Latest scandal offers up comic possibilities
Sex scandals are nothing new for Silvio Berlusconi. But the latest one for Italy’s flamboyant premier-media mogul is turning into a pop-culture phenom locally.This scandal involves an underage Moroccan showgirl known as Ruby, who, while denying she had sex with Berlusconi, claims she did attend parties at his villa that featured erotic rituals he called “bunga bunga.” Immediately after the story broke, “bunga bunga” became Italy’s latest catchphrase, saturating TV and radio news reports, comedy shows, newspaper cartoons and opposition posters. It has spawned a “Bunga Bunga” song — to the tune of Shakira’s “Waka Waka” World Cup tune — first performed on pubcaster RAI and subsequently a big hit on Italo YouTube. Ruby told police “Silvio” said the ritual was a rite he learned from his friend Muammar Gaddafi, La Repubblica reported. Berlusconi, who at first called the allegations “trash,” has since been adding fuel to the fire by quipping it is “better to be fond of beautiful girls than be gay.” That prompted Julianne Moore, who was at the Rome fest to pick up a lifetime achievement nod and promote “The Kids Are All Right,” to call Berlusconi’s blunder “unfortunate, archaic and idiotic.” And even Berlusconi’s current political allies are losing their sense of humor, increasing the prospect of early elections. That would be a blow for his Mediaset just as it steps up competition with Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia.