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Italy Explained

Friday, November 04, 2011

Beppe Severgnini, author of Mamma Mia!: Berlusconi Explained for Posterity and Friends Abroad, and columnist for Corriere della Sera, Italy's largest daily paper, talks about Italy's politics and place in the European debt crisis.

Guests:

Beppe Severgnini

Comments [15]

Steve from New Haven

There's a term in Italian, "faccia tosta" (bald facedness), and we see extremes of that today. If the head of a communist party can have a 50 foot yacht, what hope is there from the left?
Just recently the menu from the Italian senate surfaced, and the prices are ridiculously low. These are two examples of why Berlusconi's removal will not be a solution, because the problems of Italy are a question of culture.

Nov. 05 2011 11:30 AM
khadija from brooklyn

Un delice! relistening to program. Thank you. k

Nov. 04 2011 09:09 PM
LT from NYC

This reminds me of living in Italy as an American from 2005-2008 when Italians continually asked me, "How could your people re-elect Bush??" And I could only respond, "I DIDN'T VOTE FOR HIM! Don't lump me in with those people!"

Likewise, there are many, many people in Italy who hate Berlusconi, especially those in Florence, Tuscany, and Emilia-Romagna (traditionally leftist regions).

To express their disapproval, they regularly deface Berlusconi billboards in the most clever ways imaginable.

One of my favorites during one of his campaigns read: "Easier adoptions for everyone!" and by changing just a few letters it became "Easier erections for everyone!"

This link has plenty of good ones:
http://www.beginningwithi.com/italy/living/politicallanguage.html

Nov. 04 2011 10:48 AM
DMarie

To say that they get the government that they deserve is not exactly fair. (I don't think that we get the government that we deserve here.) There was a great movie called "Videocracy" that came out in 2009 that shows part of the way in which Burlosconi came to and remains in power.

Nov. 04 2011 10:42 AM
Tom from Upper West Side

Brian,

Once again, you have proven that "hilarity" cannot be guaranteed!

Nov. 04 2011 10:41 AM
lucia from NYC

Mr. Severgnini is right about Berlusconi and most of his comments, except that he doesn't really know the American system and therefore minimizes the American problems and corruption in the American system, which in certain ways are more dangerous because they are often hidden. Italians tend to idealize this country and it is often based on their lack of true knowledge about it. The fact that Italy has so many people who openly criticize the politicians and are incredibly vocal is one major difference between the U.S. and Italy. Italy still has a left, tho it has been weakened, while the U.S. has not really had one since the 40's.

Nov. 04 2011 10:40 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

The man keeps getting elected because he controls virtually all of Italy's media - Rupert Mudoch's pipe dream. He should stick to running AC Milan.

Nov. 04 2011 10:36 AM
Robert from NYC

Richard hit the nail on the head. Bravo Richard!!

Nov. 04 2011 10:35 AM
Robert from NYC

I'd like to know why I never see reference in the media to how Berlusconi, according to my impression, often emulates Mussolini with is jestures (arms crossed across his chest) he facial expressions, his weak yet noticeable fascist salute, and his attire (he wears black shirts often).

Nov. 04 2011 10:34 AM
Leonick

Can your guest discuss whether Italy's poor economic prospects, cultural stagnation, and low birth rate are connected?

Nov. 04 2011 10:33 AM
Robert from NYC

Boh! He isn't tan, he's painted orange and his hair is painted on his head.

Nov. 04 2011 10:30 AM
Robert from NYC

Berlusconi is filth, sporcaccione schifiltoso, he's been such for probably always and how he has wooed the Italian public with smoke a mirrors (probably the same that he used at his bunga bunga parties) says as much about the Italian electorate as the election of W says for the American electorate; all caused by the money hungry and the stupid. Peccato.

Nov. 04 2011 10:29 AM
JP from Terra non firma

Rather than the Mafia questions, which I find at times really offensive and tedious since the ratio of known mafia and affliates to native italians is 1:11,000.
Rather, I would like to know where the power center lies now. With Draghi @ the Central Bank cutting rates and Tremonti trying to reform the tax codes, can Italy forstall external market credit decisions which may force it to the brink. How much collateral do banks have to back stop their holdings in Greek debt ? Does he have any idea about the holdings of Money Markets here in the US with Italian debt?

Nov. 04 2011 10:02 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The pope traveled to Sicily a few months ago and preached against the mafia and related organizations. It seems they affect organizations in other countries as well.

Nov. 04 2011 09:30 AM
RJ from Short Hills, NJ

Sorry for this question, but would love to know If there are Mafia still around in Italy, specifically Sicilian. How much influence do they have on the politics of Italy. And is Berlusconi involved in this kind of activity. thanks

Nov. 04 2011 08:25 AM

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