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Silvio Berlusconi: Stayin’ Alive


You need about 37 seconds to realize that in Italy, politics permeates everything. Many visitors this summer took a crash course in it after dragging themselves off a plane at Rome’s Fiumicino airport only to find their luggage missing.

After the usual non-committal mah followed by a shoulder shrug, an informed local may explain that union workers who handle luggage purposely drag feet to gather overtime in a collective nose-thumb at government contract reforms. And you’ve just had a capsule lesson in the endless grappling over labor troubles in a country “founded on work.”
So it’s no surprise that in August, when the whole country still shuts down (a practice once dictated by large factories and still maintained even though companies such as Fiat now produce in Poland), politicians still make the news.
Forget usual slow-news day, cute items about zoo animals and small-town heroes. Flagship state broadcaster RAI 1 informed Italians about the summer reading of Premier Romano Prodi (he and wife Flavia were filmed in a bookstore snapping up the latest “Harry Potter”) and there are numerous unfortunate photo albums of the first couple on what looks like an everyman-type beach holiday in Tuscany.
Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has made a habit of making summer news rounds with some sort of fashion excursus, most notably a candid bandana to cover his 2004 hair transplant.
This vacation, he warranted a whole story in daily of note Corriere della Sera sporting a white jacket and dark blue shirt open on his chest to showcase a large emerald pendant while frolicking in Sardinia.
The headline read: “Silvio Berlusconi Dusts Off John Travolta’s Style.”
It’s grainy, dark and doesn’t look like an official photo (otherwise what is that hand gesture about?) but nevertheless, there it is. The “Saturday Night Fever” look was much-commented by fashion designers — he “conquered” them with his Tony Manero tribute by this account.
Il Cavaliere, however, chose not to make any statements about his dodgy fashion statement, preferring to make sun-fueled attacks on the current government, predicting he’ll be able to make it tumble like a shoddy sand castle by September.
No doubt about it, if this is what happens on vacation, the back-to-school period will be an interesting one for politics.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 10:42 AM | Permalink

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