recent

Coronavirus and conspiracy theories. A vademecum and a lesson on #QAnon

Wu Ming 1

56 comments – 9 branches

by Wu Ming

Since the coronavirus emergency began in February 2020 in Italy and then in the rest of Europe and the West, more and more people, subjected to a real media bombing, have concluded that the mainstream media were unreliable. The predominant narrative of what was happening was deemed incongruous, instrumental, specious, organic to established powers and economic elites not only reticent but responsible for the state in which the pandemic had found our socio-economic systems.

For anti-capitalist movements, this widespread – and founded – dissatisfaction with the political-media establishment was largely a missed opportunity. For various reasons which are not the subject of this article, it was not they, we did not intercept it.

More often than not, conspiracy has intercepted it: the virus was produced in the laboratory and intentionally spread by China, or Russia, or by Soros, or by Bill Gates. The latter maneuvers the WHO at will to «control the world with vaccines». Indeed, no, the virus has spread because of 5G. Indeed, no, the pandemic is a creation of a Satanist lobby that controls the “deep state” in America. Etc. etc.

Conspiracies exist, but capitalism is not a conspiracy

We have written it many times: conspiracy or conspiracy is a big problem for those who want to criticize capitalism with good reason and effectively. The “paranoid style” of conspiracy is a powerful rhetorical device that channels social anger and energies for a potential change towards diversely and intrinsically reactionary narratives , centered on scapegoats.

It is one thing to say that the coronavirus emergency was managed with the tools that capitalism had perfected in the meantime: the emergency comes after forty years of neoliberal policy and governance , prolongs many threads, exacerbates the consequences, makes everything pay to those who already paid, and the media – for how they work, for the interests they represent, for the ownership structures that shape their orientation – impose narratives that make everything seem “natural”. “Dominant ideas are nothing but the ideal expression of dominant material relationships, they are dominant material relationships taken as ideas” (Marx and Engels, German ideology ).

It is quite another matter to imagine that this emergency has been planned in advance, that it is the implementation of a Plan. Some powerful people would have gathered around a table well in advance and would have said: “Let’s invent a pandemic” or at least “here’s how to use this pandemic: let’s do X, Y and Z”. A very coherent Plan would come from here, which has foreseen everything, inexorable and perfectly put into practice by the established powers.

In support of this vision, it is said that “this pandemic had already been foreseen”. It is the ploy n.1 listed by Arthur Schopenhauer in his The art of obtaining reason : «to bring an affirmation […] out of its natural limits, to interpret it in the most general way possible, to take it in the widest possible sense and to exaggerate it ».

True, insiders knew that sooner or later there would be a new pandemic, ” Animal Infections and The Next Human Pandemic ” is even the original subtitle of David Quammen’s Spillover book , released in 2012. However, nobody could know in I anticipate the morphology of the virus, the etiology of Covid-19, the exact routes of the infection and the timetable for its spread.

Narratives like this describe capitalism in a caricatural way, as a system that depends largely on the will of the members of a caste, but capitalism is not this, it is a mode of production that has its basic logics, its automatisms and objective mechanisms. It did not stand out for a conspiracy of anyone, but after a centuries-old historical evolution, and it works without the ruling class having to or can foresee and orchestrate everything .

It is obvious that capitalist strategies exist , and that some large plots have existed and exist is well established. The examples that come to mind are the strategy of tension, the Nixon plot that led to Watergate, the plots of P2, and even – twist that Umberto Eco and Carlo Ginzburg dealt with in different ways – a plot to make believe that there was a Great Conspiracy: the fabrication of the Protocols of the Wise Elders of Zion by the Okhrana, the Tsarist secret police.
After all, the existence of these intelligence services is nothing more than an institutionalization of the plot.

In hindsight, a plot is something very simple: one has it every time more people agree to pursue their interest at the expense of others, unbeknownst to the latter.

Therefore, it is not a question of denying the existence of conspiracies tout court, it would be absurd. It is a question of understanding how to defuse conspiracy, a forma mentis that not only sees the logic of the conspiracy at work in every area, but puts a Great Conspiracy at the center of the functioning of the system, exaggerating the role of the will in history – moreover, a Will that foresees everything and obtains everything – and imagining almost almighty cabal or supercaste.

Sulla distinzione tra i complotti reali – localizzati, imperfetti, contraddittori, “a scadenza” – e il Complotto immaginato dal complottismo – perfetto, coerentissimo, profetico, tentacolarissimo, illimitato, eterno – rimandiamo a quanto scritto da Wu Ming 1 nell’inchiesta in due puntate apparsa su Internazionale nell’autunno 2018. Nella seconda parte di quello scritto, si riflette anche su come contrastare il complottismo in un modo che non si riduca al debunking.

Due fallacie logiche a cui ricorre il complottista

L’abate Augustin Barruel (1741-1820). Le sue teorie sulla Rivoluzione Francese come complotto giudaico-massonico ebbero grande diffusione e fortuna, e influenzarono tutto il pensiero reazionario a seguire.

Il più delle volte, chi critica l’approccio cospirazionista si sente rispondere in due modi.

Il primo è: «Stai col potere, che si è inventato l’accusa di “complottismo” e la usa contro chiunque lo critichi!»

A corollario di quest’affermazione, spesso si sente dire che l’espressione «conspiracy theory» l’avrebbe inventata la CIA negli anni Sessanta. Si tratta di una leggenda urbana. In  quest’articolo si dimostra che il primo utilizzo riscontrato – e già inteso con accezione negativa – dell’espressione «conspiracy theory» risale addirittura al 1870.

Il cospirazionismo non è un’invenzione dei suoi presunti avversari, ma una mentalità e un insieme di retoriche e fallacie che esiste da secoli, da ben prima che esistesse la CIA. Per fare un solo esempio, nel 1569 i servizi segreti della Serenissima – e prima ancora l’opinione popolare – attribuirono a un complotto dell’ebreo Giuseppe Nasi l’incendio dell’Arsenale di Venezia, storia che raccontiamo nel nostro Altai.

Quasi tutte le teorie del complotto moderne risalgono a un periodo che va da fine XVIII a inizio XIX. Il complotto degli Illuminati di Baviera, della massoneria, degli ebrei… Sono tutte teorie nate per reazione all’Illuminismo e, soprattutto, alla Rivoluzione francese, per descrivere quest’ultima come una mera congiura. I tòpoi del complottismo risalgono a quella fase storica, da allora abbiamo avuto quasi solo ricombinazioni.

Il fatto che qualcuno definisca «cospirazionismo», «complottismo» o «teoria del complotto» qualunque analisi scomoda o anche solo sgradita non dimostra in alcun modo che l’accusa sia sempre falsa, né che non esistano la realtà e mentalità che quei termini indicano. Dimostra solo che che di quei termini si tende ad abusare, e semmai conferma che il complottismo fornisce facili appigli a chi voglia sminuire o denigrare il pensiero critico.

In particolare, il complottismo intorbidisce le acque per chiunque voglia denunciare complotti reali. Come scrive Enrico Voccia su Umanità Nova:

«Denouncing conspiracies at every push leads to the opposite effect […] discredited – in the eyes of the majority – the attempt to defend oneself from real conspiracies. Imagine how seriously the counter-information campaign [on the massacre in Piazza Fontana] would have been taken if it had been drowned in the noise of those who claimed that the nascent BR were formed by extraterrestrials in league with the Mossad, others who claimed that Zapata had survived the murder attempt and that he had become a CIA agent and so on. “

The other typical answer is: “You cannot prove that there is no Plan!”

In any discursive context where the logical argument applies – law, historiography, social sciences, “hard” sciences – the burden of proof lies with those who make an assertion. The fact that the conspiracy theorist challenges you to show that there is no plan – Argumentum ad ignorantiam – shows that conspiracy does not fit into those areas. It is those who think there is a Plan that should prove it by bringing evidence. And by “evidence” we don’t mean mere suspicions, risky connections, etc. They are not enough.

For us, until proven otherwise, the basic logic of the capitalist system, whose devastating functioning is under the eyes of anyone who does not refuse to see it, is enough.

Capitalism and pandemic

Chuǎng. The character is the stylization of a steed that forcefully crosses a gate. It has various meanings: “to free oneself”, “to break through”, “to attack”, “to take charge”, but also “to harden” (going through hard experiences).

There are dynamics of the capitalist economy whose responsibilities have long been attested with regard to the great epidemics of recent decades. Already in February, in the viral diary , we wrote:

«The avian, the Sars, the swine and before that the BSE had come out of the infernal circles of the planetary zootechnical industry . Put simply: from intensive farming, because of how the animals were treated and, above all, fed. Ebola, Zika and West Nile had come into contact with humans because of massive deforestation and destruction of ecosystems. “

Deforestation follows land grabbing and precedes further extensions of agribusiness which serve to support the world livestock industry . A third of world cereal production is used for cattle feeding. This process created the conditions for all the latest spillovers, or “species jumps”. An important reference is the book by biologist Rob Wallace Big Farms Make Big Flu . That it is no coincidence that it is also mentioned by the Chinese collective Chuang in its very dense essay-investigation Social Contagion: microbiological class struggle in China .

After the “jump of species”, other dynamics of the capitalist economy, related to globalization and the extension of metropolises and megacities, create the conditions for the rapid spread of the contagion.

Coronavirus and QAnon

At a time when there is real pressure on scientists and scientific research is more conditioned than usual – by urgency, by media pressure, by consortium struggles – it is easy for the conspiracy theorist to appeal to the freedom of science and act as a champion of this ‘last. When this happens, we must be able to understand it. And if we cannot always do it thanks to scientific truth, whose verification is still in progress, we can do it thanks to the narrative form of what it says.

Faced with a speech on the virus created in a laboratory and spread artfully, rather than the use of a scientific authority capable of excluding the hypothesis based on the morphology of Sars-Cov-2 itself, it is the way of telling that history to make us recognize conspiracy and its logical fallacies. Even in the face of more “nuanced” speeches, it is the narratological framework that puts us on the person who lives.

The entire course – nominally of cultural journalism – held by Wu Ming 1 at the University of Rome 2 (Tor Vergata) in the academic year 2018-2019 was dedicated to narratology and rhetoric of conspiracy.

In particular, WM1 devoted a two-hour lesson to the conspiracy mega-theory known as “QAnon”. In the last year and a half we have dealt with it several times: here on Giap , on Internazionale and in various conferences in Italy and abroad . We did it also because in a certain sense we are involved , this story involves us directly.

Among the undesirable effects of the pandemic and the related emergency there has been an increase – also in Italy – in the number of people who believe in the QAnon buffaloes and spread them. According to QAnon’s followers, the spread of Sars-Cov-2 would be a plot by China and Democrats to destroy the American economy and prevent Donald Trump’s re-election. Said this is simple, but from there innumerable branches and sub-theories begin. A usual mechanism, but one that can daze those who do not know QAnon.

We therefore find it useful to make that lesson available a year ago. Where there is also a lot of literature, suffice it to say that two novels have a place of honor. One is Foucault’s pendulum .

At the time, the lesson had been uploaded in two parts on the Wu Ming Foundation’s YouTube channel, now abandoned after we did degoogling. They were private videos, visible only by students and students of the course. We unlocked them and we propose them again.

Of course, as is the practice on Giap , we do this by going through Invidio.us, an interface that allows you to view YouTube videos without advertising, without tracking or data mining , without automatic reproductions, heterodirect playlists, toxic algorithm recommendations, restrictions for country and so on.

Good vision.

