talian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has “given new meaning to the phrase ‘pay for play,’” said Elliot Olshansky in the New York Daily News. Patrizia D’Addario, a prostitute who made news last month for saying Berlusconi, 72, paid her $1,400 to attend a party at his official residence, just made news again, alleging that the prime minister offered her a European Parliament seat in lieu of payment for sleeping with him.
D’Addario’s audiotape of their rendezvous is the first “smoking gun” in the string of Berlusconi sex scandals, said Tobias Jones in The Irish Independent. But while in “any normal country” Berlusconi would be politically “dead and buried” after photos surfaced of “orgiastic parties at his Sardinian villa,” along with credible accusations that he slept with an 18-year-old, “Italy is no normal country.” If anything, playing Casanova just adds to his popularity.
Berlusconi’s admittedly “irrefutable” defense—“I’m no saint”—may fly in Italy, said Britain’s The Guardian in an editorial, but other countries—especially in Europe, where Italy is a “major player”—should be “less forgiving” of his “rotten government.” The “real scandal” isn’t sex with call girls, but that Berlusconi—who directly or indirectly controls almost all Italian media—has “suppressed” the story inside Italy.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why would a young person today be religious?
- The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- Why Holy Thursday is so important to Christians
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- How Community's Dean Pelton broke new ground for sexual politics on television
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
Subscribe to the Week