“If you invite to eat, the diner knows that he will have a very unpleasant hour. (…) He can put his hands on your plate at any time, take your food without asking and put it in his mouth ”. Alfons Quintà, the protagonist of this event, was the antonym of Bill Murray, of whom the legend circulates that he can come to your table in a restaurant, steal a potato chip and tell you: “No one is going to believe you.” We believe in Quintà because Jordi Amat tells it with great conviction in The driver’s son, an important and almost unique book of its kind.
Quintà was the first director, founder and ideologist of TV3. His were the backbone ideas that it broadcast in Catalan and that it aspire to journalistic excellence (Pujol, in principle, wanted it in Spanish and more local, to win over the Charnega parish with propaganda). Amat presents him to us great, Machiavellian, wild, violent and tyrannical.
In a fiction, Quintà would be almost obliged to redeem himself in one last gesture of greatness. In reality, his miserable life only meets an abject end. As I read it, I was looking for a single noble trait or reason why someone might love you, and I found nothing. More devastating was identifying other Quintà that I have suffered in and around the newsrooms. Sweetened, not so extreme, no bulimia, but recognizable and crisp. It is a recurring personality type in journalism and in politics. Less and less, because we are becoming civilized, but every journalist has had his own Quintà. That is why I wonder how many scabs of romantic complacency to scratch and how many times we have to refute Kapuscinski’s false axiom that cynics are no good at this trade, lest the pantagruélic tyrants feel so comfortable in what used to be called a room. power.