Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Privilege, big breasts and love songs

Last week I spent an uncomfortable few moments listening to ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi orchestrating his own defence in a Milanese court. Berlusconi is being charged with paying for sex with a minor, Karima el-Mahroug, known as Ruby Rubacuore (Ruby the Heart Stealer). Seventeen at the time, curvy and pumped-up, Ruby was apparently present at one of the PM’s many gatherings at his sumptuous villa at Arcore, outside Milan. Looking tired but tweaked, the gaffe-prone 76-year-old sounded as though he were talking about a family picnic, mentioning Neapolitan love songs and visits by his children.

For the past two years, as the country has been hurtling towards economic meltdown, Italians have been hearing about what the ex-PM’s ‘bunga bunga’ parties may have entailed. We have been told that the ‘bunga bunga’ is everything from a sex position to a post-dinner erotic dance by women procured by sleazy ‘talent scout’ Lele Mora (fresh out of gaol for fraud). Selection by the Prime Minister during the ‘bunga bunga’ dance entitled women to everything from sex with the septuagenarian to gifts and money, for which the Amazonian women queued and probably bitched with one another. One can only imagine the conversations.

In the unreliable words of Ruby the Heart Stealer, (who also denies she had intimate relations with the ageing politician,) the ‘bunga bunga’ concept was a formula copied from Silvio’s ex-best mate Muammar Kaddafi and simply involved being surrounded by twenty naked women. Harem-style. It has been said that Silvio added his own twist with the women-on-women also dressing as nuns or police officers.

Berlusconi and his cronies have long complained that the press has no right to violate the private life of an individual and here they have a point. However, given that Veronica Lario, Berlusconi’s now ex-wife, chose to write a public letter of protest printed in a major Italian newspaper following a scandal from a few years back (lamenting the lack of respect the flirtatious PM gave to his wife and offspring), the country could be justified in seeking to understand what is going on. Never mind the abuse of power and conflict of interests on a political level.

For Berlusconi has also been accused of tampering with the law by calling up the Milan central police office when the unreliable Ruby was arrested on an unrelated theft charge. The media billionaire told police that Karim el-Mahroug was grand-daughter of Egyptian ex-President Hosni Mubarak, and that her detention would cause a diplomatic scandal. He sent Nicole Minetti, a booby-dental-hygienist-turned-local-politician and now under investigation for ‘procuring young women’, to collect the naughty teen. Currently, Berlusca’s angle is that the shifty telephone call was purely ‘seeking information’ and, nagged by the national press he constantly claims is stridently left wing and in league against him, he has continuously claimed that he is a ‘generous’ man who in voluptuous Ruby saw an underprivileged girl in trouble (the girl’s own father has said she is a fame-seeking scallywag).

Berlusconi also admitted giving nearly 80.000 euros to the young woman to open a beauty salon. (Plus 5.000 euros for the night in question.)

Interestingly, Berlusconi’s tentacles have reached out to include George Clooney, who the unreliable Ruby claims she saw with ex-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis at one of the ‘bunga bunga’ events. Clooney denies he was ever present, but recalls that an evening spent at the ex-PM’s Rome residence was ‘one of the more astonishing evenings of my life’.

Explain ‘astonishing’ please George.

* * *

N.B. Some of us were happily astonished to hear that Berlusconi was charged with tax evasion last week, but already the three year sentence has been reduced to one year, and he will be able to launch two appeals - so as with most of his trials, the statute limitations may expire. Despite his loud cries of injustice, the ex-PM is slowly sinking in national esteem. Era ora!

P.S. I have a great interview up on the lovely (creative, accomplished and funny) Kimberly Sullivan's blog kimberlysullivan.wordpress. Kimberly and I met at the Matera Women's Fiction Festival and I plan on gatecrashing her writing group in Rome next month!

23 comments:

  1. Oh God Cat. I find it difficult to even type the man's name. SB and the hangers-on - they are all that I despise.
    The abuse of power; the misogyny; the corruption; the sleazy hideous manipulation of the press and the law; the prostitution; the degrading treatment of women...
    Ugh. Jeez.
    I'm just sad that the beautiful Clooney is a bit tainted by proximity and his coyness isn't edifying at all. Yes, George, explain 'astonishing' please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are so many things I could say about how it has been living in this man's empire. And it continues. Our city Vicenza - picture a vivacious Palladian statues atop neo-classical facades, lightness, bridges, canals wending - is now blighted by the ugliest excuse for a building, a knot in traffic and eyesore combined, a project put forth by his daughter. When this country has yards of young, underemployed architects!! Please, don't even get me started. My blood boils every time I pass it on my way into town. I was trying to be so controlled above.X

      Delete
  2. How interesting to hear all this from within - we hear little here in Australia - what we do hear is so damning - but this is explosive! How does he get a way with it year in and year out? And he is not alone! Move George!F

