Wednesday, May 6

What's Love Got To Do With It?

When you first break with tradition, it often comes accompanied by a soundtrack similar to a herd of elephants in a china store. I’m thinking of things like, oh, little black girls attending a white school in America’s south, the investiture of a gay Bishop, the end of Apartheid, or even the first sounds of Elvis’ form of Rock n’ Roll.

And so it is, in a country heaped in tradition when it comes to making and breaking marriage vows (both done with impunity), that the very public divorce proceedings of Silvio & Veronica will be providing gossip columnists and politicos with tittle tattle for years to come. Such an audacious break with tradition has not been seen since the very married Julius Caesar brought Cleopatra over for a shopping spree in downtown Rome (and look where that got him).

This is not France – a country where the mistress and the matron can share a funeral procession; or when one presides over the wedding of someone they will soon bed – publicly [although one has to hand it to Sarkozy, like Elizabeth Taylor, he prefers to marry his lovers].

In Italy, there are a few rules regarding the holy bond of matrimony:

1. Never air your dirty laundry in public. Never. Not even to your best friend. Found your husband in bed with another man? Just respond “Tutto bene, grazie.”

2. Make vows, getting married ‘under the eyes of God’, after all, no one else is looking when you flaunt those same vows with your endless affairs.

3. Everyone knows you’ll be having affairs, and people talk candidly about them, even showing up for public functions, amante in tow. Mussolini, Agnelli, Mastroianni…right down to your local bank clerk.

4. (Try) and stay married, despite these indiscretions, for the good of ‘La Famiglia’. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is the order of the day.

So, what gives?
It’s not that the megalomaniac showman couldn’t keep it in his pants – after all, no one expected him to. It’s that he so audaciously chose to flaunt his affairs, his courtesans, his political promotion of hotties, his supposed virility so publicly.

But the Head of State being sued for divorce is simply unheard of. If anything, it’s the man who runs off during the throws of a serious midlife crisis (reference Pavarotti), leaving la mamma to tend to the nest. Obviously, living in a gilded cage now that the kids have moved is more stressful than we think.

But, one thing I know for sure: Thomas Friedman (NYTimes) often asserts that the greatest energy force in the whole wide world, stronger even than bonds of undying love, is a lack of dignity. Take away that, you unleash a hailstorm of fury – if you lose your dignity, you have nothing to lose.

And in this, with Silvio strutting his stuff, while popping Viagra 24/7, he has insulted the very dignity of the sales clerk-turned-Prime Minister’s Signora (for whom he divorced his first wife).

Obviously, Mr. Berlusconi does not know the old adage,

Hell has no wrath as a woman scorned.


Dave514 said...

Adter the divorce, to Italy's greatest shame, you'll still have Silvio, Il Duce, Berlusconi as PM.

Still, I try to keep up, on Italian politics and the crooked politicians through Beppe Grillo's blog.

It would seem that with Silvio's control of the media and of both the House of Deputies and Senate he can do anything he wants at least for now.

I feel for Italy as I feel for any one party controlled system there's no balance to prevent megalomania.


Anonymous said...

Whoa. Thank youuuuuu, Fran.

cuz liz said...

The question now is how good is her lawyer an does Berlusconi have the judges in his pocket? I hope she makes a killing! Though I highly doubt it would deter him in the future. Once a philanderer, always a philanderer.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, such a powerful businessman cannot seem to keep a handle on his personal life - as is the case with many powerful businessmen, his ego gets in the way. But she forgot one old adage too.... if you are going to take away someone's husband, he will be probably leave you too because the marriage vows weren't important enough to him in the first place - and most women forget that part in their quest to grab a man. She was the younger gal who wanted to clip his wings but she forgot they usually grow back!
The saddest part of all this is the lack of dignity and the price children (even grown ones) and grandchildren play in all the mess.Life should not be a soap opera!

Jacques said...


the biggest problem (as I see it) is that the Left managed to get elected just a few years ago, and then suffered a sort of "deer in the headlights" stasis and eventual death by auto-suffocation (some would call it plain political suicide).

Through in-fighting, or uncertainty, or timid fear of errors, they were ineffective beyond anyone's worst nightmares. And they still haven't "gotten back on the bicycle" after several years from "the fall". Maybe that was the plan of Berlusc&co all along? Who knows, but they of the Left let it happen all the same...

So the monolithic uncontested approach is actually not any fault of the minotaur "Papi". He just can't stand to see a vacuum and is trying to be helpful, of sorts. He probably wouldn't be nearly so dangerous if he weren't so charismatic and at the same time so powerful (and maybe so ingenuously lacking in moral or ethical values...). And if the Left weren't so self-destructive.

As to discussions about married life, can we please remember that this man was born in 1936 (73 years ago) and his wife is twenty (20) years younger? And they started their relationship in 1980, when she was 24 (and "Papi" ws still married and with two children), and he almost twice her age? Wake up little girl!

Anonymous said...

Irreverent Italy said...

I must say, cute little Noemi sure looks a lot like Veronica did at that age!