21 March, 2010

If only we had these options

Italians are preparing to go to the polls for regional elections. Italy being Italy, the election season has featured high drama. This year is especially notable for drama, for two reasons.

First, the party in power (Berlusconi's Popolo della Libertà) isn't running any candidates in Rome. Why not? You see, electoral officials in Rome are obsessed with trivial inanities such as, say, following the law, one detail of which is that a party must submit a list of candidates, which PdL did not do.

To be fair, PdL did, in fact, submit a list of candidates, just not before the deadline. This led to an uproar; Parliament passed a decree that would have allowed PdL to submit a list after the deadline, and the president of the Republic signed it (with a great show of distaste).

title: Italian theater: It's the way we like it!
subtitle: characters and actors
The characters laughing on the left are leaders of PdL, including Berlusconi, Alfano, and La Russa. One of the two lonely characters on the right is DiPietro, holding a sign with an ancient Roman proverb: The law is harsh, but it's the law.

Nevertheless, a quick suit sent the decree to court, where it was deemed unconstitutional, proving that you're never allowed to change the rules of the game… unless the left wing can profit.

This might, however, feed into a growing tendency in Italian politics, to make noise about not voting. The idea is this: if a certain minimum of the population doesn't vote, then no one wins. A taxi driver once explained to me with a straight face that this would mean there would be no government. (That was a long drive from Rome to Gaeta.) I have my doubts, but maybe he wasn't entirely wrong, since there have been quite a few campaign ads advocating precisely this option. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite ads.
  • Far and away the best one is this:
    I can't even begin to explain it, except to say that in Italian, porco (pig) has all sorts of vulgar meanings, and porcu is often the local dialect for pig. I'm not sure that's the case in Lombardy, where this fellow is running for mayor, but there ain't no one in Italy who would fail to understand this. Porcu has doubtless suffered teasing for much of his life over such an unfortunate name, but he's making the best of it with an entire series of ads that play on the vulgar meanings of the word. This particular ad urges you to vote for an ugly figure. His Flickr website adds,
    Oggi è il giorno del fare, non la promessa del domani.
    Abbiamo bisogno di tornare a sorridere.
    Vota Porcu.

    (Today we ought to do things, not make promises about tomorrow. We need to start laughing again. Vote Porcu.)
    He'd win my vote, hands down.

    Well, maybe.
  • There is the usual shamelessness of those who still think that six or seven decades spent shilling for the Soviet Union wasn't such a bad idea after all:

    Yes, that's the flag of the former Soviet Union. Yes, they've placed it above the flag of Italy. Yes, I realize that they mean it as the symbol of international communism, but its origins are, nevertheless, the symbols of the Soviet Union.
  • This guy oughta lose if only for this ad.
  • I know what Paolo Brutti's trying to get at in this ad, and I admire DiPietro in many ways, but when your last name means ugly men in Italian, I start to suspec that this is another party's ad, rather than his.
  • Never mind what I said about Porcu above; I really like Diversamenti Occupati, which appears to be a comic strip that has somehow gone viral into campaign ads. (Actually, it looks like a bunch of photo shops, but they got onto Corriere della Sera anyway.)
    Vote for the candidate who has your future in mind.
    Ok, don't vote.

    Enough with workplace discrimination. Fewer rights for all.

    Have more faith in the future. After all, it isn't guaranteed to get here.
  • And now the afore-mentioned option to vote for no one.
    Regionals 2010
    A special choice
    Vote no one!
    Send them to jail!

    Regionals? No thanks!
    + National + Regional + Provincial + Local + Etc.
    + Corruption and + Cheating

    Enough with employing them with our money!
    Let's give them a lesson: don't go vote!

    No one defends the workers.
    Vote no one.

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