(Rome). Rubygate it’s called. The final act of the Berlusconi saga. Over fifteen years of comedy for the outside world. A comedy played out against a background of non-government and misery for many Italians. For years now, each new scandal, each new act of corruption, is identified with the suffix “gate”. Deriving from the original Watergate, even though the latter was not actually a “gate” as used today to pinpoint scandalous behavior and the resultant cover-up. During these last stages of the Berlusconi era there has been Noemi Gate, named for another of Sultan Silvio’s teenage favorites. Then, the Bunga Bunga Gate, in reference to the sex games and “orgies” in the Sultan’s luxurious private residences in Milan and Rome. In Italy, in Commedia dell’Arte fashion, the gate suffix means scandal, speculation and gossip.
The dream and the reality are far apart and the chasm is growing bigger with each passing day, affirms our correspondent
Italy—at once anarchic, stubbornly individualistic and communitarian—is no longer everyone’s second motherland. Her warmth, her legendary charms and generosity, even her sense of humor captured in numerous postwar films, have been eroded by a crass capitalist modernity in which a bastardized, heavily colonized pop culture is ushering an era of impersonality. The old Italy is dissolving before our eyes…Does anyone care?
TWO CARS ARE AHEAD OF ME heading toward the row of a dozen or so trash bins serving my residential area. The bins are strangely empty today. The entire trash zone just opposite the fashionable tennis club that usually looks like Naples seems suspiciously clean. Almost inviting. The huge black Suv ahead of me turns the corner, slows, the darkened passenger window descends and out shoots a plastic bag of garbage which smacks down on the pavement and splits open at the feet of a bin labeled BOTTLES AND METAL OBJECTS. The Toyota accelerates and vanishes.