a curious Yankee in Europe's court

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The professor vs the student: differing takes on Italy’s current troubles

Posted on the November 11th, 2010

Interesting New York Review of Books blog post versus comment exchange yesterday about the current and future troubles of Prime Minister Berlusconi and those of the country itself. Could be described as the case of a bemused view from above versus a most concerned view from within, seems to me (“Berlusconi: Will Someone Please Pull the Plug?”).

The blogger is Ingrid D. Rowland, Univ of Notre Dame professor based in Rome. Her challenger is Mauro Gilli who according to some Googling by me, is a doctoral student in political science and one of the creators of the Italian website focusing on economics and politics, Epistemes.org (can’t swear to my accuracy of Gilli’s ID but am fairly sure) (Update:verified by Mauro).

In her post, Rowland offers an entertaining historical glance backward at some shenanigans of various Roman emperors. In comparison, she finds Berlusconi’s scandals somewhat deficient. Gilli writes to protest that Rowland’s post is:

…quite empty of any substance once we take the anecdotical analogies to ancient Rome away.

I do quibble with the charge that Rowland’s post is vacuous. She reviews some details about the mounting dissension within the ranks of the Berlusconi government and, especially to my liking, points to the emergence of  a few Italian women leaders that are worthy of note.

Gilli, however, points out the context of what he describes as a far bigger problem for Italy than the replacement of one Prime Minister with a new one. And it’s this problem that Gilli describes that I myself hear most often lamented by the Italians I know.

Read blog post and comment here.


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