Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Second Time as Farce:

Reflections on Looking Into a Four Day old "la Repubblica"

Facing the always unpleasant prospect of actually sending a manuscript to a journal, I chose to read last Sunday's edition of Italy's leading daily newspaper which was mainly focused on the then up-coming European Parliament elections (look I just got a rejection e-mail which makes submitting another manuscript to another journal even more unpleasant than usual).

La Repubblica is one of the remaining opponents of Silvio Berlusconi and his conflation of politics and farce. Thus they have an article on photographs of attractive young ladies at his villa printed in el Pais (at least this time said guests aren't dressed in g-strings and don't dare suspect me of exaggerating). The cover shows Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni in matching white dresses walking down a red carpet.

The articles which really struck me were on the UK. The prospect of the Labour party maybe coming in fourth *almost* managed to distract La Repubblica from it's fashion focus (in the event they edged out the liberal democrats coming in 3rd and getting a larger share of the vote than in any election which took place before the founding of the Labour party) with a tiny headline "Londra, il Labour Rischia il Crollo," (London Labour risks collapse). Then a larger headline "Brown in Bilico, le donne ministro lo tradiscono" (Brown tottering, Women ministers betray him -- the verb "tradire" is typically used to refer to infidelity ha ha ha).

After the jump, I find the photograph of Caroline Flint "ministro e modella" wearing "red dress (£180) Karen Milan etc" as shown in the Observers fashion pages. From the article, I learn that the Italian translation of the Daily Telegraph's "Lady Stiletto" becomes la ministra in tacchi a spillo or, back to English the minister in spike heels (with obligatory pun based on the original meaning of "stilleto" stilletata = low blow = back in Italiano "tirare il sasso e nascondere la mano")).

European unification has given us internationally collaborative macaronically moronic sexism.

In a really low blow this issue of La Repubblica includes an interview with Vaclaw Havel discussing 1989 (thanks guys. It's not like the idea that Europe hasn't quite lived up to the promise I saw the month after I moved here in October 89 has ever crossed my mind).

But the article which totally astounded me was the serious article on the crisis of New Labour which contained the shocking phrase " Peter Mandelson ... vice primo ministro." What ? Wasn't his career ended by scandal ? Twice ? I don't want to be rude, but the only other statesman I know of who was back so often was Richard Nixon.

Why I remember long long long ago New Labour's second consecutive landslide )which I watched while on a layover at Heathrow) when Mandelson was making a fool of himself by making a big deal over his re-election in a safe labour seat ... OK now I'm really drifting ...

wellll it is true that while the seat was safely labour it wasn't exactly safely New labour and Mandelson's principal opponent was Arthur Scargil the very embodiment of ... not old labour but the opposite of new labour anyway. I'm not going to taint the honorable memory of old labour by comparing the idiot Scargill to say the great Keir Hardie as in "This is no six pence a day agitation ..." ...

Echoed with inflation by Walter Reuther "our aim is not just another nickle in the pay packet"... (pay packets didn't come once a day and a nickel in 194? was worth a lot less than six pence whenever Keir Hardie spoke).

Of course, while Reuther was great progressive leader by US labour union leader standards he did recognize General Motor's "right to manage" which was at least equally far from Keir Hardie's position "our aim is cooperative production under state supervision and we will settle for nothing less"

irony of ironies, General motors is now jointly owned by the US treasury the Canadian government and the UAW, while the Labour party has successfully avoided nationalizing any manufacturing firms.

Hmm Vaclaw Havel to Silvio Berlusconi makes the decline from Keir Hardie to Neil Kinnock (represented the same constituency) seem minor ...

And speaking of Transatlantic plagiarism what about our vice President eh ?

For the kids Neil Kinnock noted that none of his ancestors had been to college and it was not because they were "thick or lazy. They worked 8 hours in a coal mine then went out to play football". Then senator Biden was impressed and went on to note that non of his ancestors had been to college and it was not because they were "not bright or lazy. They worked 14 hours in a coal mine and then went out to play football." Now clearly this is not plagiarism at all since "football" has completely different meanings on different sides of the Atlantic.

That was enough to sink Sen Biden's candidacy (hell he's never ever going to live that down).

Actually it almost sunk Michael Dukakis's candidacy too (now that would have been such a shame) because his hatchet man, tough guy, campaign manager John Sasso spliced the video of Kinnock and Biden and sent it to reporters and tried to get them to hide where they got it. Dukakis had to briefly fire him to respond to the accusation of stabbing a fellow Democrat in the back (tirare il Sasso e nascondere la mano).

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