Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Silvio Berlusconi and me

The Internet’s a funny old place, isn’t it. In 2008 I start a blog to archive online some material from a 1990s books magazine called Quote Unquote because if something isn’t on the Internet and hence Googleable it doesn’t exist. Intermittent posts of jokes, stupidity and other forms of light entertainment keep the thing alive between the serious author interviews etc. Guess which posts get the most hits?

Until recently it was a tie between a happy birthday for Ike Turner (if he had been still alive), the Venn diagram aboutTwitter and the one about cows.

Saturday was OMG the most spectacular day ever – I got six times the normal number of visitors. Hardly Kiwiblog, but quadruple figures all the same. But. . . people weren’t coming to read Mark Amery on Maurice Gee; Tim Wilson on Shonagh Koea or Sam Hunt; Iain Sharp on Bill Manhire or James K Baxter, Barbara Else on Annie Proulx; not Kevin Ireland’s reminiscences of Frank Sargeson; not Nigel Cox on CK Stead; not even me getting all snarky about The CelestineProphecy or Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. 

What were these people looking for? What was the key driver, going forward? Was it my wit? My political acuity? My literary insight? Was it even anything to do with me?

No. The spike in stats, as we bloggers call a sudden increase in viewing figures, is caused by the toad Silvio Berlusconi. He is in the news again because of his mucky private life and as a result people (i.e. heterosexual men) all over the world are looking for photos of his young friends Nicole Minetti and Karima El Mahroug. A photo of each can be found on this blog here. If you do a Google search for either of them, Quote Unquote appears in the top row. I have no idea why. Can anyone explain? 

For no good reason here is Nicole Minetti (left) in one of Mr Berlusconi’s TV shows, Scorie, a version of Candid Camera: I remember the original black-and-white show from the 1960s and am pretty sure it did not include half-naked women. My Italian isn’t good enough to translate the article or comments accurately, but if you click through I think you’ll get the gist. 

When I was in Rome about 20 years ago I was amazed at Italian television which all seemed to be like this: basically, variations on the theme of stripping housewives. I did wonder what the guys in the Vatican watched. And what happened to the Romans – how did they get from, say, Catullus to this? 


Chad Taylor said...

Surely the point is that the ancient Romans are alive and well in modern Italy and carrying on in much the same way.

I don't know what's best about that photo: the dented lampshade, the water bottle (because it's important to stay hydrated) or the woman on the right who is managing to sit on a swing casually - i.e. with her elbow up.

Paul said...

You will realise, of course, that this is a shot of Italy's leading current affairs show. Those women are political reporters. One of those telephones will ring any minute now.

Stephen Stratford said...

Yes, of course. The one on the right is definitely Anita McNaught, who used to write for Quote Unquote. Why didn't I see this before?