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McLuhan and Cameron explain the censorship of workers' day

Aggiornamento: 27 mag 2021

Workers' Day was the object of a mediatic “split” and Fedez, together with Pio and Amedeo, played the specular extremes of a single debate, summed up by the former's enraged words: “on stage, I must be free to say what I want”.

"Why can't I say that in the public square a leghista councillor [...] said that he would burn his gay son in the furnace? Why can't I say that?" – the Milanese rapper Fedez (ndr. Federico Lucia, Milanese rapper, singer and record producer) roars throughout the entire Grand Hotel Tremezzo (ndr. hotel in northern Italy), while a harried Rai3 assistant makes his way through the furious accusations of his interlocutor, whose words do not escape: "I am only asking you to adapt to a system [...] all the statements you make cannot be quoted [...] they can be said in contexts that are not those you are saying".

above: Amedeo Grieco and Pio D’Antini (1 may 2021)

That same evening, just a few channels away, the last episode of “Felicissima sera”, the comedy show by Pio and Amedeo (ndr. Italian comedians) was aired: the duet's planned closure was to finally get rid of the of “political correctness'” dictatorship that hovered all around the Italian scene: “If they call you gay, just laugh at them because wickedness is not held by the language but by the brain: it is all about the intention. The ignorants feed on your resentment", explain the two comedians in a monologue lasting about twenty minutes, "until we are healed from the ignorance of those who talk in a derogatory manner, the actual problem, there is only one solution left: self-irony".

Workers' Day was the object of a mediatic “split” and Fedez together with Pio and Amedeo played the specular extremes of a single debate, summed up by the former's enraged words: “On stage, I must be free to say what I want”. As a consequence, the bizarre parallelism between the two episodes can be seen as an interesting comparison between the old and the new generations: so true that if, according to Barbano (ndr. Italian journalist and writer), the media are the major exponents of a culture and if for the Allgemeine Zeitung (ndr. German newspaper) the most widely used means of communication in Italy is the television, there have reasons to believe that television is the greatest insight on Italian culture. We can therefore state that this culture, whether we like it or not, is evolving towards a greater sensitivity towards minorities.

above: Federico Lucia or Fedez live on Rai3 (1 may 2021)

An overlapping that we would not have witnessed without social networks: many sociologists agree that, even more than their own content, the media are able to shape the society in which they operate, to the point of making it impossible to understand it without prior knowledge of its way of communicating. M. McLuhan (ndr. Canadian sociologist) already hinted at the first features in the mid-1960s:


It was, however, Deborah Cameron (ndr. English linguist) who foresaw the extent to which social media would shape post-modern society: she anticipated the literary scene by more than twenty years when she spoke for the first time of a society aimed at meta-discourse, i.e. the reflection of discourse on itself and its contents:


The meta-discourse can therefore be said to be the detachment between post-modernism and earlier societies, and the debate around censorship is just one of the many ramifications of a society increasingly aware of its own communication: an aspect not to be underestimated, given the difference that a single generation has brought into Italian screens.

The impact that the Internet has on the shaping of our society tends to be so underestimated that the reasons behind the cultural gap between the old and new generations are left to the “sensitivity” of the second one. However, social media play a too pervasive role to be ignored not only by sociologists but also by those who are nonetheless part of this very society.

"Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media through which people communicate than by the content of the communication" (M. McLuhan, 1967).

"we live in what might be called a 'culture of communication'. [...] a culture that is particularly conscious and judicious of communication, and this generates vast amounts of meta-discourse about it" (D. Cameron, 2000).

Articolo a cura di: Sara Magnacavallo


D. Cameron, Communication Culture (2000)

M. McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage: an Inventory of Effects (1967)

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