July 20, 2010

"Videocracy"

Here's the opening of my weekly column in Taki's Magazine:
In April, I noted that television ratings indicate that sports audiences skew Republican and entertainment audiences Democratic. “Which is more useful to control for propagandizing for your Party: the games or the stories?” I asked portentously.

An astute reader pointed to Italy, however, where Silvio Berlusconi is now enjoying his third terms as a center-right Prime Minister. Certainly, no politician enjoys leading his country more than the cruise-ship crooner turned TV and soccer billionaire, at least not as measured in number of prosecutors and magistrates who have fruitlessly investigated his complex dealings (789, according to the Prime Minister), albums recorded since 2003 (three), and public letters to the editor from his prima signora complaining about his relations with young ladies, such as his nominating TV starlets as candidates for the European Parliament (three).

When commercial television was finally legalized in the mid-1970s by an Italian court, Berlusconi bought up the main commercial networks, flooding them with soccer matches and cheap game shows. Berlusconi then purchased the AC Milan football club and made it the best in Italy. In 1994, he invented his own political party to replace the compromised Christian Democrats, naming it “Forza Italia” after the chant of supporters of the national soccer team. It’s as if a less grumpy George Steinbrenner, the late owner of the Yankees, had gotten himself elected President of the United States.

So, I went to see a screening of a Swedish television documentary about Italian television: Videocracy. It’s an attempt by a half-Italian, half-Swedish killjoy named Erik Gandini to explain his native land’s television/politics to his friends in Stockholm. The leftist documentarian is peeved that the conservative media mogul stands foursquare behind traditional Italian values, such as big-breastedness.

Read the whole thing there and comment upon it below. 

29 comments:

Anonymous said...



many Americans who enthusiastically voted for Barack Obama in 2008 are now vaguely disappointed that he has turned out not to be as epic as the President Will Smith character they thought they were electing. Instead, they wound up with a part time law school lecturer and part time state legislator who needs his golf.

Obama has advanced most of the Bush policies he claimed to oppose while on the campaign trail. That is the only reason that Obama's approval ratings have dropped.

We have more war, not less. We have more government spying and secrecy, not less. We still have 100% private health care, whereas Obama was elected to give us a government option. Except now the government legally requires you to sign up with the evil insurers, so ObamaCare is worse. We have just as much "fox guarding the henhouse" as before (MMS full of oil industry shills, Treasury full of Wall Street shills, etc).

The only thing Obama has delivered on is preferential treatment for NAMs, Jews, and women.

Anonymous said...

damn swedes, pursuing their ethnic genetic interests at the expense of italians

Dutch Boy said...

So broadcasting junk TV programs qualifies one to be president? Mamma Mia!

agnostic said...

Yet Scandinavia has a healthy history of churning out fun-loving extroverted music groups, even ones that make -- gasp -- dance music, like ABBA.

There must be some subtle regional / ethnic differences there that we're unaware of, like how the Celtic groups in the Anglosphere are more likely to make good rock music than the race of shopkeepers.

Mark Wethman said...

Anonymous, how are Swedes producing their ethnic genetic interests in this documentary? I must be missing something.

As for Berlusconi, I'd be more impressed if he actually did something to raise his country's rock bottom birth rate. During the campaign a young woman asked him what she and young women like her who desperately wanted to start a family but couldn't find the security to do so in Italy's economy were to do. He replied that she should marry his son. Yes, this is a man who takes his responsibilities seriously.

agnostic said...

Speaking of crooners and cheesy big-breastedness in Italian culture, they also pioneered Italo disco ('80s synth-y dance music) that spread like wildfire throughout Europe.

First clip not entirely safe for work, unless you're a summer intern for Berlusconi.

"Boys"
"Dolce Vita"

ReticentMan said...

That column needed more and better pictures. Exactly how young and big breasted ARE these women?

ATBOTL said...

"damn swedes, pursuing their ethnic genetic interests at the expense of italians"

These attempts to satirize criticism of Jewish behavior are incredibly lame. Do the writers actually think these little quips will cause those who are aware to just forget about the negative influence that movements like Marxism, Freudianism, Boasian anthropology, cultural relativism, the Frankfurt school etc. have had on Western societies?

not a hacker said...

If you go to Italy you'll immediately notice that big noses are far more prevalent than big breasts on Italian women. Also, Italian women are almost uniformly America haters; Berlusconi certainly hasn't managed to transmit his political values to them.

gz said...

As an Italian reader I cannot help noticing that even our good "data-driven" Steve in moving into foreing land issues loses focus

Berlusconi's media Italian empire (3 national TVs out of 6) 2 decent national papers, the top weekly magazine in the country etc......is unique in the western world because is "disconnected" from the Western MSM, in terms of both property and editorial management. The silly shows with half naked women and the reality shows were copied from America with a southamerican touch, but they are not the main reason the media intellighenzia hates him so much

His Italian media empire is the only media concentration in the western world that SOMETIMES, to help Berlusconi win 4 elections, has been a vehicle for politically incorrect themes

75% of the time his TV and papers play all the songs: Immigration is Good, Globalization is Good,Multicultural-Multiracial is the Ideal, Women, Gay Rights and Climate Change are the Issues, White Male Workers have to Pay for everybody, Globalization is Good....etc...

But 25% of the time, for instance when Berlusconi and the other 2 kind of right wing parties associated have to win, they do not play the politically correct cultural themes

Berlusconi is a wild card, he is rich enough not to need partners, he is in media so that he can retaliate and protect himself, on top of that has created a major party and a coalition that won 4 elections. He is "pro-US and pro-Israel", but actually he is close to Putin and plays freely with
the Arabs, he flirts with anti-immigration and politically incorrect themes

They do not trust him, in a serious crisis who knows... he might give more space on the media to tabu issues like stop immigration...

