giovedì 4 settembre 2014

Obsolete Capitalism: The new prestidigitator: a travelling virtuoso and entertainer (Pt. IV - The Birth of Digital Populism)

The new prestidigitator: a travelling virtuoso and entertainer

Who is Grillo? Giuseppe Piero Grillo - an accountant born in Genoa sixty-six years ago (1948)- is the irritable and cranky genius behind the 5SM ‘non-party’. After his success in the general elections of February 2013, Beppe Grillo is the new prestidigitator of Italian politics and society. In the novel Mario und der Zauberer, published in 1930 by Thomas Mann, the figure of the magician Zauberer blatantly anticipates the traits of Grillo himself. Someone hides behind the rascal figure of the magician: it is ‘Cipolla’, ‘a virtuoso
 traveller, an entertainer, an illusionist.’ Although the short book presents a clear allegory of the histrionic figure of Benito Mussolini,12 the spectacular avatar of Cipolla sums up the characteristic features of the mass hypnotist in the Era of Consensus. The salient features of the magician Zauberer can be found, in fact, in Benito Mussolini, Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo — yet only the latter embodies them at the purest level. Let us briefly dwell upon two key aspects of the text by Mann. (...)
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