Friday, July 04, 2003

I blame Roberto Benigni

India finally gets around to asking the US to extradite the former chairman of Union Carbide for the Bhopal disaster of 1984.

Berlusconi sort of apologized today (while also saying it was a premeditated provocation by his enemies), one of those sorry if you were offended because you’re a tight-assed German who can’t take a joke apologies. He also says that Italians make lots of Holocaust jokes because they know how to laugh at that kind of tragedy. But it turns out his “joke” was in far worse taste than we realized, thanks to lousy translation. He didn’t say Herr Schulz should play a commandant but a kapo, that is Jewish prisoners used to keep other prisoners in line. By the way, the film Berlusconi mentioned is already completed, and will be distributed by one of his companies. It wasn’t just an insult, it was an advertisement. One of his tv stations broadcast an excerpt from Hogan’s Heroes to show just how much Schulz resembled his fictional namesake (actually, not at all--by the way, Schulz’s father was victimized by the Nazis and he is a pacifist), and to keep up the sitcom theme, Britain’s Europe Minister Peter Hain suggested Berlusconi should follow Basil Fawlty’s advice and not mention the war.

A man in Oklahoma has been sentenced to life imprisonment for spitting at a cop.

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