If it’s good to be the king, it must be great to be the Premier of Italy. Silvio Berlusconi, marone, a guy hasn’t pulled that much weight in the old country since Lorenzo de’ Medici. He’s a billionaire media mogul, the Prime Minister of Italy and perhaps the most sexually active 73-year-old Viagra’s ever seen. You either hate him or love him, and there are the select few, like myself, who truly understand him. It’s tough to be on top: The camera is always on and you’re often times set up for failure. That couldn’t be truer than in Italia, where they’ve called Berlusconi a crook, a bigot and a womanizer. But it takes more than slander, or perhaps ugly truths, to bring a man like Berlusconi down. I’m happy to call him my paisan. Silvio’s pure conviction can help a man brush anything off with a smirk. He knows who he is, he knows what he wants and he knows exactly how to get it. Even though my cugino in Roma is worth admiring, he has some faults as well. Here’s the best and worst of Premier Berlusconi.
Make the right friends
I’m not the authority on foreign policy, but I do know that in any business it’s much more productive to have friends than it is enemies. If you have to choose which friends to keep, you better choose the powerful ones. Berlusconi knows this, strengthening ties to the U.S. and Russia, and even finding some paisans in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Even if the amicable Italian leader doesn’t necessarily agree with all his foreign companions, he knows that if anything were to go sour, he has world powers watching his back. Mario Puzo said: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” However, Mario might not have understood that with the right friends, you don’t have to worry much about the others.
Control your impulses
Man is an impulsive creature, but the better ones seem to have a grasp on these impulses — especially when it comes to women. Sure, an 18-year-old goomah is pretty enticing. Add a nice pair of legs and you have something irresistible. However, danger often lurks behind these beauties. That was the case with Silvio when he paid a visit to a young model’s birthday bash, telling the wife he had a conference. Berlusconi, the playboy, has won some of the male votes by running through his young political groupies, but he’s torn his family apart. So, as the ex-wife writes her tell-all bio, and Berlusconi starts catching more press for his sex life than his politics, it might be a good idea to learn from these mistakes. Fidelity, honesty, controlling your impulses; it’s no walk in the park. Then again, it’s no walk on the plank either.
Know the laws
Watch your mouth
Berlusconi is just as good of a comedian as he is a leader. Anyone with a sense of humor finds Silvio’s politically incorrect punch lines entertaining. But when you’re a politician, being politically incorrect isn’t such a good trait. A man’s actions often get him in trouble, but more times than not, it’s his words that draw the most heat. People are overly sensitive, offended by the slightest gaff. Try and elicit a laugh out of these baccalas and, marone, you’ll get a flood of complaints on your doorstep. It’s unfortunate that a sense of humor is a fleeting quality in men, but nonetheless you have to watch your mouth. Know your audience and think before you speak because there’s nothing worse than having to spend the next two weeks apologizing for a line that took two seconds to deliver.
When in Rome
I’d hate for my mixed praise and constructive criticism of the Italian premier to overshadow my respect for the man. If I ever return to the land of my roots, Silvio Berlusconi will have my vote. He’s a man’s man with a heavy wallet and a sharp tongue and, like all of us, he has his flaws and his strengths. His moxie often creates a stir, and the press has a field day with the Berlusconi buffet of public scandals. However, there’s a lot to learn from the guy — and even more to respect. We all wish we could do what we want, we all want to speak our minds freely, and if Silvio can hold power doing it then, hey, salud.