Although I’m not an ethnic activist, I frequently look to my Italian heritage for help in finding a path among the strange happenings in our country, with its word-obsessed media culture and legalistic ways of dealing with life. The recent controversy over Representative Anthony Weiner’s libidinous tweeting is a case in point. Many liberals instantly flew to his defense, and conservatives rushed to condemn. (And there is a lot for the public to condemn, mainly the false witness, which has traditionally been viewed as a much greater sin than yielding to temptations of the flesh. As for the latter, well, as Scripture says, “let he who is without sin…”)
But back to sex. Italians have always understood the power of sex – its unpredictability, irrationality, territoriality, jealousies, passions, physicality and social disruptiveness. The great artists have paid a lot of attention to it. In the classic film “Divorce Italian Style”, there is an entertaining scene where a Communist bigwig comes to the town of Agramonte, which is in the midst of a sex scandal. The wife of the local noble, the Baroness Cefalu, has fled the family home to live with her artist lover. The official is urging the audience to respect her decision in light of the emancipation of women. But the local working classes are having none of it! You don’t need a word of Italian to understand what’s going on. Apparently the people, even Communists, expect more of the nobility! The clip closes with anonymous letters of denunciation going to the cuckholded husband. Enjoy!