‘Videocracy’ and alarming alliances

David Hudson has posted a handful of interesting links about Italian documentarian Erik Gandini’s newest film, Videocracy (2009), an apparently uncompromising critique of generally embarrassing Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whom I’ve often heard described as “W. with an affinity for fashion and hookers.” Bersculoni owns 80% of TV stations in Italy, suggesting that his popularity (or lack thereof) can be attributed largely to his ability (or inability) to regulate the Italian public’s perception of him; this is particularly interesting because at the moment it seems that the international public’s perception of him couldn’t be any worse.

While doing some reading on the European radical right, I recently learned that in the mid-1990s Berlusconi, the then and current head of Forza Italia (described by Wikipedia as a “Christian-democratic” and “liberal-conservative” [?] party), formed a coalition government that included Movimento Italiano Sociale (a neofascist party) and Lega Nord (a populist party with an anti-immigrant, anti-homosexual, anti-communist, anti-refugee platform). Both MSI and Lega Nord actually enjoyed considerable regional popularity at the time, though one imagines that their unique (and distasteful) brands of politics couldn’t possibly have caught on at the national level. Despite all of this, Berlusconi is the four-time elected and sitting Prime Minister of Italy; if anything, this reveals just how powerful and influential images can be.

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