Before we laugh at this rudderless state

by Lorenzo Piccoli

Italy, for better or worse, has served as an amazing laboratory of political innovation in recent history. Fascism and the mafia were Italian inventions. And the Berlusconi phenomenon—the combining of media power, money, and celebrity, and translating it into political power—was, like it or not, an innovation that found imitators around the world. If Berlusconi represents the political potential of television, Grillo is one of the first political figures to build a major political movement largely through the Internet. And that Grillo, a not particularly funny comedian with a mop of unruly gray hair and a foul mouth, should create a political movement out of nothing and turn it into the largest party in the country in just a few years is not as strange as it might at first appear. Read the rest of the article on The New Yorker.