Interview with journalist and writer Fabio Luppino: “Those days will return”

Interview with journalist and writer Fabio Luppino: “Those days will return”

2023-09-22 07:00:00

It comes out in bookstores today Those days will return, the new novel by HuffPost Italia journalist Fabio Luppino, published by Santelli. A series of stories in which the protagonists are women, the driving forces behind almost all the major current issues.

Fabio Luppino And an expert journalist who has been carrying out this profession with passion for some time and has been able to see from the inside the mechanisms of the most important editorial offices in the country: twenty-five years ago The UnityThen Il Secolo XIX, Corriere della Sera and now HuffPost Italia. After some works which received excellent feedback, he has now returned to talk about our society and its burning current issues in the pages of new novel Those days will returnwhich comes out today in bookstores by Santelli Editore. It is a collection of stories held together by a logical thread and by the fact of having how protagonist gives it: stubborn, courageous, intelligent, sometimes fragile but always ready to fight for what they believe in. So one of the very few feminist books in the panorama of contemporary fiction that bears the signature of a man.

Giulia, Caterina, Giovanna, Ginevra and others are the voices and points of view through which Luppino shows us without veils or mincing words, what happens inside the walls of an editorial office, in the committee of a student movement, between the classrooms of schools or during a night of love. The author is interested in getting to the heart of the most animated and burning issues of our timeretracing its history and focusing in particular on two “evolutionary” parables: that of Italian journalism and that of politics. met Fabio Luppino on the day of his release Those days will return (Santelli Editore) and interviewed him, also given the particularity of the feminist approach which finally, for once, is adopted by a man.

Fabio, why this choice of wanting only women as protagonists of your stories? Tenacious, fearless, with clear ideas and always one step ahead of men.

“It is a decision linked to the life experience I have had, both on a work and personal level. What I have noticed in women is, without wishing to generalise, the ability to know how to move in an original way in complicated situations, to pose new topics for discussion, but also to take on roles of responsibility with more courage, innovation and the will to see things through to the end. in the face of real conviction compared to the majority of men in the same positions; as well as a different interpretation of the things of the world, wanting to leave the workplace. It is therefore no coincidence that the men in my stories are almost all without names, since they do not prove to be up to par with their colleagues and even less with their partners. Having said that, I underline the fact that I do not intend to give a definitive gender assessment, but simply report my experience.”

Despite good intentions, however, many of these women have to clash with a still chauvinist world that is not ready to accept them, neither in the professional nor sentimental sphere. Here, then, some of them end up becoming victims of the system.

“Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. For example, Giovanna, the protagonist of the first story, is a woman in love who asks for a definitive choice and therefore an assumption of responsibility, but her partner, despite being overwhelmed by a great desire for her, does not have the ability to recognize the importance of that feeling and consequently lets it go. All this causes Giovanna great pain. I also wanted to talk about these aspects of the private lives of my protagonists because sometimes enormous strength, for example in the workplace, can coexist with a certain emotional fragility, or being idealistic and strongly believing in a just world can clash with the daily struggle of always having to be on the front line to defend values ​​that perhaps will never find fulfillment. At a certain point, an entire existence of commitment, passion and constancy flashes before the eyes of some of these women, but in the end it shows them the harsh truth: they have changed little and suffered a lot. I wanted my female figures to be realistic and set in the contemporary context, otherwise they would have been wonder women who don’t exist. Even though they are fictional characters, I was careful to make them plausible and credible.”

This is a book in which politics permeates all the pages, starting from the fact that you tell the story of a party newspaper, but at the same time you never talk openly about politics. Instead, address the great issues of our era.

