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La Repubblica unloaded a major scandal this morning. Everyone's outraged and journalists are menacing a strike. But wait a minute, get real. Journalists on strike? After years of petty groveling, they've discovered that they've got a profession?

Well, here's the scandal: During an investigation into Luigi Crispi's ("I couldn't have committed the crime: I'm a Buddhist!") poll and Marketing company investigators uncovered extensive and routine news-fixing between the State TV and the Berlusconi Mediaset. For years the two giants colluded to glorify Berlusconi, hide his numerous false steps and create ad hoc media events to keep his adversaries out of the limelight. As if any acute observer of Italian affairs wasn't perfectly aware of it.

So, now we got the proof. Hundred of calls between the major (rival!) news brokers with the sole intent to glorify Silvio during prime time. The pope's dead? Stall the breaking news until Silvio finishes his monologue! The President of the Republic is going to deliver an important speech? Get Silvio to do something splashy to distract attention! Tell that anchorman to say "Berlusconi" more often when on the air! Berlusconi lost the elections? Downplay it, use bad lighting for the winners!

Reminds me of that passage in Estienne de La Boetie's Discourse on Voluntary Servitude.

[...]but the dictator sees men about him wooing and begging his favor, and doing much more than he tells them to do. Such men must not only obey orders; they must anticipate his wishes; to satisfy him they must foresee his desires; they must wear themselves out, torment themselves, kill themselves with work in his interest, and accept his pleasure as their own, neglecting their preferences for his, distorting their character and corrupting their nature; they must pay heed to his words, to his intonation, to his gestures, and to his glance. Let them have no eye, nor foot, nor hand that is not alert to respond to his wishes or to seek out his thoughts.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 05:44:27 PM EST
A 4 for quoting La Boetie's Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, certainly the all-time greatest text about political philosophy.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 06:17:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a great discourse. acute, modern (or maybe things have never changed.)

Curiously, for a long time it was only on the net in Italian, on the BNF Gallica site of all places. (They now have French editions.) The discourse was translated into Italian during the Jacobin Republic of Naples in 1799 by one of the leaders of the revolt against the Borbons, Cesare Paribelli.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 06:54:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A 4 to you for highlighting it.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 07:28:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A great link, thanks!

Estienne De La Boetie: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (1548)

in the light of reason, it is a great misfortune to be at the beck and call of one master, for it is impossible to be sure that he is going to be kind, since it is always in his power to be cruel whenever he pleases. As for having several masters, according to the number one has, it amounts to being that many times unfortunate. Although I do not wish at this time to discuss this much debated question, namely whether other types of government are preferable to monarchy,[2] still I should like to know, before casting doubt on the place that monarchy should occupy among commonwealths, whether or not it belongs to such a group, since it is hard to believe that there is anything of common wealth in a country where everything belongs to one master. This question, however, can remain for another time and would really require a separate treatment involving by its very nature all sorts of political discussion.


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 07:30:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a great read.

Estienne De La Boetie: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (1548)

A weakness characteristic of human kind is that we often have to obey force; we have to make concessions; we ourselves cannot always be the stronger. Therefore, when a nation is constrained by the fortune of war to serve a single clique, as happened when the city of Athens served the thirty Tyrants,[4] one should not be amazed that the nation obeys, but simply be grieved by the situation; or rather, instead of being amazed or saddened, consider patiently the evil and look forward hopefully toward a happier future.


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 07:34:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Such fantastic writing!

Estienne De La Boetie: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (1548)

Our nature is such that the common duties of human relationship occupy a great part of the course of our life. It is reasonable to love virtue, to esteem good deeds, to be grateful for good from whatever source we may receive it, and, often, to give up some of our comfort in order to increase the honor and advantage of some man whom we love and who deserves it. Therefore, if the inhabitants of a country have found some great personage who has shown rare foresight in protecting them in an emergency, rare boldness in defending them, rare solicitude in governing them, and if, from that point on, they contract the habit of obeying him and depending on him to such an extent that they grant him certain prerogatives, I fear that such a procedure is not prudent, inasmuch as they remove him from a position in which he was doing good and advance him to a dignity in which he may do evil. Certainly while he continues to manifest good will one need fear no harm from a man who seems to be generally well disposed.

Estienne De La Boetie: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (1548)

Discourse on Voluntary Servitude
The Discours sur la servitude volontaire
of

ÉTIENNE DE LA BOÉTIE,
1548
Rendered into English by
HARRY KURZ

[Published under the title
ANTI-DICTATOR]

New York: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS: 1942.



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 07:36:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Diary!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 05:18:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
About La Boetie or the Italian news fixing scandal?
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 07:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Italian news first, I think.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 10:35:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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