The QAnon case – first part (4 April 2019)https://invidio.us/embed/QV77hAinP2I?autoplay=0&continue=0&dark_mode=true&listen=0&local=1&loop=0&nojs=0&player_style=youtube&quality=dash&thin_mode=false


The QAnon case – second part  (4 April 2019)https://invidio.us/embed/RNJzFrNqjoA?autoplay=0&continue=0&dark_mode=true&listen=0&local=1&loop=0&nojs=0&player_style=youtube&quality=dash&thin_mode=false

Download this article in ebook format (ePub or Kindle)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Other texts that may interest you:

Max Headroom-19. The dream of permanent “social distancing” in post-coronavirus propagandaHow a conspiracy theory was born and how to deal with it – by Wu Ming 1, on Internazionale, 1st episodeSatanists kill on Saturday – by Selene Pascarella, 2nd episode (of 3)“Superstition brings bad luck.” Thirty years after Foucault’s pendulumTagged with  

conspiracy coronavirus coronavirus Covid 19 QAnon conspiracy theories

← Previous

56 comments on “ Coronavirus and conspiracy theories. A vademecum and a lesson on #QAnon “

  1. Juvenal5/21/2020 at 3:04 pmInteresting choice to publish a handbook on conspiracy after having recently fallen into the trap of a conspiracy theorist like MMC. Would you ask yourself what pulpit the sermon comes from ?! You say you are able to read in the narratives of conspiracy theorists, to understand the tactics they use to settle within the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 25/21/2020 at 3:10 pmYou miss the meaning of the post. This is a handbook for recognizing conspiracy narratives, their form, the way they tell. In the article we published, there was no such narrative. What was wrong we repeated and summarized it several times. We should have checked the identity of … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 45/21/2020 at 3:10 pmWell, you just summarized what we wrote in the apology post. Nobody is infallible, least of all us. This is why it is important to reiterate some things. The intent of the current post is precisely this.Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 15/21/2020 at 3:18 pmThe article above contains an exhortation to everyone, including us, to keep our guard high. All the more so because a Trojan horse had been brought into Giap. Fortunately, when the Achaeans came out, they found the Vietcong. It looks like a novel by Philip J. Farmer. From your … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Anarcobiotici5/21/2020 at 4:56 pmI would like to add some considerations and complications. Capitalism and its outcomes are the fruit of the will of its members as it has historically accumulated. The point is that they are often opposing or irrational wills or the result of incorrect or imaginative representations which is often capitalism itself … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Kola5/21/2020 at 6:55 pmIn my opinion you are confusing narration and analysis and you are giving too much importance to the first. Perhaps this tendency is typical of the times in which we live, as you also say, but I think that the difference between a harmful narrative and a useful one lies above all in the analytical bases on which it rests. Obviously a narration … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Anarcobiotici5/22/2020 at 6:27 pmI often get confused between narrative and theory. And what I said is that it is not so easy to distinguish them and that their separation is not so clear. In the end everything is a representation after it surpasses a certain level of distance from reality. So if what characterizes this company … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  2. NonSoCheNickUsare5/21/2020 at 5:21 pmVery interesting discussion. I have my say on a couple of points. – * conspiracy theorists * are those who react first and best to any emergency / news / event. Well there must be, or rather there is certainly a power plant. Places not so dissimilar from communication agencies, with many little men sitting in front of … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  3. swann skein5/21/2020 at 6:14 pmNo real conspiracy, only conspiracy theories that many adepts make, in these times of pandemic. But, equally disturbing, a dominant narrative torrent that tries to write history downstream of events. Waiting to know why and for how, Youtube has removed three videos from the Perspective on the channel … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  4. tenib5/21/2020 at 6:41 pm“The other typical answer is:” You can’t prove that there isn’t a Plan! ” In that framework, I don’t completely agree with you when you write “It’s someone who thinks there is a Plan that … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  5. paoz5/22/2020 at 2:56 am“The predominant narrative of what was happening was judged incongruous” and this caused you “dissatisfaction” that you were unable to rationalize. This is why you have tried to demonstrate, article after article, what in this historical moment is not demonstrable – that is, all the measures promoted by that … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • pm20015/22/2020 at 7:54 am“The columns of military-funeral cars, the criminalization of runners, the silence on the workers forced to go to the factory and a general media terrorism were sad and irritating gimmicks, but we cannot exclude that they still contributed to saving lives.” If I interpret well, you attribute an action to the “general media terrorism” … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 25/22/2020 at 8:13 amIt does not seem to me that an attempt has been made here to demonstrate that “all (!) The measures promoted by that narrative were ipso facto (!) Incongruous”. It seems to me that we have tried to demonstrate that some measures taken by the Italian government have been inconsistent for reasons x, y and z … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • paoz5/22/2020 at 6:45 pmThen I rephrase, also responding to pm2001. Let’s leave aside the structural response of the Ministry and Regions (in my opinion it is another topic) and focus on the emergency measures, which are the most questionable: which factories / shops / schools / theaters to leave open and which not, how much freedom of movement to allow adults / children / old people / runners / dogs, the choices on … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 7:34 pmIn short, the lies told to the people for their good. Because the people are stupid, one cannot speak to them as if they were intelligent. Italians don’t understand shit and it takes propaganda appropriate to their condition. Reactionary thinking, as we wrote in paragraph 5 of this … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 9:52 amI merely point out that forcing us for the one thousand five hundred and eighteenth time to summarize point by point what we have written “article after article” in these three months – which, sorry, is not what you say – is not a great contribution to the advancement of the discussion. It is simply untrue that … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 10:22 amI would add that thanks to external contributions we have highlighted particularly incongruous aspects of emergency management, and moments of the impact of the emergency on society (on its weaker segments). We hosted contributions on the suffering of children, on how we experienced the emergency in the school reduced to DAD (one of the situations we are following with … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • claudiog5/23/2020 at 12:22 amI would say that Giap, in these times, has helped me in a very concrete way to keep the bar to starboard. It is very demonstrable that, bombarded with alarmism, I had been ready to betray principles so many times heralded. Much have been worth especially the words of you Wu Ming, but I understand … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Wu Ming 15/23/2020 at 12:29 amI had marked many too. McCoy Tyner I’m not even going to say how much I admired him, ça va sans dire. Henry Grimes saw him play live a few years ago, it was the return tour (of the reappearance, let’s say). Giuseppi Logan was in the ESP anthology that I edited for Goodfellas … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • claudiog5/23/2020 at 6:28 amYou should discuss it with my fraternal friend P., about jazz music. I quarreled there, a month ago, after I sent him one of your posts about ‘terror in the press “:” show him the trucks loaded with coffins, to those big cocks, “he replied. The next day we talked. I understand … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  6. petrus5/22/2020 at 3:00 amThere are many points that I do not agree with in this analysis of conspiracy theories. I am not convinced by this way of generalizing. Just to understand: Naomi Klein is conspiracy theorist? Yet he has always said that natural or political disasters have been seized as great profit opportunities. If in the face of yet another disaster one … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 25/22/2020 at 8:01 amThe point that escapes you is not the generalization that is made, but the dynamic that is described, You use the metaphor of jackals pouncing on a carcass. No one here is saying that jackals don’t exist. Rather. But we are just saying that jackal-capitalism takes the opportunity, exploits a … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 25/22/2020 at 9:49 amTo understand each other better, I propose a mental experiment, outside the metaphors of the savannah. Let’s consider the hypothesis that the Sars-Cov2 virus is a laboratory product. Today we have evidence that I believe is not so stringent, but let’s take that hypothesis anyway. The conspiracy theorist’s first move is to transform the hypothesis (“The virus could be a … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 10:04 am“I hope I understood well in sharing the need to find the truths where they are, to subtract them from the conspiracy narratives to prevent their understanding of reality from being compromised.” Yes, Petrus, you understood correctly, it is the point of all our reflections on conspiracy theories and … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • petrus5/22/2020 at 11:16 amI apologize for reporting back to the exhausting ABC. Then I point out differently. I am not convinced by the narrative that analyzes the narrative of the conspiracy as a stereotype and I do not find fitting gazelle-lion-herd-jackal, at least in the concrete cases that really interest me. I don’t like abstract labels and categories, which then often, even in the healthiest environments, … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 11:34 amPetrus, I admit to finding your speech abstract – in the very general and vague sense. Are you saying, if I understand correctly, that there is a general theme that interests you (I guess they are vaccines), that you don’t want those who talk about it in a certain way to be called a conspiracy theorist, … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • caloges5/22/2020 at 12:19 pmYet Wu Ming I, just in one of your comments (pity … I don’t have time to reread over 500 to find “which”) you mentioned the vaccine theme as a theme that is immediately bounced off this blog. I would like to point out that “clearing the field of idiocy” for those who are against the obligation … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 12:34 pmOf course, I wrote it and I repeat it. Because it is one thing to say that conspiracy is not previously defined by a given theme, another is the policy of this specific blog. Given the intrinsic toxicity of the frame in which the discussion on vaccines has long since entered, a consequence of the failure … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
              • caloges5/22/2020 at 1:03 pmWhat you say is very important. In fact, you say that you need to have a “superior” technical skill to deal with a practice that affects the real life of millions of people (children who already do not have access to kindergarten “like the others”, to say one). Have you … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
                • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 1:17 pm1) The competence superior to ours is not needed to get a general idea about vaccines (whoever has made it) but to manage a discussion that very predictably would have thousands of comments, therefore it would bombard us with thousands of notifications, and we should read everything and have every point raised, this in going crazy … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
                  • caloges5/22/2020 at 1:55 pmI understand the “overdose of comments” issue. I don’t want to “nail” you on vaccines, my personal feeling about it was at most by surprise. Because “in the end” we arrive at a “we don’t want to talk about it” (be careful though: it’s one thing to “make a post” that nobody or not me at least, will … [Continue reading]
                  • Wu Ming 15/23/2020 at 9:04 am“We don’t want to talk about it” because, because of our subjective limits and objective conditions, it goes beyond our ability to talk about it and allow us to talk about it sensibly. As we have said before, we were already walking on a rope balancing with a pole. In recent days the rope has become … [Continue reading]
          • petrus5/22/2020 at 1:34 pmVaccini, of course, the theme of the themes, but not only and not first, and not even in particular. Treatment as a cure for the flock in general does not only apply to vaccines. Peter Gøtzsche, for example, criticized mass screening twenty years ago; on this no theories of … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • caloges5/22/2020 at 4:54 pmPetrus you said something so important (for everyone’s life and bodies, I use your words) that I feel the urge to translate it into a more everyday language, in case someone had escaped. “CONFUSING MASS SCREENING WITH PRIMARY PREVENTION” can also be translated as follows: if there … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
              • petrus5/22/2020 at 5:39 pmI want to specify that I did not intend to provoke reactions who knows what, let alone on vaccines. But in the medical field we all undergo some narrative, especially when they offer us treatments, whose responsibility is all ours (and thank goodness). The narratives are the result of decades of research and research orientation on … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  7. NonSoCheNickUsare5/22/2020 at 9:43 amI state that in my answer I will return to my workhorse, or * the stupidity of the rulers *. Let’s reconstruct the story, as far as possible, and with all the limits of the necessary synthesis in a comment: a virus spreads which involves – in some cases – the need to be hospitalized in the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • NonSoCheNickUsare5/22/2020 at 9:44 am[second part] Here the donkey falls and you can see how all the management of the “crisis” was in the hands of the wrong people, everything seems to be dictated by chance: the bars are left open, the bars are closed, the bakeries remain open but they cannot sell pastries, otherwise the patisseries will … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  8. Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 11:12 amWe recommend:Pandemic and plots. The mystifying role of conspiracyby Maria Matteo, on Umanità Nova .Log in to reply
    • petrus5/22/2020 at 12:15 pmI find the article reported beautiful and also appropriate in the discussion, especially in the end, where you can open a deeper analysis than what I wrote above. Everything is shareable; in addition I would open two windows in the speech. Matteo writes “The” alternative “expert, the seller of neglected knowledge, does not demolish the pedestal on which they are … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  9. TommasoS5/22/2020 at 11:19 amThanks for this article, very interesting. I also listened / saw the two hours of lessons of WM1, and some of the considerations that I will make are related to its contents, so I apologize if the references cannot be found in the text of the article and to deepen the issues you will have to watch the videos . Una … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • TommasoS5/22/2020 at 11:20 amThat is precisely because of the discursive modalities (I know that used in relation to Trump this adjective sounds strange …) that Trump uses, which are absolutely similar to those of the conspiracy speech, with sibylline indications, logical connections often lacking, non sequitur, disclosure of hidden truths , attribution of responsibility to “others” not always … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 11:58 amThank you, Thomas, I find this reading on “idiotic power”, on the distinction between “power” and “Power” which would be the basis of the conspiracy mentality very apt. In several conspiracy narratives there is a “double power”. There is an occult power (in the case of QAnon it would be the satanist and pedophile mega-lobby that controls the “deep state”, … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • TommasoS5/22/2020 at 1:21 pmIt would also be interesting to analyze how Power (the institutionalized one) uses conspiracy theories to read popular opposition or insurrection (a structure that from what you say seems to be the basis of modern conspiracy, which would arise from conspiracy readings of the French Revolution). In a beautiful book, “Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 11:47 pmThis point is very important, “the inability to attribute any political capacity for action to the masses, the will to deny the very existence of a political consciousness of subordinates” can be recognized in many contemporary conspiracy theories, markedly in those on ‘immigration. The “Great Substitution” conspiracy theory sees in … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • herato5/23/2020 at 7:51 amIn fact, I intervene in (partial) off-topic to say that I listened to the videos and that I appreciated them very much. If the whole course were available online, I would be happy (as long as this is possible, feasible, etc etc) .. Since there is the limit of the jokes (sorry), I add an observation perhaps unimportant in the context, but … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Wu Ming 15/23/2020 at 8:56 amOf a couple of lessons there is only the visual presentation, others were a “cineforum” model and would be “bad” without the film shown immediately before. Even the one on “Paul Is Dead” was like that, before I showed a 2016 Mitch Fillion documentary, Who Is This Now? (A Paul Is Dead Film), … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  10. talpa605/22/2020 at 12:18 pmI think that conspiracy has many personal roots. The conspiracy theorists who are in the circle of my knowledge are often angry people against the world, not just against their political opponents. This mental attitude starts from private and sometimes personal reasons (such as job loss, … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • alessio5/22/2020 at 1:40 pmI’m not sure if conspiracy helps the ruling class so much. In the sense that I imagine conspiracy in the same way as disastrous climatic events: tornadoes, cyclones, tsunamis. In themselves they are misfortunes for everyone (in the medium sense). And I think everyone would do without it. What I imagine is that then … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • notchosen5/22/2020 at 11:46 pmI find this is only partially true. We can consider that it is true that conspiracy is not directly beneficial to the ruling class, but is indirectly beneficial. As mentioned also in the post, the presence of conspiracy theories allows in some cases to weaken even the criticisms … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 105/23/2020 at 12:00 amI will give a practical example of how conspiracy can sabotage real critical and investigative work. In the survey on Internazionale that we link in the article above, we talked about Pablo Trincia’s Poison investigation. I’m not going to summarize it here, I refer to the linked text. Here, I am convinced that today is more difficult … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  11. StefanoR5/22/2020 at 1:32 pmIn my opinion, one thing that helps understand the virulence of conspiracy in the past 10 years is the power management technique that some call hypernormalization. It is a concept born in the 80s to describe a psycho-social condition widespread in the countries of the Soviet bloc: it was known that the system … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  12. moujik5/22/2020 at 6:24 pmI consider this article very useful because I firmly believe that the change must start from ourselves and I don’t feel free, at least, not always, from the temptation to give in to drift of conspiracy thought. To think that there was a plan and to forget, as you rightly pointed out, at least I interpret it, that … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  13. toto5/22/2020 at 8:26 pmOne question: Could the name QAnot refer to the Q Sources? I had happened to talk about the Sources of Q with WM2, but not about QAnon. Q parts are called those parts of the gospels common to Matthew and Luke, considered to date from a common source that does not … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 11:25 pmHi Totò, no, I have to say it doesn’t say anything to me. I have never found references to the sources of Q in speculations as to why QA’s “Q” is not called that.Log in to reply
  14. SilvanoSilva5/22/2020 at 11:05 pmGuys, have mercy. You are reselling past interventions by linking them, through a short ad post, to a trend-topic that you have recently dealt with superficially. On the marketing scale, it is not the marathon runner’s strategy. I’m sorry for the paternalistic tone with which I write to you, but seeing you like this is a … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 15/22/2020 at 11:18 pmOkay, let’s analyze it a little, this “pret-à-porter” you’re talking about. We have been actively dealing with conspiracy theories since the mid-nineties, since we came across a case of alleged SRA that hit and disturbed our city, Bologna. More or less from the same period we deal with emergencies such as … [Continue reading]

