Friday, November 19, 2010


Chutzpah is about as normative in Italian culture as it is for the Israelis.  Thus, I have never really considered a Chutzpah of the Week award for Silvio Berlusconi, just because even his most outrageous acts always seem to be little more than business as usual over there.  It seemed more appropriate to give an award to Erik Gandini for taking on Berlusconi in his Videocracy documentary.  On the other hand there are lower echelons of Italian governance that can still rise to levels of chutzpah, and today the BBC reported news of such a level involving trying to stick a fast one to the European Union:

The organisers of an Elton John concert in Italy have been told to pay back the money they used to stage the event.

The 720,000 euros (£613,000) came from the European Union as part of a fund to enhance regional development in the Campania region.

Sir Elton was the headline act at a festival in Naples last year.

The European Commission only recently discovered that some of its funds had been used to stage the gig by one of the biggest names in music.

When we consider all of the different instances of corruption that have come down to us from Naples, one might say that the city has lived its life like a candle in its uncollected garbage.  Still, this came down to trying to bilk the EU out of a pretty healthy piece of change;  and I think that the organizers can be honored with a Chutzpah of the Week award without casting any asparagus at Sir Elton!

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