jump to navigation

A normal country, a normal electoral campaign February 29, 2008

Posted by dorigo in humor, news, politics.

In a world where standing out is a good strategy in one’s life, in one’s job, in one’s way of living, I long to live in a normal country. The electoral campaign climax in Italy is approaching -elections are scheduled for April 13th-, and inevitably we start to see and hear things we would rather prefer to be spared.

Daniela Santanché, a charming and capable woman who self-proclaimed herself a candidate for premiership by the lone party from the extreme right she leads, declares today that she never had to make compromises for her career, adding -in case one could equivocate- that she never “gave it away” for personal interest. Given the fact that she later remarks she is actually more manly than most men, one is left wondering if she has ever really found herself in the condition of having to make that choice of integrity.

Silvio Berlusconi continues to mistify his observers by acting funny, this time making the “umbrella” with his arms in reposte [italics needed by established reader sensitivity to fancy terms, :o) ] to some offer he did not subscribe to. One is led to remember when he performed in two other pretty italian gestures: the “corna” (in a group picture with other european leaders, see below)


and the “dito medio” (middle finger) – see below.

If I had to make a prediction on the electoral outcome based only on the information above, I would say Berlusconi beats Santanché 3-0 (Veltroni, the candidate of the Democratic Party, does not qualify since he hasn’t said or done anything outrageous yet). Silvio Berlusconi is the one who can capture most brilliantly, with quick and sapient strokes, the essence of the average italian voter. A true Zelig, to which anybody can liken himself. Ms. Santanché, on the contrary, fails to realize that chastity and integrity are not valuable attributes in Italy nowadays: italians have learned the lesson far too well from their leaders of the past, and the perception that the country is divided in mettinculi (“a**-f***ers”) and piglinculi (“a**-givers”) is as vivid as ever.

I still have to see, though, a politician who admits he or she had to exchange sexual favors for a quick career. Now, that would be interesting. I have a feeling that the reaction of italian voters would then surprise everybody. Pierferdinando Casini should really consider that option.

UPDATE: Amara sent me a note on the meaning of the gesture of Berlusconi in the picture above. It is pasted below.

“Italian gestures are a language all their own, and I didn’t know what the corna gesture meant, so I looked it up in an old book that I have at home: _Senza Parole: 100 gesti degli italiani_ (_Without words, 100 gestures of Italians_) by Pierangela Diadori (1985), and scanned a few pages of the relevant portions. For the benefit of Tommaso’s readers, here are some pictures and words and examples for this particular gesture. For those who know implicitly what this gesture means, please correct any mistakes.

To make the corna gesture, fingers up or down, means that you want to ward off a suggested or real misfortune or danger.

If you are directing the corna at someone with fingers vertically up, then you are referring to that person as a man whose wife is adulterous.

These two attached photos likely refer to the first meaning, however Berlusconi is a consummate shock jock, so maybe he meant the latter. And if you direct the corna at a bus driver, you might possibly be punched and arrested.”


1. island - March 1, 2008

HA!… you guys add a whole new extension of extremes to my idea of “normal”… 😉

2. Ed Darrell - March 1, 2008

Normal, indeed!

I hope you don’t mind and I hope you get a couple of new readers; I’ve tagged you:


3. Coin - March 1, 2008

Dorigo, please excuse my ignorance of Italian politics, but this is something that’s been confusing me. Didn’t Berlusconi get recently dethroned as President? How is it he’s now showing up so centrally in Italian politics news? Does he still control his party, or hold some other post that allows him to continue to play puppetmaster (or at least think he does?). What is he running for now?

4. dorigo - March 1, 2008

Hi Coin,

you are welcome… Yes, in 2006 Berlusconi lost the elections, but he continued to lead the opposition. He is just too powerful in his party since he bought it with his fresh money, so nobody dares to oppose him. Now he is again candidate as the next premier, with a “new” party (he changed the name, but the faces are the same).

The only change from the coalition that won the 2001 elections and brought him to power is the loss of Pierferdinando Casini, leader of UDC – a centrist coalition who has the support of the vatican but probably cannot move more than 5-6% of votes.


5. dorigo - March 1, 2008

Hi Ed,

thank you! I will post about somebody tomorrow…


6. Franco - March 1, 2008

1. “Veltroni, the candidate of the Democratic Party, does not qualify since he hasn’t said or done anything outrageous yet.”
This is not completely true. Ask to anybody who lives in Rome.

2. “Pierferdinando Casini […] has the support of the vatican”
Actually, the Pope has his spies in any party, including PD and PDL.

3. The following is in italian due to my bad english (sorry, you can translate if you want). Penso che fino a quando la destra e la sinistra faranno a gara per candidare grandi menti del calibro di Aida Yespica, non c’è verso di risolevare le sorti del paese. Credo che la loro interpretazione di “quote rose” sia “più zoccole in parlamento” (chi può biasimarli?!).

7. dorigo - March 3, 2008

Franco, give me some examples about Veltroni, and keep in mind that if they did not reach national newspapers they are ineffective as a communication strategy.
As for the spies of the Vatican, they are allowed to spy as far as I am concerned. Casini is the main horse on which they count to defend their values.

Here is a translation:
“I think that as long as right and left outdo each other to enroll great minds of Aida Yespica’s caliber, there is no rising up our country’s fate possible. I believe their interpretation of “pink shares” is “more b****es in the parliament” (and who can blame them?!”.

I do not concur. There are important differences between right and left. If you can’t see them, I cannot help you.


8. Amara - March 3, 2008

I think that this Veltroni video is outrageous…

9. dorigo - March 3, 2008

Outrageous indeed. Unspeakable feeling of normality! Really disturbing.


10. Amara - March 6, 2008

Thanks for using my pictures! BTW, One should never translate gestures directly across cultures, and so I looked for Berlusconi’s ‘dito medio’ gesture too. But it is not in my _Senza Parole_ book, which made me wonder if this gesture is relatively new in Italy. Italians pick up the worst habits from the Americans (I wish they would pick up the better ones.. although maybe there aren’t enough of those..), so I decided I understood the meaning of this gesture well enough. Correct me if I’m wrong, anyone here, please.

11. dorigo - March 6, 2008

Hi Amara, UW. No, the middle finger up (second pic above) does mean the same thing in Italy and in the US. Too related to same features in the human body to have a different meaning across the atlantic.


12. Amara - March 13, 2008

Uh huh! I think my book missed another meaning of the corna gesture………..(cornuto)

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: