Monday 29 September 2008

This is Jose the Communist

Giovanna Zucconi, 27 September 2008 (translation)

With implacable frequency, magazines of the demimonde fire off, one after the other, apocalyptic articles on the death of literature in the digital age.

What a bore. It’s enough, instead, to take a stroll around the net to know that ‘the midpoint is the mean’, say what you like. And that a literarily sumptuous ‘message’ can turn up not just on paper or parchment, but equally in the shape of more transient and (often) rickety writing than elsewhere. That is, on a blog. Take for example the one of young Jose. The author must certainly be a writer and with a foresail, given the pasty language (index: his blog is in Portuguese).

But he must above all certainly be young, otherwise he would inscribe trembling wisdom in an old exercise book, instead of belching out his roving and radical passion on the Internet. He comments on current world affairs, does young Jose. “I ask myself how and why the United States, such a large country, has often had such small presidents. George Bush is the smallest of them all. Mediocre intelligence, abysmal ignorance, confused verbal expression … We really don’t know what he thinks, or if he thinks”. More than with “the robot George Bush”, young Jose rages against Aznar in denial over the greenhouse effect, and against Berlusconi. He’s quite a groupie, this Jose, a ‘cumunist’, excessively virulent and resolute (“in the land of the Mafia and the Camorra, just how important is it to have confirmation that the prime minister is a delinquent?”), and furthermore spirited. Second index: “Given that in Italy Einaudi is publishing me, I’ll have made some money for him” to the Cavaliere, he writes.

He’s also a visionary, the blogger. He’s the type who reads reality at a strange angle. He imagines that all human beings write their own biographies, and that paper lives invade the planets of the solar system (it’s a great story). He holds that if the economic crisis reduces the divorce rate, publishing is the victim, because husbands will no longer have to buy new copies of books held hostage by their wives.
Who knows why, further, he writes about having found a text he wrote many years ago on Lisbon, and of having been moved rereading it. But he’s certainly not an old man of quick tears, one who keeps a blog and who inveigles furiously against planetary misgovernment. He’s not an old man, even if he’s 86 years old and his name is Jose Saramago.