矛盾 (máo dùn). In what traps we fall into discussing «coronavirus emergency»

Wu Ming

by Wu Ming

By now more than two months ago, in the third episode of our viral Diary , we tried to clarify what we meant by “emergency”. We spoke of “a basic misunderstanding, a conceptual misunderstanding that saw us mutually lost in translation “, and explained:

“There were those who, by” emergency “, meant the danger from which the emergency started, that is, the epidemic.

Instead, we and a few others – in a very clear minority but in continuity with a debate of at least forty years – called “emergency” what was built on the danger : the climate that was established, the special legislation, the derogations from rights otherwise considered untouchable, the reconfiguration of powers …

Who, whenever we talked about all this, immediately wanted to go back to talking always and only about the virus itself, its etiology, its lethality, its differences with the flu, etc., in our opinion underestimated the situation . “

Every emergency is here to stay

That of the “emergency” – time after time the emergency-terrorism, the emergency-public finances and all the emergency frames that we have known – is never an ordinary narrative. It is a long-range Great Storytelling, which once imposed in the imagination has a very strong inertial thrust, and cannot be stopped at will.

When the “emergency” begins to have dysfunctional effects, we work to mitigate its grip, smoothing the edges, slowing down and letting itself settle, but it takes time. And in any case the effects will be permanent: all the emergencies we have known have accumulated, we could almost make it a “stratigraphy”.

Almost twenty years later, we are still living – albeit no longer in an acute phase – in the post-9/11 emergency. We notice it, for example, every time we check baggage at the airport. The current procedures, whose logic is not very clear and seem more “theatrical” than anything else, were introduced then.

We are still experiencing the emergencies-public accounts of the early 90s and 2011, because the cuts, the counter-reforms and the austerity that thanks to those emergencies have led us up to now, to the current situation.

Much of the special anti-terrorism legislation of the late 70s – early 80s is still with us.

Wolf Bukowski wrote for us on the rhetorical and “proxemic” continuities between the widespread “degradation emergency” of the Ten years and the coronavirus emergency of spring 2020 .

No emergency is behind us, all of them are on our shoulders.

Capitalism has taken the leap

Imagine, therefore, if you can easily get out of the emergency narrative imposed to face this pandemic. We are talking about the most impactful and pervasive emergency in our memory, and on a planetary level. Much of what has been experienced in these three months – we think only of DAD – is here to stay, albeit in less conspicuous forms (but precisely for this reason more pervasive). We also think of the derogations on labor law, or the environmental derogations, which will be requested and obtained thanks to the emergency, in the name of the “recovery”.

All this in the difficulty of putting into practice a concrete opposition, because for a long time conditions of “social distancing” will persist which, if they do not make struggles impossible, still give even more pretexts and tools than there were before to repress them. Wolf Bukowski has also written a fundamental article on how the idea of ​​”social distancing” could become encrusted in our daily lives.

Being able to blame the pandemic for a crisis and recession that was still coming is very convenient for capital: for its sectors that are drawing or trying to take advantage of this phase, and for those who want to recover lost ground.

Thanks to the Sars-Cov-2 virus, capital has had the opportunity to accelerate certain dynamics in order to manage them better. Given the inevitability of a recession, it is far better to manage it by being able to unload the blame on an event presented as “natural”, on bad luck, on a disaster, on conditions “external” to the system (we know that this is not the case, that the the fault of the pandemic is the system, but every time we have to explain it).

All this, we always reiterate, is not the result of a Plan, of a conspiracy of capital. Capital responds to what happens, of course, in a capitalist way. Political power manages what happens within the framework of capitalist compatibilities . A single emergency is never planned well in advance: it consists of taking the ball.

We cannot speak of “phase 2”, “phase 3” and anything else only by looking at danger in the strict sense, that is, only in virological and epidemiological terms. We need to talk about what this emergency will leave us, and how to act, how to regain spaces of dissent and conflict in that multi-layered reality .

Intermezzo: «Lance / shield»

This whole story started in China, right?

In Chinese, the term “contradiction” is rendered with the two ideograms 矛盾 , respectively “spear” and “shield”. If you look closely at the two characters, you will recognize the stylization of the two objects.

It is said that the combination, and the related concept, derive from a history dating back to the third century AD (Jìn dynasty).

An histrionic merchant roamed villages in the state of Chu and, among other items, also sold spears and shields. In a square, a guy asked him what his spears were like, and he, mocking, said they were the best in the world and that they could pierce any shield.
Shortly thereafter, another guy asked him what his shields were like, and he, always over the top, said they were the best in the world, and that no spear could pierce them.
At which a third bystander, who had heard both the réclames, asked him: “So what would happen on one of your spears striking one of your shields?”
Unable to respond, the merchant left the village.

«Either underestimate the virus or underestimate the emergency»

There is a fundamental contradiction in all the discussions on the coronavirus emergency, a contradiction that presents itself in the form of a false dilemma and is a consequence of having incurred – all and all of us, some more or less – in fallacious dichotomies, of the to have fallen into rhetorical traps like the one in which the ancient Chinese merchant stuck. This contradiction must be thematized and overcome, in order to adopt what in another post we have called “holistic approach” – or synthetic , if you prefer a more dialectical terminology, in the sense of finding a synthesis that surpasses opposites forward.

Negante has found a beautiful and effective way of representing this contradiction. He did it in a comment on the previous post , of which we report an extract:

“At first I expressed it almost like a joke, but then it seemed serious to me: it is a sort of uncertainty principle in the Heisenbergian sense, between the virus and the emergency. You cannot look and keep your gaze fixed on both, but you underestimate one or the other. You underestimate the other’s eyes. That is: for those who see the virus well (or believe they see it well) the emergency is only a contingency that will pass if the virus passes; for those who see the emergency well (or believe they see it well), the virus, however serious and dangerous, will be less and less lethal than the consequences that emergency policies are causing. Every discussion has this instability within it and it can only be good to bring it up. “

This is also an excellent caveat with which to screen one’s reactions in the face of any statement about the virus and / or the emergency. How many tags on the danger of the virus do we expect to stamp who wants to talk about the dangers of the emergency? And how many badges on the senselessness of the emergency do we want those who want to discuss the sensibility of the virus to stamp?

And it goes for more specific examples: if I think they have to reopen the bookstores, how many times do I have to specify that I was to close the factories ? And if I was about to close the factories, how many times do I have to explain that this didn’t involve closing everyone in the house?

There is too much binary thinking, too much Manichaeism, too easy and shearing tertium non datur . Instead, not only does tertia exist : the multiple exists, with its complexity. Denying it takes us straight into the arms of the “double bond”, the one on which most of the management of the emergency hinged and whose logic was taken for granted by those who concentrated only on the virus.

Double bond: «What would you like to do? Do you want to leave the house? ” If you answer yes, then it means that it is ok for you to reopen the factories too (and I make you sick at work). If you answer no, then I take away your freedom of movement (and make you sick with depression and various pathologies). How do you do it, you are wrong.

From here on out

We will not get rid of pandemics or emergencies, both will continue to hit us. Only by reasoning in these terms will the misunderstandings and problems of recent months be overcome. At least, those carried on in good faith. For others, there is little to do.

The emergency also leaves us the rubble of personal and political relationships. After all, it happened during and after all the previous emergencies. Emergencies, by imposing new dichotomies, mess up sides, alliances, friendships. This she did it with an immense firepower and with almost irresistible impetus. Unfortunately, we will not find all the collaborations nor all the affections of before.

We will have to make up for it.

Download this article in ebook format (ePub or Kindle)

What left Covid-19 in the shade. Epidemiology and nonsense of the coronavirus emergency

Posted on Wu Ming

82 comments – 14 branches

[Science and epistemology are certainly not the first topics that come to mind when talking about our novels and our work. Yet there is a very evident red thread that runs through our narrative works and that concerns precisely those themes. From the mesmerism of the Sleepwalker Army , to the theoretical physics of The Wind Machine, passing through the scientist Aleksandr Bogdanov, protagonist of Proletkult .
Here on Giap an article from five years ago,written by Mariano Tomatis, with the subtitle “Science, fetishism of the facts and removal of the conflict”, he collected in a short time more than three hundred comments, triggering chain reactions and long discussions also in other places on the Net. Tomatis himself, together with the mathematician Martino Prizzi, was the co-author of an article in which a certain use of mathematics and statistics was dismantled to deny femicide.
All this to say that we are very happy to publish the following article, written by an epidemiologist and a mathematician, a few days after that of Roberto Salernoon the communication failure of scientists and experts in the days of Covid-19. To reiterate that our criticisms are not addressed to “Science” as such, but to certain of its premises considered indispensable, to a very precise “scientific discourse”, and above all to the idea that scientists are somehow extraneous to battles and to the interests that shape human society. WM ]

by Sara Gandini * and Marco Mamone Capria **

There are many absurd episodes, bordering on the surreal, that occurred during this lockdown period, episodes in which all the limits of reasoning that contrast the right to health with the right to work, as if the two could be separated.
If you don’t have a job, if you don’t have what to buy, how can you stay healthy?
If you don’t have a home, or rather a decent home, where and how can you quarantine?
The economic crisis that awaits us will be very heavy: how will we pay for public health?
And above all, how will those who will be most weakened by this crisis pay their own healthcare costs, when it is well known that millions of Italians already renounced treatments that they could not afford before?

The media bombardment has not only anguished the population, but intimidated the national scientific community, discouraging them to question the rational basis of the lockdown , and making them feel as dangerous even the need to study the characteristics of the disease, to make comparisons with other countries and with other diseases, to understand its nature and how to deal with it.

A useful comparison is for example that between the mortality of these months and that of 2015. In Italy in the first eight months of 2015 there were 45,000 more deaths than the previous year (Istat data). The increase in deaths could be due in large part to flu-like syndromes (ILI, Influenza Like Ilnesses ), of which Covid-19 is only the most recent example. In that year, in many Italian municipalities there were more deaths than there were this year, and in a large part of Lombardy there was a similar number , except for the areas of Brescia, Bergamo and Lodi, where instead the 2020 line stands out, due to serious errors in managing the first outbreaks.All comparative graphs can be generated and downloaded from the Istat website .

