Attack of the Coglioni
Sign reads: "I am a testicle"
"Berlusconi insults voters - rage and irony from the Web to the Piazzas"
By Marco Bracconi
ROME - The online drumbeat begins a few meters from the Cavaliere's [horeseman, knight, captain of industry, one of Berlusconi's nicknames] residence. In his very own Palazzo Grazioli complex, which is also the home of an Association called "Running"*, whose young members pursue master's degrees in political communications. One of them, Massimiliano Cavallo, has an idea. He sets up a blog in record time: Sonouncoglione[IamAtesticle].splinder.com. After a couple minutes the catchphrase begins it's race through the Web. Waiting is useless. The reply to Berlusconi's insult happens in real time. It's spontaneous, outraged and sarcastic.
The page created by the man next door - and in this case it isn't just an expression - garners thousands of hits. "Let's all get bollocked together" is the invitation. "Trust a testicle" is the pitch. Minutes later, a chain of SMS text messages begins it's dance from one Telefonino [mobile phone] to another: "The testicles are getting together tonight at 8 at Palazzo Chigi [Italy's White House]. Pass it on." The "Self-Convened" meet up that evening, responding to the no longer virtual appeal to take it to the Piazzas.
This takes place in Rome, where hundreds show up, but also in Bologna, Firenze, Napoli, Bari, Milano, Palermo. Perhaps such speed worries someone. Even the Carabinieri [national police force, wear funny hats]show up at the Association's offices in Palazzo Grazioli. They find the organization's President, Paolo Guarino. They ask him who convened the demonstration. He replies: "everything started with the blog. We study political communications here and it looks like these kids hit a bull's eye."
In Milan's Piazza della Scala, young people from the Rose in the Fist [Italian political party (?)] mobilize to protest the Premier. "Mr. President I am a testicle", "Proud to be a testicle and to vote for the Left", are some of the slogans displayed by the activists, to the surprise and amusement of people gathered in the piazza for a jazz concert at the feet of the monument to Leonardo da Vinci.
Meanwhile, all over the Web, the virtual piazza swells.
*Running looks like a combination of consulting firm and internship/training institution. Sabbatical, anyone? I'm sure the food kicks ass, if nothing else.