The Pandoro Case

On the Society of Appearance

We examine the Pandoro case involving Chiara Ferragni, as it serves as an opportunity to shed light on the shallowness prevalent in modern communication. Beyond its facade, it conceals a fraudulent side often overlooked. Although we value independent thinking, so influencers are not for us, it seems people love them.

The controversy

Ferragni collaborated with Balocco, resulting in a pandoro, usually priced around 4€, sold for approximately 9€, promising a portion to charity. Despite a previous donation of 50 thousand euros by Balocco, no additional proceeds were given. Journalist Selvaggia Lucarelli raised concerns about misleading advertising. So, the case exploded. Yesterday, with fake-natural makeup and donning a grey shirt against a neutral backdrop, the influencer apologized in tears on her social media account.

Paolo Ercolani: highlighting the broader context

Amidst this controversy, Paolo Ercolani, a philosopher and Professor at the University of Urbino, provided insights in “Il Fatto Quotidiano.” His article unveiled the true nature of social media, and we couldn’t agree more. In fact, the Professor does not judge the influencer herself or her misleading advertising practice. Specifically, he directs attention to the broader contexts enabling deceptive practices and influencers to thrive.

We quote Paolo Ercolani:

“What is deceptive is rather what Guy Debord called in 1967 the ‘society of the spectacle,’ in which ‘the truth is a moment of the false’ and the spectacle itself turns out to be ‘the affirmation of appearance and the affirmation of human life, that is, social life, as a simple appearance.’ Ercolani adds, Debord tells us no more than this: ‘What appears is good, and what is good appears.'”

via “Il Fatto Quotidiano”

Ercolani emphasises that Ferragni has already triumphed. Whether erroneous or deceitful, her actions have catalysed immense media attention. She has won because people buy – in huge quantities – products she endorses. Categories like truth or falsehood have become fluid in our society, like other categories.

According to Debord, Ercolani writes, “The spectacle subjugates living men to itself to the extent that the economy has totally subjugated them.”
Modern capitalism was based on a “degradation of being into having,” while postmodern capitalism transitioned from ‘having’ to ‘appearing’ – where those who appear gain, and those who gain, appear.

Eventually, Ercolani pinpoints two prerequisites for this lucrative system:
First, a passive public opinion reduced to connected automatons devoid of critical thought.
Second, an inadequate political class, ‘boiled’ and kneeling to the dictates of finance. Therefore, unable to counteract this trend.

Modern communication and capitalism

Modern communication in the hands of a few people fosters misleading practices. Unfortunately, charities (and non-profits) are the new frontier of capitalism, another way to make money.
The solution? Since the political and corporate realms prioritise power and profit, we do not trust them much. However, we believe education stands as a beacon for enlightenment and change.

So, we thank “Il Fatto Quotidiano” and Prof. Ercolani for their insightful analysis. But also for introducing us to Guy Debord and his “The Society of the Spectacle.” It prompts us to explore its contemporary relevance.

Ultimately, we hope the Pandoro case serves as an eye-opener, urging a reevaluation of our perceptions.

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The society of fake needs

Human needs: are they real or fake needs?
Apart from the basic ones – essential to grant a decent life – human needs involve things that should improve our lives.

But, century after century, individuals have become needier. Or, to put it another way, we have just become spoiled. And if we add a high dose of ignorant and selfish behaviour, easy to detect in our society, the big picture becomes worrying.

We live for instant satisfaction, avoiding caring about the effects of our actions. Among those side effects are issues like global warming and garbage, so much that droughts have increased and the oceans are full of plastic.

Whether it is a sign of malaise or a sign of stupidity, this behaviour isn’t healthy. Therefore, some questions arise: do we really need all the products we consume? Or are ads just building fake needs to make money?

Advertising makes people believe so many things, and they buy without questioning. For instance, according to adv, we need vitamin supplements (all packed in plastic boxes). But the only thing we need is balanced nutrition, unless there are health problems, of course.
They make us believe we need expensive anti-wrinkles, even if nothing will erase a single wrinkle. Only plastic surgery can do that, another one of the crazy modern needs. And, it seems we cannot miss things like water added with hyaluronic acid or yoga pants. It’s a mystery how people could have practised yoga so far!

