It's a period that I don't see Saviano in the newspapers anymore, so it's time to answer the question "what do I think about Saviano". A bit like I did with / Ferrante and her brilliant friends, I always wait for the Hype to pass to write what I think of the "heroes" on duty.
First point, I reveal my bias: I call someone intellectual ONLY if they have the novelty requirement. Otherwise for me he is only an academic (if he has embarked on such a career) or an expert (if he has the professional requisites) or a simple essayist (if he limits himself to compiling lists of things already known).
Saviano cannot therefore be considered an intellectual. Nothing of what he says is new, nothing of what he writes (on books and not) is new. Lacking the requirement of novelty, that of modernity is missing, since modernity is a conflict between new ideas and behaviors against traditional ideas and behaviors.
But Saviano is very smart. He knows that if we take a mass with a guilt complex and write a book that absolves it, almost everyone will buy it. For example, if I wrote a book today that absolves the German people of the crimes of Nazism, proving, I know, that it won the elections through fraud (as Mussolini did), it would be bought in tens of millions of copies.
When it comes to Mafie & Camorre, Saviano is an absolutist. An astute absolver, insofar as some people call cowardice cunning, but still an absolver.
If we observe his prose, the goal is always the same: to argue that if the X region is attacked by the Neapolitan camorra, the fault lies more with X than Naples. And he does it with several gimmicks, because he is smart, and therefore he is careful not to enunciate this theorem in the clear.
One of the simplest tricks he uses is to say that "X does business with the mafia, so X is more guilty than the mafia, or at least the same". It is a "sandwich" which consists of always mentioning the faults of someone else before and / or after the faults of some of his co-religionists.
For example, if Saviano says that the Camorra earns money in Campania with the lace racket to the shopkeepers, immediately afterwards it will always add (even for free and didactic) that this money will then be invested in some north (northern Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, etc). In this way the message is simple: “look, the fault is not the Camorra. If it were not for those wicked who accept their money, the Camorra would needlessly enrich in Campania, where money as it is known does not give anyone any advantage ".
In the same way, if any region in any north is infiltrated by the Ndrangheta, someone could say that it is the victim of an institution that came from outside: to avoid this danger immediately after Saviano will say that they are not doing enough to combat the phenomenon. If they weren't prepared, it's not because they never had the problem before the problem came from outside, but because they fail to repress it because they persist in thinking that the problem comes from outside. Which is a fact.
Again, the message is "The Ndrangheta in Calabria would not exist if Berlin did enough to fight it". The real problem, that is, is Berlin. As is known, in Calabria there would be no Ndrangheta without Berlin. Moral of the story, the Ndrangheta is a Berlin phenomenon. And clearly the Calabrians are not to blame, because they have always adequately fought the phenomenon: if you are looking for accomplices, you should certainly not look for the Calabria.
The thesis that absolutist writers try to demonstrate is very simple: if you want to look for the Mafia, the Camorra and the Ndrangheta you don't have to look for the places where they were born and where they evolved, but in some "north" guilty of doing business with the Mafia or even all over the world. But not there .
In short, use the absolutory technique that journalists call "sandwich".
I even read, in one of his books, a funny "sandwich": there was a Venetian entrepreneur who had sold waste to a storage company owned by the Camorra, but was believed to be from Puglia, but he specified himself immediately (as if it were important) who was born in Veneto . Nobody thinks badly. A bit like doing in Italian newspapers when specifying the nationality of criminals.
Another constant of the absoluters of the south (from / to Ferrante to Saviano, but they are only two examples) is that the peoples of southern Italy seem to be the only ones without free will. In their books it is always absolutely clear that their free will has been captured by several entities.
In the first place there is degradation.
Judging from the descriptions one would say a kind of fluid that embraces every local architectural element, and forces the population to perpetuate it . The members of the local population never choose to perpetuate degradation, it seems to perpetuate itself and never to be the result of the free will of the locals. If the inhabitants of the place seem to help the degradation to perpetuate it is never a symptom of evil or guilt: to hear the absoluters, this fluid takes control of their actions, and this absolves the population in the most absolute way. It's not their fault, it's the fault of degradation.