Comparison between the deaths of the period January-April 2015 and those of January-April 2020 in the municipalities of Milan, Varese, Pavia and Bergamo. Click to enlarge.

Even then and then in the following years , several articles denounced that intensive care in Lombardy was collapsing due to the flu.

“Milan, collapsing intensive care for flu.” Corriere della Sera, 10 January 2018.

It should also be noted that air pollution , especially in the geographical area most affected by Covid-19, represents a cause and cause of death that is difficult to overestimate, considering that in 2016 there were 14,600 deaths from nitrogen dioxide in Italy (NO2), 3000 for ozone (O3) and 58.600 for fine particulate matter PM2.5.

Even on these figures – which certainly do not represent a health emergency lower than Covid-19 and which brought our country before the European Court of Justice – the media have generally kept silent, and there has not been any broad political debate around them .

Precisely thanks to these comparisons, it is clear that the reason for the current crisis is to be found not so much in the unpredictability of the virus, as in irresponsible choices of those who governed us and deemed it appropriate – in accordance with budgetary constraints that were instead to be reprocessed in the headquarters. European without waiting for Covid-19 – divesting in public health, despite complaints from doctors and epidemiologists.

It is appropriate to underline another fact, ignored by the main media: in 2016 there were 49,301 deaths from hospital infections in Italy , and in our country 30% of sepsis deaths occur in the 28 EU countries. It is clear that the contamination of hospital wards has contributed to the crisis of health facilities that too many would like to attribute exclusively to Covid-19.

Explicit this allows to understand which are the right strategies to implement. For example, it allows us to study alternatives such as Germany and Sweden, which have not had to close everything. The comparison with Germany teaches us the importance of investing in general practitioners, in territorial medical assistance and in general in healthcare, which has undergone very heavy cuts for us.

In 2019, the GIMBE observatory reported that in the last 10 years there have been cuts and financings of the National Health Service equal to 37 billion. Already in 2014 several complaints showed that the constitutional right to health of Italian citizens was subordinated to the needs of public finance, which through cuts of tens of billions of euros put the National Health System in serious crisis. Istat has also recalled in these days the cuts to health care, underlining that since 2009 in this sector there has been a progressive reduction of permanent workers, in parallel with the aging of staff and the increase in the use of flexible work.

Unfortunately, in times when the population is terrified, certainties are needed, and critical reasoning frightens. A surprise, however, is the willingness of scientists to inspire dramatic choices of government on the basis of arguments and mathematical models are not subject to the scrutiny of the scientific community .

The authority of science only works if the conclusions obtained from a study can be freely questioned. The scientific method is based on the formulation of hypotheses that must be able to be confirmed or refuted by data analysis. All researchers should make their theses explicit from the outset and show whether the data support or deny them, clarifying the methods and sources used to analyze them.

The thesis supported by the majority is that the problem has been underestimated, that the cause of the increase in deaths in some municipalities in Lombardy is due to this underestimation of the problem and that if we had made a complete lockdown, with draconian measures immediately, this would not have happened. But this should be demonstrated, and the task will not be easy.

It is undeniable that tragedies have occurred in some municipalities in Lombardy and in some RSA. But one of the main reasons for these tragedies was to have concentrated the whole emergency in hospitals and RSA, also favoring a parallel epidemic of diagnostic errors , instead of focusing on territorial health for early treatment. Having dealt with a public health problem with a language and a war mentality, and with a “civil protection” management, did the rest.

Some of the measures taken by the government and the calls for precaution – such as the recommendation to all elderly people or people with one or more chronic conditions to avoid leaving their homes unless in case of strict necessity – were reasonable. The same WHO guidelines suggest isolating as many people as possible who have come into contact with the virus and quarantining their closest contacts. But nothing else. The scientific evidence on the effectiveness of further measures to control the spread of the virus, starting with the prescription of masks for the whole population, is in fact very weak .

Mike Ryan

WHO Emergency Program Head Mike Ryan recently said that in their view, “Sweden has put in place very strong public health measures. What they have done differently is that they have based themselves on a relationship of trust with citizenship ». In Italy, however, it was thought that there was a need for authoritarian measures to make citizens safe, generally viewed as irresponsible, and concealing the fact that in reality the tragedies that occurred are all borne by those who administer health.

It should be borne in mind that the predictions about the health catastrophe that the late closure of the North would have caused to the South have not come true, and this fact would deserve careful reflection. Some epidemiologists who study the seasonal influences and coronaviruses of the past claim that when we “reopen” the virus will return, and in a year’s time the differences between countries that have applied a more or less rigid lockdown will be due more to the demographic and social structure of the population than to the measures taken. Even John Ioannidis , professor of epidemiology at the University of Stanford, said for some time that mortality Covid-19 seems to be very overrated . A study estimated between 25 and 43 thousand deaths attributable to similar influences in each flu season between 2013 and 2017, numbers not so dissimilar from those of Covid-19.

Incidence of flu-like syndromes (ILI) from 2004-2005 to 2016-2017. The graph shows the typical seasonal appearance.

In 2017, between March 1 and April 30, there were 27,083 deaths with at least one respiratory disease in Italy. In the same period, in 2020, deaths with Covid-19 detected by the surveillance system amounted to 27,938. It is also interesting to note that in the UK the death rates of the four non-Covid-19 cases in March are all below the average of the previous five years, and similar complaints have also been made in Italy . The hypothesis is that even deaths that would have occurred in any case, for other predominant causes, are labeled as deaths by Covid-19.

This is also serious because the fear of Covid-19 has meant that the number of emergency room accesses for ischemias and heart attacks has dropped significantly, with an increase in deaths from cardiac arrest not only in Italy but also abroad . During the lockdown to cope with the emergency, several treatments for other pathologies were postponed, even when it came to pathologies with a very high mortality , such as oncological ones. Also in the future, the diagnostic and treatment activity, which already involves long waiting lists, will have delays in the treatment of pathologies which, dealt with promptly, could be better treated.

The predictive models that try to demonstrate the effectiveness of the complete lockdown are necessarily contradictory , having to simplify and model extremely complex realities.

Neither Covid-19 nor restrictive measures on people-to-person contacts have altered the frequency of flu-like cases. With the only exception of a postponement of the “peak”, the 2020 curve is similar to that of previous years. Graph taken from the article «Coronavirus, disinformation and democracy» by Marco Mamone Capria.

At least the sources of variability and the hypotheses from which we should start should be clarified, but the same models of Imperial College , which greatly influenced the choices of many countries and were then widely reviewed by the authors themselves , had not been examined by the review independent of any scientific journal. Ditto for the reports of the Conte government’s technical-scientific committee. This is serious, because all analyzes have limits and interpretations are never univocal. The data are always discussed by the individual researcher starting from their own skills, and each analysis depends on the urgencies of the author of the research: what he decides to put at the center, what he wants to demonstrate.

The scientific community has a proper duty to help understand if the analyzes have been conducted correctly, if the data have been interpreted consistently, if the limits have been highlighted, and if more can be added. In the scientific field, the opinion of the individual expert counts for very little. What matters is the work of the scientific community as a whole, which however must be left free to confront without censorship and self-censorship.

The thesis of the report of the Technical-scientific Committee on which the Dpcm of April 26 is based is that it is necessary to slow down the reopening because otherwise the consequences on the health system would be terrible. In addition to calculations of doubtful value, as evidenced by unrealistic forecasts , and the failure to consider the geographical and ecological profile of the epidemic – which in itself diminishes the value of recommendations based only on the mathematical model used – it should be noted that it was not held account of the well-being of the community as a whole, the all-round effects of the lockdown were not includedon the present and the future. Because if the country enters a recession we will not have the resources to pay the national health system and make the necessary investments for scientific research not governed by private interests, which we have a great need for a wide range of health problems, which certainly do not reduce to contagious diseases.

Lockdown companions without if and without but

Some leftist intellectuals write that it was not out of passive obedience to an imposed order that the Italians accepted the lockdown without problems , and that the only way in which we could take care of the other at this time was precisely the ‘isolation. It would seem a sensible reasoning, if it were not that a large part of the population is outside the narrative framework.

To allow us to stay at home, someone must provide us with all the objects and services that make us feel comfortable, from masks, to tests, to health care…. to the food brought by the riders. To allow us wealthy people not to take risks, we condemn a large part of the population to unemployment and poverty. A nation is precipitated into an economic crisis comparable to that of 1929, and one dares to call all this “solidarity”. It is the intellectual short circuit of a self-styled left who in effect adopts an individualistic posture disguised as a concern for public health and forgets all those who have not lost or lost a job and a home.

Naomi Klein

Already in 2007, in its Shock economy. The rise of disaster capitalism , Naomi Klein warned that emergencies such as those of pandemics create the ideal conditions for carrying out political programs which in different circumstances would face stiff opposition. The so-called “capitalism of disasters” was born thanks to speculations about catastrophes and wars both economically and politically. As Klein reiterated recently :

“In times of crisis, people tend to focus on the daily emergency of surviving the crisis, whatever that may be, and tend to place excessive trust in the group in power.”

The message that passes is that for the good of all it is necessary to reduce freedoms, including that of opposing government choices, in the name of a mythical national unity, just when the emergency deepens the inequalities. By giving up the space to practice the conflict, in a few days we could all find ourselves working from Monday to Sunday, from 7 in the morning to one in the morning … of course only so that the state can defend our health.

The goal of the lockdown had to be to take time to make the virus spread slowly, to strengthen the intensive care units and at the same time make them less necessary also thanks to personalized diagnoses, to provide a number of personal protective equipment ( dpi) to all those who needed it, give doctors time to experiment with therapies and understand how to improve the prognosis, as well as educate society to new more responsible behaviors. The objective was not and could not have been to reach “0 infections”. We do not live on a remote island, the borders of nations are porous, we live in a globalized world … But with the media terrorism staged it is not easy to put order in fears.

In the starting phase it is necessary to learn to live with the virus, or rather with the flu-like viruses as a whole, and to think about protecting people at risk also because before a year, at least, there will not be a vaccine to be proposed – with all the appropriate caution and respect for individual choices – to those most at risk. As it is also noted in the document published on Jacobin Italy entitled Primum vivere, non survive , we know who are the people who have the greatest chance of developing serious forms of disease:

“All people at risk (first of all men aged 65 and over and under 65 but with concomitant pathologies) must receive explanations and indications, mainly from their general practitioners, on the risks they run but it must be clear that protecting it means locking up, staying at home is a possibility that – if chosen freely – must be supported with home services. »

In the meantime – and it can be a much longer period than some media suggest – it is clear that, always maintaining protection for the most fragile subjects, we must make sure that as many people as possible acquire the antibodies. The virus must spread in order for more people to develop immunity, and it is possible to cure the infection even with the plasma of healed patients  (obviously maintaining the necessary precautions and protecting people at risk).

SARS Coronavirus, Luke Jerram’s blown glass work from the «Glass Microbiology» series.

The more it spreads, the less we will be afraid, but what has been done to deal with the next spread of the virus or the next pandemics? What measures have been put in place to give citizens the confidence to face the future with confidence? Instead of creating ghost hospitals that have never been used, wouldn’t it be better to increase the permanent hiring of doctors, nurses and health personnel so that you can have that capillary prevention and assistance on the territory you have been talking about for some time? Ambiguity on how to manage health plans between the state and regions should also be resolved. But at the moment the measures are only in an emergency rather than long-term perspective.

For schools, too, one cannot think, for example, that the solution is to leave the children at home in turns to take lessons from home. Firstly because not everyone has the space at home or the necessary technological tools, secondly because someone must be at home to assist children and not everyone can afford babysitting , finally because those who do telework – today they call it smart working – should be able to work and not having to follow children … and of course those who, as usual, most of all would pay for these choices are women.

However, decisions should be made by looking at scientific evidence, and a systematic review of the literature published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health shows that the scientific evidence supporting the total closure of schools to combat Covid-19 is very weak and the data influenza outbreaks suggest that school closings could have relatively small effects on a virus with the high transmissibility attributed to Cov-2.

It is therefore time for those who govern us to take responsibility for this emergency and not to let the responsibilities and consequences of the errors made fall again on the citizens. Treatment shouldn’t be worse than harm. In order not to find ourselves unprepared for the next inevitable epidemic diseases, and at the same time to take into account all pathologies, even those that are not communicable but linked to lifestyles and pollution, it is necessary to invest in scientific research, prevention and balanced health and medical information that does not cultivate false certainties.

Sara Gandini , epidemiologist / biostatistician at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan. contract professor of medical statistics at the State University of Milan.

** Marco Mamone Capria , mathematician and epistemologist at the University of Perugia, coordinates the Science and Democracy project and collaborates with Il Giornale dei Biologi , the official organ of the National Order of Biologists.

