Alex Blaze

Rethinking Sexual Hypocrisy

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 02, 2011 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: LGBT, marriage, Newt Gingrich, silvio berlusconi

I posted yesterday a video with Lawrence O'Donnell's very waspy attack on Newt Gingrich's ability to "defend" the institution of marriage considering his several divorces and remarriages.

But if you want to see how it's really done, take a look at Italy's prime minister Silvio. Here's part of his speech this week:

"As long as we rule the country, gay marriages will never be on a par with traditional families", stated Mr Berlusconi. Speaking at a conference for Christian-reformists, the Prime Minister also went on to say that "as long as we are in charge, there will never be a possibility for gay singles nor gay couples to adopt."

In case you haven't been following the Italian news, here's what's been up with Belusconi lately:

Ruby Heart-Stealer

The trial will examine his relationship with Karima El Mahroug, a Moroccan nightclub performer nicknamed Ruby Heart Stealer who attended at least one party at his Milan mansion in February 2010 when she was 17. The abuse-of-power charge stems from his role in helping secure her release from police custody in Milan after her detention in May on unrelated theft charges.

The premier, who owns Italy's biggest private broadcaster, referred to El Mahroug as a relative of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak when he phoned the police on her behalf, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told parliament in November. She is not related to Mubarak and has denied having sexual relations with the Italian leader or being a prostitute.

Berlusconi, who says he's never paid for sex, has said he didn't know that El Mahroug was a minor and denied pressuring police to release her. He'd only phoned to help a young woman in a "tragic situation," he said.

El Mahroug was released by police into the custody of Nicole Minetti, 25, a former showgirl and dental hygienist who was elected a regional representative for Berlusconi's People of Liberty party in March 2010. Prosecutors allege that Minetti, also targeted in the probe, helped secure young women for Berlusconi's parties.

No-Confidence Vote

The premier's conservative government survived a no- confidence motion in parliament by three votes on Dec. 14, as Italian newspapers began to publish details of the Ruby story. Hundreds of thousands of women demonstrated in more than 200 Italian cities and towns on Feb. 13 to defend the dignity of women and call on Berlusconi to quit. The case is also straining Berlusconi's support from Catholic voters, and the director of Avvenire, the newspaper of Italy's national Bishops conference, endorsed the women's protest in a Feb. 12 editorial.

"The Italian political situation is completely frozen now," said Rocco Buttiglione, a member of parliament for the opposition Union of Centrist Party. "Everything has become more and more partisan, making dialogue more difficult."

The scandal broke last October and Ruby has since mentioned "bunga bunga parties," which itself has become sort of a catch-phrase. Berlusconi said they were dry affairs, formal dinners with no sex, but apparently they were orgies:

According to evidence submitted by prosecutors, several women last year exchanged text messages in which they expressed their relief after medical tests cleared them of any sexually transmitted diseases.

'You never know'

"Have you done it? Is everything OK?" asked one unidentified woman in a message sent on January 8, 2010. The other woman replied: "All OK. White blood cells OK, there is no Aids."

The first woman then asked: "Did you have any doubts?" The other responded: "Well you know when someone goes to bed with 80 women, you never know in life." In other texts and phonetaps, women who attended the prime minister's parties complained about gifts they received and the damage to their reputation.

"Do you realise we are branded for life?" said Iris Berardi, an under-age showgirl, in a text message to a friend.

It's not like Berlusconi has presented himself as Mr. Monogamy to the public either:

Turning his attention to the economy, Berlusconi jokingly advised young Italians to marry into money, adding: "I have a daughter who is free to marry."

Now separated from his wife following the scandal over his friendship with the teenage model Noemi Letizia, Berlusconi said he was also an eligible candidate for four reasons: "I am friendly, I have money, legend has it I know how to do 'it', and lastly because girls think: 'He's old and rich, he will die soon and I will inherit everything.'"

Gingrich's and Berlusconi's calls to protect morality, to promote "traditional families," all while having sex outside marriage and getting divorced, etc., means that they at least get that the nuclear family isn't natural and most people don't really want if they're presented with other options (options that come with wealth and privilege).

Instead, that talk is cover for homophobia. They either feel disgust at the thought of two dudes doing it, powerlessness by the thought of two ladies doing it, or just pretend to for political gain. But they can't really say that anymore, in either Italy or the US, so that's when the talk of nuclear families, etc., appears.

Even folks who are supposed to be all about defending the nuclear family and all about telling people to keep their rockets in their marriages (when they're talking about queer people and women's autonomy) will turn around and admit they just don't get why people care about monogamy, fidelity, and nuclear families when it's against their own interests:

Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Bishops' Conference, said "the mere idea that a man who sits atop Italian institutions is implicated in stories of prostitution -- worse yet, prostitution of a minor -- is hurtful and upsetting."

In a front-page editorial, Avvenire said the probe by Milan prosecutors was like a "devastating tornado that is beating down not just on the Italian leader and a group of his friends and acquaintances, but on our country's international image."

It can't be called hypocrisy anymore. Social conservatives just cold don't care about monogamy and traditional families. And they shouldn't because, while there are a few people who may want to live their lives like that, they're just plain not what most people want.

When will they stop saying they care, though? Probably after a few thousand more prominent people are dragged kicking and screaming out of the closet.


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Cheryl Cristello | March 2, 2011 11:33 AM

Such protestations always reminds me of the following written by some guy named Bill Shakespeare "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Just sayin.... true all to often

The guy is definitely a hypocritical scumbag! You could have even mentioned Berlusconi's murdered transsexual escort: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/politics/ex-italian-governors-transsexual-escort-found-dead_100277601.html