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A racist, moi?

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The Italianist is suddenly awaken from a year-long slumber by the recent statements of Arrigo Sacchi.

Sacchi was the coach of, among others, A.C. Milan football club in the 90s, when the Milanese team was practically undefeatable. He also led Italy through to the final of the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the US, sadly lost to Brasil after a particularly uninspiring match (which ended like this).

(However, someone has questioned whether the 1994 performance was the result of Sacchi’s coaching skills, or of mere luck).


Sacchi is now under fire for some comments he made at the end of a tournament for young players in Viareggio, Italy. He denounced his malaise at seeing too many black players. He said: “I am not a racist. But there are too many foreigners!!” To prove that he was no racist, he added: “I have coached Rijkaard“.


This is Rijkaard. Look how black he is!!

Having clarified he is no racist, Sacchi then went on to explain that “it is a shame to see so many black players in our youth teams. We [the Italians] are a people with no dignity, nor pride for our own country”. A racist, moi?


Written by TheItalianist

18/02/2015 at 17:16

Posted in Ma che caz..?

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People who vote for Berlusconi are often the target of curiosity and/or negative comments. How can they, the comments go, keep voting for such a dodgy character? Are they missing something? Have they been brainwashed into loving him regardless of the truth?

No one can answer these questions, unfortunately. But certainly, these voters are not stupid. Certainly, they are not prone to misunderstanding what’s happening around them. Certainly, they double check facts before letting go of their emotions.

Except, today they did not understand that Berlusconi was actually being condemned, at last, for fraud. So, “Silvio’s army”, as they named themselves, celebrated his acquittal, and chanted “Silvio, Silvio!” in the streets of Rome until, finally, they realised that they hadn’t got what was going on. Oops.


Written by TheItalianist

02/08/2013 at 20:03

Bunga Bunga Condoms

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In the last 12 years, a new word has entered te international vocabulary as a synonym of ‘Italy’: after pizza, mandolino, mafia, now we also have “bunga bunga”.

For a quick review of the words’ meaning, click here (yes, it’s even got its own Wikipedia page. And doing a google search on it can keep you busy for a good 10 minutes). So much is the folklore attached to this expression, that people have tried to use it for business purposes. Here and here are examples.

Enters Nicole Minetti:



These two pictures refer to her before and after meeting Berlusconi.

After much ado, and in the effort to clear her own image from the allegation that she was organising the infamous bunga bunga parties, and providing ladies for the ex-PM’s pleasure (more on this here), Minetti has made plans to re-establish her image once (if) she will leave politics. She has just deposited the trademark for a new line of condoms.

The condoms’ brand? Bunga Bunga, of course.

Written by TheItalianist

26/07/2012 at 23:44

Zen and the Art of Tone Moderating

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The recent events in Italy have caused some turbulence in Italy’s political class. First, Berlusconi has resigned as Prime Minister, an event that led to celebrations in the streets of Italy unseen since the 2006 Football World Cup Final. Given the lack of success of Italian football teams, politics gave the Italians a chance to feel pride at their country again.

These celebrations have been immediately condemned by important newspapers such as Il Giornale, owned by Silvio Berlusconi, for their aggressiveness, vulgarities, and display of hatred. What was overlooked by the important newspaper was the image of members of Berlusconi’s giving the finger to the crowd in front of them as they were leaving Palazzo Grazioli after B’s resignation.

Second, Mario Monti has been appointed as new Prime Minister. Monti is a man whose character  could not be more different from Berlusconi’s (hopefully). In the current economic and political turmoil, there has been a general appeal to follow his example and “moderate the tone” of the discussion, the latter being an art in which Italian politicians have never really excelled (see the previous video).

Take Francesco Storace. A man of the Right, member of the now-extinct Alleanza Nazionale, ex-ally of Gianfranco Fini (who last year, for a moment, looked like Berlusconi’s main antagonist), Storace is famous for his reply to a journalist who once asked him to say something right-wing: “You faggot!”, he said, to fulfill the journalist’s request.

Storace, like many others in Italy, struggles with moderating the tone of the discussion. Two days ago, at the convention of his political movement La Destra (“The Right”: one can imagine the massive brainstorming they had to go through before picking this name), while talking on the stage, he openly attacked Fini, yelling “Now you must resign too! Now you have to become unemployed too! You must go get a job! Pig!! Pig!!!” The crowd in front of him cheered and clapped hands – surely in a moderated way.

Interviewed on Radio24, Storace minimized the event. “I did not say maiale (pig), I said meno male (thank God)”, he said, laughing. The interviewers laughed back and replied “Come one, be serious: you’ve said some pretty serious stuff about the third figure of the State” (Fini is the President of the Chamber of Deputies).  After a few more jokes, Storace concluded:

“I did say maiale, but I did it unbeknownst to me”.

(The audio interview, in Italian, can be found here.)

Written by TheItalianist

15/11/2011 at 05:33

The Right to Be Forgotten

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The Italian Government is always working hard to improve and polish the legal system, so to facilitate the pursuit of justice and to free citizens from the shackles of bureaucracy. This time, the Northern League, who prides itself of having, among its members, the Minister for Legislative Simplification, has come up with yet another valuable law to protect citizens’ interest.