Download this article in ebook format (ePub or Kindle)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Other texts that may interest you:

But is it true that everyone in the world “does like Italy”? Is there a “ban on jogging or walking” elsewhere? And the autoce …Around April 25th. Urgent reflections on the need to break the glass and return to the streetSisyphus. The devastating impact of the coronavirus emergency on bookstores and publishing housesViral diary / 2. Bulåggna gropes in the dark of ordinances (26-28 February 2020)Tagged with  

coronavirus Covid 19 epidemiology epistemology Marco Mamone Capria Sara Gandini

← Previous

82 comments on “ What left Covid-19 in the shadows. Epidemiology and senselessness of the coronavirus emergency “

  1. girolamo05/13/2020 at 12:47 pmJust one note on the final part about schools. Given that I fully agree that distance learning is not teaching, least of all its partial use (some in class, others at home); school is an integrated system, in which there are not only students … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  2. Mars 900005/13/2020 at 1:49 pmI really hope that the weather will be gentlemanly and that the obvious criminal responsibilities (not just political ones) will come to light. And, in my own small way (but I also think of many readers of this blog) I hope I will never have to relive an experience of such intellectual solitude as in March and April, … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  3. freeJA05/13/2020 at 2:35 pmThanks for the detailed work. Marco Mamone Capria’s attachment, in the form of FAQ, is truly remarkable. Without adding trite and withdrawn considerations, it makes me feel cynical, thinking that yes, we deserve the politicians we elect, but that the choice, which has fallen into the current political system, is very poor. I remain, at the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • plumb05/13/2020 at 4:53 pmIn addition to thanking you for this article and the previous one by Robydoc, which I liked a lot (hitting the target of communication) I wanted to briefly congratulate freeJA: if there is nothing more to lose, it is always worth getting all the satisfaction that you can get away with. Having said that, I just wanted to highlight … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  4. Marcello0705/13/2020 at 2:47 pmAn article that provides many ideas of extreme interest. One concerns the data on deaths from hospital infections; I ask myself: is it possible that the high turnout in hospitals has indirectly increased this figure which is already high in itself? This question drags another, as far as I am concerned: who has been hospitalized … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Marco Mamone Capria05/13/2020 at 6:19 pmAbout the ILI chart: anyone who observes it without parties taken in understands that the effect of the lockdown (I mean the national one, not the containment of verified outbreaks, much less the special protection of people in critical structures such as RSA, which instead has been adequate) has been at most … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • frapavia05/13/2020 at 10:08 pmI have a question that I would like to submit to the entire blog, which I consider one of the few places where thought can express itself without limitations whatsoever: Cui Prodest? the lockdown for whom? I would have nothing more to add, if not in front of the graphics of the post, the senselessness of the procedures and regulations of the phase … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  5. ErricoMalatesta05/13/2020 at 3:43 pm“An individualistic posture disguised as a concern for public health.” I underline this sentence. It is the most ignoble thing of all this for me. This short circuit for which those who do not agree to be uncritically closed in homes are irresponsible, insolidarious, individualistic … in spite of everything. Being apostrophe by … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  6. masaccio05/13/2020 at 4:17 pmSorry, comrades, I have read everything you have published on the subject, sometimes sharing, sometimes not, but in any case always considering yours a useful contribution to the debate. But this piece, among the many right things he says, in particular on health, makes openings that in my opinion are really dangerous to the narration … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming05/13/2020 at 4:58 pmOne of the things we have most insisted on in these two and a half months, practically writing ad nauseam, is that the need to “stay at home” – read: at home from work, that is to close places where people were not working safely -, a collective need that was being expressed … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • masaccio05/13/2020 at 5:21 pmI know that in the contributions of these months you have certainly not crushed Confindustria, which is why I pointed out the inconsistency between this piece and your positions. It does not seem to me that that paragraph can be interpreted in other ways, sincerely, and precisely because it is different from what … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming05/13/2020 at 5:24 pmIn the piece we find no “ideological link between individual and economic freedom”. Indeed there is a clear condemnation of neoliberal policies, the privatization of health, the social inequalities that the management of this emergency is exacerbating.Log in to reply
          • Wu Ming05/13/2020 at 5:28 pmPS This controversy, in turn, risks diverting attention from the very important findings that the piece contains, on the data that it comments, on the demystifications that it operates towards as Covid-19 has been told to us.Log in to reply
            • masaccio05/13/2020 at 5:53 pmBut yes, in fact I have already commented too much, I’ll stop, it doesn’t make sense to monopolize the discussion on this. But the fact that the freedom to go out and that to produce are not the same freedom and that there is no “economy of the nation” measured by the GDP which is directly reflected in work … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • frapavia05/13/2020 at 10:27 pmexactly! the topic is the data in this case. For this reason, a little further on (and a little while ago) I asked: who benefits from the lockdown (taking into account that, in various measures, it is taking place globally)? If the evidence of the data denies its usefulness, what is the reason for keeping it? They don’t want to lose … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Cugino_di_Alf05/13/2020 at 5:15 pmHi, I don’t agree very much with your interpretation. From my point of view, there is no need to be part of the “GDP party” to see that unemployment and poverty will affect not so much or not only the workers of the big factories, as the seasonal workers, on fixed-term or in … [ Keep reading]Log in to reply
      • masaccio05/13/2020 at 5:43 pmFor me the point is to understand where the responsibilities are. It seems to me that it is said that the responsibilities are in the choice to stop some (not all, as another comment has well pointed out) productive activities. For me, however, the responsibilities lie in not offering these workers the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 105/13/2020 at 5:55 pmOne thing we have said many times is that speaking of lockdown generically, without specification, necessarily brings together very different measures, adopted in different areas, at different times and places, with different characteristics and impacts. To say that the lockdown itself does not harm workers and … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Cugino_di_Alf05/13/2020 at 6:21 pmExactly. And your clarification on the lockdown of the schools (which has a very heavy impact on my family, as on many others) makes me want to ask a question (I realize provocative) to the masaccio that I had previously avoided: Who is it that can be defined as a worker? An artisan, who lays tiles in … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  7. Marcello0705/13/2020 at 5:24 pmMasaccio, in my opinion you have misunderstood the meaning. When the authors write “we condemn a large part of the population to unemployment and poverty” they do not mean that to avoid this one must go to work always and in any case, in any condition, in order to gain weight. They mean, I believe, that the containment measures have been so … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  8. AlexJC05/13/2020 at 5:41 pmI agree with the analysis even if the paper that opens by prof. I believe that Mamone Capria (dated 30 March) reports some data and affirmations subsequently refuted, in particular on the trend of mortality over the years and on the fact that the sars-cov-2 is no longer questioned by anyone (if not by . .. [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming05/13/2020 at 7:26 pmPlease, next time try to find a source other than the one you have proposed, and in any case we try to sift through more and more sources the news coming out on that site.Log in to reply
      • AlexJC05/13/2020 at 9:42 pmsorry, you’re absolutely right. In reality I did not know what sputnik was (mea culpa … but I can’t do it all) the news, however, I had verified it was on the courier of the evening but I had not put that link because the corsera by now problems: if you do not remove all … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  9. Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 6:28 pmAllow me a sloppy and purely anecdotal comment: but if the number of deaths in excess of COVID are difficult to distinguish from those due to pollution or those of seasonal flu, because all my friends nurses and doctors, in Italy and in England , they say they have never seen anything of the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • plumb05/13/2020 at 6:59 pmHealthcare professionals have made an impression strongly conditioned by the planning of new “sudden” health protocols and a temporary “restructuring” of the wards, which have been transformed into semi-intensive intensive care. The contagiousness of the virus (since the outbreaks were not contained) has simultaneously led many infected to … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 105/13/2020 at 6:59 pmListening to the testimonies of those who face the epidemic in the front line (I use a war metaphor but not in a warlike sense), in dramatic conditions and seeing people die in front, is right and necessary. But I ask a question: what is necessary for what purpose? Before answering, I warn of a risk: pivot … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 7:46 pmAgree more. All the more reason to rise from the here and now of the Italian debate and try to put what is happening with us in a global perspective. Of course the struggles are always located struggles, and it is very important to understand which is the weak link of the Italian biosecuritarian apparatus to break the etorodirect narrative all to the advantage … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • sgandini05/13/2020 at 7:05 pmComparing deaths between different countries can be misleading, in part because the way in which COVID-19 deaths are recorded varies from country to country. Excess deaths are a better measure than COVID-19 deaths. These are the additional deaths in a certain period of time compared … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  10. Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 6:28 pmI think that a critical approach to the “staying at home” policy should not necessarily leverage arguments, even convincing ones, but that by philosophizing on the reduction of risk, they accept to incorporate easily refutable judgments in their analyzes. Is COVID mortality overestimated? Just today Peter Piot, the scientist who discovered … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • robydoc05/13/2020 at 7:05 pmAnd many greetings to my article 😦 I can repeat that it is completely meaningless to make reasonings of this type on Sweden (which NO ONE incenses) or on anyone else but it is also necessary not to panic. Only in this light is it legible your concern (and your misunderstanding) about … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 7:26 pmHi Robydoc, I really appreciated your article to tell the truth, and I was referring implicitly to things read in English from other parts (many have written hastily about Sweden these days, and your text was not rushed). What I was trying to point out is that the way … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 105/13/2020 at 7:34 pmBoh, the most learned companions we know are almost all childless, unlike the rest of us, and when we wrote about the suffering of children and adolescents during the lockdown, or about problems related to school and DAD, they regularly didn’t understand us and they attacked us with strawmen … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Lizaveta Nikolaevna05/13/2020 at 7:55 pmBah. I have no children but the suffering of children and adolescents I find it very understandable. But I teach, maybe that’s it. Not only. I was banned because I defended the provision with which the mayor of Livorno made it clear that it was possible to accompany non-self-sufficient disabled cohabitants or family members on an outing. … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • Wu Ming 105/13/2020 at 7:58 pmWe specify: I have not written that all the childless are self-centered and learned, it would be a sesquipedal crap :-))) I found that «almost all the most learned companions we know» (therefore a well-limited sample) are childless (and to think about it) well they have nothing to do with children even for … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 7:57 pmI state that I am a privileged, I live in London with my son in a “soft” lockdown (which is not the reason why England is having the parable he is having, but the three weeks of cancellation before the lockdwon, and Brexit celebration in Parliament square full of BNP … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • Lizaveta Nikolaevna05/13/2020 at 8:03 pmOf course not all childless people don’t understand. I just noticed some positions too. What I mean is that there are many issues to consider. You can have grandparents and be afraid of contagion, but you can also be afraid of depression, of the consequences of the absence of motion, of … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • swann skein05/13/2020 at 10:26 pmBeware though that Piot did not say that COVID lethality is 30%, he said that the percentage of hospitalized patients who die in England is 30%, just as 50% of those intubated die (approximately). It means a very different thing: that if you get worse enough to ask for the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  11. karlse05/13/2020 at 6:51 pmThere has never been a “Confindustria party”. No one in their right mind could seriously think about doing a prolonged lockdown. The real game was played (and lost) on the CONDITIONS in which to resume, which are vexatious towards those who work, remaining in a state of emergency. It is no coincidence that the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  12. pm200105/13/2020 at 7:11 pmThis article offers several interesting insights, but on some occasions I did not appreciate the somewhat casual use of the sources. The journalistic ones, which generally respond to a need for spectacularization, in my opinion should not be used as demonstrations in a debate if they report the opinions of a scientist. A quote … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  13. Tina05/13/2020 at 11:41 pmI would be more cautious in comparison with Germany, cited here together with Sweden as a positive example, without the German situation being really analyzed. The comparison is entrusted by link to an article from “Linkiesta” signed by Emanuele Gatti, president of the Italian chamber of commerce for Germany: an expert … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Giulia Q05/14/2020 at 12:51 amBy the way: articles examining the countries that have had a real success and not a manageable defeat, are there any? I speak of India, New Zealand, South Korea, Vietnam, and perhaps others, but these are the first that come to my mind to have obtained a … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • sgandini05/14/2020 at 9:36 amWe agree on the criticism of Schroeder’s reform. We would miss it. We did not want to propose to take the German model in its entirety, of course, but only to say that if we focused on territorial medicine there was no need to close the whole country. We also named Germany because the parliamentarians approved substantial subsidies … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  14. maurovanetti5/14/2020 at 2:05 amI’ll be frank: I don’t like this article. It is superficial, inattentive to political consequences. “Does the virus have to spread”? But is it really written? It seems to me a macroscopic mistake to release an article that says such a thing in such an easy way. And why should we all get sick to gain herd immunity? Maybe the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 405/14/2020 at 8:19 amMauro, sorry, but your comment is based on a string of non sequitur. 1) Saying that “the virus must spread” is not the same as saying that “we should all get sick”. Fortunately, the percentage of those who fall ill remains minimal compared to those infected and even lower is the percentage of those who fall ill … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 15/14/2020 at 8:37 amI integrate point 4 by saying, even more explicitly, that being able to blame the pandemic for a crisis that was still coming is convenient for capital in all its sectors that are taking advantage of or trying to take advantage of this phase, and also in those who … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 9:20 amRegarding Mauro’s premise, where the decision to publish the article is criticized, a general remark. We do not choose to host this or that external contribution based on their being 100% “in line with Wu Ming”. We take responsibility for the decision to host them, that is to find them qualitatively good … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 9:47 amRereading the passage on external links, and also in light of the answer that Sara has given in the meantime on Germany, I realize that I have forgotten a notation: when you quote a source to confirm your own assertion and to allow verification, you are not also adhering to all … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • maurovanetti05/14/2020 at 4:47 pmIt seems to me that you want to read better positions in the article than those that are expressed. The care with which the authors avoid speaking with this type of criticism reinforces my belief that hide and seek is being played. Anyway … 1) «The virus must spread» says something that doesn’t … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • maurovanetti05/14/2020 at 4:57 pm4) That they will try to make us pay the economic costs of the pandemic I do not doubt it. That this will be easy is all to see, right now I would say that if anything a period of intense class struggle awaits us. In no way, neither the recession nor its aggravation is … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • Wu Ming05/14/2020 at 4:59 pmTo me, honestly, it doesn’t seem that in this article, in that particular passage, you put it in a different way from how Burgio puts it in the quote that I have taken. Having said that, sorry, Mauro, but you cannot read that, since the two authors have not yet answered you, then it means … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 10:02 amAny interpretation of the words of others is based on the principle of charity. If someone tells you that “he has to fly home”, you do not answer “Since when do you have wings?”, But assuming that he is not out of his mind, imagine that he has used words metaphorically. At the same … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  15. Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 9:34 amThe page of the Istat website dedicated to statistics on deaths, mentioned in the article, reserves several surprises for the layman. Generating the graphs on the number of deaths, between January and April, in the Italian municipalities, for two years chosen from 2015 to 2020, one would expect to see two things: 1) The lockdown. That is: the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Ozimandias05/14/2020 at 11:17 amThis is a gross methodological error. While sharing many doubts about the effectiveness of a generalized lockdown policy, in comparing the deaths of two different years, the lockdown can NOT be ignored as a historical event. If the curves of 2020 and 2015 are similar, it does not mean that the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 11:28 amReaffirming that I am a layman of statistical analysis, and that we certainly need more data, I believe that the effects of the lockdown should not be seen so much from the comparison between the curves of 2020 and a previous year, as in the same curve of 2020. And while there are … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 11:34 amAs for the fact that lockdown cannot be ignored as a historical event, I agree. But “historical event occurred” does not mean “cause”. “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” is a well-known sophism. Otherwise, also the fact that a guy made a superstitious gesture before the game of his … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Ozimandias05/14/2020 at 11:49 amAbsolutely. It is an influencing factor (no pun intended), never a cause. Considering the fundamental variable of randomness due to epidemiological and non-epidemiological reasons, among other things, it will be very difficult to evaluate its real incidence, even after years. Taken from the political point of view, however, the lockdown is much more eloquent … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • AlexJC05/14/2020 at 3:14 pmSorry Ozimandias, it being understood that the lockdown is a fact and that is, it cannot be ignored, it does not seem to me that we cannot discuss the trend of the graphs. The graphs say that around March 5, there was an anomalous increase in some areas of Italy, precisely the eight municipalities that … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  16. opellulo05/14/2020 at 12:08 pmWell, I don’t really understand the meaning of this article: it gives the shoulder to the worst right-wingers “has the same mortality as the flu”, “herd immunity” when in reality there is still no credible data on either statement and then mix the waters pulling in Germany, Sweden (on which you … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 12:38 pmSorry Opellulo, but why quotes in expressions that are not contained in the article you criticize? (“Has the same mortality as influenza”, “flock immunity”). The technique of attributing to the interlocutor a caricature of what he said and then criticizing the caricature and not the real content of the statements is such a rhetorical stratagem … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 12:51 pmHonestly, it seems to me a caricatural and very “social” way of summarizing this article. And also insulting to us who take care of the blog. Everyone must calm down and read the article and discussion without haste and without putting on certain glasses immediately. The article does not have a focus on community immunity, however I point out … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • opellulo05/14/2020 at 1:21 pmWith all due consideration, however, write: “A useful comparison is for example that between the mortality of these months and that of 2015. In Italy in the first eight months of 2015 there were 45,000 more deaths than the previous year (Istat data). The increase in deaths could be due in large part … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 1:48 pmYour reading of the part on the deaths of 2015 seems to me completely wrong, or rather, upside down. In the meantime, it does not simply speak of flu but of flu-like syndromes, which is how MERS, SARS, all VOCs also occur, there is nothing diminishing in the expression. After that, don’t … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 405/14/2020 at 2:11 pmWell, I see rather an exemplary case of misunderstanding of the text. The article does not say that the flu causes the same deaths as Covid, not at all: «In Italy in the first eight months of 2015 there were 45,000 more deaths than the previous year (Istat data). The increase in deaths could be due to … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  17. Pao05/14/2020 at 1:43 pmhonestly personally the writing seemed important and realistic to me. I admit that I am completely extraneous to the issues we say more about the sphere of political discussion since I have not followed such contexts for a very long time. and therefore I don’t know the dynamics. not for superficiality but for self-preservation. I’m not in perfect shape and … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  18. robydoc05/14/2020 at 3:24 pmAfter the first reading of the article I must say that I was a bit surprised, probably because I was still immersed in my considerations. The “feeling” was not too dissimilar from those of Masaccio, Mauro, pm2001, opellule and others who stiffened, so to speak. I remembered where I was and the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Pao05/14/2020 at 3:46 pmThanks so much. In the meantime I have informed myself better. Yes indeed we are all very tried and everyone has their reactions. Not that before the pandemic it was an idyllic period eh. Above all I am happy to have found you. Then there is always way and way to say the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 3:54 pmI find it clear how Robydoc reasoned about his initial “stiffening” and how he told it in his comment. Remembering “where you are”, that is, on Giap, really means trusting not so much in “yours truly”, in us WM, but in the community that debates, verifies, straightens, does every … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  19. talpa6005/14/2020 at 3:25 pmI find the article excellent, especially because it clearly says some inconvenient truths. The generalized and extended lockdown throughout Italy did not defend the weakest, but destroyed them. I have a good job, well paid, and my wife too, in fields without consequences due to the quarantine. A beautiful house … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  20. Tabris05/14/2020 at 4:31 pm“WHO Emergency Program Head Mike Ryan recently said that in their view,” Sweden has put in place very strong public health measures. ” He said it by making the common and sensational mistake of speaking when a country has an epidemic at a different stage than the countries in … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Tabris05/14/2020 at 4:32 pm”It should be noted that the well-being of the community as a whole was not taken into account, the all-round effects of the lockdown on the present and future were not included. Because if the country enters a recession we will not have the resources to pay the national health system “Here … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 4:38 pmBut still?! Renzi, herd immunity … We must continue to point out to those who do not follow or do not want to follow the discussion that these are two conditioned reflexes, that here we are on Giap, that if one thinks that Renzian stuff can be published here ( !!!) must, very simply … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Tabris05/14/2020 at 4:54 pmYou have to because the surprise was really big and to point out that the reasoning follows the same tracks should induce at least a minute of reflection. Immunization understood in this way is not feasible: we do not have the healing skills, we do not have the necessary testing skills. No country in the world, ideal … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • plumb05/14/2020 at 5:01 pmTabris … you haven’t read any of the previous comments. Do you know why you didn’t do it? Because you have not understood that the comments are an integral, fundamental, deepening part of all the food for thought proposed here. You didn’t understand how important the comparison is. Don’t … [Continue reading]

