Belen, Berlusconi, and bunga-bunga

[Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (R) talks with members of the parliament during a debate in the upper house of Parliament in Rome September 14, 2011. REUTERS/Max Ross]

The foreign press is raving about Berlusconi's escort scandals and his unfortunate declaration that he is the prime minister in his spare time. Sometimes, between important orgies, he finds a spare moment to meet with the Pope, UN officials, financiers and so forth.

The founder of one of the major dailies in Italy, Eugenio Scalfari, wrote that it was impossible for the scandal to continue until the formal elections in 2013. Yet at this point the Italian population seems to be beyond embarrassment.

The "If not now, when" women' s movement has been protesting for more than six months now in mass public demonstrations. Even world pop stars like Madonna, normally not an icon of sexual rectitude, have expressed their contempt for the premier.

Analysts are dismally recording the spreading decadence and lack of democracy as Italian society sinks into ever-growing economic and moral crisis. It might be possible to serenely overlook all this, if not for the leaked wiretaps.

Berlusconi's leaked conversations with his friend/pimp Tarantini are all over front pages. Here the premier and his bunga-bunga henchman discuss the charms of the most famous showgirl in modern Italy, the Argentinian supermodel Belen Rodriguez (a former model-spokesgirl for Italian TIM wireless internet).

Berlusconi: How is Belen?
Tarantini: My God in heaven how beautiful she has become!
B: Ah…ah...
T: l've seen her in good shape.
B: Check her out in my name.
T: I know, I know, I have to catch her at her ease for a second…anyway tonight we are dining together again.
B: Great! Tell her that I always admired her as a beauty, but also as a woman.
T: But you never met her personally?
B: Who, Belen? Of course I did.
T: Ok, ok.
B: I met her and she spent one night with me, but we didn't have sex since she was the woman of my soccer player.

In another wiretapped conversation, Berlusconi boasts of bedding eight girls in one night, out of eleven paid escorts he had standing by. However, even Bluebeard has some standards: he turned down a liaison with one showgirl because of her vulgar manners.

In an hard-hitting YouTube interview, one of his hottest escorts explains the harem's code of honor from the women's point-of-view.

"If you are a dog, then stay at home! Beauty has its value and has to be paid. Whoever doesn't get this, and speaks about the 'role of women,' should not break the balls… Every woman should run to Berlusconi's bed…"

Italian politics has become the dysfunctional utopia of a delusional sultan. A sick dream-world where an aging premier brings young girls from his bed to the millions of the Italian TV audience, and back again. Whenever they bore him, he retires them and their relatives into the parliament or his government. This is Ottoman harem politics in a modern western guise.

The term bunga bunga, borrowed from Ghadaffi, has become the trademark for Italian gender relations. It's claimed that every Italian man shares Berlusconi's sexual fever-dream, but even if that's true, only Berlusconi actually does it.

The judges in Italy, on the premier's case ever since he was caught consorting with an underage Moroccan illegal immigrant, are relentlessly trying to criminalize his behavior. Berlusconi behaves as if he is a victim of communist persecution, avoiding all legal instances by using his legal and de facto power. He delays and denies.

Some politicians are speaking of a possible referendum to depose Berlusconi, some for asking President Napolitano to intervene with all his legal might… Some from Berlusconi's party speak of purging the party from the inside. Yet others speculate about somehow creating an emergency national government. But nothing stops the drift toward the abyss. It is hard to build a functional state with the same crew that deliberately destroyed it.

Today he appeared in court of Milan escorted by numerous police, this time however his supporters were not around. He refused to speak to the judges, but addressed the journalists outside:
I am doing fine, while your faces are really ugly!

Jasmina Tesanovic: blog, twitter.


      1. ok hence my cowering behind the small “r”.  I was drawing comparison with the BC/AC vague crossover era.  My knowledge of ancient Rome is based less in recorded history and more in Asterix (vive les Gaulles!) and a few smutty films.

        I believe live and let live is appropriate, but if someone is dissolute and rapacious it’s hard to put faith in their ability to govern.  How can a sex addict focus on reducing interest rates?!

        1. How could a corrupt man surrounded by mafians, whose riches’ origin is a mystery, who participated in a huge, secret, anti-democratic society (P2), who entered into politics only to cover himself from his crimes, focus on reducing interest rates?

          The only marvel is how he got everyone thinking about his sex escapades, while all the rest disappears from public attention.

        2. JFK was quite the sex fiend, reportedly, but not a completely useless President. Many historical figures were quite sexually active, it’s something that tends to go with power.