Also, they make us believe we need a new smartphone every year, so congrats on Chris Evans, who kept the same iPhone for seven years. Hey, seven years! We thought we were the only ones!

Do we need all those things advertising tries to sell?

Surely not. Indeed we built a society of fake needs. And it is the byproduct of a capitalist model, which puts a cage around us. But, at the same time, we talk about sustainability. Or a worldview that, if taken seriously, has nothing in common with capitalism.

Now, we should open our eyes and learn to discern rather than believe whatever they say. Being able to discern implies thinking, which is always a good exercise. And learning conscious purchasing and thoughtful consuming habits if we want the human race to continue to exist.

Dedicating particular attention to the impact of our actions on the environment is crucial. It will help us understand that with fake needs, we go nowhere.

Learning to make better choices is the way out.

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The truth about sustainability

No rules but much fluff!

Labelling products as sustainable is mainly a marketing trick, so let’s uncover the truth about sustainability. Although people believe that products marketed as sustainable are effectively so, the reality is much different. And when renowned experts in the field point it out clearly, we really appreciate it.

The Portas Pov is one of our favourite newsletters. The last one released was about sustainability and how tricky the topic is.
We quote it:

“But the reality is that, right here and now, there are no rules: no governance defining all those fluffy green terms. No legislation keeping businesses in check. So, all these words and phrases that the fashion world is co-opting with such success – sustainable, natural, “made from ocean plastics” – are, in large part, meaningless.”

The truth: sustainability or greenwashing?

So is it sustainability or greenwashing? A transparent message or a trick to sell more?

Indeed, there is no interruption with our previous post about a very timely and provocative show: “The end of the world.”

In fact, the story continues right on the same line where two main factors strive: first, the lack of responsibility. Whatever we do, we do not hold ourselves accountable. Like we could go on wasting, polluting, discarding, and then maybe move to another planet. Or, we just do not care about leaving an open-air landfill to our children. Enjoy life and leave them the troubles!
Second, is our industrial society or an economic system known as capitalism. This, in other words, means constant growth based on unstoppable productions and rabid consuming habits.

One factor is ingrained into the other: an eternal lack of responsibility coexists with a capitalistic society. And one supports the other.

Whatever the political side, governments will hardly have the capability to do something because those who move the pawns are the ones who own the money. They stay behind but will never change because they have no interest in doing it.

How to change

Labelling products as sustainable will not change things. Indeed, these are just meaningless claims. If we want to be 100% sustainable, the truth is we should not produce a single new thing! Which is impossible.

Therefore, the best possibility is to change ourselves, our behaviour, our perspectives, and our lifestyle. Sticking to our values and our accountability is where our power resides.

Don’t buy everything!

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The dark side of modern society

Scanning the dark side of fashion, we came across a document released by ASPI – Australian Strategic Policy Institute – “Uyghurs for sale”. This detailed paper leads to a sad reflection on modern society and its economic system, capitalism. A system that can thrive only by exploiting people and the planet.

The Uyghur minority

Uyghur is an Islamic minority from the far west region of Xinjiang. The Chinese government has facilitated Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens’ mass transfers from Xinjiang to factories that operate in the supply chains of about 83 well-known brands.
In China, 80,000 human beings live in segregated dormitories subject to constant surveillance. Put through ideological training outside working hours.

Fast-fashion brands are made in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam. Well, not only fast fashion brands! Therefore, we naively thought it was mainly a fashion-related issue. But learning about that horrific condition, we had to change our mind, as often happens.
Going through the pages, ASPI named various global brands, not only from the fashion field but technology and automobile too, and, of course, we know them all pretty well.

Fashion or modern society?

The dark side of fashion, that was supposed to be the point. At least we initially believed it was a matter that identified one industry only. But, in the end, we acknowledged that there is a common thread that links all manufacturing, the whole economic system. Capitalism, indeed.

Although we believe it is crucial to uncover fashion issues to move towards a better society, it is clear that exploitation, environmental impact, disposable goods, and lack of inclusivity, are issues that regard our modern society in full.
Perhaps, it is not about fashion but human behaviour, the greed that characterizes and dominates our economic system.

The truth is that society needs new slaves to flourish.
This must stop.

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