UMBERTO ECHOES

 

 

 

It’s not funny to be committed to a bed just because your sinus controls your life now. I know this is not a terrible condition and I am not even thinking about private health murphy’s law, yet I am a man who gets terrible annoyed and annoying when I can’t do my stuff and my routines became chicken soup, snot dropping, white tissues everywhere and a general feeling of nausea. Anyway, I am going to the doctor today and everything will be groovy with a cortisone double chin and instructions from pharmaceutic hell to be religiously followed, if I want the dirty voices out of my head.

I took the chance to pick up some books from my small library (60 Ikea blue bags the last I moved home) and with Eco’s extinction still in mind, I guess you won’t mind if I complete my eulogy today, before I am back in the toilet with sinus cramps.

The first book, as they say, needs no introduction and you’re a fool if you never read it. This novel, Foucault’s Pendulum, kick started the Historical novel genre as we know it today and it spawned far away. It’s a best seller as many of Eco’s books and the blueprints for everyone who followed even though everyone that followed fell really short to recreate any of this story tension, depth and reference. Yes I mean #Dan Brown, even tough I never wasted any of my time reading more than a few chapters of Da Vinci Code, just out of morbid curiosity and to tell everyone that holds that book on the subway, beach, place of work, toilet seat, kitchen table how much it does suck and how such a hypocrite rip off that book is from the original, that should have those numbers and that praise. Especially when Eco didn’t need any fuckin marketing campaign and copywriters and translators hidden on basements as if working on a nuclear formula. Bullshit book, bullshit movie, bullshit million readers.

Enough of that. Foucault’s Pendulum might be one of my favourite books ever, but the second one on the right is something really special for me. The book in Portuguese and Brazilian is called something like Traveling in the day to day ”irreality”, and if you take off that seventies edge of the title is simply a book where Eco shared notes of his travels through North America, especially in the USA. There is nothing like an American to observe our old ways in Europe; and nothing like an European (and what an illustrious one) to regard the differences and the day to day rituals of the New World.

Because it was exactly what I felt when in 1999, 16 years ago, when I first landed in Texas and asked our airport pick up to take me, a virgin to those lands, to the greasiest diner he knew in S.Antonio which he did. I can still be sick thinking about my appetiser of french fries and onion gravy. I just had to do it. Yeah but it was, and it still is after dozens of visits, a kind of a new world feeling since nothing in Europe comes close to any city or habit in the States even if the world has been constantly americanised, without truce. It’s still not the same thing, just an out of place succedaneous that many times fails to make sense, which makes perfect sense.

In this book of travels, Eco helped me to understand much of the American mentality, which is not only about consuming or creating the biggest things; but a very own maniqueism that accommodates, as Eco notes on of the greatest passages of the book, Snow White and the Evil Jaws without a blink. And that’s America in a nutshell. A truly hospitable country, where I met some of the nicest, humblest, generous people who, nevertheless, keep guns at home for protection as a God given, unalienable right.

When I say that Eco disappearing is a sign of mass extinction, I am not kidding you. Unfortunately we couldn’t have armed guards defending his life like they do in Africa with endangered rhinos. But extinction, metaphorically speaking, is not all the time massive. Sometimes there are unique specimens that cease to exist, even tough their mark was left in words, pictures, attitude, behaviour and placement in the ecosystem.And that void can’t be filled, that gap can’t be bridged. Yes I have found restaurants through Steve Jobs appliances and inventions but I am sure he couldn’t cut those kind of plots and sentences that Eco did. Well it’s like comparing St.Louis Arc with the Sistine Chapel. You know where my mind and heart will be.

Thanks, by the way, to anyone who have followed or liked this new blog. I am all up for keeping my word true. Next time, according to my notes, I will write about cats or about our unalienable right to be sad, to show those online, facebook ”optimists” how wrong they are in their new age, full of light and house yoga stances. Just wait and see. I might even write them both into a single text.

 

 

UMBERTO ECHOES

5 thoughts on “UMBERTO ECHOES

  1. Dead Fernando, I am an Italian student from the University of Bologna, where Eco worked ages. We all feel a great loss here in Alma Mater (funny coincidence, isn’t it?),and I can barely keep my eyes open in front of this cultural decay without such an eminent academic. Just two weeks ago I could have met him at a poetry convention, but he did not manage to come, sadly.
    The feeling now is like being on a boat without a helmsman, if we just consider how strong was his influence in all the fields he directed his attention to.
    He will be deeply missed, he was one of the last greatest intellectuals of this sinking country.
    Keep on the great work,
    Ester

    Like

    1. Theportuguesewolf says:

      Dear memoriediunsalbaneo: Indeed. Funny you mention you almost ”met” him. Same here. He came on a visit to my Faculty in Lisbon one year before I joined Philosophy there. My older colleagues said it was crazy, he was received like a rockstar and the amphitheatre (the biggest one in there) was too small to accommodate what we would describe now as a festival crowd. There were people hanging from the windows outside just to take a look at him. Incredible. Gilles Delouse had a great welcoming here as well, but nothing of the sort of hysteria that Eco caused. You’re quite right: it seems we are stuck within a society mechanism that makes us celebrate the wrong people and the wrong values.

      Liked by 1 person

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