Drawbacks said...

BTW, you misspelled "paparazzo".

Marc B said...

"They do not trust him, in a serious crisis who knows..."

Yes they do. He only plays up the nationalist themes for votes, but otherwise he goes along with the Globalists by not pushing for policies that prevent Western deindustrialization and stemming the tide of invasive immigration into Italy. He just happens to do it with much more charm than George W Bush, another phony conservative.

Anonymous said...

damn swedes, pursuing their ethnic genetic interests at the expense of italians

Best isteve comment ever.

Anonymous said...

These attempts to satirize criticism of Jewish behavior are incredibly lame.

And your comment is incredibly humorless.

Do the writers actually think these little quips will cause those who are aware to just forget about the negative influence that movements like Marxism, Freudianism, Boasian anthropology, cultural relativism, the Frankfurt school etc. have had on Western societies?

No fair, mommy, he's using quips!

Btw, you've studied your MacDonald well. Next time I want a full book report.

Sam said...

California is the place to be.

Couchscientist said...

I've been suprised that the US hasn't moved the way of the celebrity/politician faster. Reagan was not the beginning of a new dawn of actors dominating that people thought he would be. Although Thompson made a pretty impressive showing on very little campaigning in the last R primary, and Franklin somehow got the spot in Minnesota. If the media moguls weren't so far to the left we would have more. To be a star you have to be in with the leftist media foks. To be in with them you have to smoke from the same crack pipe. Meanwhile atheletes who would be the right's most natural name recognition advantaged candidates are
not interested or cannot capitalize. Think a Senator Manning.

Anonymous said...

traditional Italian values, such as big-breastedness.

Yeah!

Anonymous said...

like how the Celtic groups in the Anglosphere are more likely to make good rock music than the race of shopkeepers.

Some clarification there please.

Anonymous said...

Agnostic - kudos for posting Sabrina link.

An Italian goddess!

I say that as pale English WASP.

robert61 said...

I have not seen Gandini's doc, yet I'm guessing his use of "president" rather than "PM" has more to do with shaky English skills than condescension. He's been to New York a couple times, thinks it's way cool, and notes that the PM is called "president" over there.

Swedish TV ran an alarmist doc about Fox News over and over during the Bush 43 administration. Surprise, surprise, the former state television broadcasting monopoly fears and loathes private media.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought experiment:

1. List media moguls who are frequently talked about in the media. Are there any Jews on your list? Not mine (Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, Berlusconi). Note that all of the guys on my list are frequently demonized.

2. List some Jewish media moguls. I drew a blank. I had to Google to come up with their names (Gerald Levin, Bronfman, etc). I suppose that Michael Eisner is the one name that will probably pop up here.

anony-mouse said...

Its interesting to watch iSteve commenters read an article about a doc made about Berlusconi by a half-Italian half-Swede and all they can see are Jews.

It would be interesting to watch them take a Rorschach test.

Svigor said...

Lol, joke's on me, I forgot who ATBOTL is. Either way, still funny. :)

Svigor said...

Oops, and I even got the quote wrong. For some reason, I thought it was the one about shopkeepers. I'm going to take my ball and go home now...

corvinus said...

Berlusconi fits the stereotype of a rich Italian perfectly. This may be why he's so popular in Italy.

ATBOTL said...

anony-mouse said...
"Its interesting to watch iSteve commenters read an article about a doc made about Berlusconi by a half-Italian half-Swede and all they can see are Jews.

It would be interesting to watch them take a Rorschach test."

It's often the Jews themselves who bring Jews up in unrelated discussions here. They can't stand the fact that this is a place where they are scrutinized along with every other group, so they gripe about it on every thread.

Templar said...

These attempts to satirize criticism of Jewish behavior are incredibly lame.

Are you sure that was the intention? I read it as a criticism of Steve's criticism of Gandini, since Gandini's criticism of Berlusconi's ultra-Mediterranean-ness could be read, as the commenter said, as a Swede sticking up for his EGI.

ATBOTL said...

"Are you sure that was the intention? I read it as a criticism of Steve's criticism of Gandini, since Gandini's criticism of Berlusconi's ultra-Mediterranean-ness could be read, as the commenter said, as a Swede sticking up for his EGI."

It's somewhat ambiguous, but I'm reading it as part of a series of recent comments on this and related blogs which scoff at the idea that Jewish leftism is motivated by group self-interest and also whine about other groups not being criticized in the same way.

The writer is essentially saying "how come you anti-Semites aren't interpreting Gandini's criticism of Berlusconi as part of some massive Swedish conspiracy against Italians the way you interpret Marx et al. as a massive Jewish conspiracy against Europeans?" Presumably, in his mind, this a strong argument against the idea that Jewish criticism of Western societies is something that Western people should be allowed to discuss -- because we are being unfair by not giving the same treatment to every other possible example of a member(or half member) of one group criticizing another group. Therefore we are "obsessed" with Jews, irrationally singling them out etc.

This is a line of argument that one encounters often from these people -- that it is unfair to criticize them for any misdeed unless everyone else who has ever done something similar is criticized too. Of course, they don't apply that demand to themselves when they criticize us.

Robert said...

Berlusconi seems to have mastered the profound truth once uttered by Italian journalist Luigi Barzini, who said that the Italian language has no equivalent for the phrase "Don't kick a man when he's down."

This sentiment is apparently incomparable for Italians, because refraining from kicking a man when he's down strikes them as simply stupid. When, pray (as Barzini put it), is there a better time to kick him?