Foreigners mock us because they are jealous (Italians do it better!)
I feel a rush of patriotism. It’s all Benigni’s fault. He’s taught me to appreciate the fact that Italians are going through a glorious period in the realm of satire. Luca and Paolo in Sanremo, Grillo, Hendel, Luciana Littizzetto, Paolo Cortellessi, the Guzzantis, Daniele Lutazzi, Paolo Rossi, Albanese, Crozza, Dandini, Vergassola, Benni, Vauro, Staino and even Travaglio, who acted out his crazy set-pieces... they are all producing their very best. No other country can boast such an army of irreverent comedians.
Where else would two comedians like Dario Fo and Franca Rame be able to televise an entire comedy-stint without sound? Remember Atlantide TV? Thanks to Dell’Utri’s threats, Sky aired one hour and forty-five minutes of silent film, leaving newspapers all over Europe speechless. Foreigners cannot even begin to understand such poetic levels of surrealist satire. It’s what makes us Italians truly different. We exaggerate everything, starting with Art. Benigni was right when he said that we have paved the museums of the world with kilometres of artwork pillaged from us.
Italy is a country where strange currents meet. We’re so exposed in the heart of the Mediterranean. We conquered the world but then we immediately sustained every possible invasion. Even the Normans, who circumnavigated Europe, came to our shores just to try to knock us off our pedestal. We have the sun, we know how to eat, we play music like the gods and no one can outdo us when it comes to making love. It’s all good here - we know how to live.
Now they are taking the piss out of Berlusconi. They should look at their own lousy ancestors! Even I’d give Berlusconi the finger, but you must be joking if you think I’m going to allow an Englishman lecture me on him. They have Blair, who finally admitted the truth: Britain went to war in Iraq not because there were weapons of mass destruction, but rather to keep their prestigious alliance with the United States…and didn’t they make a right mess of it?
As for the French, it would be more beneficial for them to look at their own problems rather than criticize the mere speck that is ours. Why don’t we start talking about France's role in the massacres throughout Africa over the past 30 years? Or we could perhaps mention the cannibal Bokassa who gobbled up left-wing students and later presented Giscard with a gift of diamonds?
Who can tell us what morals to heed? The New York Times? Don’t make me laugh! You who have supported a succession of presidents who have plagued the world, and their own soldiers with depleted uranium, torturing and slaughtering innocent civilians… and who have backed all the world’s fascist dictators.
We have Silvio who screws 24 minors in one session and gets Mubarak to cover for him at police headquarters. So what? We are a thousand times better than you, so much so that we vastly outlive all you French, English and Americans! We even live longer than the Spanish and Germans; at least that’s what the statistics say! Why is it that we live longer?! We are masters of perseverance! The Italian System works the best! The fact that the Prime Minister is up to something new every day entertains us! Reading the newspaper or going onto the internet to see his latest lover in the nude is our way of relaxing…
And yet, Berlusconi’s resoluteness cannot be denied! That’s the Italian spirit: We stop at nothing! We have overwhelming determination. Whatever we do we do to the extreme! The Pyramids of Egypt are nothing compared to what we have achieved. We have built thousands of kilometres of roads and aqueducts all over Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. We are the inventors of the bikini, the helicopter, the submarine, the armored-tank, the aeroplane, Viridian green, Titian red and denim jeans. We discovered electricity, the Pythagoras Theorem, America, the Fibonacci sequence, the Atomic Bomb, the “maggiorata”, the Vespa, pizza, the Russian salad and espresso coffee… We brought silk and rice back from China and translated the scientific texts of the Arabs.
We taught the French how to cook and how to do theatre, and we taught the Germans how to drink beer and eat potatoes. We invented the Mafia and Freemasonry in order to defend ourselves from invaders and from the powerful. We built New York and Buenos Aires. We have our own scheming networks, secret alliances, counterfeiting, illegal trading, smugglers and spine-chilling monetary transactions. We also have the Pope… we were the birthplace of Christianity, of Democracy, of scientific-thought and classical music; and wherever you are in the world you won’t be hard put to find an Italian restaurant.
Therefore, dear foreigners, please tone down on lecturing us for not having driven Berlusconi out yet. We are holding onto Berlusconi because we are in a particular moment in our history. It is only a phase. We have had our ups and downs… and now we are on a low. We already have Berlusconi to make fools of us. But we have to admit that he is unlike any other... He is a genius who descends directly from Julius Caesar, Boniface VIII, Machiavelli, and the Medici and Borgia families. If he were to stand for the next elections in the United States he would be capable of winning! Forget Obama.
Translated by Clare Hawkins and Edward Valentine, MA in Advanced Language Skills, NUI Galway.