Saviano is not alone: in Ferrante's books (*) it seems that the fault lies with the air, to the point that the protagonists seem to come out of their sad destiny by going to a place where the air was better, cleaner , brighter. The fact that they have also turned away from people who are shitty shit on a white wall of humanity seems secondary to the problem of atmospheric gases, which instead are the main culprits of all that goes wrong in that place. But, of course, not the people. Those have nothing to do with it.
In second place is a system . Everyone seems to obey this pervasive and omnipresent entity, which in some way is made up of stones, roads, bureaucracies, but never by people. And even when people are part of it, they never chose to be part of it. It is not possible to say that the politician or bureaucrat who propagates this system is guilty, as they are gears of the system. And being gears they are completely free of free will. And consequently, they are all acquitted.
This obviously does NOT apply to all the "north" (Lombardy, Germany, USA, etc) who "do business with the mafias", because obviously all the others have free will: notoriously in Germany there is no bureaucracy and there is no there is no such thing as a system, and all bureaucrats have wide discretion. (Especially the Beamters , LOL). And the entrepreneur from the north who has chosen to "do business" with the mafioso makes a free choice, while the mafioso who is on the other side is not, since he grew up "in the degrate" and "surrounded by a system".
For the absoluters, the average man from southern Italy is always free of free will (therefore acquitted), in a world of wicked or indifferent people who instead are guilty because they have free will.
When you read the books of absolvers, the feeling you have is this:
If we isolate southern Italy with a wall that prevents some North from "doing business with the mafias", the mafias would immediately cease to exist, since in the south NOBODY does business with them.
If a hypothetical dictator were to solve the problem of degradation, he would have to annihilate this fluid that is in the air, in the stones, in the houses, in the mentality (another entity that has nothing to do with people), but should not touch the people : those are not to blame.
If a hypothetical dictator were to change the system he would have to touch the bureaucracy, politics, the economy, but not to touch the people , who are not guilty because it was the system.
In practice, you now know where the theses of the Neo-Bourbons come from. They are nothing but the theses of the absolutist writers: all the evils come from outside, and even if there are local evils they are however transcendent and therefore people have nothing to do with it.
But there is a reason why I don't believe in these theories. I am an expat.
And when you're an Expat you see a strange phenomenon.
Some Expats who come after you ask for help on the various groups, asking you how to comply with local procedures to be in order . Or they ask for advice on how to find a regular job, to have a regular life.
Others arrive and ask how you can find other Italians, to whom you can ask for an apartment to rent "annero" and a job always "annero". In other words, they are seeking, on their own initiative and without necessity, an irregular life. In choosing whether to follow the rules or not to follow them, they choose NOT to do it and to slip into a ghetto of black jobs, black rentals, favors of a friend.
And this is free will. There is'.
I also have serious doubts about the "system". Because I have seen people arrive in a different system, and immediately try to rebuild the Italian one.
Anecdote. I saw a manager arrive here, who as soon as he arrived he invented a way of asking for holidays which consisted of printing a request on paper, signing it, making a photocopy, and then bringing both photocopies to the signature (physical, on paper) of the manager.
In practice, he was trying to replicate here (in an IT company, however), the bureaucracy that is called the system . The funny thing is that when he was told that the system was "little IT", the reaction was to switch to an Excel sent in CC to a tot of people, who had to reply to the email with the approval.
It lasted six months. His successor, who is named Thorsten to understand us, asked for a form on Exchange to fill out a calendar. His first reaction was "but do you really think I waste time with all this" piggy "? (when you put the word pig in front of something, in German you are making a derogatory, like when you say cold pig in Italian: for example schweineteuer indicates a repugnantly dear thing)
Moral: not only is it not the system that makes people, it's the opposite, but those people try to reproduce the system wherever they go .
So no, I don't believe in the absolutory thesis.
Neither to that of Ferrante nor to that of Saviano.
Which remains, in my eyes, one of those many smart people who made money by selling indulgences .
He only applied the method in a less religious way.
(*) I say about Ferrante because I happened to write a 4-handed book with a woman, Averno, and I learned to distinguish the parts written by a woman and those written by a man. The brilliant friend is clearly written in four hands by a woman and a man. Maybe I should write "gods" Ferrante.