Of course, there are reasons for this. The indignation fatigue I mentioned in my previous post, which has spread beyond the national borders to sprinkle its sleepy dust over foreign news desks elsewhere. The 'what's new?' feel about so much of the information. The irreducible italianità of it all, with all those legal terms that have no equivalent in other 'normal' countries. The notion that Italy, despite the great 'organic' food and Andrea Bocelli and all those little men who can't wait to help us restore casali in Tuscany, shouldn't really be taken seriously, particularly right now with the tin-pot Casanova at its head. It's as though a whole country, one of the leading world economies and a member of all the most exclusive G clubs (7, 8, 20...), with forces in all the imperial outposts, had somehow been replaced by its comic equivalent, gurning and wiggling its hips in a corner of the room, only to be ignored despite its antics.
Which is more than a pity. Because Berlusconi's game is becoming wilder and more desperate by the day and shouldn't be ignored by anyone who cares one jot about Europe or, for that matter, the nature of populism and democracy, if only because it's the kind of game that could, as my mother used to say, end in tears. Two days ago he was in Sardinia, where he told his audience of young supporters that, if he had the chance, he would 'throttle' the people who made a popular television series about the Mafia (La Piovra) and all those authors who defamed Italy by writing about the Mafia. The last person to inveigh against La Piovra like this was Zeffirelli, a man whose career arc has plummeted from Visconti to the payroll of the Great Buffoon. The fact that Roberto Saviano, author of Gomorrah, has written a public letter denouncing the latest plot to rewrite the legal code in Berlusconi's favour is obviously neither here nor there, though Saviano would be wise to hang onto his police protection yet awhile. Berlusconi used the verb 'strozzare', inelegant at the best of times and, in this context, deeply tainted by the lexical dye of Cosa Nostra. He also told a joke about Einstein, who died because 'he knew too much' (see title of post). Nobody expects the language of statesmanship from the man, but it would be nice if he could raise his game to the level of, say, someone selling silver-plated bracelets on a shopping channel.