States General of Culture in Milan: yet another pointless talk

On November 21, the States General of Culture organized by Sole 24 Ore will be held in Milan: but wasn't last year's experience enough for us?

The very low level of sympathy for this event is already evident from the name that some lofty mind thought of giving it: States-General of Culture. It is reminiscent of the assembly of the social classes in pre-revolutionary France (and we all know how that turned out). With the aggravating circumstance that in the States General of Culture, the “class” of professionals working in museums, libraries, archives, event organization, communications, and anything else you want to add that I have forgotten, is completely cut off. And with the added aggravation that by now the term “States General” is overused-just do a Google search to realize that.

And yet we thought that Il Sole 24 Ore would not repeat the initiative since last year’s edition was the subject of much criticism: Tomaso Montanari, in an article in Il Fatto Quotidiano, dubbed the event “the States General of rhetoric” and called it “a little theater in which those responsible for the debacle talk to each other while commenting on the same debacle.” Tafter’s Fabrizia Memo, commenting on the event in an article, spoke of “many words, few deeds.” Also in the pages of Il Fatto Quotidiano, Manlio Lilli wrote that the initiative represented “the summary of everything that culture should not be.” Again, Arianna Di Genova of the Manifesto concluded her article by saying that “precarious, working men and women of culture are familiar with the subject matter. And they no longer want to be hypnotized.” Not to mention the blogs kept by those in the field, blogs where the pieces written about the States General of Culture were not all that flattering.

Given, then, that the event was more rhetorical and self-referential than useful and interesting, given that it was pelted with criticism, given that of the little that was proposed in 2012 practically nothing was done, what sense does it make to replicate an initiative that was already scarcely successful last year and, moreover, to repropose it with a program that does not bode well? Yes, because the theme will be the “role of businesses in the enhancement of Italy’s cultural heritage,” and with the parterre proposed to us it is already possible to imagine what will be discussed: the President of the Fondazione Roma who will tell us how fundamental the contribution of private individuals is in the management of culture, the head of the Domenicale del Sole 24 Ore who will tell us how Article 9 of the Constitution is (not) applied in Italy, the CEO of a well-known luxury clothing group will tell us how much abroad they love our culture and how good this is for Made in Italy (and he will certainly know this since his group has moved part of its production to China). And to end on a high note, speeches by the president of Confindustria and the Prime Minister (we can’t wait). Always with the right side dish of self-referentiality that never hurts, since 5 out of 11 speeches will be led by those organizing the event.

I may be wrong later, but I don’t think the event will be memorable. In fact, I don’t think we will even notice it. Ah, finally: shall we bet that there will be someone who will talk about culture as Italy’s oil?

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