Recently there was the earthquake in Abruzzo. And the Italians sent up Berlusconi. I thought, Haven’t they suffered enough already?
Now we criticise Berlusconi but in a sense we shouldn’t. For one thing, he’s here: someone’s obviously voting for him. For another, he’s always smiling (you’d smile like that if you had a girlfriend a quarter your age). But mostly, he’s right for Italy because he represents a classic type of Italian male. Examples:
The news is depressing? His answer: Don’t read the newspapers then. Compare the average Italian news report: two days on the earthquake, twenty years on Valeria Marini.
Or: There’s violence on the streets. His answer: Give us a smile. Compare the typical Italian on Friday: It’s been a tough week, I’ve got no money, my house’s falling apart… But as long as I can share a plate of pasta with my mates, hey…
Or: Italy’s suffering from the worst recession since the thirties. His answer: Can’t be that bad. Compare house prices: they doubled, doubled again, quadrupled, millionupled…
Then we read that as of next year… They might drop by a mighty zero point zero three per cent. And the Italians rejoice.
So maybe we should leave Berlusconi alone. Nobody could be more quintessentially Italian. And that’s exactly what we’ve got: Nobody.