Elderism #18

October 30th, 2008

I wish I knew how to say “nutjob” in Italian; I imagine it’s something like noccelavoro.

My current favorite noccelavoro is Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The 72 year-old center-right pol’s most sustained act of noccelavoro-ism is to have implanted in Italy’s parliament and government a number of TV starlets made famous by his television empire. (Berlusconi was indicted for this casting-couch behavior in January–the 17th of the 17 criminal trials he’s gone through without being convicted.)

Alexander Stille writes in this week’s New Yorker that, during his election campaign this spring, Berlusconi openly bragged about how much better-looking his party’s female candidates for parliament were than his opponent’s. The prime minister also claims that pregnant women ask him to lay his hands on their belly, and bald women, their head. (Apparently he’s not just “touched,” he also has “the touch.”)

When the current financial crisis hit Europe, Stille writes, Berlusconi urged his constituents to keep buying stock and keep spending. “To set an example, he headed off to a disco, telling the crowd there,

If I sleep for three hours, I still have enough energy to make love for another three.'”