November 14, 2011

How to Be Intellectually Honest About Berlusconi

Beppe Severgnini 
The piece by Beppe Severgnini—published in both today’s FT and Corriere della Sera—on Berlusconi’s fall would be a good one to explain to non-Italian readers how Italians feel about this rather historic event, were it not for the fact that it is incomplete. In fact Severgnini, who lists the reasons why Italians are happy about the end of Berlusconi’s reign, omits to mention why the hell they have tolerated him and his faults for so long. It’s a pity, really. And to think that Severgnini himself acknowledges that “We Italians may be emotional, but we are not stupid,” and that “We Italians may be careless at times, but we are sensible when we want to be” (because “In an emergency, we didn’t laugh it out with Silvio; we rushed to the emergency room of doctor Mario Monti”).

He should have related the above good qualities not only to the fall of Berlusconi, but also to his rise to and stay in power. What am I referring to? Well, as my most affectionate readers know, I’m referring to the lack of viable alternatives to Silvio, and this, of course, because of “the extraordinary virtues of the Italian Left,” which I’ve written about so many times (here is the latest example).

Why then did he tell only half the story, and arguably not even the most interesting half? Well, once again I’ll quote his own words: “Berlusconi told us only and always what we wanted to hear…” Just replace ‘Berlusconi’ with ‘Severgnini’ and ‘we’ with… Well, guess who!



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