The memory of Michele Murgia from those who knew her intimately, between childhood smiles and words whose weight multiplies, from intimate to collective
First time on instagramlike two normal kids. Only you were the intellectual being interviewed, and I was the journalist who was interviewing you about your new book, shut up, an essay capable of explaining male chauvinism in a way that few people have managed to do in Italy. There was a lockdown, I was in Camogli, you are in Rome, and our live conversation on the channel Fashion brought you closer to our readers than ever before, according to the messages of admiration we received after the live broadcast. Because it was one of the things you were good at, among many: reach out to everyone, be popular and cultural at the same timeto clearly vivisect the distortions and shortcomings of modernity without being pedantic or difficult. You were and still are an anti-trombonist, the opposite of an intellectual who takes it lightly and welcomes it. But, despite the fact that you were among the people, filled the theaters and catalyzed the attention of social networks and television venues, you were and remain the opposite of populism. Because the rhetoric never belonged to you, the thought came out pure and crystal in words, but it was just a thought, not a stomach, and even when (often) he turned to politics, he did not feed on other people’s approval, did not look for an easy consensus, he did not used marketing and communication course formulas, and so for that very reason it worked as a catalyst in an even more destructive way.
This direct Instagram brought us closer, and during the physical and virtual meetings that followed, I felt that ant before giant (okay). An understandable feeling. You have written dozens of books, including novels and essays. Each word of yours weighed like a hundred, and for someone like me who lives among words, the feeling of admiration risked surpassing the true feeling of exchange. The enthusiasm you showed in accepting the idea interview with Chiara Ferragni for the October 2021 issue, even if you seemed too, too different to many, it says a lot about your approach to culture and what you could do for people.
Your sympathy and your sympathy calm the interlocutors. So it happened to me, who from admiration went himself without realizing it into friendship. Long-distance friendships, which, as expected, were fueled by professional relationships. Because you loved Vogue and enjoyed working with us. You told me about your depression after too many hate messages received on social media because of your political stance, and the long period you had to stop speaking and speaking out in order to mud car escape released to those who are now writing, posthumous, mournful and christian messages. After an interview with Ferragni, you decided to share your comeback to the stage with us, telling me: “There is only one thing you can learn from someone like Chiara, and I realized that sharing my personal life has value. Also there confession of weakness it must be managed in a politically meaningful way. Prophetic words, looking back.
Flash forward. October 2022. I’m in Rome for an event and we meet for breakfast at my hotel, a nice habit we’ve managed to develop in a short amount of time. Naturally, sipping cappuccino, you let me know that you had metastases and that it was necessary to be treated, but the doctors were optimistic, and you, who firmly believed in science, could not help but be. You felt in safe hands. Long live chemistry, long live public health. During the next walk in Trastevere, your district, you showed me not only wonderful churches (my boyfriend and I admired the golden mosaics on the pews, you read an essay, the title of which, unfortunately, I don’t remember now), but above all this public park. that you were proud of because citizens like you managed it withthe exact intention is to make it inclusive and welcoming for both the homeless and children, civil intervention “from below”, in short.
In the following days, with a clear political will, you began to show on Instagram not only your madness. passion for bts (“Are you sending me to Korea to interview them?” you sometimes asked with the enthusiasm of a fifteen-year-old nerd) and a “sexist review” in which you atoned for years of silence about the damage done by patriarchy to women and LGBTQ +, but also your steps to the hospital for treatment. Who knew, he understood. The rest guessed, or maybe not. I want to think, however, that I was setting the scene. Before we said goodbye that day, I jokingly mentioned that I was going to send you to Korea. You took me by surprise: “People think my biggest dream is to be in BTS, but in fact, ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to travel on the Orient Express.” At that moment, I felt Merlin’s hat fall on me: “I know how to grant this wish,” I rejoiced. Your face opened up one of those disarming smiles like when you were a kidwith eyes full of stars. The rest is history. Indeed, this is a good report that you have written for Fashion in June. And a photo of a multi-faceted headpiece that you bought specifically to wear when your hair was about to fall out, and then also printed on the shirt from your recent collective wedding. God Save Queer.
Another jump in time. Another trip to Rome, another breakfast. We are in April this year. 26th, to be exact. I remember this because after my interview with Ellie Schlein, the #color-alignment scandal just broke out: I got a little scared and you gave me accurate tips on how to deal with the media storm, you made sure I was calm and refreshed before saying, “My cancer is in stage four, there is no going back, I have a few months left.” From that moment, your every word weighed not a hundred, but a thousand thousand. I remember them all and I think they will remain as viaticum because that is what you wanted to do by making your illness public in a few weeks in a politically significant gesture: you wanted to leave a legacy. Tools that will open the mind and help us confront injustice, distortions, threats with the same force as you. Indeed, what you have. Because “those you love don’t die” as the title of a good book by my friend Mario Fortunato says. And this sentence today speaks about you.
Talk about your strength, your irony and freedom that’s what you taught us, and here I’m moving from the personal to the collective, because I know you’ll love it, Michela. To my dear friend who brought us together and told me (as well as many others) that this is a very dark time, I would like to respond with a phrase from Peter Cameron – I read it yesterday in one of his novels and today I understand why he had to hit me: “The streets of our heart are poorly lit and dangerous, at pedestrian crossings all the traffic lights are yellow and red.” Michelle, you you will continue to light the wayto change the color of the traffic light. Because you were and still are a beacon.
On Vogue.it you can also read:
“Thank you Michela”, in memory of Francesca Ragazzi, head of the editorial department of Vogue Italia.
Michela Murgia’s wedding. Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri wedding dresses for the whole family in the perfect queer spirit
Michela Murgia and Chiara Tagliaferri inaugurate Book Fair 2023
K-pop idols are the new fashion icons. And Michela Murgia explains why
What are queer families? Books and podcasts to understand this (and understand that this applies to all of us)
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