Italy is of course renowned for its great public architecture, its dazzling roster of artists and sculptors, its fantastic food and wine, elegantly-dressed citizens and of course some of the most crooked politicians on the planet. Well, last week, during a trip to Malta when I had a chance to surf over some television channels, I realised that there is an even greater glory of Italian culture – its tv shows.
OK, I am being only half-serious, but Italian television is so funny, so crass, so brassy, and so choc-full of dazzingly gorgeous women and cheesy male presenters that I grin whenever I think about it. You cannot fail to feel good and be amused by it.
One of the things I dislike about much British television is just how depressing it is. Our terrible soap operas, with their tragic sense of life and victim culture, are the worst, but much else is also awful. Not so with Italian television.
Of course it is brazenly vulgar and silly. The moral scolds of the far left and far right would loathe it. But such folk, who share more in common than they would like to admit, miss the point that a certain amount of vulgarity is a sign of health, a suggestion of a level of dynamism in a culture. And judging by Italian tv, Italy is in rude good health.
And of course much of it is owned by the arch-villain of the Guardianista classes and my favourite Italian politician, Silvio Berlusconi. Belissimo!!!!
(Mind you, this guy takes a different view)