The author of the “Name of the Rose” is no more. December 21, Umberto Eco, 84, received “Les Echos”, at his home in Milan, as part of an interview about his publishing house “La Nave di Teseo” (Theseus Ship) created the following the redemption of RCS Libri by Mondadori (Berlusconi group).
After the great Italian philosopher and semiotician have fought for independence and freedom of thought. The cigar in the corner of his mouth, he still punctuated his words by his laughter. Ironically: the same day of his death: the authority of the Italian Competition (Antitrust) decided to oblige to give Mondadori publishers Bompiani (historical editor Umberto Eco) and Marsilio to avoid abuse of dominant position. Interview largely unprecedented.
In your novel “Number Zero” on journalism, you tell a character that “newspapers are not made to disclose information but to cover. ” Why such severity
I write on newspapers: I think the media have the right to criticize the media. All my critical journalism are made from within. For 30 years I’m testing the limits of journalism. I’m pretty fierce vis-à-vis the media. We must recognize that there is a permanent falsification of information, even when you have the best intentions. Someone said that this book should be adopted in journalism schools report what not to do. That said, the sentence you quote is said by a journalist ” sold ” pretty miserable. We must not generalize. My novel ends with a nice example of honest journalism BBC. Never take the claims of characters like those of the author. If I write “Crime and Punishment”, that does not mean I think you have to kill little old, it is Raskolnikov says so. Never forget that 60% of readers read your books delusional manner. There is nothing to do. I wrote “Foucault’s Pendulum” to give a grotesque representation of occult groups. And I continue to receive letters from occult groups who thank me. Otherwise there would never be such support for Silvio Berlusconi or dan The Pen opinion.
Do you think the theme of the plot is particularly Italian?
I took care of this issue in the “Foucault pendulum” and “cemetery of Prague”. The theme of the conspiracy theory is universal. It is a social disease that is hard to fight. People always need to believe in exceptional explanations. If you take your car on the weekend and you are caught in a huge traffic jam, if someone tells you that it is the fault of the director of the highway, you want to believe it to avoid recognizing that this is your own fault: we had to avoid going out on Saturday
Can we say that the presence of the Vatican reinforced this conspiracy disease in Italy
Italy is reduced sovereignty to Republic because it has within it a small but important state. This characterizes Italy. It is unnecessary that France continues to be defined as “the eldest daughter of the Church”, as the eldest daughter is us. For example, the current Pope that I greatly admire has decided to make this year a Jubilee: it will force the Italian state to exceptional enormous expense for a year, without having anything in the decision. The presence of the Vatican marked the history of Italy. The death of Licio Gelli (note: the grand master of the Masonic lodge P2) on 15 December 2015, was not enough commented in Italy. He was sentenced to a minor fact, the bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano. He came to live until the age of 96 years to live serenely home. Obviously, Licio Gelli did not pay for everything he did. In an interview made it five years ago, he admitted that he had participated in many turpitude. He even said that the idea of a historic compromise, _This ie the alliance between the Christian Democrats and the communiste_ party did not like the Italian majority. He was asked: but what majority? He said the fascists. He was still intimately fascist thinking and represent a silent majority in Italy. Without any shame, he wanted to be buried with fascist insignia.
Can we assume that the information was not always the desired impact?
If Syrian finds a dead child on a beach, everybody cries. If hundreds of children drown then, nobody talks about it. Because there is no picture and above an excess of information makes it insensitive to information. It between the left and it leaves through the right ear.
How do you interpret the fall of Silvio Berlusconi in November 2011? The Italian electorate was tired?
I do not think we can say that it is the Italian people who have thanked. There was strong pressure from abroad. Do not forget the smile of Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. It is a parliamentary political maneuver that touched to a time of greater international weakness. So Europe is good for something.
How do you see the impact of Matteo Renzi on Italian politics?
There is no alternative to Matteo Renzi today. With all his faults, he managed to impose a real acceleration in Italian politics. This in itself is already a positive fact. Silvio Berlusconi and the Northern League does not represent real alternatives. The Italian right is fragmented. This is a difference with France where the right is rather strong and rather it is the left that is fragmented. The risk is that a new born right worse than Berlusconi. After all, apart from the problem of conflict of own interests with its founder, the center-right Berlusconi was a rather quiet right. Now we are witnessing the birth of an extremist right.
Why did you decide to start your own publishing company, to 84, with Elisabetta Sgarbi?
This is related to the refusal to end up in the belly of the whale as Pinocchio. With hundreds of authors (Tahar Ben Jelloun, Thomas Piketty, Sandro Veronesi …), we challenged this merger Mondadori RCS Libri-from the beginning. We found the operation damaging to the lives of authors and bookstores. While this operation was made by Matteo Renzi or Nicky Vendola, we would have fought in the same way. But one can not deny that in this case the acquisition is made by a family (note: Berlusconi) already controls three television channels. This becomes dangerous for the cultural health of a country. Jean-Claude Fasquelle, the former head of Grasset, who became my editor with “The Name of the Rose” and I know since 1959, joined us in friendship and solidarity.
Michel Houellebecq What do you think that was published by Bompiani?
in any case, Michel Houellebecq is a case. As editor, I will publish the same when he does things a bit exaggerated. I enjoyed “Submission”, especially because it speaks so much Huysmans. This is certainly an interesting book: it is not Islamophobic but francophobe. Better to Houellebecq Modiano has always written the same book. But it is true that it is our fate to all. Even God, the Bible, he has not done anything interesting.
What, in your eyes, the greatest living French intellectuals today
The great intellectuals are discovered only fifty years later. It’s remote that we discover the true dominant values. When Roland Barthes was alive, all the Sorbonne was against him. Today, it has become a myth. It is clear that in France, we are not in a particularly fruitful period as that in which Camus and Sartre dominated the French culture. It is still difficult to identify Barthes and Sartre tomorrow.
Interview by STONE GASQUET, Milan, 21 December 2015