Marco Pitzalis

The Berlusconi Series: Silvio Vs. The Queen


Reuters, “Queen Tells Off Berlusconi” (2009)

That woman! Decked out in a rose gown, sitting atop the long process of civilization, the embodiment of that process, the end point of that process. How could anyone, who is not totally insane, believe herself to be a queen? And not just any ordinary queen: the Queen of England! How could this band of men, triumphant in their cynical pursuit for power and prestige, driven by great ambition and extraordinary narcissism towards a totally alienated life — how can they really believe that an extravagant old woman dressed in pink is a Queen?

How could a man (even if only as tall as a child), one of the richest men in the world, possessing any number of powers, allow himself to be scolded by an old auntie in pink? Where does this woman derive her power? Does it really exist?

“What is it? Why does he have to shout?” she says. What moves the little old auntie in pink to say these words? Why did she have to put Berlusconi in his place? Because she couldn’t let an ordinary man ridicule the grandeur of her inherited office? She is one with what she symbolizes, and so that symbol is the very source of her existence. The power of monarchy is delicate, fragile; it needs to maintain its distance to be preserved, susceptible as it is to the slightest irreverence, ready to wilt at the slightest touch.

This is the function of etiquette—the apparatus that so governs the life of the epical English. Distance is in itself their difference. Merely achieving the appearance of difference, an inherited privilege may became an ontological status. The pink lady — in appearance sane — really believes herself to be a queen, and her reaction is no less ridiculous than the petit bourgeois excitedly calling out Mister Obaaaaaaaaaaaaa-maaaaaaaaa. That little man is as ordinary as I am. Why shouldn’t he shout?

- Marco Pitzalis

Ryeberg Curator Bio

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Marco Pitzalis was born in Cagliari in late November, 1963. The entire world, at that moment, was thinking of President Kennedy’s death, so Pitzalis’ birth passed unnoticed. As the decades passed, he noticed that all high points in his life continued to be obscured by their coincidence with great historical events. Nonetheless, he quietly made his way. As an undergrad in Cagliari, Italy, Pitzalis achieved excellent grades in Philosophy; he went on to a PhD in Sociology at the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. One day, in the faculty washroom, Pitzalis encountered the great Philosophe Derrida, who proceeded to use the toilet after him. Pitzalis believed this event to be charged with deep, transformative symbolism. Then in the year 2000, as the spray of the burst stock market bubble was still settling, he sold his shares—a minute too late, and he understood that at last he had consummated a divorce between himself and history. History no longer collides with his personal triumphs. Today Pitzalis teaches sociology at the glorious University of Cagliari in Sardinia. His presence is duly noticed by a handful of devoted students.