History has just been made: An Italian politician just went down for his sexual picadillos, in what is a very first for this country. I mean, we’re talking about the place that gave us Caligula, Popes with 17 kids, Caesar & Cleopatra and then Marc Antony & Cleopatra, and Emperors gifting sumptuous villas for their mistresses. It was the Italians who remarked upon seeing photos of Gary Hart on the ‘Monkey Business’ with a pretty blonde (who was not his wife), that he most likely would have lost his candidacy if he’d been on the Monkey Business and not tried something. And so, catching Marazzo, the Governor of Rome’s great Lazio region with his pants down and taking the fall? This is nothing short of monumental.
Has Italy suddenly become prudish? Not if you count the numbers of men (and women) who back Berlusconi’s affairs as a sign of his ‘virility’. No, with all the drama of an Italian tragic opera, it wasn’t one of your plain vanilla puritan American affairs; getting caught sleeping around, or paying for escorts, or getting blown in the oval office, or even chasing pages (these transgressions don’t even cause blips on the radar screen). He was caught – on tape – shacking up with transvestites. But that’s only the QuickRead version of the story. It grows more complex by the minute.
What started out as his ‘personal weakness’ for the likes of Natalí and Brenda, later involved four Carabinieri policemen who filmed him in the act (for whom?, one might ask). He tried offering them hush money. The film supposedly ends up, however, in the hands of one of the huge media outlets – who warns him about it, rather than publishing it. That person is also the one running the country, Berlusconi. Speaking of Prime Ministers, the building is the same one in which Aldo Moro was famously held prisoner before being murdered. The same neighborhood where Italy's Secret Service purportedly own 22 other apartments (begging the question...did they murder Moro?). Or, did the Carabinieri have ties to Rome's local mafia, the Casalesi, and is it true, they have other hot videos (involving other ex-Ministers)?
As the climax of Marazzo’s personal and professional life is spent as fast as a man after well, climax, he's taken a leave of absence from his job. Unfortunately, just when Berlusconi’s men are maintaining a public campaign to halt absenteeism for false maladies – Marazzo goes home and gets a note from the doctor. The opposition cries foul, and presses for new elections – surely to win.
And, speaking of Berlusconi, the spotlight's now off the uncannily quiet Berlusca and his escorts, and shining brightly on the left, where the dirt is so murky, his own affairs pale by comparison. Hmmmmm...those accusations now seem like fun foreplay when set against the after-glow of Marazzo's transvestite trysts.
Shakespeare set his plays in Italy, for all the intrigue and fascination the place obviously held even back in his day. But Shakespeare, if he were alive today, could never have predicted such a convoluted unfolding of events.
As for me, since the days of seeing Gary Hart's Presidential campaign go impotent, up to John Edwards' premature ejection from public life, I still can’t figure out for the life of me, why public figures don’t keep their privates private – at least for the time they’re occupying a public office.
p.s. You can read an update here:
In a great show of support, opposition politician and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi has stated that the video will not go published on any of his media outlets. Yet another genius move by the great Chess player.
Birds of a feather...