From refined philologist to sports bar: the downward slope of Canfora

Witty, never banal, polemikos, son of a philosopher and an eminent Greek scholar, nephew of Togliatti, “rebel in search of freedom”, and of the glorious PCI, Luciano Canfora, emeritus philologist and internationalist militant – he knows well that one of the deadliest weapons, like propaganda, is history. By studying it, teaching it, explaining it to us, the Professor – 80 years old and a frightening bibliography, between demokratía, eleutheria and Gramscismo – has become, a nostalgic communist veteran of the great USSR Mother, the one of the heavyweights of the Italian intelligentsia. Very popular at the University and listened to by politicians, master and lover of the “word”, hence philologhía, “philology”, has always been a refined thinker who mortified the right and encouraged the left. Then, like so many intellectuals indebted to post-contemporaryism: Cacciari, Freccero and many others… he slipped on the downward slope: from demos to populism. And it is easy, but melancholy, to go from praising Cleophon to insulting the cesspool. The senile drift of the sports bar: say everything, too much, at random.

Invited to a school in Bari, his university town, he describes Giorgia Meloni as a “neo-Nazi at heart” because she “sides with the Ukrainian neo-Nazis”. Then yesterday he tried to correct the sentence. Camphor is a philologist, he knows the art of interpretation. He explained that the term “neo-Nazi” is something other than “Nazi”. Diagram for the use of students, between geopolitical cheating and radical provocation: Hitler was a Nazi, Meloni and Salvini who want to stop immigrants are neo-Nazis. Here is.

For the left which was once pro-Stalin (“Always better than Gorbachev” said Canfora in 1994) and which is now simply intolerant, it is still “something else”. But the vice remains that. Condemn the political opponent as a fascist, or a Nazi. It’s called reductio ad Hitlerum, or reductio ad nazium, and it’s an exquisite if somewhat disgusting oratorical tactic that aims to disqualify the interlocutor by comparing them to absolute evil.

However, it is difficult to place the Good among those who continue to downplay the crimes of communism but accuse an entire nation under bombardment of being Nazi. Then the problem is the writings “DVX” on the buildings of the 20s… The degradation of the glorious Italian left, from organic intellectuals to Anpi 4.0. From resistance to resistance. There were so many guns…

Give up, give up, give up. And in the end, the “democratic” dictator – Caesar, Bonaparte Stalin or Putin whoever he is – always pleases the old left more than the young Meloni. What, when he becomes the most voted politician by Italians, will eventually have to do it also in Canfora. The voter wonders: can an unrepentant Stalinist deliver licenses of democracy? And in high school?

However, Camphor will go unpunished. And it’s curious. A fifteen-year-old (it bears repeating: quin-di-cen-ne) jokes about a Roman salute and is banned from kart circuits, suspended from racing, his license confiscated, his career annihilated and denazified. Very well. And Camphor, nazizing an entire nation, will remain where he is: in schools, in publishing (the Democratic House of Laterza says nothing?), on TV, in the newspapers.

After all, in ancient Greece as in Italy, democracy was never perfect.

Add Comment