In recent years, it has become increasingly evident how digital influencers are able to politically orient public opinion, often more so than traditional journalism. Putting aside those who, like Fedez, have obtained a following on social networks on the basis of their success in the world of show business, on the left, personalities like Lorenzo Tosa, Saverio Tommasi and Fabrizio Delprete have created a following of hundreds of thousands of people directly on the web. Their success derives from polemical posts packaged in such a way as to receive great visibility, focusing more on emotions than on reason.
But in addition to influencers who dominate on "Facebook", "Instagram" and "Twitter" there are also youtubers, who are also able to reach a very large audience and, in very rare cases, to monetize the content they publish in such a way as to - if not become rich - at least earn enough to live off of this. An example is provided by Giovanni Pizzigoni, aka GioPizzi, a Milanese youtuber with more than 440,000 subscribers to his channel.
Who is GioPizzi
Born in 1994, he started doing this job in 2013 talking about pop culture and doing voiceovers, but later he specialized on political current affairs, with a perspective close to the Radical Left. Based on his success online, he has also published two novels.
One issue he particularly focused on is the generational clash between young and old in Italy. He argues that the older generations want to take the future away from the young and do not understand thier reasons. Starting from this assumption, on November 23, 2021 he published a video entitled "Il vittimismo dei vecchi con la favola del politicamente corretto" ("The victimhood of the old with the claptrap of politically correct"), which in less than two months has already exceeded 180,000 views. As with Zerocalcare, who in May 2021 with a comic story in "Internazionale" belittled the scope of cancel culture, here too it is necessary to analyze his statements to explain why he is wrong.
What GioPizzi says
GioPizzi begins by picking on the boomers, accused of thinking only of their own interests to the detriment of the younger generations. A shareable point of view, if it weren't for the fact that immediately afterwards he brings up the theme of political correctness, regarding what he sees as the reluctance of the old to confront cultural changes regarding gender and identity. And here we see the first contradiction: on the one hand he accuses them of dismissing progressive battles "with irony and sufficiency", but on the other hand he dismisses concerns about the drift of these changes as the paranoia of old people unable to keep up, without taking into account the fact that many young people do not share progressive ideas.
What does GioPizzi ignore
Another contradiction is found in his accusation to those who challenge political correctness of not studying and informing themselves about new issues. In the same way, in fact, he himself does not seem informed about the drifts that certain issues have taken abroad: for example, he makes no reference to the case of J.K. Rowling (who for having said that transsexuals remain of the biological sex at birth has received many threats, to the point that trans activists have spread on "Twitter" her home address to indicate her as a target) or to that of the comic book artist Frank Miller (who was kicked out of a comic book festival because he was accused of Islamophobia, ironically just a few months after Zerocalcare explained to us that cancel culture is just a myth).
Among other things, at one point the youtuber starts talking, in a generic way, about "Dragon Ball": which is ironic, since the famous anime series was recently censored in Spain and Argentina for accusations of sexism.
GioPizzi makes the same mistake as Zerocalcare, focusing almost exclusively on the Italian context and neglecting what happens abroad. It's true that in Italy, TV infotainment often releases even boorish opinions because they make more audience than elaborated thoughts, and censorship is fortunately at minimum terms compared to other countries. If we look at what happens in the Anglo-Saxon world, which in the long run exerts a significant cultural influence on Italy, it is a different matter. Moreover, GioPizzi rarely cites specific examples, but prefers to talk rubbish just like the television exhibitionists he criticizes so much.
When he talks about culture, he dwells almost only on television, dealing much less with print and digital journalism (where progressives prevail, so much so that according to a 2019 Columbia University study, Italian journalists were the most left-wing in Europe); yet he downplays the influence, even on television, of figures like Roberto Saviano and Michela Murgia. In particular, Saviano can express his opinions without contradiction or almost, as he did recently on "La7" at "Piazzapulita", when he claimed verbatim the right to implement a hate campaign against Giorgia Meloni.
GioPizzi's partiality is also perceptible in his conceptions of right and left: for him the Democratic Party is a party of the center/center-right, according to him guilty of not fighting enough for ius soli. Similar positions he had also expressed in another video on the upcoming elections in France, where he defined Macron as "right-wing" despite being a centrist who had previously served as Minister of Economy for the socialist Hollande.
Since in many Western countries young people tend to be more left-wing than the average population, even voices more authoritative than GioPizzi have tried to exploit the phenomenon of the inter-generational clash for political purposes, and in the most unlikely ways. For example, an editorial published on November 16 in the "Guardian" by the British political scientist David Runciman, that seriously proposed lowering the minimum voting age to 6 year olds, with the excuse that young people are not represented and that we need to make democracy more inclusive, has caused a stir.
Such a statement would only make one laugh, if it were not for the fact that the writer of such a statement in one of the most widely read newspapers in the world is a professor and former head of department at the University of Cambridge, as well as a recurring signature of the "London Review of Books", the most important English literary criticism magazine. Moreover, although both the "Guardian" and "International" are theoretically against populism (right-wing, less so against left-wing populism), in the article Runciman made repeated recourse to the concept of "one is worth one", which in Italy has been the basis of the populism of the Five Star Movement for years.
In short: the video adds nothing new to the rhetoric of newspapers that address the new youth Left, such as "Vice" or "Valigia Blu", which deny the problem precisely because they see it in a positive light. In order to demonstrate that political correctness exists and is not a paranoia, it is necessary first of all to make the necessary distinctions between the Italian context and that, for example, of Anglo-Saxon countries, citing cases such as that of Rowling or other individuals who, for their opinions, have suffered unjustifiable wrongs.
Another distinction that must be made is between what is said or done with the specific intention of offending (like calling someone a "nigger" or a "faggot") and what is not said with the intention of offending but is only interpreted as such by the interlocutor. Because in the first case it is a duty to condemn hatred, but if you condemn everything that is "interpreted" as offensive, then no one is safer.
Giornalista pubblicista, ha scritto per le testate Mosaico, Cultweek and Il Giornale Off. Laureato in Beni culturali (Università degli Studi di Milano) e laureato magistrale in Giornalismo, cultura editoriale e comunicazione multimediale (Università di Parma).