Tag Archives: berlusconi


I’m not going to even pretend that this will be easily comprehenisble to those without a command of both what’s going with Berlusconi these days and the Italian language, although the Corriere‘s English language edition — serviceable but nothing compared to examples like Germany’s Der Spiegel — can elucidate here.

Benigni once again proves he’s one of Italy’s top satirists, taking the PM down on a variety of levels.  If it just seems silly, then at least skip ahead to 3.23 where he starts dancing around.

Weekly digest: more Berlusca, the seriousness of ‘bunga-bunga’, more rain, and more Republicans

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday

It’s been awhile and no updates. Yet, in the US we’ve had the midterms, which happened pretty much as predicted, and here in Italy Berlusconi again dominates the headlines with another sex scandal. At this point I’m so fatigued by his scandals that I’m withholding comment until I figure out just how much of a survivor he is. Needless to say it’s hard for me to imagine a gulf of power any greater than that between the Prime Minister of a G7 nation and an undocumented 17-year old immigrant. It remaines whether Italians will let this distract them from the many economic and domestic crises that threaten the bel paese or whether this will galvanize them into action. Of course my weariness is probably not atypical.  American writers often assume that the next scandal will be the last straw —  wouldn’t it be at home? — but only a few seem to understand the lack of clear alternatives and the cynicism that has permeated Italian politics for the last twenty years.  British writers, however, often do.  The Telegraph has all you really need to know to understand the events of the last week.   And if reading an Anglo-Saxon male writing about the Italian politics seems odd to you, then the Guardian weighs in as well with the powerful voice of Maria Laura Rodotà of the Corriere.

As a side note, I’m thrilled to hear that the unctuous Lele Mora is under investigation.  No one who has seen the scenes in Videocracy in which Mora, puffy and dressed all in white, in an all-white room in an all-white house, celebrates Mussolini with a fascist cellphone ringtone and introduces his young musclebound brainless tronisti proteges, would disagree.

Of course, as a longtime Italian-observing friend of mine quipped, if Berlusca had sprung for the quick release of a Moroccan man from jail, then his popularity might really flag. But the PM is hasty to admit that hey, at least he didn’t do that.  His exhortation that loving “pretty girls [is] better than being gay!” got the headlines and got people out to protest as well.  And produced a spew of plays on words: “better gay than Berlusconi,” “better gay than fake daddy” (playing on the nickname that the previous sex scandalizer Noemi had for the PM).

On the upside for happenings meneghine, I was pleased to see on a recent walk down via Manzoni that La Scala is doing Lulu this season. Now how can I get to it?

And in happenings Venete… wear your rainboots, avoid back roads, and keep your livestock on high ground.  Rural areas experienced terrible flooding this week, not as far south as Rovigo, but around Padova and Vincenza.  Bertolaso, seeming to be in both Naples and the Veneto at the same time, is on the scene.

Of New Princes

Not anymore...

I realize how remiss I’ve been to have a blog on Italian politics without addressing, at least directly, the very acute crisis that Italian politics is going through right now. Angelo Panebianco’s front-page editorial in yesterday’s Corriere directly assigned the problem to factionalism. The following quote jumped out at me:

In the early ’60s, in the years of DC, Italian politics was judged incomprehensible by then-American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Things have not changed much. Why are Italian politics so opaque for voters? Because, in a democracy, transparency and the comprehensibility of politics is inversely proportional to the number of factions present in the game.

Well, I’d never heard that rule before, but I suppose it fits here. While not uniquely Italian by any means, it does encourage one to look back at one’s Machiavelli. I cribbed the following quote from Bufacchi and Burgess’s excellent Italy Since 1989 (in case those of you following my Twitter feed have been wondering):

Having carefully considered the subject of the above discourses, and wondering within myself whether the present times were propitious to a new prince, and whether there were elements that would give an opportunity to a wise and virtuous one to introduce a new order of things which would do honour to him and good to the people of this country, it appears to me that so many things concur to favour a new prince that I never knew a time more fit than the present.

What was true in 1513 and 1989 still rings true today. It is clearly time for a new prince, and how this unfolds will be interesting. What it will change, of course, remains to be seen, though — in many ways I feel that Berlusconi has become a sort of bugbear for the left (as evidenced by films like Videocracy, which is not bad in and of itself but which seems to ascribe far more sinister powers to the prime minister’s lowbrow TV shows). Will Fini as PM wake Italy up? He does at least boast a book and a think tank to his name — as well as, of course, the oft-cited fascist roots. We shall see.