The twists and turns of Italian politics rival any nighttime soap: one minute you’re Europe’s first transgender parliamentarian, the next you’re getting an extreme wax to prepare for a reality show.
That’s the trajectory of Vladimir Luxuria, former Communist Refoundation representative, ousted from government — along with the rest of the party — and now preparing to star in September in Italy’s version of Celebrity Survivor! (Called, un-catchily, “Isola dei Famosi” or Famous People’s Island in Italian).
Apparently, this is what happens when remote control is the only power left. Back when Luxuria was elected in 2006, hopes were high that Italian politics might be taking a change for the better, in part because after a record five-year tenure, Silvio Berlusconi was out.
Now Berlusconi is back. The communists, for the first time in Italy’s post-war history, are out of the government.
Luxuria has said that catching fish with her hands on a small Honduras isle won’t be any more of a reality show than the televised arguments about just who gets to use the parliamentary little girl’s room.
It is difficult to argue with her, especially since, as far as I know, her other newsmaking moments while in government mostly had to do with some depressing plastic surgery and not her tenure on the Culture, Science and Education commission.
Her party mates see her post-parliament choice a little differently. Politics never take a break in Italy, summer recess is partly spent in powerhouse pow-wows in vacation spots to choose or reconfirm leaders and refine strategies for the upcoming season.
The communists have their hammer and sickle knickers in a bit of a twist, understandably. Just as they were trying to figure out how to get back in power at the national congress in Tuscan spa spot Chianciano Terme, it “leaked out” that Luxuria was trading it all in for a sun, sand and videotape, plus the equivalent of about 300 years salary of the average proletariat.
There’s a special hell for this kind of discussion, whether you believe in the Inferno or not. While they were squabbling over a new leader — even the winning faction got just 40% of the votes — news outlets were more interested in Luxuria’s career change.
Alas, Italian politicians will have to come up with some other gimmick to keep citizens tuned in. And the Vintage Nipplegate scandal probably won’t do it.