Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

As the actress said to the senator

Intercepted telephone calls between the leader of the opposition, Silvio Berlusconi, and the head of the state broadcasting company RAI’s fiction department have been blasted across the front pages of the newspapers, as a scandal blows itself up.

The reason? Well, it appears that Silvio, a budding TV entrepreneur, has taken the opportunity to suggest a number of budding actresses for work in RAI. Where’s the harm in that? A TV executive recommending the talents of certain actresses is a world away, for example, from a politico bringing pressure to bear to win a role for a starlet.

Perhaps it’s a scandal because the intercepted telephone calls suggest that a role in a hammy period-piece drama is the price needed to bringing down Prodi’s government. Berlusconi in a lengthy and illuminating conversation with RAI’s (ex)drama department head Agostino Saccà, seems to have asked for two actresses to be given roles as a favour. Then, like a Bond baddie he proceeded to outline the reason for his interest in this paltry favour, despite the fact that Saccà’s obsequious acceptance of the request required
no explanation. Let’s take it from when the conversation turned starlet way:

Berlusconi: I’ll explain to you what this is about
Saccà: but no, Presidente you don’t have to explain anything
Berlusconi: no, I’ll explain to you: I’m trying to
Saccà: Presidente, you’re the most civil person, the most correct…
Berlusconi: Well then … it’s a question of …(indecipherable)…
Saccà: But this name is my problem
Berlusconi: I’m trying … to get a majority in the senate…
Saccà: Understood
Berlusconi: And this Evelina Manna could be… It was requested by someone… with whom I’m negotiating[1]

Now it’s hard to blame Silvio in the above. After all, if you’re mission is to save Italy from the communists, and you can help a talented actress get a part at the same time…

What is problematic is the electoral law that his majority parliament passed, which ensured the elections of April 2006 produced a risibile majority that could be bought and sold for parts in a two-bit fiction.

Still, at least we’ve learned two important lessons from the episode:
First, the price of Italian democracy (get it while you can, it’s going cheap), and secondly why the chronically bad Rai drama department exists!

Excerpt from the transcript published by Corriere della Sera.
B: ti spiego che cos’è questa qui ..
S: ma no, Presidente non mi deve spiegare niente ..
B: no, te lo spiego: io stò cercando di avere …
S: Presedente, lei è la persona più civile, più corretta..
B: allora … è questione di .. (parola incomprensibile, le voci si accavallano) ….
S: ma questo nome è un problema mio …
B: io stò cercando … di aver la maggioranza in Senato …
S: capito tutto …
B: eh .. questa Evelina Manna può essere .. perchè mi è stata richiesta da qualcuno … con cui sto trattando