The Painted Bird defining the Polish piece a misstep since its publication as a novel. And then “A memoir is a subjective retelling of events, Frey explained during a Larry King Live interview. “It’s an individual’s perception of what happened in their own life. This is my recollection of my life.”

Really nice quote. Unluckily working just referred to Kosinski’ s novel. The number of days someone can spend in jail is not exactly what can be called an individual perception.

“In a recent “Meet The Writers” interview for Barnes & Noble’s web site, Frey was asked about his history of incarceration. “I was in jail a bunch of times,” he answered, “The last time I was in for about three months.”Later TSG searches discovered police reports attesting that The closest Frey has ever come to a jail cell was the few unshackled hours he once spent in a small Ohio police headquarters waiting for a buddy to post $ 733 cash bond.”

That was just one among several examples can be made in order to attest the unreliability of James Frey’ s histories supposed to be considered as non-fiction.Event dynamics are indeed hard to believe if built by someone like Frey, a writer who stated that “When you have literally hours and hours and hours a day to do nothing because you’re locked in a cell, I found that the best way to pass time was to pick up books!”. Declarations that referred to Don Quixote, War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov would make boggle even the last tabloid reader. That statement was of course, in Frey’ s purposes, a naive bibliophile confession that should suggest an appreciable attempt to get closer to all the time best culture. It is, on the contrary, a mockery, a tasteless joke for all readers believing to buy with about 15 $ at least, a book.

A confusing string of contradictory declarations has been done by Frey since the beginning of TSG investigations about the reliability of A Million Little Pieces; several interviews have followed to resolve the evident discrepancy between the author narration and police reports, court records, interviews with law enforcement personnel and other sources which have been found.A media explosion which has, of course, made people talk about this controversial man and has raised curiosity and selling. An explosion trigged by TSG, which is treating the equilibrium of the Million Little Lies construction. The explosion of a case which has make Frey empathize with the similar situation which has involved the Polish writer Kosinski till the point to compare his book’ s fate to The Painted Bird’ s one. A short life comparison. After the publication, in 1966, of The Painted Bird, some critics who assumed his book as a semi- autobiographical work, declared it as fiction, asserting that the same Kosinski who spent some years hidden by a Polish Catholic family was never appreciably mistreated. The truth is that Kosinski had never declared his book as autobiographical. His characters’ nationality and ethnicity had intentionally been left ambiguous in order to prevent any sort of interpretation; the same setting had been left anonymous, it is an Eastern Europe countryside.The central metaphor of Kosinski’ s first novel is in the title. It is the elaboration of a medieval Polish legend: if a captured crow is beautifully painted and released to go back to its flock, the other crows will attack and kill it because it is different. It is the raw metaphor of the alienating human condition in a cruel and cynical world.

The main character of the story, a black haired and eyes six year-old child roaming in a blue eyed and blond haired country, discriminated and beaten up is not an autobiographic telling. It is the II world war holocaust horrors chronicles seen through a young and hidden observer eyes. The world he sees is made of atrocities and degradation, sexual perversions and indigence. Harrowing scenes are depicted by row tones and all atrocities are presented as normal in an estranging prospective, the child’ s one.

It is not easy to read The Painted Bird and not come to move till the point to need to close for a moment the book and take a deep breath to let the mind realize its upsetting contents; it is a book not easy to read nor to forget. When you turn the last page of the book, the little boy keeps living inside of you, he becomes a part of your perception of reality.

Common people, the same cruel actors of all kind of atrocities in the narration makes you know that all of us are responsible of events; everybody, with its own behavior is a part of the history: it is up to us to never makes it happen again.

Mr. Frey was totally wrong. Kosinski’ s character is not a swaggering hard- case man surviving in every impossible situations: he is a six year-old child dropped in an anti-heroes world. He may has no name and no country, but his eyes have seen something true.

Sources:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1149383-2,00.html

http://www.geocities.com/~cheshyre/kosinski.htm http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0104061jamesfrey1.html

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