The proposal, advanced for the second time after a first, failed attempt in 2009, aims to protect “the right to oblivion”. It comes from another fine politician in the Northern League, Miss. Carolina Lussana. This is Carolina Lussana:

The picture portrays her altruism at work. During a vote in the House of Chambers, she is pressing not only her own button,  but also that of someone who does not participate in the vote. Some would say that what she is doing is illegal: however, as I explain below, the right to oblivion will guarantee that this picture will be removed shortly in the near future. So look at it until you can.

Carolina Lussana is concerned with a great anomaly of the Internet: when someone commits a crime, it is possible, years later, for people to find out about that. Hence, she is now fighting so to guarantee that, after a certain amount of time, the information (texts and images) about someone’s crimes will not be accessible anymore by the public.

The core of the argument is the following:

Some people, let’s face it, violate the law. Some, as it happens, pay for their crimes. After they’ve done so, if one keeps talking about those crimes, he or she violates their privacy. If, to give an absurd example, a man corrupts a politician to win a contract, and he is then condemned, then how could one justifiably look him up on the internet, years later, to find out about his past crime? We need to limit the access to this kind of information, so to limit the “suffering of the person who committed the crime, and of his family”.

Carolina Lussana highlights the dangers looming behind technical advancement: “Before the advent of the Internet, the echo of one’s judiciary happenings disappeared reasonably soon, as soon as the interest of the local and national press for that particular fact had gone down. Yet, nowadays, any fact can remain forever on the web, unless the webmaster intervenes to remove it.”

She argues that the left-over of one’s illegal deeds ought to be removed from the internet within a time that varies according to the crime committed. Thos who refuse to forget others’ crime, and keep information about them on their website, will incur a fine between 5,000 and 100,000 euros.

The story, in Italian, can be found here

Written by TheItalianist

12/04/2011 at 05:45

I did vote for Berlusconi, didn’t I?

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The Italian Newspaper La Repubblica points out an interesting fact about Google Translate. If you type in the sentence “Io ho votato Berlusconi”, Google translates correctly with “I did vote for Berlusconi”.

But if you write “Io non ho votato Berlusconi” (“I did not vote for Berlusconi”), Google gives you the same translation as before: “I did vote for Berlusconi”.

The same happens for translations from many other languages. However, if instead of Berlusconi, a different politician’s name is put in the sentence, Google does translate correctly. More details here.

Willing to improve my English, I just went on Google Translate, and tried myself: however, the mistake pointed out by La Repubblica does not seem to happen. What does happen is, nonetheless, that when you write ‘Berlusconi’, the translation is slightly awkward (“I do not have voted Berlusconi”), whereas it comes up correctly (“I did not vote for X”) with a different name.

Why does Google get things messed up when it comes to him? Who’s been fecking around with the translations of Berlusconi? According to unofficial sources, the Mafia has been hijacking Google Translate, so that people cannot get it right when they write about Berlusconi in other languages, thus undermining the Italian PM’s credibility abroad.

Don’t know what happens with the other languages.

Written by TheItalianist

08/11/2010 at 15:37

Posted in Ma che caz..?

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Discounted White Deaths

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A worker from Albania died while at work in a building site in Northern Italy. He fell off one of the scaffoldings. In dealing with the compensation claims for the victim’s family, who lives still in Albania, a judge yesterday ruled that they should be given 1/10 of what is normally paid to the family of victims who are Italians.

That is correct: a judge ruled that the company that hired the Albanian, and that was responsible for his death due to scarce health and safety regulations, will have to compensate the victim’s family, but will have to pay less than what they would pay if the worker had been Italian. The reasoning behind this decision is that the worker was from an “economically depressed” country, and the compensation claim of the family should be adjusted to the economic reality of Albania. So, for example, if in Italy you need 1000 euro per month to survive, and in Albania 100 euro could be enough, then an Albanian should receive 1/10 of the compensation owed to an Italian.

We are talking about compensation for death. We are talking about people  who work as much as the Italians do. We are talking of people who are exposed to dangerous working conditions because their bosses do not want to waste their money in safety regulations. Now, a judge says that the parents of a worker at work should be paid less so to avoid the risk of “unjustified enrichment”. That’s true, look what these immigrants invent in order to steal our money: they come here and work 14 hours per day, then at some point they jump off the scaffolding so to extort money from their bosses. Damn you, immigrants!

Luckily, justice is in place to defend the country. A judge has finally established that there is no need, for building companies, to raise their safety standard by investing money in safety measures. Quite the contrary, they should simply hire more immigrants: they are much much cheaper to refund. And the boss’ one, I’m sure the judge would say, is a justified enrichment.

It follows, then, that if then worker, who dies in Italy, was from the Emirates, or from Monaco, or from the Vatican, then his/her family should be paid 10 times more to reflect the economic reality of the country of origin. So, maybe some priests are rejoicing at this legal ruling..

For more on “white deaths“, a typical Italian phenomenon, see here.


Written by TheItalianist

25/10/2010 at 19:25