Simanaitis Says

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WHICH GUY is more insulted by this title? I’ve read that Berlusconi cannot stand the comparison. “Berlusconi is Back. Again. This Time, as Italy’s ‘Nonno’.” by Jason Horowitz in The New York Times, January 29, 2018, gives details. Here, I share Berlusconi tidbits from this article and keep score. See what you think of Nonno (loosely, Italian for “grandpap”).

Silvio Berlusconi, Milan-born 1936, Italian media tycoon and politician, Prime Minister of Italy in four administrations. Image from Gobierno de España/Government of Spain.

Berlusconi was born into a middle-class Milanese family; his father, a bank employee; his mother, a housewife. [Advantage Trump.] Berlusconi studied law and graduated with honors in 1961. [Advantage Berlusconi.] For reasons left to controversy, Berlusconi was not required to serve the compulsory one-year stint in the Italian Army. [A draw.]

Berlusconi has musical talent, having occasionally performed as a cruise ship crooner and, in later life, co-wrote the anthem for the A.C. Milan football club and other ditties. [Advantage Berlusconi.]

In 1965 Berlusconi married Carla Elvira Dall’Oglio. By 1980, he and actress Veronica Lario were an item; three of their kids followed in 1984, 1986, and 1988. En passant, he and Carla divorced in 1985. He and Veronica married in 1990; she filed for divorce in 2009 calling him “shameless trash.” [A close one. The same number of divorces, but what about Berlusconi choosing exclusively native-born wives?]

Berlusconi entered the media world in 1973 with seed money earned in the construction business. His TeleMilano cable outfit provided TV to an apartment project he had built east of Milan. Two more channels followed. In time, he owned the majority of Italian commercial TV stations. [Advantage Berlusconi. Apart from The Apprentice, Trump has yet to become a TV mogul.]

Before Berlusconi recently appeared on Italian TV (on one of his own stations), he made a double entendre about sex on the studio floor. Classy. This and the following image from The New York Times, January 29, 2018.

Here I pick up on Jason Horowitz’s article in The New York Times, January 29, 2018: As Horowitz describes it, “Berlusconi entered politics in part to protect his vast business interests and then, as owner of the majority of Italy’s commercial television stations, used his sprawling media empire to stay in power.” [Advantage Berlusconi; advice to Trump clan: study his game plan.]

Horowitz continues that Berlusconi “hosted underage women at what he called ‘elegant dinners’ but what the world knew as sex-fueled Bunga Bunga bacchanals.” [Advantage Berlusconi. He gave the world “Bunga Bunga.” Trump merely gave us “fake news.”]

Writes Horowitz, “He has made a habit of embarrassing Italy on the global stage.” [Another tie; see “I Am Embarrassed.”]

The juicy parts: Berlusconi has been investigated over accusations of mob links. In 2011, he was also “distracted by accusations,” notes Horowitz, “that he paid an under-aged woman named Karima el-Mahroug, aka Ruby Heart-Stealer, for sex at wild parties packed with aspiring showgirls.” [Advantage Trump? Ruby is a Moroccan immigrant (points for tolerance), but also a 17-year-old teenager-of-the-night at the time. Stormy Daniels is an adult.]

Karima el-Mahroug arrives at court in Milan in 2013.

In 2013, an Italian court convicted Berlusconi of tax fraud. See “One Bad Hombre and an Untouchable” for details of a similar case, an Italian-American caught up on this legal technicality. Horowitz observes, “His prison sentence was converted, because of his age, to community service at an old age home. [Advantage Berlusconi, for being kind to fellow old folks. He’s also known for TV appearances petting his fluffy white dogs and bottle-feeding lambs, though banned from political office until 2019.]

“But,” Horowitz notes, “that all seems a long time ago…. He has re-emerged as Italy’s kindly grandad, if one with a 32-year-old girlfriend, unlimited means, and a television empire that helped him recharm politically important older voters. The stain of Bunga Bunga seemed to lift.”

Do you suppose Trump will be remembered as America’s grandad? ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2018


  1. Gordon Craig
    February 5, 2018

    Sometime in 2012 I recall “Nonno” famously proclaimed himself “the most persecuted man in all of Europe.” After a year or more of The Trumpery in bogus POTUS I have come to the conclusion we are witnessing a self imploding narcissist in slow motion train wreck that will take 3 more years to coast to a stop when we vote him out, once and for all. Please, no impeachment, then we get a bogus VP and have to start all over again. Meantime, The Trumpery can proclaim he is “the most persecuted man in all the world.” Advantage The Trumpery. not so cheers, gordon

  2. Skip
    February 6, 2018

    I was hoping this very special site for old cars, vintage aircraft, Holmes, etc. would be a refuge from politics. Goodness knows we get enough of that everywhere else…

    • Dennis
      February 6, 2018

      “Skip” it every so often (and forgive me the pun…); everything else at the website will be fine. I appreciate your view about proliferation, but refuse merely to sit back and accept abnormal happenings.

  3. Mark W
    February 7, 2018

    Look at the other topics and you’ll see they’re suitably wide ranging and informative. Viewing you know who in a historical perspective is helpful, gives hope that it’ll all be better soon….

  4. Gordon Craig
    February 9, 2018

    Came across this apt quote, best wishes to all, gordon

    Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the
    degree to which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not
    to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise fails in his duty to stand by the country,In either extent, it is
    unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.
    -Theodore Roosevelt

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