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Silent Night with Legs

21 December 2008
Italian Television at its Most Excrutiating
We turn on the television and there are the women with high-heel shoes and long legs and high-sided minuscule pants and tiny bikini-tops with frillies on, dancing and prancing with the camera set low so it looks up at their crotch. Nothing unusual in that as such, for this is Italy. But what are they singing? They are singing a jazzed-up version of, would you believe, Silent Night (Stille Nacht) – in Italian or possibly Portuguese since they seemed to be dressed in the colours of the Brazilian football team.
In many other countries – in Britain and I’m sure in the USA, this would generate complaints for its profanity. But apparently not in Italy; the compere walks onto the stage area when the prancing leggy girls are done, in his dark lounge suit and clapping his hands and saying, “Bellissimo”. This is RAI1, the flagship state television channel.
The following evening there’s a piece on the news focusing on the Pope. There often is a piece featuring the Pope. And he’s saying that it is against God’s will for someone to change gender.
In this land that contains the centre of Catholicism, where the Church holds great sway – at least theoretically – over the political life of the country and where everyone has to profess to being a good Catholic, no one bats an eyelid at women singing Silent Night on television, while dressed in provocative next-to-nothing. It seems that provided you don’t want to change gender; provided you profess not to use contraceptives (though Italy is one of the countries where condoms are available from street slot machines in most towns of the north and centre &ndash the south being a different world altogether); and provided you rail against abortion; then that’s as far as you need go when it comes to morals.
Surely the Catholic Church is moribund isn’t it? All it seems to be interested in is sex, and even then not the exploitation of it. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.


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