Grenouilles à la Reichstag, nouvelle recette

MeinMann – differently from me – is very synthetic when it comes to descriptions. Yesterday night, commenting the most recent post-democratic involution in our country, I could not find proper words, but he said “Italian frogs will soon be reaching boiling point”.

For those not familiar, here below a Wikipedia definition:

“The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually”.

To make a long story short, read Scalfari’s editorial or Grillo’s blog for a more colorful synopsis (in English) of what happened yesterday: “As of last night, Italy is officially no longer a democracy. Napolitano has signed the Government’s interpretative law decree that makes certain Italians more equal than all the others. From now on, all our laws will be “interpreted”, whenever it suits them, by this bunch of wannabe revolutionaries and, where necessary, enacted by a State President that should in any event be impeached for having committed high treason. During the night, while the Italians were sleeping, Napolitano hastily signed the decree (perhaps for once even he was ashamed of what he was doing). Thanks to his signature, all the nomination lists, including those with no signatures, those with unauthenticated signatures and those not even officially submitted, in other words that whole pile of bullshit election lists was “interpreted” and “re-virginised”. Formigoni and Polverini are now back in the race. Any other opposition nomination list with the smallest official flaw would have been rejected. We really are living under a dictatorship. It seems strange to hear this word “dictatorship” just as a new Spring is dawning. What the magistrature says no longer matters. What Parliament does no longer matters. The laws, or rather the Government decrees that Parliament never gets to discuss, have become the norm”.

Yet another step towards full-fledged post-democracy. Bouillon de democratie. For years Italian frogs have even been simmering, some even found the warmer temperatures enjoyable: no rules to observe, parking as they please, not paying taxes, and moreover a Jacuzzi-style free-riding environment! Very relaxing!

A message for the foreign frogs: your civil societies are stronger, yet beware! Tabucchi said it, Grillo repeated it and Colin Crouch theorized it: Italians are viral innovators. Italians invented Rinascimento, letters of credit, Da Vinci, gelato, Venice, pizza, Casanova. But also concentration camps in the Savoia era, the usage of gases against civilian populations, mafia, fascism, pizzini and berlusconism.

According to Colin Crouch, like older innovations also berlusconism is being exported. Some put in the list Kazachstan, Chili, Thailand, some even see sarkozysm as a less autocratic mutation of the original virus (having said that, I suspect the French to be much better frogs than Italians, after all they have a certain experience in jumping out of the casserole and even in turning the pan upside down). Some consider guido-ism as another more junior, messy and puppy version…

However, Italians have been simmering for 30 years now. The boiling point is not far. I agree with Colin Crouch, this won’t be fascism. But even if the situation gets asymptotic to fascism without crossing it, it’s not different. It’s post-democracy, stupid.

Grenouilles à la mode Reichstag: au lieu de les griller suivant la recette originelle, faire cuire les grenouilles tout doucement dans l’eau tiéde à fin de garder leur viande tendre, le jus enrichissant le bouillon de cuisson. En suite monter d’un coup la temperature jusqu’à ébouillition. Mettre de coté les éventuelles grenouilles rouges et violettes remontées: si leur viande est encore tendre, les acher menu pour préparer la sauce. Attention si elles sont amères: elles pourraient abimer le plat.

And I close quoting Crouch: “The purpose of writing a dystopia is to warn of coming dangers so that people might take action to avoid what is coming. To do that one has to be an optimist. But I see hope, not so much in a renewal of electoral democracy and political parties, but in the growth of a strong civil society — with alert citizens and social movements who challenge the misuse of political and economic power in a whole range of ways. But these can never replace formal democracy, weakened though it may become by what I see as post-democratic forces”.

Some frogs are jumping. They are red. Some even purple with rage. We’ll be bloody bitter frogs. Hitting the street and voting with our credit card, boycotting all the cook’s products and services . They play with our taxes, but we’ll not let them have a go to our disposable income. And we won’t let them dispose of our democracy. We won’t be tender, juicy consumer-frogs. See you next Saturday.

Photo Laura Mari – on Repubblica

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