Is it too cynical to suggest that if Pier Paolo Pasolini were alive today he would have mellowed to such an extent that he would be making rom-coms with titles like Mussolini's Gay Island? Probably. Had he survived I bet he'd be making short clips for Italian Funny or Die.
How messed up is Italy after its most recent election? How about, "The results have created the remarkable possibility that Italy could find itself next week without a government or a pope." Or, "Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani and resurgent ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi may be seeking to avoid a ballot that would favor populist Beppe Grillo, whose movement was the top vote-getter in its first national contest…. Recession- scarred voters repudiated budget rigor and made Grillo, a former comedian, a political force. In the four-way race, Bersani, the pre-election favorite, won the lower house by less than a half a point. Berlusconi, [...]
Can Italy change? Tim Parks addresses the question here. Meanwhile, guess who this passage is describing: "When he is perorating about the inadequacies of the Italian constitution, he leans back in his yellow silk sofa, right ankle on his left knee, and runs his hand through his hair, like an emperor surveying his slaves. But when he has a meatier point to make, a defense of his sex life, for example, he leans forward and thrusts his hands up and down between his legs as if potting a large plant."
Is this the end for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi? Having already asked that question approximately 7000 times in the last two-and-a-half years, I am not prepared to say anything definitive, but it's not looking good. For Silvio, I mean.
"Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Undersecretary Carlo Giovanardi said the government will study if it’s feasible to conduct drug tests on stock- exchange traders, with the help of the Milan Bourse and the country’s market regulator. Giovanardi, who is in charge of family policy and drug prevention, said that the abuse of drugs including cocaine might explain part of recent stock volatility."
Guy Whose Job Is Putting On Face Paint And Frightening Children Resents Being Compared To Scary Old Man
"The head of Germany's most prominent circus has criticised Social Democratic candidate Peer Steinbrueck for comparing the clown profession to former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi…. 'Being a clown is an honorable, very difficult, sensitive and artistic occupation,' he said. 'How can you compare that with bunga-bunga?'"
Do you speak German? No? How sad for you. I do. And I have done you the favor of translating the narration of this incredible video of 26-year Lutz Eichholz his friend Stephanie Dietze unicycling in the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy.
Eicholz: "Attention! I am Lutz Eichholz!"
Dietze: "Unt I am Stephanie Dietze!"
Eicholz: "We are German unicyclists, who have come to Italy to teach our neighbors to our south an important lesson about the value of austerity."
It's not just Greece where the established political parties are losing power. In Italy, comedian Beppe Grillo, "who rails against their corruption and ineptitude and says Italy should default on its debt and quit the euro is going from strength to strength. In local elections on Monday, Grillo's Five-Star Movement shook Italian politics by winning control of the northern city of Parma and several smaller towns, capitalising on voter discontent with economic stagnation and austerity." Grillo was the subject of a terrific New Yorker profile a few years back; it's worth reading again to see what he's on about.
Mario Monti, the Prime Minister of Italy, spent New Years Eve at home with "his wife, their son, daughter and respective partners, Mrs Monti's sister with her husband and four children aged between one and six." His wife served dinner. God, Italy, it's like I don't even know you anymore.
It's Silvio Berlusconi's greatest comedy hits. The article omits a lot of his "ladies from the opposition are so ugly" bits, but there's enough here to give you a general sense of his material.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's latest album was supposed to drop in September, but has been delayed "out of deference to the political and economic crisis engulfing Italy." There"s no word on when the record, titled Silvio Berlusconi Does Sex To Your Ears, will see a release. Unlike Silvio, who is probably seeing one right now. (Kidding! The record is really called Ho lasciato i soldi sul comò, or True Love.)
"WITH his ratings at record lows, scandal-hit Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi today quipped his party should change its name to 'Go Pussy!' in the latest gaffe likely to incense swathes of voters."
"An article on Friday about voter disillusionment ahead of parliamentary elections in Italy — where a party founded by a comedian, Beppe Grillo, was drawing strong support — referred incompletely to the reason Mr. Grillo’s conviction for manslaughter prevents him from serving in Parliament. It is because his party’s bylaws do not allow it; there is no Italian law prohibiting convicted criminals from serving."
"The coming election campaign will be, above all, a test of the maturity and realism of Italian voters. One could feel more confident if they had not on three occasions chosen Mr Berlusconi as their leader."
— News from Italy (@newsfromitaly) February 9, 2012
This is what happens when you turn your government over to a gaudy prima donna whose contempt for civility is only surpassed by his own self-interest—the whole goddamn system falls apart.
"Berlusconi's political agenda is very clear: he has been reported as saying that his party will 'unplug Monti's government life support whenever necessary'. And this is likely to happen as soon as his name rises in the polls again. There couldn't be a clearer indication of Berlusconi's plans: in the expectation that Italians will quickly forget the incompetence he displayed while in power, Berlusconi hopes to lead his party to success at the next general election in 2013. Those who had hoped that Berlusconi would finally withdraw from politics to write his biography will be sorely disappointed."
"Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he will step down after the next budget is approved by Parliament, a statement from the president's office said Tuesday, marking a painful end to his long dominance of Italian politics." OR IS IT?
"When one of my guests said 'Are we going to have some bunga bunga after dinner?' they were just talking about dancing. I never took part because I have vowed never to dance. I have not smoked since I managed to save my first business adventure from an inglorious ending and I don't gamble since I risked making a fool of myself with a professional card player and I don't dance since I promised a friend who was dying, that if they lived I would not dance again." —Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who insists that he would never allow sacrilegious behovior in his home, explains that "bunga bunga" [...]