“This is due to the fact that I chose the narrative form of the story and not of the essay or political analysis. I often use quotation marks to bring out women’s points of view, for example on what school should be through the direct experience of a teacher who believes in her profession, but is forced to take note of how much her approach makes her places it in a condition of marginality. On the other hand, it is difficult to bring colleagues along when you have important, revolutionary and perhaps uncomfortable ideas, in this as in other workplaces. In the book I talk about two disillusionments in particular: that for journalism and, precisely, that for politics. Among many, a good example is the Pantera student movement, which I followed as a journalist and which came to life as a protest against the Ruberti reform: in fact, what young people taught us then is that politicians had no idea of how the university was structured in those years. A group of young people who did not want to be lumped together with other precedents fought for a dignified public university, yet decades later we are still there, at the same point, with students forced to take up tents to protest. In short, it is sad to note that after thirty years nothing has changed, in this sector as in many others. This is why I am critical of all politics and not just certain parties.”

The title struck me very much, because it expresses nostalgia and hope at the same time. How did you choose it? Can you also tell us something more about the photo on the cover?

“The title comes true in the last words of the book. I have great faith in young people who today are under thirty, unfortunately full of anguish left as a legacy from my generation, but full of inner strength to fight and to improve this world. They are idealists, yet they have the ability to apply the theoretical studies they have done to reality. Our task is to guide them, to help them, but above all to take a step back to give them space. The title is in contrast and at the same time ideally connects to the chosen photo, taken by Alberto Pais: I find it very beautiful both for the content and the graphics. It was created during a demonstration in Rome thirty years ago, immortalizing young people who ended up as unwitting victims of a protest in the square that should have been peaceful. It demonstrates, in my opinion, like the title of the book, that we are never at the end of the story, much can still happen and change. However, unlike the inaction and calm that some people tend to advise from the top of their golden pulpits, things will not fix themselves, so if we really want to save ourselves this is the time to act, to do and to achieve.” .

Following the history of The Unity, your book is also the story of how journalism has evolved in recent years. Where are we at?

“Not at a good point, I would say, but it’s not just the fault of the technological revolution or social media. If journalists had had the concern to cover the things that happen in the world and had gone to experience them first hand instead of hiding behind their desks, today we would probably be living in a much less critical period than the current one. We should have had the strength to choose more, especially where I worked, without pursuing the ambition of being a generalist newspaper; at a certain point all the newspapers had this desire to conform to the theme of the day established by others, while each one should have continued to follow its own path and differentiate itself. Today, however, the great demon is the frenzy of clicks and likes that characterizes online journalism and makes us lose the overall vision: the algorithm counts more than the real importance of a topic or a fact, making the basics disappear of journalism itself.”

There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence. Do you think it will be able to replace the profession of journalist and many others?

“From my point of view it will not completely replace the figure of the journalist nor that of other professionals. If used in a useful way it could undoubtedly be a resource, but if the starting point is saving because it allows you to spend less, we must not forget what history has taught us: those who invest less die in the medium or long term; which means – in this specific case – that if you decide to make a newspaper with twenty fewer professional figures, you won’t go into the future”.

You also experienced the war firsthand, in particular that of the former Yugoslavia as a de correspondent The Unity. You talk about it in the final chapter of your book. What is the biggest lesson you gained from this experience?

“I think I have understood that to cover a war well we must always remember the fundamental principles of journalism: this was true yesterday and is also true today. I mean that you have to tell things exactly as they are happening in the place where you were sent by your newspaper. This is not always easy, because often conflicts, especially the bloodiest and most ideological ones, are armored and journalists are not allowed to access the information they would like without risking their own lives. However, it is important not to limit ourselves to accepting the official history that is provided to us, but to enter into the local culture, understand its dynamics and study the motivations behind the wars: they often date back to many decades earlier and do not always correspond to what the mainstream wants to impose. Just think of the war in Iraq, the pretext of which was the presence of weapons of mass destruction, a reality accepted by all as irrefutable at the time. Coming to today, what I take issue with in the way the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is described is the fact that – despite the clear existence of an aggressor and an attacked person – we forget how long we were left to the Russia the good and bad weather, pretending not to see. From my point of view, the most astute analysts are those capable of asking questions and not providing definitive, unequivocal, black or white solutions. This was also the case for the war in the former Yugoslavia, when after years of killings and injustices it was decided to intervene only in the face of repeated massacres. Geopolitics is often a bad advisor, which is why the best and most useful journalists are those who go into the field, sometimes independently, and show what they witness without filters or ideologies”.

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