On terror in the press, 2 | Photos of the streets full of greasers

Posted on  Wu Ming

Genoa, Sestri Ponente, 2 April 2020, via Sestri. Click to read the analysis of the photographer Andrea Facco . *

The new passion of Italian newspapers with unified networks and of sheriff governors are the photographs of “gatherings”. It works like this: take a six hundred meters long street, with some fruit and vegetable stalls, a pharmacy and a small supermarket. Saturday morning, possibly. You place yourself at one extreme and shoot with the telephoto lens at 200 or 300 mm, or with the digital zoom, so that the perspective is crushed: the building at the bottom is as if you have it in front of your face, and the thirty people who there are – and in six hundred meters they are at the right distance – you crush and compress them in a box of anchovies, with an optical effect that makes them look like a crowd.

If they used the same technique in a supermarket aisle, they too would find a gathering of fear, and moreover indoors. But they do not, because they cannot start to work on the supermarkets, where people queue out and know what the situation is, while maybe the alley only knows who lives there, who attends it, and you can create it a small case on the crowds in via Sestri in Genoa, the unruly Spaccanapoli, the irresponsible of the Bulåggna Quadrilateral …

Bologna, 2 April 2020. The «Quadrilatero», the central district of the city historically dedicated to markets and stalls.

It does not matter if in the photos or in the telephoto shots we also see a car of the police, or two policemen who walk – to testify that that scene, live, is not the hellish pit that they are reporting.

It does not matter that, for example, the photos of the Quadrilatero of Bologna show people with masks (all) and gloves (almost all), and that in the open air, with gloves and mask and standing one meter away from each other , getting infected is practically impossible .

It matters little, especially if you are a newspaper that has decided on the line to keep, whatever the cost. Or, as in the case of Genoa , you are a governor of coalition X who wants to argue with the district president of coalition Y.

Aside from photographic techniques, no one wonders why certain roads are more popular than others. The famous shopping streets, the flagships of our tourist cities. Nobody says: oi, maybe if we allowed people to take a quiet walk, there would be no need to go to the pharmacy every day, to earn a walk pass. No: you point the finger at the monstrous consumerism of people, people who cannot stay one day without buying something, when the only activity allowed outside the home is to work and buy.

Furthermore, as the user JoJo wrote in a comment on the previous post , they are significant

«The characteristics of the places chosen to operate this mystification of reality and downward responsabolisation of contagions. If we examine a video shot in Naples I would like to point out that on one of the streets (I mean your street / street as well as the neighborhood) converge: one of the most crowded hospitals in the city, a dense succession of grocery stores, fishmongers and fruit and vegetables, not far from the stations of the two metropolitan lines, the station of the Cumana railway that connects the area of ​​the Phlegraean fields to the city center, the terminus of one of the hilly funiculars, the area has one of the highest population densities in the city.

Those who like me know that reality well and know very well how crowded and chaotic it is in normal times, has realized on the contrary how much the inhabitants of that place have observed the various ordinances as much as possible. Almost all, although it is not mandatory, wear masks and move, no gatherings are seen but people who walk or stand in line observing the safety distances, even the two municipal police officers walk without big bangs. In short, a quiet postcard of daily life in times of coronavirus.

This was enough to relaunch the video on social media and flag it by journalists as an act of insubordination dangerous for public health. What is all this good for except to feed social hatred and direct anger towards a scapegoat? “

From the Corriere del Mezzogiorno website (Corriere della Sera), April 3, 2020.

The strong impression is, to put it with Tuco in another comment, that of

«A party game coordinated between newspapers and executive power. On Friday, with simultaneous cold snap, national and local newspapers filled their first pages with fake photos of gatherings, taken with 800mm telephoto lenses, from Genoa to Trieste, from Naples to Milan via Bologna. The orders of Fedriga and Fontana arrived tightly [new restrictions on freedom of movement were launched (for those who still had it), the indefinite postponement of the reopening of the cities to life, but on the other hand today Repubblica is headline on the formation of a “war cabinet” to reopen the factories on April 13. “

Whether the game is coordinated or not, the outcome is to divert the responsibility for disasters caused by the ruling class to the individual “unruly” citizen.

The ruling class that first organized and cut public health, then ignored the epidemic for two months, finally reacted sprawling to the discovery of the first outbreaks, imposing inconsistent and “fits and starts” measures, gradually implementing them with prohibitions – de iure and de facto – freedom of movement, some of which have almost no counterpart in the rest of Europe . Prohibitions on the function spectacular , constantly useful to point out scapegoats: the runners , walkers, Elder goes too many times at the supermarket, at least those who ask for some fresh air for girls and boys … And go with complaints and fines, however, the doubtful constitutionality .

Meanwhile, while nothing was done to prevent RSA and nursing homes from becoming viral bombs, some sectors of the economy were closed with double delivery while others, not necessarily “essential”, were granted every favor, causing millions of Italians and Italians continued to work in highly risky environments.

Yes, because “cunning” and “irresponsibility” are brought out only in an instrumental way. Rather, why don’t we make a list of the 12 thousand Lombard companies that in 24 hours, after the closure of non-essential production, rushed to ask for a derogation from the prefects, in order to remain open? Not generic subjects: not “the smart ones”, not “the people”, not “the Italians” … No, a list of names, company by company, type of production by type of production, just to get an idea. Twelve thousand also in Veneto. Not to mention those who undercounter have changed their Ateco code in order to fall into the category of essentials.

