I've been reading a great non-fiction book by Umberto Eco, Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism, which is a compilation of articles he's written for various Italian newspapers. He focuses a lot on their Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and with good reason - he's great fodder for commentary. Imagine the mouth of Rush Limbaugh, the personable mien of Bush, the media reach of Rupert Murdoch (within Italy), and the cutthroat political instincts of Karl Rove all rolled into one.
Some examples: He once told a German politician he would have perfect for the role of a guard at a concentration camp. He calls The Economist the Ecommunist, after harsh criticism. He once named the founders of Rome as Romulus and Remulus. The BBC has a good compilation of gaffes here.
Anyway, so I've been reading this book, and notice this is one of the top headlines on Bloomberg -
Berlusconi Says Opposition Has Poor Taste in Women
I went to the article, helping ensure it remained a top story.
``The left doesn't even have good taste when it comes to women,'' Berlusconi told Sky TG24 television in an interview today. The women in his People of Liberty party ``are more beautiful and moreover all have super degrees. When I say ours are better looking it's because when I look around in parliament, there really is no comparison."
Wow - better looking AND with better degrees. Not like those stupid un-hot feminazis.
What about investing in Italy?
Visiting the New York Stock Exchange in September 2003, he told investors to put their money in Italy because ``the secretaries are beautiful, so at least you can take pleasure working there.''
What about his personal life?
The ex-premier has also been known to make racy public comments about his own marriage. In response to newspaper reports of his wife Veronica's alleged affair with Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari, Berlusconi joked at a 2002 news conference with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen that he might ``introduce Rasmussen to my wife, because he is much better- looking than Cacciari.''
I'm surprised I knew so little about him. Could you imagine the Daily Show in Italy?