7 de abr de 2009

Berlusconi X Freud: is it the mother's fault?

by Rodrigo Marques Barbosa

(Clique aqui para português)

Freud postulated in his works that all figures of authority in our lives are the representation of our own fathers transvested.

We can say that the leader of the nation where we live – being the president, the prime minister, the king, the dictator – is one of those figures of authority. 

A not-well-resolved relationship with our parents and, by inference, with other individuals who exercise authority over us (including bosses and the police) can leave indelible trauma in our lives (citing Freud again). 

Having said that, I wonder how Italians are dealing with their leader
s recent rhetorical abuse. Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has shown the world once again his arrogance during the G20 meeting, which brought together world leaders earlier this month in London.

There were several recent episodes in which Berlusconi broke the protocol, committed gaffes and disrespected the world by mocking on nations representatives. What do Italians have to say about their prime ministers behavior? After all, by analogy to Freuds theory, it is something like watching your own father being rude and mean to the entire neighborhood. 

Even the queen of England, Elisabeth II lost her temper with Berlusconi. She jumped out of the chair when the Italian prime minister started yelling to greet (by far) the U.S. president, Barack Obama.
What is it? Why does he have to shout?, she said, shrugging her shoulders.

The next day was not very different. Continuing with the agenda, the world leaders headed to Strasbourg, France. Germanys chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the hosts of the event, was welcoming the VIP guests on a red carpet. When Berlusconi arrived, he got off the car speaking on his mobile. He then ironically waved to Merkel, turned his backs to her and kept his phone conversation for more than 30 minutes. The meeting started without Italys representative. I wonder if Berlusconi suffered from maternal rejection and now is trying to compensate this lack by repeating the same pattern of his childhood. 

Besides all issues we already have to face in our everyday
s lives, we still have to put up with the tyranny of the leader of one of the richest nations on Earth. And as I said, the issue is not about Berlusconis individual attitudes, but the collective representation of his acts. After all, it is like Italy was mocking on the rest of the world, isnt it? Would that be the real desired manifestation of the Italian people? 

My ultimate anger and the motivation to write this article was Berlusconi's express refusal of the aid offered by several countries to the victims of the earthquakes that have shaken Italy in the last two days.

Okay, I agree that if there is no need for help yet, then those who want to help must direct their efforts to the people who really need help. But what did bother me was Berlusconis rhetoric speech. Take a look at his recent statements:

"Italy is alone capable of dealing with the demands." (Would this be a remnant of his pre-infancy, when his mother neglected him with attention?) 

"We are a proud people. Thank you, but we are self-sufficient." (Ditto) 

Berlusconi said today that 30 million Euros will be directed to help the earthquake victims. But he said later that he will request several hundred million Euros to the European funds.

So will they need help or not? It beats me.

19 comentários:

Anônimo disse...

Dear Rodrigo, your article it's very interesting and it focuses to an interesting point of view. I don't know if Berlusconi have had some educational problems or if he's in this way despite a good education. I can say that Italian is a very weird people. It suffers reading and learning about his behaviour but it gave (and still gives) him the win on every election poll. You say:
"Having said that, I wonder how Italians are dealing with their leader’s recent rhetorical abuse.". Keep in consideration that the main mass media information is under Berlusconi's control and not all people learn about his performances.
Posted by Giuseppe Corsaro

Anônimo disse...

Most of the things concerning Mr. Berlusconi are badly reported. I disagree with the fact that he controls most of the mass medias. Quite all the newspapers are out of his control, and also among the TV channels his family owns there's space for criticizing him.

At the present time I don't see any serious alternative to him, and I think that he is going to do much better than Mr Prodi/ Veltroni etc etc
Posted by Bruno Petrucci

Anônimo disse...

I agree with you about the alternative missing. But not for media control. He directly and indirectly controls all the main TV channels (RAI and MEDIASET) and as you know reading is not a great passion for Italians so newspapers cannot be considered a good means of information. This is proved by the different point of view of foreign and italian information. A good information could be given by the network and infact they are trying to limit it. With the collaboration of the opposite part...
Anyway Berlusconi is a big part, but a part, of a wider problem that is the italian policy and his connection with economy.
Obama might be a change of this way to do.
Posted by Giuseppe Corsaro

Anônimo disse...

RAI 3, Canale 5 (Mediaset) and Italia 1 (Mediaset) are completely free to criticize Mr Berlusconi, and they criticize him quite often.

