THE BLOG

Hints of North Korea on italian tv

Since the advent of the first Berlusconi cabinet, in 1994, the Italian left has been debating about the loss of democracy in the country. Berlusconi's prominence in the media, his absolute power upon his party and his ministers, the consensus created by his tv networks, have been key factors in the debate. The word "regime" is at the centre of this debate, and in Italian it resounds with the infamous fascist regime. For the last fifteen years, Berlusconi's opposers have been divided between those who think there is a "regime" in Italy, ad those who don't and object that Italy is a Western democracy like many others, albeit with a totally inadequate and sometimes embarassing right-wing coalition. The second argument contended that despite what you see on tv and in the parliament, and despite the arrogance shown by the government, people in Italy are free-minded as ever and opposition to Berlusconi is outspoken and wide. But maybe something has now changed. It changed one week ago, on Sunday. While Italians got used to the bias of tv news, and the self-censorship often applied by anchormen and journalist about Berlusconi, this time something worse happened. During a Sunday afternoon show mainly aimed at families and old people that's been airing for decades, a magician was invited. The host of the show is a young lady known to have gained her role because of her links to conservative Catholic cliques, Lorena Bianchetti. The magician was a 74-year-old institution of Italian tv, called Silvan, where he began appearing more than 40 years ago. To be clear, we're talking about the most inoffensive and boring of tv events. But poor guy Silvan did something wrong. He showed his magic wand and started his trick saying "then we will lend the magic wand to Berlusconi", referring to the many times Italian PM has said "I need a magic wand" or "I don't have a magic wand", especially in the aftermath of the earthquake. After Silvan's line on Berlusconi, Bianchetti blushed, becoming serious and worried, standing beside him. She let him end his trick, while looking intensely at her back and making gestures to someone looking behind the cameras. Then she interrupted him. The Kim-Il-Jong moment. You can see it by yourself, subtitles show clicking in the lower right corner.