The Berlusconi Thing
“The Berlusconi Thing by Jose Saramago
I don’t know what other name I could give it. It’s a thing that looks dangerously like a human, a thing that throws parties, that organises orgies and rules a country called Italy. This thing, this illness, this virus threatens to become the cause of the moral death of Verdi’s country. If a deep vomit doesn’t succeed in ejecting it from the consciousness of Italians, the poison will end up corroding the veins and destroying the heart of one of Europe’s richest cultures. The basic values of human coexistence are trampled daily by the viscous feet of the Berlusconi thing; amongst its many talents, it has a funambulesque ability to abuse words, perverting their intention and meaning, as in the case of the People of Freedom, the name given to the party with which the thing took power. I’ve called the thing delinquent and I don’t regret it. (…)
This is the Italian prime minister, this is the thing that the Italian people have elected twice to serve them as a role model, this is the path to ruin which is dragging along the values of liberty and dignity that suffused Verdi’s music and the political actions of Garibaldi — the ones that, during the struggle for unification in the
18th19th* century, made of Italy a spiritual guide for Europe and for Europeans. This is what the Berlusconi thing wants to throw into the rubbish bin of History. Will the Italians end up allowing this to happen?”
Now that’s invective!
(Footnote: ‘funambulesque’? Apparently, a funambule (in French) is a tightrope walker, and ‘funambulesque‘ means: (1) concerning tightrope walkers; (2) of extravagant imagination, buffoonish oddness, burlesque.)
* [UPDATE: the translator has asked that I change ’18th century’ to ’19th century’. Apparently, it was an error by the translator.]