In any case he is the only one that is able to lead a Government for several years
Posted by Bruno Petrucci

Anônimo disse...

Of course I completely disagree with you, but this is the beauty of the life.
Posted by Giuseppe Corsaro

Anônimo disse...

...it looks like you voted for the Loosers. Buona Pasqua!
Posted by Bruno Petrucci

Rodrigo disse...

Cari Bruno e Giuseppe,

Thank you very much for your comments.

I'd very much appreciate if you shared with me your visions about the central theme of my article: how do Italians feel when their leader acts the way I described in the text.

By the way, I have to say that I love Italy, my great grandy was born is Tuscany.

Best regards,


Anônimo disse...

Happy Easter Rodrigo. Keep in mind that there's a lot of propaganda on our Italian Leader. To be honest also your prasident is quite often on the newspapers Ciao Bruno
Posted by Bruno Petrucci

Anônimo disse...

Dear Bruno,

This is exactly the behavior of your prime minister... Attack everybody no matter for what!!

I don't undrstand why you saying to Rodrigo "his president is quite often in the newspaper". the topic was about Berlusconi.

Why involves is president? I'm living abroad for many years and what I can see from here is a Leader (Berlusconi the only one at the moment in Italy, so no alternative) that for any reasons is going to attack the opposition... why?

And of course is doing that with all media in his hands (Rai indirectly and Mediaset directly).

You have no idea how hard is trying to explain to people why Italians vote for Berlusconi?!?! Noone.. aborad understand this.. even the ones from the right side...

Unfortunately for you you can't reply to me as you've doen to Giuseppe... because being abroad I didn't vote for anyone... adn it looks the in Italy everyone is the looser...

Good luck!

Posted by Tommaso Massai

Anônimo disse...

Dear Tommaso,

It's obviuous that you've misunderstood...I'm just sayng that media are talking too much about him, and not all the things they are reporting are true.

There's a difference between me and you...I'm proud to be Italian, and I don't think that we are a bad country because of Berlusconi.

It is easy to explain why italians are voting him. Keep in mind that I have more foreing colleagues rather than Italian, and they are less negative than you.

I would prefer a different Premier in Italy, but I'm sure that at the time bering Berlusconi represents for Italy the best that we can have.

Come on ... he's doing also many good things for Italy... If Prodi, Veltroni and the others that you prefer haven't been able to lead Italy for a long perdiod...there shoudl be a good reason o not?

Talking badly about Berlusconi means talking badly about the majority of Italians that voted him...

Sorry but I'm proud to be Italian and I love my country.

Posted by Bruno Petrucci

Anônimo disse...

eh..eh..Bruno, you're right. I voted for the loosers, but just because my parent taught me to do always my duty. Honestly I don't feel myself represented by anybody in the current political class.

Rodrigo, Tommaso got the point. I feel very bad when my leader, apart from who it is, act in that way. I always think to the people who live abroad and are mocked by natives. So they suffer two times, one for the homesickness and one for the mocking, because I think every Italian are proud to be so. I think that important public people must consider that before act in a way or tell something.
Posted by Giuseppe Corsaro

Mauro disse...

Hi everybody, thanks for the interesting thread and it's wonderful to hear someone else's opinion on Berlusconi.

I'd like to give my answer to Rodrigo's question: "how do Italians feel when their leader acts the way I described in the text?"

Berlusconi has a history of "misbehaving" while in international contexts, and his gaffes are by now too many to count: calling Obama "tanned" was probably the most hilarious - and shouting over the Queen's shoulders, or leaving Merkel standing in the cold are just followers to when, a few years ago (in a previous tenure as head of government), he put horns over another statesman's head with his fingers (schoolboys in Italy often do so to mock rivals) in an official photo.

I infer that by now my fellow Italians must have gotten used to these impromptu misbehaviors, since he keeps getting reelected.

My opinion is that I don't really care: does he behave in a rude manner to other world leaders? Quite likely. But how much value do we put in protocol, and how much in fact? I tend to value the second better. Diplomacy is usually a way to say "no" without actually saying the word. And don't forget that, despite US delusions, there is not a world policeman to make states behave. Case in point, Somalia. Or, the US invading their backyard at will, for that matter (Grenada, Panama, etc.).

