Just a thought before going to bed, and it has nothing to do with pasta…
It’s Wednesday, 10.30 pm. I’m watching the season première of Law and Order” Special Victim Unit. This new episode called “Scorched Earth” is based on Dominique Strauss-Kahn‘s hotel maid rape case.
I was reading some emails when a clear and heavy Italian accent caught my attention… I heard some Italian words like…. “Berlusconi”, “signor Distasio”, “cin cin”, “stupratore” (rapist), “signorina”, “ho capito, grazie, ciao”…
In this episode detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) investigates when a hotel maid accused a powerful Italian diplomat of rape.
Franco Nero portrays the Strauss-Kahn like character, Robert Distasio, but he is an Italian dignitary…. Yes. Italian. He even said he was probably set up by Berlusconi. Now. Please, tell me it’s just a coincidence!
Unfortunately, we all know that the credibility of Italy is very weak in this period all over the world due to the embarrassing list of sex scandals that have touched directly the prime minister. The 74-year-old premier Silvio Berlusconi is currently on trial for paying to have sex with a 17-year old girl as well as for abuse of power, bribery and fraud. The new episode of Law and Order SVU didn’t make the difference but it didn’t help our reputation either.
The alleged rapist Robert Distasio just told the lawyer an Italian saying: “Fatti maschi, parole femmine”. Translation: man has facts, woman has words. Did you watch this episode? Tell me your impression. Do you think it’s always about the same old stereotypes?
Nope, I won’t tell you the end of the episode in case you didn’t watch it – just wondering where Det. Stabler (Christopher Meloni) is… damn it! – and I promise that the next post will be about food 😉
I think considering how many years the show has been on air for, they do manage to create novelty rather than repeating the same stories. However, I think this can sometimes be to the show’s detriment. I would prefer it if they kept it down to the more day to day sex crimes and the effects they have on the victims.
Let me start by saying that I haven’t finished watching the current episode of SVU yet but as I am familiar with the case it’s based on, my guess is that there won’t be any surprises in there. As for the Italian character, I wasn’t bothered by the fact that he is Italian. I can understand that it might be awkward to watch this as an Italian, but I didn’t see it as a cliche statement of “this is what all Italian men are like”, but as an allusion to the current Berlusconi scandals. These allusions always happen on SVU, and usually in a timely fashion. They could be based on characters from any country. (Although I have to admit that here in Germany, everyone is wondering how a man like Berlusconi can STILL be the political head of Italy in spite of everything that has happened, which has damaged Italy’s image somewhat.) As it is something that is actually happening right now and since Berlusconi really has said some things very similar to the idiotic statements this character on the show is making, I wouldn’t call it a “cliche” but a representation of a current event in fiction. This event shouldn’t be belittled.
I myself was quite shocked and embarrassed….luckily my girlfriend thought it was funny and my mother was surprised Franco Nero looked so good for his age.
Robert Di Stasio
South Salem, NY