Men behaving badly, Italian style

Exhibit A for the need to MAN UP: Silvio Berlusconi

I don’t want to give the impression only North American men are in dire need of up-manning. From crazed Norwegian mass murderers, to loutish British street thugs, to panty-ripping French financial gurus, Europe has more than its fair share of male assholes.

One of my personal favorites is Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a hayseed Arkansas choirboy. He makes Rupert Murdoch look like an honest man and all-’round nice fellow.

For those of you who don’t follow these things, in February of this year, Berlusconi — who is ridiculously wealthy, owns virtually every television network (well, the three largest ones), newspaper, and soccer team in Italy, and single-handedly keeps the folks at Grecian Formula solvent — was indicted on charges of child prostitution (you know, the usual — paid sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan night club dancer) and abuse of office (using his political clout to “suggest” to the already laughably inept and breath-takingly corrupt Italian police that they ignore the whole thing).

At last count, the feisty Berlusconi had dodged a guilty verdict through 28 trials since first coming to office in 1994. He’s so outrageously corrupt, it seems likely the only reason he ran for public office in the first place was to avoid the law (active politicians are exempt from prosecution in many cases), and when necessary, change whatever niggling statutes might remain that could possibly lead to his spending some time in a cell rather than one of his lavish digs in Rome, Milan, or Sardinia.

Then there’s the rumor of his ties to the Cosa Nostra…

You'd say the odd prayer too if you were Silvio Berlusconi...

So clearly Silvio is a breathtakingly vain, disgustingly venal, obviously over-sexed, dirty old man. Some leader. Some role model. All of which begs the question of how he has won re-election after re-election over the past 17 years and counting.

Obviously, the men of Italy need help. Right now. I expect Italian publishers to scramble all over themselves to acquire the rights to MAN UP.

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