          The problem with this guy is that he’s a crappy ruler AND is routinely blackmailed by shady characters AND is now a joke in most international circles — I bet even his “great friend” Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin thinks he’s just an expendable buffoon.

  1. The “If not now, when” women’s movement finds the PM contemptible. Okay, I get that. But aren’t the eight or sixteen or fifty women he’s fooling around with – women, presumably, of the “Why not?” movement doing what they want?

    1. The patriarchy rewards those who perform for its benefit.

      Sometimes quite generously.

      Often, the alternatives are very undesirable.

  2. And people are surprised muslim fundamentalists are disgusted by western values. this pig is giving the whole civilized world a bad name. he’s abusing his powers, the money of the people of italy (nevermind the trust they placed in him) and he is spitting in the face of female emancipation. 

    1. Personally, I would only mind a little if Muslim fundamentalists took over Italy. How much worse could it actually get?

      OK, well, maybe the abuse and repression of women would be even more wide-spread and systematic. But Berlusconi seems to be doing a pretty good job of that already.

      1. ‘Personally, I would only mind a little if Muslim fundamentalists took over Italy. How much worse could it actually get?’

        You must have some nice privilege to say that so lightly. Just… wow.

      1. I gotta say — being in the Susan Griffin-vein of feminism — I’m more annoyed at the Robber Baron reality model which continues to feast on human behaviour, than I am at the fact that a bunch of the RB’s have penises.

    1. As an italian, I can tell you that he is just a symptom, not the cause, of the aforementioned moral and economic decline. It’s the whole country which is affected by what could be a terminall illness.
      Our whole political class is probably the worst that have ever existed in the history of every country (except for totalitarian regimes). They have enormous salaries and a long list of privileges, and this is only the legal part of their business: many are involved in cases of corruption, and they often gain political power by granting bids for public works and utilities, or even far smaller things. Patronage, nepotism and unfair competition run amok.
      It has consolidated its power so deeply that no one is allowed in the circle of those with political weight without passing through lenghty approval and patronage: you come out of it unclean, corrupt and blackmailable if necessary.
      A lot of people are scared that somebody worse will come after him, for sure. But a lot of people have always wanted to get him out. But we can’t. His right wing alliance up to now was made of powerful allies, and the left parties are distracted by vacous issues and incapable of pulling themselves together(as soon as they try some minor issue pulls them apart). You have to think that he’s one of the very few prime minister that brought his terms to end (in 150 years of history as a united country we had 121 governments).
      Hopefully at least he won’t be able to end this one.

  3. Yeah. I’m a seriously post post modern feminist and this man is obviously swine. But to imply that women have none of the baser instincts dehumanizes them. We are all sluts sometimes. Maybe these women get off on power and money. So what? I’ve slept with a guy solely because he ran a radiocarbon dating lab and he let me play with his centrifuge. To each his own.

    1. What a coincidence. *I* have a radiocarbon watchmacallit, and would gladly let you play with whatever you said.

  4. “This is Ottoman harem politics in a modern western guise.”  – Jasmina, why are you comparing a prurient, old man to an entire culture?  Although I thought your post was insightful, be a bit more careful — your bigotry may be showing. 

  5. Classic harem politics.  Wealthy men can provide for a great number of women. Mostly financially, it’s got to be said.  Shame said women spend all the money on bling and shoes but forget their hairdressers.  Ouch.  The blonde back left needs a good touch-up on the bleach.

    It has bean repeated often, but here goes again “All countries get the politicians they deserve.”  We, in the UK have Bertie Wooster (and Nick Clegg is no Jeeves), France has Pepe le Peu, Italy has someone who thinks he is Casanova, but comes across as a rancid uncle.  I’d better stop before a diplomatic fubar ensues.  

  6. Just ask yourself if the prime minister were a rich female baroness, would she behave the same?  I don’t know the answer, but your own answer might point you towards whether you are sexist or not.

  7. Of course, none of this really gets headlined in the discussions of italy’s debt crisis. Instead it’s the unsustainable public employees and social services.

  8. This article is so wrong.

    The problem is not the PM sexual drive or the fact that indulges into whores.
    The problem is that the most important figure in the Italian Government can be blackmailed by a fuckload of ambiguous people, that he surrounds himself with thieves and pimps and that his priority is to save his own ass and the one of those who can blackmail him, rather than the economic situation of the Country.

    Do your job as a PM, be honest, stay lawful, think about the good of the country, and for me you can do all whores you want.

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