He confides his desperation for the weakness of the left and the victory of the right, but not only. There are also certain matters of the heart. 'They wanted to give me 80 million to appear on the cover with Alba Parietti'. And he explains his philosophy about him: he thinks of yourself as one of manyStefano Bonaga photographed by Massimo Sestini in his home in Bologna overlooking the two towers
Brilliant, cultured, funny, charming and indeed great heartthrob women , Stefano Bonaga - philosopher, from Bologna, 78 years old - knows how to seduce anyone who comes before him: whether we are talking about politics, history or women. He is a seducer. But a desperate seducer. “Desperate” is the word that recurs most in this interview.
He is desperate for politics, but we will also talk about despair for love: and he, of love, we said a little while ago that he understands. Everyone remembers his liaison with Alba Parietti (it lasted seven in the nineties, seven years that she defined as 'very turbulent') but the list of seduced is long.
Bonaga, let's start with political desperation. Meloni has won. What happens now?
“The problem will be Europe. All the European right-wingers congratulated them in real time. It is a problem that Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, has already hinted at. We now have two parties in power which, in addition to being sympathetic to dictators, have voted against the Commission itself and against the Next Generation EU, accused of covering up a fraud».
But you were already desperate before Meloni's triumph.
'I've been desperate for months. I wonder what can happen to a country that is experiencing its worst moment since the post-war period. Indeed, today we are worse off than in the post-war period».
“Because we were poor then, but there was a people who had the opportunity to participate in the reconstruction. There were parishes, party sections, in short, the so-called intermediate bodies. And Italy recovered. Do you remember the sixties? We had the highest GDP in Europe'.
Have the intermediate bodies been suppressed?
«At one point it was thought that it could be done without it. And their disappearance is my obsession. Many of today's troubles come from there: the man (or woman) alone in charge; the leader and the people and nothing in between; the fake democracy of social media. Yet there has never been a need for intermediate bodies as there is today'.
Is today a limited democracy?
“Of course it's limited. Today representation stops at the vote: you vote for me, I make the rules and laws for you. But citizens are neither asked nor allowed to participate in the political and social life of the country. After the vote, each of us disappears until the next election. And this is a typically right-wing culture.
But what is right and what is left? If Gaber already asked many years ago.
“The right has certainly adopted a set of values from the left: equality, work. Its leaders go to factories more than Letta. But from the point of view of delegation, the difference between right and left is insuperable. The right asks for the vote and then tells you stay home and we'll take care of it. The left, on the other hand, is for the promotion of the maximum exercise of social power».
You don't speak difficult: what does it mean?
«Take the 4 million volunteers who deal every day – physically, with their hands, their eyes, their time – with the bodies of the sick, the elderly, migrants, poor children. Are these 4 million Italians not involved in politics? Do you know what isocracy means?'
“It means equality of power. Every citizen has equally a power of him, and politics is concerned that everyone can participate in public life. This is isocracy. Which is true communism after all».
But communism didn't work. He's made a mess everywhere.
“But there never was real communism! There have been dictatorships, distortions, betrayals of communism. In your opinion, when I declare myself a communist, do I refer to Stalin or Mao, who were two dictators? Or to Castro who trafficked in drugs? For me, communism is that famous phrase of Marx'.
'Give to each according to his need'.
“That's only the first half of the sentence, and unfortunately it's always quoted like this, broken in two. But communism can only be understood if the sentence is quoted in its entirety: give to each according to his need and ask of each according to his ability.'
I quoted it like this, in full, to a priest, and he said to me: it's the Gospel.
“I call it isocracy. That sentence of Marx's may seem even childishly simple, but it is fundamental because one cannot live by delegating alone. Freedom is participation'.
«Participation not only increases resources for all, but also the dignity of citizens. Politics shouldn't make everyone anonymous based on a trust request. Do you remember the sardines?».
Of course. Even if they did everything to be forgotten.
«Now they are in disarray, but they had the great merit of going to the streets to shout: politics needs us. A historical, revolutionary phrase.
But what is populism?
“It is the politicization of society. It is based on four cornerstones: the boss, the external enemy, the slogans, the slogans that trivialize everything».
What do you think of the Democratic Party?
“It's a party of taxi drivers without a taxi. I say this with desperation and affection towards a party that I have always voted for».
Again that word, “despair”.
'Yes, I'm desperate. Claude Lévi-Strauss died at 101 and lived on a planet where there were a billion people. Now we are more than 7 billion. Keeping the proportions, because he was Lévi-Strauss and I am Bonaga, even when he died the world was full of assholes: but now there are too many».
Assholes who talk about everything?
'Exactly. And when one speaks, one should ask oneself: 1) who is speaking 2) to whom is speaking 3) what is at stake in what he says. But today everyone pontificates about everything even if he doesn't understand anything. I stopped going on TV precisely because they claim you can comment on anything. For example, about the war: but what do you want me to say about the war? Or on the economy? When they asked me about the Mes, I replied: Bonaga is not interested in Bonaga's opinion on the Mes'.
Don't you like the world of social media?
“I have a 19 euro Nokia phone. I don't even know how to use Whatsapp. In 1993, when I was councilor in Bologna, I created Iperbole, free Internet for all Bolognese. But I knew what was going to happen. In a wise man who was called The Ship of Fools I wrote: “Blood will flow on the net”. While Grillo said: 'The network will save the world'».
Are you a radical chic?
'Yup. And I'm proud of it. It means that I have roots and that I am elegant. Its opposite is superficial-cafone».
Once Daniele Capezzone, on TV, said that she spoke of Marxism from her living room and from her terrace.
«And I told him that he is a rhododactyl: a Homeric epithet which means 'with pink fingers' because, every time he speaks, Capezzone points with his fingers first, second, third... Look, that time there even Porro intervened saying: 'Enough with this history of the salons of the left'. But what salons! And what terraces! I have a living room like there are in all houses in the world, and I also have a small terrace overlooking the two towers. But this is a small flat, as you can see, and I'm renting it. The only thing I own is a moped».
Speaking of despair: in 1997 you wrote a book for Feltrinelli called Desperation of love. The thesis was: no one is more desperate than those who keep hoping to win back their lost love. What had happened to her?
'I'm not talking about it. It is an intimate experience. Mine and many others. The only thing I can say is that the word I never appears in that book».
There are too many people who pepper their speech with a series of 'I's', right?
«True, and they don't notice that the word I repeated sounds like a donkey's braying: I-I-I. I try to use it as little as possible, I'm embarrassed because since I was a boy I've been a follower of Carlo Emilio Gadda who used to say: “The little word I is a parasite on life. The more you value yourself, the more you lose your life. Because life is not yourself.' Here, my commandment is: think of yourself as one of many '.
All right, but why does he lock up on his loves?
“I only defend my private life. And not because it's valuable, but because it's irrelevant. And so if some idiot is interested in the irrelevance of my life, he will not find an accomplice in me ».
We also struggled through the pains of purgatory, with Massimo Sestini, to convince her to be photographed. “I hate appearing. Four years ago I founded the Mafi, the Italian anti-photographer movement: one joins telepathically. When Alba presented Sanremo, Gigi Vesigna said to me: Stefano, I'll give you 80 million lire, of course, if you do a cover for Smiles and TV Songs with her. I replied: not even if you give me a billion. Imagine what I think of those who today photograph and put even what they eat on social media».
Are you afraid of death?
'It scares me to know that you have to die. But then I think that the most convincing elaboration is that of the Epicureans: when I am there is no death, when there is death I am not there'