Culture of idiocy is multinational

Last Sunday night, a news bulletin of a private channel that likes to think of itself as serious started with a half-hour report of developments in the World Cup. It was followed by a quick reference to two or three domestic issues, and then a mere one minute on the destruction wreaked upon the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces. Directly after this, the program devoted 10 minutes, perhaps even more, to inform the public as to why the final «celebratory» episode of some reality show or other had been canceled. This included a live link with the (extremely emotional) protagonist of the show sobbing about the «fans who turned up despite the rain to share in our joy» and other such nonsense. But this nonsense is presented in a deeply serious tone, as if the entire nation has nothing more important to think about than whether a spell of heavy rain ruined the scheduled performance of some aspiring TV starlet. One wonders whether the presenters know that they are making fools of themselves when they adopt the same serious tone for announcing the launch of a war as they do when addressing the producer of a reality show, It is an unjustifiable stupidity, even if it is watched by 5 million people. Soon after the Italian general elections, former Synaspismos Left Coalition Euro MP Michalis Papayiannakis referred to Italy’s «culture of idiocy» and its chief proponent, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who always resorted to retorts or jokes, often sexist ones, whenever he felt himself being cornered, whether by politicians or the judiciary. Unfortunately, Italy does not have a monopoly on this particular «culture.»