Does Berlusconi's behavior put _all_ Italians in a bad light? I don't think so - I trust the world peoples to be more intelligent than this.

So this is what comes out of it: other heads of state or government might dislike Berlusconi personally, but still must put up with him since he's by all means the democratically elected head of government of Italy and they are interested (usually monetarily) in dealing with Italy.

Come on, they must put up with outright dictators and even heads of state that allegedly murder their own people, like Kim Jong-il and Omar al-Bashir (BTW, protocol would bestow on them the same honors as any other head of state). Berlusconi's misbehaviors should not be sanctioned, but are obviously mere trifles in comparison, and should be treated as such.

And don't worry, Italy will return in time to the normal boring way of dealing with world leaders: as soon as the current opposition's defects are forgotten enough to make it look better than Berlusconi's party; I'd say in just a few years (3 or 4 max) - if they (the Italian left) are able to clean up their act, that is.

Anônimo disse...

De que a mãe não tem culpa pela teoria Freudiana?


Posted by Rosely Turini

Anônimo disse...

"Guys... I just say be always proud of your country and defend it everywhere. Think about the Prasidents of other countries and you'll notice that a lot of them did things that are even worse...Bush, Eltsin, the Japanese Finance Minister... And sorry guys... I've never heard an American, a Russian or a Japanese man as negative as you.. Be honest guys... are you completely sure that Berlusconi is doing only bad things for our country? Sorry... I live here and I can list a lot of excellent achievements... I don't think that if he's a little bit too friendly or a little bit funny is such a negative thing to say..."oh poor us...". We are a smiling country... and again...I'm proud to be Italian and always will be."
Posted by Bruno Petrucci

Anônimo disse...

"Bruno, you're talking of different things. The reason we feel bad for Berlusconi's acts is just because we're proud to be Italian. As Italian I prefer to be to be approached to Leonardo or Dante rather then Berlusconi and his "funny" acts. And I think it's the same for US people. Search on youtube for the Letterman's Top Ten Bush Moments and you'll see. And see also what Letterman did to Cain when he gave up that show to go to another one telling him a lie. Do you think is possible here in Italy? Berlusconi complained because TV showed his "performances" as they were. I cannot imagine what he could do for a similar treatment."
Posted by Giuseppe Corsaro

Anônimo disse...

"I don't think we need to raid Freud's dusty old handbook to diagnose Sig Berlusconi. He's just one of those men who is so wealthy he doesn't care what anyone else thinks. There are few politicians more crass or stupid"
Posted by PJ Taylor

Anônimo disse...

"If you're proud to be Italian you cannot be so negative towards the person who il leading Italy and who is supported by the majority of Italians. For me the most important thing is to see that in Italy many things are changing in a positive way thanks to him. Please also focus on the positive things and be proud of them. Come on...he is not a killer or into drugs or alcohol addiction... don't you think that you are exagerating too much on his way of behaviour? i think that such behaviuour helps him to build up special human relationship with other international leaders... I don't think that any American or any Russian felt so frustrated for the behaviuour of their prasidents ...I believe that Mr Bush o Mr Eltsin did much worse than Mr Berlusconi... I understand your point, you can disagree with him, you can dislike him...but being embarassed and frustrated for his little jockes seem to be too much... sorry...."
Posted by Bruno Petrucci

Anônimo disse...

"Bruno, as I said above we see the situation in a totally different way. You see positive changes and I see very negative changes. His way to see the social cohabitation is very far from mine. I don't like his arrogance and attitude to self-declarate the best on every situation. Do you really think he is the best manager, political, teacher, priest, driver etc?? He thinks so! When somebody doesn't listen to the others he cannot enhance himself. I recognize that he has a great charisma and he's very persuasive but this is the only value he has in my opinion."
Posted by Giuseppe Corsaro

Anônimo disse...

Olá Rodrigo,
Bom blog o seu.
As gafes berlusconianas são conhecidas por aqui. Dizer que Obama está "um pouco moreno" ou que os afectados pelo terremoto devem encarar a espera de uma nova casa como "um fim de semana de camping" são outros exemplos recentes e bastante desafortunados...
Mas a análise através da Psicología é interessante e sempre reveladora, você tem razão, à maioría dos italianos lhes dá vergonha.
Bom seguirei seus artigos que me cheguem pelo LinkedIn.
Um abraço,

Posted by Wagner Moll

Postar um comentário