After the revision of the list of indispensable activities, workers potentially active in Lombardy fell from 1.61 million to 1.58 million. In practice, the Dpcm of 22 March only put home thirty thousand people , all the others continued to work, and in many cases to get infected.

These would be significant numbers, and revealing. Instead, every day they shoot off swings and with doubtful reliability, delusion on the curve, on the “peak”, but nobody sees a perspective and continues to postpone the start of a new phase. It is to divert attention from this that people are blamed.

For the avoidance of misunderstanding: there has been no Plan devised in advance by powerful men as wicked as they are brilliant and capable of foreseeing everything. The current strategy focused on the lockdown has groped and not without conflicts: just remember how the ruling classes reacted in the first weeks of the epidemic, with very strong tensions between central government and regions, between segments of the political class, in turn representatives of different interests, segments of capitalism that played the game between #chiuderetutto and # Italianonsiferma. Several narratives have clashed, with a swing between terror and reassurance, and even now there are tensions between those who would like to tighten further and those who would rather loosen. The measures, then, were taken inconsistently, with continuous patches on the holes made previously.

It is clear that now the proponents of the ban on leaving the house must “keep up with the blow”, keep the part that they found themselves playing in the general drama. And it is clear that while they play the part they experiment, we had already written about it in Viral Diary 3 : this emergency “comes in handy” to many, both globally and in Italy.

Here, to give just a few examples, there is Fedriga who asks for “zero taxes for businesses” (this would further weaken the welfare state, including the national health system), there is Salvini who asks to transform Milan into an “area special economic “ with facilities for employers and trade union rights restrictions, there is private health which (only apparently paradoxically) takes further advantage of the situation , there are requests for derogations from important environmental protections, there are sectors of order and armed forces that are mouth watering for the centrality they will have in any new scenario ( whether it is a pandemic pax or a social revolt), etc.

For over a month, to justify this state of affairs, the Italian media (especially the government ones), unique in the world, speak of a “model Italy”, they say that in the world everyone imitates us, while under the health aspect we are those to whom the situation got more out of hand, in the foreign media Italy is taken as the top of the negative example – what not to do – and investigations on the “mainly police” response that Italy has given to pandemic.

Police management that also feeds on photos like the ones we have considered. The unreliability of the “ox people” has always been the forerunner of any authoritarian tightening. People are irresponsible, so you need a strong man, inflexible rules, the army on the street … And the government of the nation presents itself and represents itself as an authoritarian parent of children and immature teenagers.

End of the summary of the previous episodes.

Other recommended readings

Reacting to the panic caused by an outbreak, intermediate considerations on the media and Covid-19
An important text by Osservamedia Sardegna on the media narrative of the Covid-19 emergency.

* On Giap we have the policy not to link Facebook, it is therefore an archived copy.

Download this article in ebook format (ePub or Kindle)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Other texts that may interest you:

Grüne Linie. A photonarrative project by Giancarlo Barzagli and Wu Ming 2.Viral diary / 2. Bulåggna gropes in the dark of ordinances (26-28 February 2020)But is it true that everyone in the world “does like Italy”? Is there a “ban on jogging or walking” elsewhere? And the autoce …The virality of the decoration. Social control and self-control at the time of Covid-19. First episode (of 2)Tagged with  

coronavirus Covid 19 misinformation Emergency photography infodemia infodemia coronavirus suspected gatherings psychosis crafty terror in the press spreaders

← PreviousNext →

82 comments on “ On terror in the press, 2 | Photos of the streets full of greasers “

