January 18, 2011

In One Word, It’s “Boccaccesco”

Min. from Boccaccio, De Casibus Virorum Illustrium, Paris, 1467.
Glasgow University Library Special Collections. 
The right word in Italian is “boccaccesco,” which derives from the Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (= in the style of Boccaccio), and roughly means “licentious,” “lascivious.” But this is not a literary post. Instead it is a brief note on today’s Italian politics. Yes, all this Berlusconi stuff is getting more and more boccaccesco—and silly, crazy, grotesque, and you name it. Nevertheless, to be honest and straightforward, I think that politics is politics, not moralism or good taste or “esthetic sense.” I repeat I don’t want to be hypocrite about that, nor, on the other hand, would I want to play the cynic and to behave the way Franklin D. Roosevelt did when in 1939 supposedly remarked that “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch…” But then again, since there is no alternative to Berlusconi (please, see my previous posts on the subject), paraphrasing FDR I’d put it this way: Berlusconi may be … whatever you want, but he’s our … whatever you want.