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A reculons, comme une écrevisse av Umberto…

A reculons, comme une écrevisse (utgåvan 2008)

av Umberto Eco, Umberto Eco (Auteur)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
630535,639 (3.68)5
Artiklar och debattinlägg skrivna mellan åren 2000 och 2005, om oron inför det nya milleniet, 11 september, krigen i Afghanistan och Irak samt Silvio Berlusconi, Italien
Titel:A reculons, comme une écrevisse
Författare:Umberto Eco
Andra författare:Umberto Eco (Auteur)
Info:LGF (2008), Broché, 466 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


Kräftgång av Umberto Eco


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Turning Back the Clock, a collection of speeches and columns from la Repubblica and other newspapers, serves as a snapshot of early 2000s culture. The scope of his targets shows the depth of knowledge from which Eco draws his observations. His views are shaped by the idea that the heart of history is cyclical, particularly obvious in his look at academia’s patricide in On the Shoulders of Giants and his contrasts between the political landscape of Italy when he was writing to the dominance of fascism earlier in his life and the ancient and medieval legacies. This awareness does not limit him to the pessimism of nothing being new under the sun, but instead makes a clearer contrast between cycles of human thought and truly new phenomena.
The value of Eco’s short writing is his ability to define concepts, articulate conflicts, and come to a position that asserts its truth at the same time it clarifies complicated disputes. His distinction between neowar and paleowar is one of these clarifications: in neowars like the Gulf War and Kosovo, the enemy is uncertain, the war has no front, and the media puts the enemy behind the lines: possible in a globalized modern world. In paleowars, the enemy is distinguishable and the violence is literal. We are in a constant state of neowar, and paleo conflicts break out for various purposes: “to assuage immediately the feelings of the American public,” in the case of the war in Afghanistan after 9/11 (19, Some Reflections on War and Peace). This refinement of Orwell’s perpetual war as profitable conflict is immensely useful in considering how we valorize and criticize military action.
Eco’s statements on mass media populism are bitingly relevant, and though I am hardly the first to draw the parallel between Berlusconi and the current American administration, Eco’s observations provide needed sober analysis of the media game being played. “He makes promises that—good, bad, or indifferent as they may seem to his supporters—are a provocation to his critics. He comes up with a provocation a day, and if they are bizarre or outrageous, so much the better… The provocation must be calculated to ensure that the opposition cannot avoid picking up the gauntlet and reacting vigorously…Every form of nationalistic, populist exaltation cultivates a continuous state of frustration” (134-5, On Mass Media Populism). And Eco offers the only solution I have yet seen to this that seems both plausible and constructive: “the opposition must launch its own provocations… Coming up with plans for government on issues about which public opinion is sensitive, proposing ideas about the future organization of the country calculated to make the media devote at least as much attention to them as they do to Berlusconi’s provocations” (140). Further, he observes the difference between a populace created as prop audience for a populist leader and the actual and ideologically diverse populace of a country, and draws all this into the context of a country’s validity on an international scale. Not a direct parallel to the American problem, but a useful case study, maybe.
The final incredibly useful distinction that I will mention (although I found the book to be chock full of them) was between science, a slow truth-seeking institution, and technology, the often mechanical fruits of science, which we are addicted to as a modern manifestation of magic. Magic, Eco says, is “the assumption that it is possible to go from cause to effect without taking intermediate steps” (105, Science, Technology, and Magic). The human faith in magic was not obliterated by experimental science, but transferred from religion and the occult to technology, and continues to deliver “false promises and dashed hopes,” the only hope of recovery from this malady being education (110). From philanthropic activity solely by remote online donation to demands for instant news to expectation of instant performance from all internet-connected objects without consideration of ethical context, we can see this manifest everywhere in our lives. And the strength of this is the same as most of Eco’s other points—it helps us not only examine our position relative to the intellectual legacy left for us, but also aspire to be intelligent, compassionate people capable of shaping our systemically imperfect culture into something better.
( )
  et.carole | Jan 21, 2022 |
Much of this collection is dominated by the September 11 attacks, the response to such by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. A nearly equal measure chronicles the political infamy enacted by Silvio Berlusconi. It easy to extrapolate such on to our geo-political present. I wasn’t in the mood for such.

The final third of the essays were more compelling (though lacking the force of Eco's Travels in Hyper-Reality) stretching across myriad subjects such as anti-Semitism and the provenance of the quote, standing on the shoulders of giants. Interspersed is a delightful reading of the mass appeal of Harry Potter.

