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That makes Umberto Eco one of the forerunners of contemporary thinking on this subject.
I was waiting for his speech because my whole childhood had been marked by the great historic speeches of Mussolini, whose most significant passages we memorized in school. One of the officers (Major or Captain Muddy) was a guest in the villa of a family whose two daughters were my schoolmates.
Glory to those who have fallen for freedom.” And that was it. The crowd yelled, the partisans raised their guns and fired festive volleys.
I met him in their garden where some ladies, surrounding Captain Muddy, talked in tentative French. My first image of American liberators was thus—after so many palefaces in black shirts—that of a cultivated black man in a yellow-green uniform saying: “Oui, merci beaucoup, Madame, moi aussi j’aime le champagne…” Unfortunately there was no champagne, but Captain Muddy gave me my first piece of Wrigley’s Spearmint and I started chewing all day long. I had been told that permanent warfare was the normal condition for a young Italian. View Offer Continue reading this article, and thousands more from our complete 55 year archive, for the low introductory rate of just $1 a month.
At night I put my wad in a water glass, so it would be fresh for the next day. If you are already a subscriber, please be sure you are logged in to your account.
Looking at it, today, it reads like a strange combination of Postmodern philosophy and something out of the Sunday travel section, full of sardonic descriptions and exaggerated denunciations that focus on the cultural shortcomings of America.
Umberto Eco Essay
In the essay, Eco plays the role of both social critic and tour guide, taking the reader across an American landscape that he says is being re-created in the image of fake history, fake art, fake nature and fake cities.
In comparison to Disney, he implies, reality can be disappointing.
When he travels the artificial river in Disneyland, for example, he sees animatronic imitations of animals.
He similarly finds in Disney, "An allegory of the consumer society, a place of absolute iconism, Disneyland is also as place of total passivity.
Its visitors must agree to behave like robots."But what is most remarkable about Umberto Eco's essay is that, in the two decades since it was published, many of its more extreme observations, if not all its attacks on America, have been confirmed, and, in some instances, surpassed.