Rather paradoxically, the endless string of insults which Maurizio Gasparri fired at the English like machine gun bullets Saturday, could almost have put Shakespeare to shame. In terms of inventiveness and speed that is. Certainly not wit. In fact had William still been with us today, he may have even taken his hat off to Gasparri for his mastery of the art of insulting, were said insults not aimed at his own kind.
I am referring, of course, to the offensive comments which the former Communications Minister under Silvio Berlusconi’s government and current deputy speaker of the Italian Senate, launched against the English people after Italy’s World Cup victory over England on Sunday.
The comments were posted on his Twitter account @gasparripdl and attracted criticism from numerous Italians, who were not spared the wrath of this verbal serial killer either. Here is a taster:
“Fa piacere mandare a fare …. gli inglesi, boriosi e coglioni” : “It’s always a pleasure to say go “f*** y*********” to the English, pretentious pricks.”
His attack targeted the English as a whole, the Queen included. In an ironic reference to Corrado Guzzanti’s parody of Antonello Venditti’s song Sul Grande Raccordo Anulare (the remake is written in Roman dialect, which often used by Italians to make fun of something/someone – see Queen photo and comment below).
“E che ie faiii aa murtaa aa regina…. Gran raccordo anulare, qualcuno ricorda Guzzanti-Venditti?”
“Fantastici, tutti bloccati, cespugli di imbecilli, un modo ottimo di mettere sterco in discarica” : “Fantastic, blocked all of you, bunch of morons, this is a great way to dump shit.”
Gasparri’s audacity extended to praising those who agreed with him: “Beh se lo fa la shampista lo puoi fare pure te”: “You can be foreign minister, if that shampoo girl can,” he said in an insulting reference to current minister Federica Mogherini, who has been the target of sexist remarks from Gasparri before.
“Ottimo e di soddisfazione poter bloccare qualche decina di stupidi, rifiuti in discarica…” : “Excellent, it’s so satisfying to be able to block a dozen or so imbeciles, garbage in a rubbish dump…”
“Demented” and “pathetic” were among some of the other adjectives the senator used against those who spoke out against his comments on Twitter.
Wired Italy wrote: “Togliete Twitter a Gasparri (è per il suo bene)” : Take Twitter out of Gasparri’s hands (for his own good)”.
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression but where does one’s freedom begin and another’s end? A large portion of Italian taxpayers’ money goes to people like him who are supposed to set a good example and promote a positive image of Italy in the world. It seems ridiculous that someone whose former position suggested he was a communications expert should use his position to air his views in such a crass way. Italy may be used to seeing such behaviour from him (for example when Barack Obama was elected President of the US in November 2008, Gasparri told RAI that now Obama is in the White House “al-Qaida is happier”) but to fall into apathy over a kind of behaviour that is far from normal, is hugely risky. In my opinion, it’s a bit like saying that just because we hear about the war in Syria almost every day, losing interest is normal.
There are ways and ways of expressing one’s opinion. Satire for example at least sparks some laughts! Italian McDonalds restaurants are apparently offering free Crispy McBacon burgers to customers whenever Italy wins a World Cup match. In reference to this, someone posted this picture of the Queen with a caption (transcribed in Roman dialect) that reads: “Go choke on those Crispy McBacons!”
Violence reared its ugly head on Saturday evening on the occasion of the Italy-England game. A Pakistani friend who went to watch the match at the “Hunstman” pub in Turin with a couple of friends had to run from the pub at the end of the first half because 50-100 people were allegedly planning to beat them up just for cheering English team. But anti-Italian sentiment also got out of hand in the UK, with the Italian flag being set alight and fights breaking out in various parts of the country:
The Daily Mail
What the British and Italian press wrote about Maurizio Gasparri’s Twitter outburst:
Il Corriere della Sera http://www.corriere.it/mondiali/2014/notizie/gasparri-gli-inglesi-coni-boriosi-twitter-si-scatena-df6753ea-f4aa-11e3-8a74-87b3e3738f4b.shtml
Il Fatto Quotidianohttp://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2014/06/15/brasile-2014-gasparri-twitta-inglesi-boriosi-e-coglioni-poi-insulta-chi-lo-critica/1028344/
La Repubblica http://www.repubblica.it/speciali/mondiali/brasile2014/2014/06/15/foto/tifo_azzurro_su_twitter_da_gasparri_a_madonna-89013348/1/#1
The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jun/15/italian-politician-maurizio-gasparri-twitter-english
The Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2658480/Diplomatic-row-Italian-politicians-branded-English-pretentious-d-s-just-minutes-Englands-World-Cup-defeat-Saturday.html