I applaud the maestro as always and will now make more of an effort to walk under ladders. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
The Italian author Umberto Eco is an extremely prolific writer, who has published several novels, collections of essays and academic papers, particularly in the field of semiotics. This interest in semiotics, perhaps, leads to a tendency to look for meaning in places and events where others see no connection. Some of Eco's novels are suggestive of conspiracy or dark powers. However, Eco is much more sophisticated and much more careful than, for instance, Dan Brown (This book features an essay on The Da Vinci Code).

Eco's massive output makes selective reading necessary. This collection of essays contains several short pieces of very temporary value, often very specifically related to Italian politics. While these pieces are related to the main theme of the book, they are hard to follow for readers at a greater distance.

"When people stop believing in God, as Chesterton used to say, it's not that they no longer believe in anything, it's that they believe in everything." (p. 301)

This sentence perhaps most clearly demonstrates the main idea of these essays. It is the expression of the shattered optimism that postmodernism has brought to the fore. While in the intellectual aftermath of the Second World War, writers gradually concluded the demise of the Age of Enlightenment, the emergence of postmodernism led to an increasingly depressing outlook on the world. Reason is seen to have failed, and rationalism has led to computationalism and mechanization, which has been seized upon by capitalism to take a squeeze hold on society. This is reflected in the emergence of conservative politicians in the United States and Europe, a trend which has become even more pronounced recently with the emergence of strong authoritarian leaders in various countries around the world.

This pull to the right means much of the optimism of the 60s and 70s has evaporated and much of the progress achieved in those decades is under threat. «Turning Back the Clock» . ( )
  edwinbcn | Feb 3, 2019 |
A partir des événements du 11 Septembre , la guerre en Afghanistan et en Irak , Umberto Eco fait une analyse politique , philosophique et historique de la façon dans le monde réagit et avance à reculons.
Il constate que nous avons ressuscité le vieux combat entre l'islam et la chrétienté: retour au temps des croisades?
Umberto Eco livre une analyse acide sur le monde à bout de souffle.... ( )
  Artspirit | Mar 18, 2016 |
Umberto Eco's latest translated collection of essays is Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism (Harcourt, 2007). Loosely connected as a reaction to some of the leaders (Bush, Blair and Berlusconi) and events (terrorism, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, &c.) of the first years of the present century and the media's involvement in those events, Eco's essays are all thought-provoking and make for fascinating reading, even if all of his conclusions might not be what we want to hear. Some of the selections seem a bit dated or rather parochial (a few deal solely with Italian political campaigns, which while interesting didn't seem timely at this stage), but on the whole this volume is highly relevant. Typically even when Eco's making a point about Italian politics it's perfectly reasonable to extend it to American life, so even if you don't recognize the names, pay attention to the message.

In "Some Reflections on War and Peace," Eco makes the point that a truly global war in this day and age would be utterly disastrous for every culture, while adding that a truly global peace is as unlikely now as it's ever been. Our only hope for any lasting peace, he suggests, is to focus on making local peace and slowly extending it outward. "Enlightenment and Common Sense" is a fascinating look at the legacies of the Enlightenment based around the fundamental assumption of that movement: "there is a reasonable way to reason."

Eco takes on cellphones in "From Play to Carnival" and expresses his concern at what he calls "the joyous renunciation of privacy" so many of us have allowed ourselves to become a part of. I found his views on political correctness rather useful: "Let us stick to the fundamental principle that it is humane and civilized to eliminate from current usage all those words that make our fellow beings suffer" seems a good rule to live by to me. I also quite enjoyed his take on what he sees as Americans' "tacit rules for coexistence," including our extreme patience with waiting in lines and our assumption that everyone's telling the truth (except advertisers).

"Back to the Seventies" was one of my favorite essays included here; in it Eco reacts to what he calls the "dangerous principle" that "Because terrorists exist, anyone who attacks the government is encouraging them." This is "moral blackmail, holding up to civic disapproval all those who express (nonviolent) disagreement with the government." We don't have to look far to see this in practice every day, and I agree wholeheartedly with Eco that it's a terrifically dangerous thing.

Always witty, with some of the best analogies and pithy comments in the business, Eco's pulled off another win with Turning Back the Clock.

http://philobiblos.blogspot.com/2007/11/book-review-turning-back-clock.html ( )
2 rösta JBD1 | Nov 21, 2007 |
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