>Strano Bedfellow

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Just over a year back, as you may recall, I described the carefree antics of some of Italy’s parliamentarians in the run up to and just after the no-confidence vote that brought down the barely-two-year-old government of Romano Prodi. (See “Chaos Theory.”)

One of the most delighted campers during the extremely dignified and spontaneous outpouring of political bile enthusiasm on the floor of the Senate was Antonino “Nino” Strano, then a Senator with the National Alliance (one of the many illegitimate descendants of the Fascist party, which began ramifying the minute WWII was officially over).

Nino lost his job during last year’s elections, but Silvio “Boss Hogg” Berlusconi wasted no time in nominating Strano as a candidate for the European Parliament (elections will take place later this year). It may be worth noting that the Italian delegation to the European Parliament is something of a laughing stock: its members have distinguished themselves by having the lowest rate of attendance of any country, by earning the highest salaries (approximately $21,000 per month, plus a per diem and a staff allotment, whether or not they have a staff), and by staying in office for the least amount of time (Italian politicians use the European Parliament as a kind of a holding pen where they can earn a lot of money while they wait for one of their cronies to find them a better sistemazione).

Strano, in light of his new-found respectability as a MEP candidate, has recently begun menacing bloggers and facebookers for circulating the video that you can see below, which is just one of the pleasures of making it available to you. (Charles Lambert gets the credit for finding this little gem and for starting a virtuous catena di Sant’Antonio—and if there’s no reward in heaven for helping others learn what a scum Strano is, there truly is no God).

I consider it mildly interesting that Strano, whom you can hear screaming, among other things, “checca squallida” (sleazy queer) and “frocio” (faggot), is, according to some sources, gay himself. (What? Did the casual, Fag Flag drape of his cherry-red sweater give him away?) Mildly interesting because finding closeted, self-hating, right-wing fags in electoral politics is about as rare as coming upon rednecks at a demolition derby.

In any case, here’s the video. You can view it on Youtube (assuming Strano hasn’t succeeded in making them pull it), which should be the top video, If it should be unavailable, I have a downloaded copy, which I’d be glad to send to you.

The video is, inexplicably, in Italian, German, and English, so there’s a little something for almost anyone. For those who don’t have any Italian, though, here are a couple of highlights: At a certain point, Strano explains why the director, Franco Zeffirelli, thanked him in the end credits of Zeffirelli’s 1993 film, Storia di una Capinera (released in English as Sparrow).

In January of this year, Zeffirelli, who is an Italian senator (since 1996 with Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italia party), finally confirmed what “everyone knew” and came out in an interview with the Italian magazine, Libero. One might have been surprised only because Zeffirelli has repeatedly announced his support for the draconian and homophobic statements of the Catholic Church (see above, under “right-wing politics, self-hating homos in”).

So let’s tie all the strings together. The protagonist in Storia di una Capinera is also named “Nino,” but Strano wanted to make it clear that his relationship with Zeffirelli was a matter of nothing more than an affectionate and “serene” friendship (a euphemism for “we weren’t doing it”); and, by the way, that he was on the verge of nominating Zeffirelli to a position as a “Senator for Life.” (The nomination didn’t take, but it wouldn’t be Italy if one hand didn’t … you know.)

Later in the vid, Strano insists that he has always demonstrated the greatest openness toward the “homosexual world,” which, “as a confirmed heterosexual,” he respects. (That’s despite throwing around words like “sleazy queen” on the floor of the Senate.) And I trust that clears things up.

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Posted on 17 March 2009, in Italy, Italian, Italians (in that order) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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