“The Society for the Implementation of Christmas Consumption has launched a campaign to push the Destructive Gift!” (…) “The important thing (…) is that the Destructive Gift serves to destroy articles of every sort: just what’s needed to speed up the pace of consumption and give the market a boost…” Italo Calvino, Marcovaldo
How do you destroy Paul Krugman and John Maynard Keynes and Thomas Piketty? Turns out its really not that hard, as long as you don’t really try. Pick up a simple novel by an Italian novelist that brims with sarcasm and irony and wit; the rest will happen naturally.
Marcovaldo is a poor Italian man, father of six and husband to a toxic wife; that is it, that is all. Nothing more and nothing less. Oh, I suppose those looking for meaning would say its a treatise on urban poverty in poor Europe; the oxygen-less, humorless Marxists probably will try and portray it as a manifesto on the plight of the hourly worker and his struggle against the upper classes.
Truth of the matter is that it is only a comical and naive story about the travails of a poor man in a country that has never been rich. Common struggles of those who do not look for significance beneath every filthy layer of life’s travails and who don’t see ‘the specter’ of anything in the daily situations that confront the less-than-well-off; a quirky little story told without judgement and without the veneer of self-righteousness which is the hallmark of a great writer.