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Giuseppe Cruciani

Giuseppe Cruciani, from provocations to realizations

by Monica Landro

Written by Monica Landro

With his ever-sharp microphone and innate curiosity, Giuseppe Cruciani is not only a name on the radio but also a writer and columnist who has shaped the way news is delivered. With his sharp and biting ways, he knows how to extract the most incredible stories from ordinary people, turning every news, interview or opinion into an experience to be talked about, for better or worse. His frankness and cheeky wit allow him to tackle controversial topics with a unique style. He is not afraid to express his point of view, even when this means breaking the mould and challenging conventions.

You do provocation radio. Are you provoking because it works in the media or are you provoking because you are provoking by nature?
I can’t give an answer. I think I brought out the best in myself by not being afraid to say what I think at a time when Italian radio presenters objectively – with rare exceptions – were traffic cops, that is, people who managed traffic without exposing themselves on the various topics. I, on the other hand, did this before the age of social media, which allowed ordinary citizens to say what they want.

La Zanzara on Radio 24: How do you approach your show? How do you prepare it?
There is no concept of a show. The programme is a flow that is carried on from the beginning of the season, although it is clear that there are specific things that happen within the single airing. But we try to create catchphrases or topics that maybe we drag along for a week. The episode is prepared on the basis of a totally unpredictable dynamic between David Parenzo and myself: sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t. We go free-form. We don’t know what will happen. What happens is thanks to the phone calls that arrive at the La Zanzara phone number. Based on people’s moods and suggestions, I build the programme.

Giuseppe Cruciani

Giuseppe Cruciani

So you make the difference?
Yes, people listen to me, to Parenzo, to the characters we bring to the radio, to our opinions, to the dynamic between us, to the provocations we trigger, to the battles we wage, to the arguments with listeners, with public figures.

Why do people love you, why do people hate you?

Those who love me do so because they are dealing with a transparent and intellectually honest person, who does not lie, who does not hide from respectability, who breaks certain taboos,

who tries to go beyond the mainstream, who accommodates people that others do not want to accommodate. Those who hate me do so because they think I am vulgar, that bad language, bad manners, bad example prevail….

What are your values?
My basic value is freedom, in the broadest sense of the word: freedom of expression at the highest level, individual freedom that comes above everything else

 I do not have an idea of an ethical state, I have an idea of exaggerated but virtuous individualism, which can save you from so many restrictions, from those who want to impose behaviour on you.

You defend freedom and not prevaricating but when you talk about vegans, you jump out of your chair…
Not any more! In the sense that it is a subject I have dealt with for a long time, but it no longer has the same force of impact as before. It is a subject that I have turned into a struggle between freedom and fundamentalism, that is, those who want to impose a lifestyle on you thinking that that is the most virtuous and the most profitable in the world, is more right than the wrong attitude which is to eat meat.

Giuseppe Cruciani

Giuseppe Cruciani

Lets talk about books: you wrote one about vegans, one about the Messina Bridge project, the Cesare Battisti case, investigating political and social topics. Then in 2020 you wrote the book ‘Naked, the sex of Italians’. What urgency prompted you to talk about that?
My books grew out of my radio experience. When at a certain point we started reporting on sex in all its dynamics, I turned all the interviews we did, all the issues we dealt with, the sexual perversions we analysed, the analysis of fixations, manias, transgressions, and turned them into a written story.

Since you are investigating them, what is your greatest transgression?

My greatest transgression is to have realised that monogamy is against nature.

Our brains over the last 50 years, maybe more, have been calibrated by the idea that a relationship with a person has to be monogamous, whereas it turns out that monogamy is a great illusion. Monogamy of the body can also be overcome while monogamy of the heart is more important. Fidelity of bodies is a chimera that we have but is almost always belied by facts.

So you are not faithful…
Never been faithful!

Let me get this straight: you mean that there can be one affection of the heart and then several people in the physical aspect at the same time?
Yes, you can love one person but sleep with others without this love being affected. This is something that happens to us all the time even if we struggle to accept it. If we accepted it, we would live better.

Is there something narcissistic about this?
Narcissism is being self-centred, which is not a bad thing. Selfishness, in a good sense, is the engine of the world.

 I hate proclaiming yourself humanitarian, sympathetic, empathetic by force. Narcissism I think is a form of self-esteem, it’s not that bad.

Giuseppe Cruciani

Giuseppe Cruciani

Is there anyone you think you should apologise to?
I apologise to all those people who have not understood my behaviour and with whom some bitterness and points of conflict have remained. But I think that if you talk to each other you can perhaps understand the nature of certain attitudes that have to do with people’s character. I used to tend not to explain, to vanish when it came to personal relationships, but I think I have corrected this over time. 

Have you achieved any awareness?
Yes absolutely. Years ago I was less attentive to certain balances, I would throw myself into things without thinking too much because I liked the idea of always upsetting. Today that bit of rationality has taken over, I think about it a bit more before doing something. I realised the importance of stakes, which are needed to have a creative drive. That is to say, creative impulses arise from the fact that you have stakes, so you know that you can’t do those things and so you try to do other things.

So you turn them into opportunities?
Yes, I used to think that they were simply limitations and as such should be torn down instead the stakes, which always exist, serve to invent other things.

“Does ‘politically correct’ mean that you use good manners, a certain politeness in saying things, or is it social censorship?

Political correctness is terrible social censorship.

It’s a great limitation of individual freedom because when you identify someone as homophobic or racist simply because they use a language different from yours, then you never know where this censorship ends. Today they censor words, sayings, define some things as sexism or racism, tomorrow maybe they think that saying ‘beautiful woman’ is no longer possible because you put the word ‘beautiful’ next to the word ‘woman’, and qualifying it as such could be a negative thing that does not highlight the characteristics of a woman as a thinking being and as an intelligent being. One must look at the substance and not the form.

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