Despite having moved to Austria, both Ilenia and I still follow Italian news. Mostly it’s frustrating (corrupt politicians), or inane (where did the famous people go on vacation, and with who), but if you pay close attention, there are some things that are really odd, from time to time.
Last week, a priest accused of being a pedophile declared that the recent scandals rocking the church are a worldwide “Jewish radical-chic” strategy. When many reacted rather harshly to these words that seemed quite unbecoming of a man of the cloth, he changed his line that what he meant to say was “a masonic radical-chic” plot. Oooo-k…
Prior to that, a center-right politician was caught up in a scandal involving a prostitute and large amounts of cocaine. When asked to comment about his stepping down, a colleague in parliament declared that the real problem was that the poor lonely man was far away from his family, and that politicians who go to far-off Rome really ought to have even more money to bring their families along with them. This despite an extremely generous set of benefits and pay that is proportionally much more than US politicians receive.
Our next bit news comes from the left. The very far left – Italy’s coalition governments tend to include whoever they can scrape up to achieve a majority, no matter how nutty their views, from hard-line communists on the left, to delightful people like Bossi, who got away with calling Afican immigrants “a bunch of bingo bongos” (I don’t see even the most right wing of Republicans getting away with that in the US). Tragically, in two separate incidents, two workers died on the job recently, which prompted a communist politician, Caruso, to declare that the lawmakers behind some reforms to make Italy’s job market slightly less brittle were “murderers”. This was, to put it mildly, not taken well, as one of those responsible for the new laws was assassinated by the “brigate rosse” (red brigades) as he returned home from work one day. The “icing on the cake” so to speak is the language used by Caruso, which sounds like something out of the 1960’s: “these laws are weapons in the hands of the owners, to allow them increase their profits by exploiting and marginalizing the work force”.
Lastly, on the right, the ex-mayor of Treviso, not so far away from Padova, called for the “ethnic cleansing of fags”. He didn’t actually mean to incite violence, he says, just to incite the police to clear out a public area used for ‘encounters’.
What a couple of weeks… Perhaps it’s “the heat” getting to people’s brains, as they say in Italy.