Monday, 7 September 2009
Mud, to be worn with pride
Last Friday, Dino Boffo, the editor of the Catholic newspaper, Avvenire, decided to resign after having been attacked and accused of hypocrisy by one of Berlusconi's house rags (Il Giornale, owned by his brother). The Vatican accused Il Giornale of an aggression it considered disgusting, vile, indefensible, etc. As did the opposition, the opposition press, and pretty much everyone not on the Grand Buffoon's payroll. Great fun, and it's hard not to be happy to see the blood flowing from Berlusconi's foot while the gun's still smoking in his hand. But hypocrisy is hardly a hanging issue in Italy. The dreadful stigma that's destroyed Boffo's career, family life, mental health, public probity, and so on, and merrily reduced him to the state of Dreyfus on his way to Devil's Island, the mud that's stuck to his face and hands and keyboard, the sin that is so beyond the pale that it can definitively shit on the man and his professional future, is not that he's a hypocrite. Good god, he worked for the Vatican! Of course, he's a hypocrite.The problem is that he's been accused of being gay. Because in liberal, 21st century Italy, being gay is THAT bad. Get used to it, boys and girls. And get used to the fact that practically no one, in all the outrage this spat produced, and with all the anathema discharged left, right and centre, had the - what shall I say? - political sensitivity to remark on this. It's no surprise that some deranged heroin addict who calls himself Svastichella (hiding behind a sheet of paper, above) should be stabbing gay men in the country's capital because he finds them upsetting, or offensive, or potentially damaging to the morals of a twelve-year-old who wasn't there.