Sunday, November 28

Berlusconi's Folly

When I first came to Italy as Director of a small U.S. subsidiary, one of my responsibilities was running the factory in Southern Milano.  I had long-suspected that the (3) workers across town did not actually labor a whole lot, and it wasn't just for slow sales.  So, I'd often pass by, unannounced.  One day, I found them kicking around a soccer ball - inside.  So that explained the broken windows so high up.
Filing a complaint with their union - I was told of their defense in the whole matter:  It was my fault for having caught them in the act in the first place.

And so it comes as no surprise when Berlusconi takes the same tact over the perfect storm of events that seems to be crippling the country.  In the sex scandal & gaffe-ridden Premier's mind, it is the foreign media in cohoots with the opposition that is contriving to make an embarrassment of the country.
Why in the world we'd all want to see the world's favorite country brought to its knees goes unexplained.  But in short, it's our fault for finding him out.

Berlusconi is correct - if it weren't for the EU magnifying lens holding them to task along with the instant global reporting from the web, many things, from the earthquake in Aquila, to his latest sexual escapade, to the Camorra's grip on the country, to the felling of the domus in Pompeii would hardly get noticed.  But to think that everyone wants to see the country fail is delusional, at best.

The reason why these things get hyper-reported, say, versus some wild turn of events in France or Spain, per se, is that Italy is a place which everyone - everyone - holds dear to their hearts.  Italian immigrants contributed to their host countries 'round the world, the Italians & their style, their food, their families, their church, even, not to mention their historical legacy (in the very least for engineering & architecture) from Ancient times on down are all things we can all be proud of.
And so, its failings are all the more heartfelt, more disappointing, more unnerving to the rest of us.  It's as if the dear 'ol dad to whom you always looked up as a role model and symbol of perfection -- for his style, charm, wit, success, traditions -- turned out instead to be a philandering money-launderer, like Parmalat's Calisto Tanzi.

The problems besetting Italy are all real.  From the corruption at every level of government (on all sides), to the nepotism, the scandals from nearly every sector of society, the dual plague of tax evasion & illegal construction, from the crumbling of its ancient artifacts & modern institutions to the mounting of its rubbish -- we all want to scream, "Viva l'Italia!'   
Just put an end to all this nonsense and show us what you can really do -- just say no!  But it needs to start with the leaders - across all facets of life - to set the example, and not by screaming out their entitlement from the rooftops of their fabulous low-rent apartments or from the windows of their wasteful 'blue cars'.  Their age-old profiteering from the public sets such a cynical example, that it infects every other citizen, from the heads of hospitals right down to the guy who delivers your mail.  
image from
While it's true, their failings are oft-reported, Italians are at the head of many successful enterprises worldwide.  This weekend, Geneva's Large Hadron Collider started to unravel the secrets of the Universe - and Italian researchers (including a woman) are leading the way.  As Sergio Bertolucci, Director of Research commented, "We are a perfect example of how competition & teamwork combined are the key factors in the success of our field of work."

Not only in the field of Physics, caro Bertolucci.

But for your paesano & Prime Minister, Berlusconi, Italy's problems need not be in the spotlight -- all the better to hide them -- So the country -  windows broken & poor productivity - can keep up the charade of its beloved Bella Figura.  Media Mogul Berlusconi - would be wise to heed the advice of the Editors at The Guardian, with regard to the Wikileaks fallout:
"The job of the media is not to protect power from embarrassment"


Ggnitaly84 said...

I had to repost this blog on FB..brilliatly said... I agree 150% ...

Dave514 said...

Good one! What' a "blue car?"

Irreverent Italy said...

Gli Auto Blu - are those thousands of screeching dark blue cars with screaming sirens that halt traffic when accompanying any low life politician (or their mistresses) to events large or small. It's a huge costly perk that since Ancient times (they were probably blue chariots) have been in place.
Italy has more Congressmen than any other country, each one with an Auto Blu combined with all the local politicians in every little town. It's a disgrace. I've blogged about them in the past.

Dave514 said...

So that's how Fix It Again Tony sells all those cars every year!

Irreverent Italy said...

Official estimates puts them at around 350,000 - now, Berlusconi's Internal Affairs Minister - Brunetta - says he wants to cut them. I hope he succeeds.

But, yes, in almost every Italian company, they have fleets of cars going to upper managers - used to be all FIATS - in a case of keeping the industry alive...

Anonymous said...

you are brilliant!

AleC said...

1. the title BUnga BUnga Nation is highly offensive to my nation, especially as it is not close to reality.
2. the way women are seen in Italy is a long history and does not involve in any way Berlusconi (who's one of the best old men linke...d to a pleasure of having and loving beautiful womena and who he respects, and he relates very well with women at work and in his company there's no sexism nor in his parliament)
3. agree the way men see women in Italy is medieval, work needs to be done to get them out of the stupid role of pretty dolls,,but women in Italy keep a special type of power, and Berlusconi and his gov are doing so they have more. the TVs are commercial tvs and do what people like/buy (former commercial TVs were worse, may I recall you)
4. the fact that the ranking has gone low is due to unemployment historically hitting women first, so due to the crisis, nothing to do with Berlusconi gov and the correlation between the two makes this article another mischievious irrespectful articles on my nation and my premier.

Irreverent Italy said...

Cara -

1. While I don't think Newsweek (see article, right column) is fair to compare Italy with Scandinavia, hiding behind "It's our culture" keeps women in their shackles just like women in the burkha.

2. The way women are seen in Italy IS, indeed, a result of a long history - which, if it weren't for the silent compliance of otherwise intelligent women and mammas who raise male chauvinists by catering to their bambino's every need, rather than teaching them to respect women for more than Prime Waitress and Eye Candy, then we would, like they said in America's '70s, 'Have Come a Long Way, Baby"

3. Hugh Hefner from Playboy is one of the best old men linked to pleasuring women - but he never tried to be a Statesman. Sorry, every man in his place (and, the same goes for Bill Clinton). If you can't keep it in your pants, don't run for Public - I repeat, Public office. Especially while pretending to be church-observant and a husband.

4. No sexism in his parliament? You're kidding, right? By simply stating that he only hires beautiful women, is sexism. By stating his economic plan for women's advancement is 'Marry rich'
is sexism. By making obscene comments to Rosy Bindi for her looks is sexism. By leaving Chancellor Merkl waiting while he takes a call is sexism...The list goes on...and on.. and on..

5. Italy is medieval & the treatment of women portrayed here takes the cake. But it's not until otherwise smart women stop making excuses for bad behaviour as being 'cultural' or, stating, 'boys will be boys' as an excuse and starts raising equal-minded bambini, will this ever change.
This is like the women who compare mistresses to see who's husband has the best hotty (up until the 1990s and probably still existent).

As for TV, look at Prime Time. Big Brother& all the commercials have only gotten worse - the RAI used to not even have commercials. It is the biggest influencer, and it's up to Italian women to put an end to this disgrace.

As for Bunga Bunga, who knows? It sounds good.

And finally, in defense of WILD PARTIES, Berlusconi doesn't have Feste Selvagge, like the papers are reporting. The correct translation would be, Feste Scatinate.

In any case, it's not decorum for a Head of Government, and you will never convince me otherwise. He should be a media mogul like Hefner or Turner and leave the Italians alone to ruin or build their image in their own likeness-not his.