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Queering Paradigms II

Interrogating Agendas

Series:

B. Scherer and Matthew Ball

This book offers a fundamental challenge to a variety of theoretical, social, and political paradigms, ranging from law and justice studies to popular culture, linguistics to political activism.
Developing the intellectual project initiated in Queering Paradigms, this volume extends queer theorizing in challenging new directions and uses queer insights to explore, trouble, and interrogate the social, political, and intellectual agendas that pervade (and are often taken for granted within) public discourses and academic disciplines.
The contributing authors include queer theorists, socio-linguists, sociologists, political activists, educators, social workers and criminologists. Together, they contribute not only to the ongoing process of theorizing queerly, but also to the critique and reformulation of their respective disciplines.

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Part V - Politics and Social Institutions -225

Extract

PART V Politics and Social Institutions Francesco Ricatti Obscene Fantasies of Hypertrophic Heterosexuality: Reframing Berlusconi from a Queer Theory Perspective Fantasizing about Obama Soon after Barack Obama’s election as the new president of the United States in 2008, the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, said Obama is “young, handsome, and even suntanned” (“è giovane, è bello e anche abbronzato” Bracconi 2008). Debate within media and political circles concerned whether the comment was racist, or merely an innocent joke. He subsequently refused to apologize for this comment, arguing that it was a compliment, and that those who criticized him for the remark were “imbe- ciles” (“imbecilli”; Luzi 2008). Berlusconi’s joke must be read in the light of the harsh and racist treatment of migrants in Italy under his government. In 2009, the International Labor Organization, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have criticized Italy for discrimination, racism and violation of human rights, in relation to the treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants (Longhi 2009a; 2009b; Nadotti 2009). When con- sidering what has been described by various leaders of the opposition such as Pier Luigi Bassani, Antonio Di Pietro and Luigi De Magistris as a “anti- democratic drift” of the Italian Republic under Berlusconi’s government (Bassani 2009; Casadio 2010; La Repubblica 2010), a focus on Berlusconi’s appreciation for Obama’s body appears superficial. Italian comedian Cor- rado Guzzanti (2002) argues we should not focus on Berlusconi’s gaf fes and jokes, but rather take him seriously, as he is undermining the founda- tions of...

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