Letter from Italy
Basta Bunga Bunga
Have Italians had enough of Silvio Berlusconi—and the culture he embodies?
by Ariel Levy
Rubygate, as everyone calls the scandal, has grown progressively more lurid. Two of Berlusconi’s friends, Emilio Fede—the host of the television show “TG4,” which airs on one of the three networks Berlusconi owns—and the entertainment agent Dario (Lele) Mora, are charged with running a prostitution ring to meet the Prime Minister’s elaborate erotic expectations, with help from Nicole Minetti, a twenty-six-year-old former dental hygienist, showgirl, and, possibly, lover of Berlusconi’s. (All three have pleaded not guilty.) For months, the prosecutor’s office in Milan had been wiretapping phones used by Berlusconi and his associates, and the twenty thousand pages of documents pertaining to Rubygate have been leaking out in Italian newspapers. The picture that has emerged is of an aging emperor, surrounded by a harem of nubile women paid to ornament his dinner table, boost his ego, and dance around in their underpants. Berlusconi is Italy’s waning Hugh Hefner, alternately reviled and admired for his loyalty to his own appetites—except that he’s supposed to be running the country.
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/06/06/110606fa_fact_levy#ixzz1NwJKwswK