The Italianist

Things That Happen in Italy

Prime Ministers Vs. God

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We all know that one of the main reasons why Berlusconi is a great politician is because he can talk to people with people’s language. Rather than using complex jargon that normal citizens could not understand, he appeals to everyday talk, so to reach the hearth of his beloved, and loving, voters, I mean compatriots.

Such approach was made immortal when Berlusconi famously defined himself “a worker President”, namely a usual worker paid 800 Euros per month, who nonetheless finds himself to be a billionaire, the owner of most of the media, and the country’s ruler.

He loves going among his own people. He does not like it very much when others talk: however, when it comes to him talking, he does perform at his best.

Last week, a video appeared of one of these political performances, which took place in L’Aquila, Italy, just before the G8 meeting in July 2009. The Italian PM, during one of his, at that time, frequent visits to that earthquake-striken land, hangs out with a group of military, and decides to tell them a funny joke, a specialty of his.

The joke, unsurprisingly, hinges around Rosy Bindi. This is Rosy Bindi:

She is the not-so-charming female politician from the Left, who Berlusconi has targeted several times, once famously saying that she was more beautiful than intelligent. In L’Aquila, he could not help going back to his repressed sexual desire for her.

His witty joke, still referring to Bindi’s lack of those political qualities that he cares about, has however a surprising conclusion: it ends with a profanity that the subject of the story utters when facing Bindi’s ugliness. In fact, the core of the story lies in the subject saying “Orcoddio” when seeing her, which literally translated means “God is a pig”. This is what in Italian is called a “bestemmia“. A short film of this comic intercourse between Berlusconi and the military can be found here. Funny enough, the movie ends with Berlusconi telling his audience “You won’t betray me, will you?”. Sadly, someone did.

Berlusconi’s perfection notwithstanding, someone might have felt not at ease. Italy is, first and foremost, a catholic country, hence it should not let profanities go uncondemned. Furthermore, Berlusconi opponents could have stopped boiling children for a moment, pointing out to the fact that in Italy profanity is a crime, hence Silvio could face the legal consequences of his witty joke.

Thank God, or pig, the Vatican stepped in to have its influential voice heard on this question. Monsignor Fisichella was quick to specify that things ought to be “put into context”, and that we should not “instumentalise” an event without looking at the particular circumstances.

But how do you put into context a profanity? And, most of all, isn’t this a case of what His Infallible Sanctity the Pope has condemned as “relativism”?

Apparently, not. Catholics, as usual, if you’re awake send me a signal.


Written by TheItalianist

15/10/2010 at 19:56

2 Responses

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  1. Prime Ministers Vs. God…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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