Videocracy (Erik Gandini):


2009’sVideocracy is a favourite. Watching it again now, it only seems to increase in power & relevance.

Burlusconi’s commercial television has been a strong experience for me and my generation. In the late 80s, 20 years old, I moved to Sweden and discovered an inspiring cinematic art form: “creative documentary”. Since then, I have been struck by how television in Italy has become concentrated more and more under the control of Silvio Burlusconi. No other Italian has influenced the content of commercial television, in particular in Italy, like him.

30 years of a TV-flow that is a mirror of his taste and personality… all this raised the question in me: what is the impact on the country’s soul?” – Erik Gandini (director)

wow! A rare creative clairvoyance. Gandini’s masterpiece is so ahead of the curve it yelps.

Videocracy official trailer

The current crisis of reality rape, manufactured retardation, impairing of the senses, fact fucking & cerebral-nerve-gassing that has dawned by-way-of the social media incapacitation putsch had an isolated outrider …. Silvio Burlusconi’s Italy.


An ersatz hybrid of steroidic celebrity, magnified commercial bilge & ballooning quiz toss, reductive dumb-down & “tits & glitz” with the odd shot of acutely simplified “blind faith” political prompting & partisan bias.

A specialized brand of “adult stupidity” was bared, & sprayed over millions of brains via a slew of channels, almost all owned by Silvio Burlusconi (no conflict of interests then?) & “gossip magazines”.

A tableau of tinsel, tabloid, trash & tits, all fronted by the grinning “sun kissed” mogul/president/hoaxer.

Control, political programming, & the systematic administration of the “stupid citizen strategy” or national miseducation directive.

You deliberately cultivate stupidity in your populace so that they are easier to coral, control, dis-inform, divert, distract & exploit.

It was a far less popular affliction back in this era (the documentary was first aired in 2009). self respect, national aspirations, global standing, revered principles of education & potential consequences from an insulted citizenry prevent such an extreme version of “fantasy idiocy” being subscribed/tolerated as an appropriate diet for the countries brains.

But not in Italy.

There is a great segment of Videocracy where Burlosconi, then president of Italy, is vocally derided & mass booed at an official EU convention for the “bunga bunga” brain botching he is extensively engineering at home.

As the feature confirms,

“80% of Italians use the TV as the main source of information”

“in the world press freedom index Italy is ranked 77th“

watching this documentary now, it is hard to exaggerate how starkly it presages the current eruptive effluent in politics & life that has malformed the landscape from the curse concoction of “reality TV”, celebrity stupor, existential prostitution, fakery & falsification of the everyday & the individual, & the malediction of social media whore-out & voluntary self-surveillance ubiquity.

heightened stupidity/ultra-vapid

You watch this guys’ doco now & it is simply jaw-dropping how on the ball he was.

The whole thing is really on the yawning chasm of “post truth” facaelization & the rendering of a kind of personal paparazzi paradigm that has now drowned so much of the public, & private, sphere since the bastard internet took over/invaded so much of our lives, minds & politics.

Again, Gandini has really, really documented the incoming wave, & this documentary remains a critical capture of this phenomenon before the disease fully hit pandemic status.

The Trump parallels are remarkable. & other crisis dreck from the current populist/influencer shit swamp are alarmingly apparent/relatable.

As immense & special as this documentary was at the time, it seems even more pertinent & urgent now.

It is not simply the concept or content that is at play here. The director has delivered a film of fantastic artistic quality (with editing from Johan Söderberg). The soundtrack & its application, the editing, & the intermittent supporting narration by Gandini create an almost avant-garde piece of theatre in itself.

It is incredibly well assembled & has qualities that are also exhibited by celebrated laureates of the craft such as Adam Curtis & Matt Tyrnauer.

& it goes even further.

Kompromat operations, sexual blackmail & intense establishment power broker/favour bank/cronyism chicanery (Lele Mora, a kind of Jimmy Savile, meets Ghislaine Maxwell meets Roger Ailes “king maker” socialite TV agent & Burlosconi crony), elitist network nepotism & cynical celebrity power games & the toxicity of fame & overexposure are expertly examined.

Lele Mora the “kingmaker” … but it will cost your dignity, arse & mind.

Burlosconi’s televised gnarl of celebrity politics & encouraged stupidity was an early portent, along side Ronald Reagan & Arnold Schwarzenegger’s offshoot. Sierra Pettengill & Pacho Velez’s The Reagan Show scrutinised “the actor president” directly, as did Tyrnauer’s excellent four-part The Reagans. Ismaele La Vardera’s Italian Politics for Dummies is also definitely worth your time.

arse for opportunities
Italian Politics for Dummies trailer

& of course, one of the earliest offenders of the illness was Canada’s Rob Ford, aka The Crack Smoking Mayor.

Toronto’s Crack Smoking Mayor Rob For

Trump’s rectal mileage with The Apprentice & other medical waste from his swilling cesspool of entertainment excreta was another mass grooming & ignorance infestation.

The Reagan Show official trailer

Rupert Murdoch has been excreting heavily into the skulls & consciousness of the American citizen (& further afield, including Italy) for decades, leaving an incomparable casualty & uniquely insidious legacy.

Lele Mora keenly shares his fondness for fascism/nazism in the “White House”

More than ever, I think this brilliant documentary demands attention.

Erik Gandini, 2009, Dogwoof

full documentary (but fuckin’ support the creators in some capacity jah?)