Friday, August 10, 2007

So It's Not Just Here?

Apparently there's corruption in Italian politics - really! "The Caste," the new book that describes just how vulgar and self-serving the Italian political class has become, has ignited major buzz on the Italian blogs. This makes me think of an interesting observation made by Elizabeth Gilbert in her wonderful book, "Eat Pray Love." Gilbert spent four months in Italy trying to heal herself after a soul-crushing divorce, and became well-acquainted with the country's many pleasures, all of them, as we might expect, sensual in nature. According to Gilbert, Italians excel in the pursuit of pleasure precisely because their government is corrupt. Italy coalesced into a country only in the late 1800s, long after its western European neighbors, and has always been a mess politically. So why bother with it? Its citizens have been disappointed by their government so often that they've transferred their attention to opera, food, fashion and art, more satisfying pasttimes where they can demand quality and generally get it. That, she says, is why they boo bad opera singers off the stage but tolerated Silvio Berlusconi. Tale รจ vita.

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