I love Italy. I spent a good month there the summer before my sophomore year in college learning every vice that I now love to indulge. I found the Italian people to be warm and friendly people who were very understanding of my limited ability to speak their language and also my sophomoric drunkenness.
But as wonderful and energetic and inspiring as they are, the Italian people are unfortunately also crazy.
Case in point: here's an article off of today's BBC news website.
Crazy not so much in the fact that the Italians make the occasional xenophobic remarks towards Romanian immigrants, but in the fact that they elected a lady by the name of Alessandra Mussolini, the grand-daughter of Benito Mussolini (the infamous fascist dictator and ally of Adolph Hitler - you know the one), to a public office.
Because nothing says democracy like Mussolini.
Now, I guess it's none of my business seeing as I am not an Italian citizen. My pale white ass is about as un-Italian as it gets. After all, why the hell should you care, three readers, what Italians do for their politics?
Well, because I can't think of anything else to write about. The curiosity was too much for me to bear and for me, a family heritage of service to ones country isn't quite enough to warrant representing your country in the European Union when that family heritage can be described as 'evil' and 'destructive to the fabric of world peace.' So what makes Alessandra Mussolini uniquely qualified to represent her country in the EU's Parliament?
Why porno, of course! She appeared on the cover of European Playboy in the August 1983 Italian edition and the November 1983 German edition. Italian and German, eh? Who would have thought. In addition to a film and television career, Ms. Mussolini also has a B.A. in Agricultural Science, an M.A. in Film Management and, randomly, an M.D. from the Universita' di Roma.
The idealistic American in me tells me that in a free Democracy a person's heritage and background shouldn't matter. After all, maybe Ms. Mussolini has shunned her grandfather's xenophobic, antisemitic, megalomaniacal policies and fascist ways. It's possible, right?
Here are some choice snippets of her 15 years of success on the political stage, courtesy of wikipedia:
"In 1992, she was elected to parliament in a Naples constituency as a member of the neofascist Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI). " Neofascist. Off to a good start. Later on:
"Her relations with Gianfranco Fini, leader of the Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance party), never were very good, she announced; she then withdrew later, her resignation due to differences with him at least once. This antagonism was exacerbated when Fini criticized some aspects of fascism, such as its antisemitism....
In November 2003 Fini paid a visit to Israel. There he declared that fascism had been "the absolute evil", apologizing to the government of Israel for the racial laws that Benito Mussolini had approved in 1938. Shortly after these declarations, Alessandra Mussolini abandoned Alleanza Nazionale."
And finally my favorite:
"In 2006 she responded to criticism by trans-gender Italian M.P. candidate Vladimir Luxuria, with a line "Meglio fascista che frocio", that has been roughly translated as "It is better to be a fascist than a faggot." The Italian word used, "frocio", is considered an insult referring to one's buttocks."
Hey-o! And to think, not only did people think that it was a good idea to elect the grand-daughter of an villainous dictator... they also have kept this crack-pot in a position of power for fifteen years!
Incidentally, Italy owns the distinction of having the highest ex-porn star government officials per capita of any other country in the world.
That's not a proven fact, by the way. But it wouldn't surprise me.
So some things are just a bad idea, Italy. Although, with politics in this country becoming more and more circus-like by the day, it kind of makes me wonder how long before we're in the same boat.