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Power! I've never seen anything like it. It has been alleged by Reporters without Borders that Berlusconi owns or controls 90% of the press in Italy (owning 3 out of 7 television stations) and that Italy is last on the EU ranking of freedom of the press. The Economist, which he calls
      The Ecommunist, also did an article in 2011 about him called 'The Man who Screwed an Entire Nation'. This is not to mention the scandals and his absolutely astonishing gaffes which range from claiming that Italy 'has the most beautiful secretaries in the world' to calling an African priest 'tanned' and telling earthquake victims in Aquila that they should imagine they 'were on a camping trip'!! Xcat

      Delete
  3. Rich white men and the shit they do, the fucking nonsense they get away with. And he will get away with this too. With all of it. This is how the world turns. And as long as they are women (girls?) willing to sell themselves into it, it will go on and on and on. I'm just sick, reading this story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes he takes the word creep to the next dimension. You are right though, it will be a play-off between his egotistical nonchalance versus the anger of women who value their self-respect. When he sarcastically commented to Opposition politician Rosi Bindi 'You are more beautiful than intelligent' (on national TV), nearly 100 000 women reacted by signing a protest declaration.

      Another - female - politician retorted 'Someone should tell him he's not George Clooney'.

      Delete
  4. Belusconi makes my skin crawl. *shudder*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! A perfectly natural reaction. Then what is wrong with these women who line up for him??

      Delete
  5. Good recap of the madness. The only thing that I can add is that, as a fiction writer, you could never dream up stuff like this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I could at all - I'd have to be some sort of pervert! But I did have Marilyn - my novel character - routinely shocked by all the tits-and-ass on TV. It's just that from our leaders - surely we are allowed to expect something more sophisticated than these scandals. Or is that too much to ask?

      Delete
  6. Good grief. I want off the planet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes it makes me want to run away from Italy! But I tried to channel some of it into 'The Divorced Lady' - all those girls shaking their assets on Berlusconi's TV. In the book Marilyn can't understand it. That was my little stab I suppose. It really is enervating to see these distorted values and see young women objectified like that.

      Delete
  7. Unfortunately in a country where it is difficult to gain any legitimate form of employment it is not (unfortunately) surprising women are lining up for creeps like this man. They see a means to escape - unfortunately they perpetuate the problems caused by such behaviour and the low self esteem of many Italian women.
    I think although it is unlikely SB will end up in prison - lets face it the statute of limitations will probably come into play before his appeals are heard - I would really like him just to stew in a prison for even a few days. At some point this man's ego must be given a reality check!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes employment, funny how it works here. Always who you know, your connections, someone putting in a good word. And these silly geese. Yes how they line up and strive in the photographs and make men like Berlusconi feel like men (look like fools). Yes it is about money. Survival in a very narrow economic climate. Everyone knows that in university girls wear scoopy blouses in front of their examiners. Everyone knows that to pass your ski licence test, you sleep with the old guy giving the test. Yes I know it happens everywhere. But it is a sad freaky thing.

      Did you hear the hour long speech he gave the day after? Of course he won't go to gaol. But to call the justice system the rest of us live by outrageous and unfair - what to do now?

      Delete
    2. Clearly the man is delusional - unfortunately the women here are under no illusion as to what will get them ahead! Women need to stand up for themselves and regain their self-respect but this means every one of us making a stand and unfortunately looking at the media, music videos and advertising there is a long way to go before that happens! Time for women to burn their bras again I feel - not in the men hating vain but in the 'I am woman hear me roar' kind!! I think those touting their sexuality now may be pleasantly surprised by the response - I am certain men actually prefer a woman who is self confident and independent than one that 'turns it on' when there is something to gain.
      Yes SB is right the justice system is unfair in Italy - it allows criminals to walk free because of the statute of limitations - the people without continue to suffer :(

      Delete
  8. Just in Italy we can have things like these happening. It is incredible. Is it any hope for the future?
    It must change sooner or later..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it will take a long time because young people are confused - they either follow Berlusconi's ways, or they give up. There doesn't seem to be much fight left. And the politicians are all ancient, and spend so much energy on fighting with each other. Running the country never seemed a priority under Berlusconi and I think people are currently shell-shocked - with no idea about what is coming next.

      Thanks for dropping by, I love your blog!

      Delete
  9. The guy's a prostate gland with eyes - yeuch!

    I cannot believe the Clooney was involved in anything astonishing, whatever that may mean....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the level of sleaze is amazing. You can google volumes of lewd comments he has made to women politicians but how that would be a waste of your time! What I don't understand is why he needs to stay in the public eye, as if Italy were his empire. D'you know he stated to the New York Times once that he had saved this country from communism? Why doesn't he just retire to one of his villas with his harem?

      I think the jury's out on George.

      Delete
  10. Does the size of your penis make you feel like less of a man - one that can't really please a woman?
    big tits

    ReplyDelete
  11. Exactly what perform which healthy, regular or typical indicate to you in terms of ones sex existence? Those people words and phrases might have quite a few connotations as soon as folks imagine sex.
    Anal

    ReplyDelete
  12. a goal connected with every Christian married couple In the event that always be how to acquire much better sex throughout the Christian marriage. Christians deserve exciting IN ADDITION TO pleasurable sex lives IN ADDITION TO Should acquire action to be able to achieve amazing intimacy.
    adult friend finder

    ReplyDelete