  1. EekTor05/04/2020 at 12:08 pmThe case of Sestri Ponente is emblematic. A tiny town hall where almost 45,000 people live and where everything is concentrated in Via Sestri: 41 shops open without counting medical offices. It is no coincidence that the presence of a police force has been ordered since the beginning of the emergency … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming05/04/2020 at 1:11 pmWe remind everyone who is the owner of the Corriere della Sera and what has distinguished himself in recent days. «I am phoning an incredible number of customers and almost everyone says yes to the proposals we make. […] All companies that have products for sale in the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  2. plumb04/05/2020 at 2:04 pmThis type of information, with the intention of blaming and inducing delusion, produces concrete effects: today the pharmacist told me that people do not respect the prohibitions and that “not all of us are responsible” … and that the photos of shopping in the Quadrilatero prove it . And then, yesterday, … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming05/04/2020 at 2:10 pmYou do what you can. We will never have a cent of the firepower of these sowers of hatred and terror. They shoot with a thousand cannons, we have just a few slings. Try it anyway. Guerrilla warfare. Something will remain.Log in to reply
      • pm200104/05/2020 at 5:42 pmAnyway thanks. Since I follow you regularly I have come out of the overwhelming current of the emergency narrative and I can read again behind the headlines. Then I collected a library of useful arguments to give strength to family and friends who were paralyzed in front of the column of coffins. The analysis of the current situation is fundamental … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  3. jazzcommons04/05/2020 at 2:31 pmThe mask as defense from the pillory. We are rightly discussing the usefulness or otherwise of the mask in terms of protection from infection, when walking alone in the street, queuing outdoors to enter shops, that is, when you are in a car, etc. The mask, however, can be a useful defense … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 104/05/2020 at 2:38 pm«The people who wear the mask, immortalized in these photos, I don’t think can be identified by professional haters and pointed out» They have just been pointed out, collectively. This is why we made the post. If we think that it is enough to adapt to carry the mask anywhere to block the hose reel along the surface … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • FrancescaB.07/04/2020 at 7:13 pmAbout masks, communication strategies and downloadable. The main newspaper in my province – where it is now mandatory to enter the shops with a mask or, in the absence of it, at least with a “neck warmer” (sic) -, which for weeks has been publishing outraged articles against the … [Keep reading]Log in to reply
    • giz-boh04/05/2020 at 2:47 pmImagining that sooner or later the mask requirement also arrives here, I went ahead: on my way back from shopping I noticed a pharmacy with a sign “surgical masks available again” and zero queue, I went in and bought a couple. The pharmacist himself, who was chatting with a nurse who … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • musikarol04/05/2020 at 3:57 pmIf I’m not mistaken, you live in Turin. Well, here today too, like last Sunday, there is a desert around, at least around my house, which is located in a neighborhood, as they say, semi-central. I have just returned from my hour of air around the river, seen maybe 7, 8 people in a … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  4. Wu Ming 105/04/2020 at 2:52 pmHowever, it is good that the photos we are talking about have pissed off towns and citizens – and even some administrators, from Bianchi to De Magistris – of urban centers and neighborhoods put to the pillory. There have been debunking from below, the social pages of newspapers and sheriffs … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  5. plumb04/05/2020 at 3:02 pmToday a listener on radio three said that it would be more correct to speak of “physical distancing” instead of “social distancing” and an old Venetian gentleman asked why, in his region, the healthy habit of going to one’s own is also prohibited vegetable garden, alone. Adapting passively … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Mandragola0104/05/2020 at 3:20 pmIt is a relief to read these considerations, it is the only foothold at a time when it seems that the mass has completely lost its senses, flattened and uniformed on positions based on “have you seen the streets as they are full of people? There are photos in the newspapers, we are not responsible, so … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • plumb04/05/2020 at 3:35 pmIf the virus were in the air, we would all be dead already! It’s such a rash! Elderly people would be found in every corner of the street and in what are now our catacombs. And instead, coincidentally, the greatest number of infected and dead remains high in those areas in … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Bettino04/05/2020 at 5:35 pmThanks to plumb line for introducing the “linguistic” theme related to the narrative in progress; a few days ago, together with a friend of mine, I was reflecting on the inadequacy of the terminology embodied in the expression “social distancing” and on its reception and understanding by people. We concluded that it would be more appropriate … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • cincat04/05/2020 at 7:58 pmA reflection on the language used by newspapers, but also and above all by politicians when it comes to ‘war’, has been discussed elsewhere in this blog. I quote an expert on this ‘war’ language, Victor Klemperer, who collected and studied Nazi language. Klemperer says’ The words … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • gubac05/04/2020 at 11:30 pmHaving hijacked us on the expression social distancing instead of physical distancing is one of the failures that vandana shiva pointed out yesterday in his speech to take it with philosophy. while there are councils the vision of the interventions of benasayag, harari and arminio, always in the same meeting, in my opinion the most interesting (at least between … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  6. andyroid04/05/2020 at 3:25 pmAnd in the end even here in Tuscany it seems that the obligation of the mask is about to arrive: https://www.fiorentina.it/toscana-enrico-rossi-obbligatorio-luso-della-mascherina-allesterno/ Enrico Rossi among other things it is difficult to say that his intentions are based on what he reads in newspapers. I verbally quote his place on facebook: “I read in the newspapers that too many wrong behaviors have resumed … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming04/05/2020 at 3:35 pmConfirming what we have been saying since the beginning of this emergency: it is the media that push politicians and administrators towards more irrational decisions.Log in to reply
  7. musikarol05/04/2020 at 4:05 pmI meant to say: wake up one morning … I apologize for the misprint. however there is the obligation of 550 bars, damn; so what more can we say? I also saw two or three police or police cars, proceeding at low speed, I had no problems; I think if you avoid the notorious ‘gatherings’ the same … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  8. Wu Ming04/05/2020 at 4:33 pmAbout knowing how to say only “Stay home!” , without a real strategy, without a method.
    A testimony of Elisa, taken from the birdsite, collected and published by Civati.Log in to reply
    • Giulia Q04/06/2020 at 3:54 am“Flattening the curve” is just a very kind / sneaky way to say “let’s all get infected.” The only difference between “flattening the curve” and “flock immunity” strategies is that the latter has a much higher number of collateral victims (people who are refused medical treatment for system failure … [more] to read]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming04/06/2020 at 9:03 amHi Giulia, just a small note: we always try, for the benefit of the reader and for anyone to make feedback of our statements, to link sources whenever possible.Log in to reply
        • Giulia Q06/04/2020 at 11:47 pm(A little difficult to do this while staying within the 2300 characters limit …) “Flattening the curve” as a way to (not) say “infect everyone” is my inference: no one says it openly, but it is implied in every explanation of that strategy. For example, this article by Vox, which incorporates the famous graph of the flattened curve … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • pm200104/07/2020 at 9:22 amThe strategy of “flattening the curve” starts from the assumption that it is not we who decide to infect everyone. This is the natural condition. The best option would be to never get infected, secondly to have a medicine that can cure us. So sentences like “slow the spread of the disease” should … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • Giulia Q07/04/2020 at 5:49 pmI understand that I used hyperbolas a little too hyperbolic. I speak of “infecting ourselves as much as possible” but I exaggerate: it is rather a question of infecting us “the right”, that is, as we did before (not that it changes much: the metrics for entering and exiting the lockdown – the number of patients in therapy … [ Keep reading]Log in to reply
              • Giulia Q07/04/2020 at 6:01 pmAs I said in another comment, it’s terribly counter-intuitive, and many of the most used narrations so far (war, sacrifice, the same “stay at home”) are counterproductive to explain how an epidemic really works. We think of the mocking irony of reasoning on the line of “we stay as much as possible at home to get out of it … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Giulia Q04/07/2020 at 12:47 amThe MIT Technology Review article that takes up, misrepresenting, the Imperial College report is famous now, but I report it the same: We’re not going back to normal. I say “misrepresenting” because the author of the article imagines, between a lockdown and the other, a “soft isolation”: “In the near term, we’ll probably find awkward compromises that allow … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  9. Vicky Vale05/04/2020 at 5:00 pmSpeaking of terror in the press, but we want to talk about this title in the Huffington Post ( https://www.huffingtonpost.it/entry/scordiamoci-i-viaggi-allestero-sara-come-litalia-degli-anni-50_it_5e8853c3c5b6e7d76c64694f ) copied for another once again by the Mephistophelic Corriere ( https://torino.corriere.it/economy/20_aprile_03/scordiamoci-viaggi-all-estero-sara-come-l-italia-anni-50-bcbc6afe-7520-11ea -b9c4-182209d6cca4_preview.shtml? reason = unauthenticated & cat = 1 & cid = vaP9Ofik & pids = FR & credits = 1 & origin = https% 3A% 2F% 2Ftorino.corriere.it% 2Feconomia% 2F20_aprile_03% 2Fscordiamoci travel-all-foreign-sara-as-the-Italy -anni-50-bcbc6afe-7520-11ea-b9c4-182209d6cca4.shtml )? When I read it I got a regurgitation of bile.Log in to reply
  10. Kola04/05/2020 at 5:05 pmBeing an architect and dealing with urban planning for work, a spontaneous reflection comes after this new wave of media and political blame. In fact, it is evident that the areas where there is high housing deniability, tendentially small housing, many commercial activities of … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming05/04/2020 at 5:20 pmEh, I think Wolf would have a lot to say on this, we report your comment.Log in to reply
    • wolfbukowski07/04/2020 at 7:02 pmAs I see it there is a big “though”. The guilty wave feeds on itself, does not have a coherent guide and is instead made up of continuous “upward raises”. I imagine the unspoken in the editors of the newspapers: -no one runs in the street anymore, what negative exemplum do we find to draw a moral boundary? [Don’t … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • wolfbukowski07/04/2020 at 7:03 pmThe especially southern and island countries where those who work a little land (often informally) have the small field outside the country are subjected to unnecessary torture, since a person alone who goes to the garden runs a risk for himself and others inferiorly inferior to shopping … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Pao04/07/2020 at 8:05 pmI had written a comment on the garden issue but I passed 2300 (who would have thought it) and canceled it. I am playing many jokes with this premise but I will reinstate better: here it is Valtellina. not properly southern Italy. we have an office that could remain accessible to the public according to the “law”. lo … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Kola04/07/2020 at 8:51 pmI did not mean that in Brianza or similar areas there are no inconveniences in this situation, but perhaps it is not even correct to say that these measures are calibrated generically on the big centers, also because the big cities are very different from each other, and rest of the idea that these are rules calibrated … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Pao07/04/2020 at 9:13 pmbut indeed. these measures are not calibrated on anything. the realities are different everywhere (let me call reality something so structured as to be far from reality but it must be understood in some way) and I think that only a single consciousness in having peaceful attitudes, whether for themselves first and .. . [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • wolfbukowski07/04/2020 at 10:47 pmWe say that, as already widely analyzed, measures that should have a health ratio actually follow that of “decorum”. On the historical center of Naples, for example, an attempt has been made to impose the “decorum” since the time of the 1980 Irpinia earthquake (and the left has largely done so, as … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Pao07/04/2020 at 11:15 pmeh with this stuff of the “anti-billing law” that tries to re-propose a form of Nazi-fascist “decorum” I met years ago. I am provincial in DNA. indeed superprovincial. Valtellina is a kind of hermitage where, however, in these times we are better off than elsewhere. I have to admit it. we are in lombardy but … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • wolfbukowski07/04/2020 at 7:26 pm[Third part of the comment, almost OT, preceded by the premise that the above on the “limitations clearly calibrated on Milan and the major centers” does not imply the fact that all those limitations are right, but only that they have been thought of in those realities and for those realities ] For the future it will be the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  11. Mandragola0105/04/2020 at 5:08 pmI found this while I was wandering around trying to catch “the air that pulls” peeking at the comments of the various users of the online newspapers “:” I’m old … and this morning I brought home a 20 kg bag of food so as not to be accused to buy little and be smart … risking a collapse … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  12. zampot04/05/2020 at 5:17 pmThis morning there were three people in the bakery before me waiting to enter: I discovered that the first was a girl who was 10 m away. from the entrance between the cars parked in the square. With all the necessary caution, this seems to me a form of full-blown psychosis: don’t … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  13. musikarol04/05/2020 at 5:24 pmI would like to propose (I don’t think it’s OT) a link to an excellent, albeit short, article from The Guardian, on why in Germany it seems they are managing the situation better than elsewhere: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr / 05 / germanys-devolved-logic-is-helping-it-win-the-coronavirus-race In practice, it is deduced that this happens thanks to federalism, just what apparently produces the greatest problems here, with the .. . [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  14. robydoc04/05/2020 at 5:56 pmIn Malta this morning the prime minister urged people to go out and go for a walk, alone or in pairs. https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/go-for-a-walk-on-your-own-or-in-pairs-to-keep-healthy-robert-abela.783584 Although not all agree the idea of ​​being able to force people to stay at home seems very far away. If things ever get worse – there haven’t been … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  15. musikarol05/04/2020 at 6:03 pmHere, I was expecting a reprimand for the OT, it is not the first time … I do not know, the blog you manage it, those who comment obviously must adapt, it is right. But don’t you think it’s a bit of an exaggeration, sometimes, for example in this case? Besides, I am not even so convinced that I am … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 105/04/2020 at 6:14 pmSorry, but since it is not the first time you say “do a little bit yourself” but in fact you protest about how we manage the discussion, I would like to point out that if it were as you say, there would be no need to continue publishing several articles on different aspects and moments of the emergency. … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  16. Ca Gi05/04/2020 at 6:33 pmNot even to do it on purpose since yesterday evening I started to collect several articles with pseudo-assemblies photos obtained through the use of telephoto lenses and zooms and comment online the artificiality of these “teleassemblies”, noting that even those who are not very familiar with the photographic technique soon realizes that newspapers and … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  17. robydoc04/05/2020 at 7:14 pmI apologize in advance because maybe I am OT but since it seems relevant to me and I am not sure where to insert this observation I leave it here. (In case you maybe delete it and tell me where I can insert it). This article vaguely has to do with it because in short we are discussing the criminalization of behaviors that have nothing to do … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  18. Pao05/04/2020 at 8:00 pmI wanted to say that you are unique because instead of opting for a limit of writing too many words you have opted for people to write. it’s rare. also because let’s face it: these days there are sometimes too many words (it depends on the words. always and in any case). but you don’t. you try to encourage … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming04/05/2020 at 8:24 pmThanks! To be honest, we also have a maximum comment limit, but it’s quite high: 2300.Log in to reply
      • Pao05/04/2020 at 8:43 pmThanks to you. With 2300 on the net you can tell a world. So I wouldn’t call it a limit. For the rest there are the appropriate books and times. In any case, I think communication is important. Despite having an individualistic nature. Regarding a speech more relevant to the topic … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  19. mikoi04/05/2020 at 8:27 pmWhile sharing most of the ideas and conclusions of your analyzes, I would like to point out that the photos are far from crushed and do not seem to be taken with a telephoto lens at all. The people in the background are blurred, those in the foreground are quite sharp. Rather, the image appears to have been cropped / cropped. … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 104/05/2020 at 8:35 pmThanks. According to Facco, whose analysis we linked above, the Genoese photo was taken with a telephoto lens, but we ask for other opinions on this technical aspect. As for the photographers, in one case, the Bolognese one, the photographer is even a friend of ours, Gianluca Perticoni. We certainly don’t blame him. The … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • khansen05/04/2020 at 9:02 pmHello, I intervene as a photographer and videomaker to say (with humility) my In the case of the Bolognese photo the plans and the blur make you think of a telephoto lens. It is not strange that it is used in the news as sometimes it allows you to better isolate the subjects without “polluting” the scene with … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Pao05/04/2020 at 9:17 pmThen maybe a photographers rebellion might work. Or at least be a start. Photography meant seriously I think it is a science. Also quite difficult. So I don’t know, I say it like this to say: if professional photographers began to photograph reality independently and publish through non-politicized spaces, then maybe … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • adf04/06/2020 at 11:16 amHi, as a camera operator and director of photography, I can confirm the use of the telephoto lens in the photos that have been mentioned. I have analyzed more the photo taken in Darsena in Milan; for those who know the area, it is clear that the shot was taken from the new bridge in … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  20. Frank Sullivan05/04/2020 at 11:54 pmTonight on RaiNews24 a journalist was going around with the microphone in Naples to contest who, according to him, did not respect the distance of a meter. Curiosity: as to how the service was assembled, you did not see the “before”, that is the “social distance” contested, but only the “after” the intervention of the intrepid reporter, with the alleged … [Continue reading ]Log in to reply
  21. bacchanal04/06/2020 at 12:13 amYesterday I wrote this. *** How false news becomes political alibis. Yesterday public Bologna Republic a photo via fishmongers old, taken with a telephoto lens and a particular angle, so as to create a perspective distortion that makes be the busy street of people – when in fact other photos of the same street, taken from above .. . [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  22. Pao04/06/2020 at 10:06 amThis is an interesting but decidedly out of place discussion. I mean whether photography is a science or not. Let’s say a form of science. It depends on what is meant by science first. And I specified if I meant seriously for this very reason. Then if you talk about this with me I have to tell you that … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • glo06/04/2020 at 1:01 pmForget the science / non-science discourse that is actually out of place. Photography can be used in a scientific, poetic, journalistic way… the point is that the relationship between photography and reality is not a foregone conclusion. Giving photographers the responsibility (and the power) to represent an incontrovertible reality creates misunderstandings … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Pao06/04/2020 at 1:51 pmIn fact, I recognize that I have rather philosophical concepts of science, reality and imagination. On the other hand, I agree very much that it is a perception problem. There are different levels of reality and the concept of reality itself probably does not exist or if it exists it is changeable. So yes the important … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  23. Bettino06/04/2020 at 6:02 pmhttps://bologna.repubblica.it/cronaca/2020/04/06/foto/bologna_quadrilatero_a_numero_chiuso-253293659/1/#1 Today, closing of the “Quadrilatero” with barriers guarded by Carabinieri and Municipal Police, following the delation – widely dismantled in substance- of Republic. The need to read this experience of separation as the core of the social question in progress is becoming increasingly clear -if there was still a need for it; information … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • plumb06/04/2020 at 6:50 pmI am quite disconcerted, because in my continuous “job” to keep in touch with the surrounding reality I stop to talk to the people I meet. And in the vain attempt to bring them back to the “facts” I always stress that there is no gathering around or near us. Yet today … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 206/04/2020 at 6:59 pmThose hurdles definitively sanction an urbicide that was already underway for some time. It is the much coveted transformation of a piece of town into an open-air shopping center, with apples at four euros a kilo, tortellini prepared in a showcase and the most precious PDO mortadella of cocaine. … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  24. Piero Purich06/04/2020 at 11:23 pmMaybe I intervene a little late and at this point a little OT, but it seems to me that this image can give an idea of ​​how the telephoto lens crushes the images showing crowded streets that where citizens are actually absolutely at a safe distance. Unfortunately we are all imprisoned and therefore not … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  25. Mandragola0104/07/2020 at 9:04 amToday the “terror in the press” is enriched by the contribution of a funny title of Il Corriere: “attention also to the toilet flush …”. I can’t paste the link or read the article but I guess what is meant. It amazes me that a newspaper can create sensationalism around a news … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  26. Elwinga04/07/2020 at 9:38 amLeaving aside the issues raised by the article, however, let me point out that an 800mm is not a widespread lens, nor used. In addition to costing around € 10,000, it weighs about 6 kg, making it somewhat difficult to use. It is in fact mainly used for nature or astronomical photography. The much more common objectives of … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 104/07/2020 at 9:42 amIt was hyperbole. A common rhetorical figure, like when you say “this backpack weighs a ton”. But if you do not understand, there is no problem with putting «200 mm» (however, in the discussion reference has always been made to the latter).Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 204/07/2020 at 9:45 amThanks for the report, I am a photo amateur too, if I can define myself like this, and not loving birdwatching, I always shot at maximum with a 75-200mm, in addition to a 50mm and a 28mm. “800mm” was a hyperbole, ironic – taken from a comment by Tuco to another post: how … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Elwinga07/04/2020 at 9:10 pmThe doubt had obviously come to me; the fact is that the first has been repeated twice, alas these days the rhetorical figures are women unknown and abandoned by the majority, therefore there is always the risk of passing anything as true, even a hyperbole. Mine was however … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • tuco07/04/2020 at 9:30 pmI took out the 800mm for the first time on twitter, exasperated by the False Photos of Assembramenti, comparing the latter to certain photos of Trieste taken precisely with the 800mm, in which you can see the Dolomites (100 km away and passes km ) stuck to the Miramare castle. From there the 800mm is … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  27. Uan07/04/2020 at 2:36 pmA narrative that circulates virally in the south tells how the few infections were all caused by people returning from the north. Now I have no elements to say otherwise, but it sounds very strange to hear it repeat everywhere, from Sicily to Campania, from Calabria to Puglia, always the same … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • mikoi08/04/2020 at 4:01 pmI agree with your opinion. I am originally from the South and in my country there have been very few confirmed infections. Some in hospital, others in an outpatient clinic, another is an auto transporter who had returned from the north after a transport. That is not a resident but one of the many who work … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  28. aschscha07/04/2020 at 3:38 pmthe thing that leaves me amazed, or at least that forces me to ask myself questions about people’s perception is that, despite the official figures regarding checks and sanctions (https://www.linkiesta.it/2020/04/coronavirus- italy-decree-self-certification-fines /? fbclid = IwAR32L0rbU98o890yzqAKyBER5ux1HRRaCYK2nRli6Yl6P8aziJaHpd8Lvk0) ridiculous, I still read comments from friends or followers with the drool at their mouth convinced that they are not reading … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  29. Caterina M.04/08/2020 at 9:33 amThe manipulation is really strong and thanks to this article it proves obvious. I would like to focus on an internet site https://www.yoga-und-synthese.de/yoga-e-sintesi/, where the information of the situation for example in Germany and Switzerland is different from what is communicated by the news in Italy. There people leave the house, … [Continue reading]Log in to reply