Despite his relatively nonexistent role in the political realm of the G-20, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's appearance at yesterday's London summit is making almost as many headlines as the $1.1 trillion funding agreement.
Sure, Berlusconi doesn't seem to be taking the global economic crises as seriously as the rest of the world, but maybe huge personalities and a sense of humor are what we need in these times.
If the G-20 was a schoolyard, Berlusconi would be the class clown, and the Queen of England would be his disapproving headmaster. After shouting "Mr. Obamaaa, this is Mr. Berlusconi!" during a group photo shoot, the ruffled Queen asked why he "had to shout." A relatively small disturbance from a man who once suggested that New York investors move to Italy because the secretaries are allegedly more attractive there, or who remarked that President Obama was "sun-tanned."
Berlusconi is on the brink of being considered an entirely comedic entity, but his actions are monitored by a large audience nonetheless, even during a set of heavy political discussions. Long-time political columnist of the UK's Guardian, Michael White, wrote that Berlusconi's "cheesiness" caught his eye. "Let me confess right away that I was mesmerised by the summit pictures of Silvio Berlusconi sticking himself between Presidents Obama and Medvedev, a hand on each shoulder, and posing like a tourist. How could he? Very easily in Berlusconi's case. He'd do it to God," he said.
White went on to mention the Michelle-Queen hug debacle: "Rather more delicately intriguing is another bit of what: was the Queen or Michelle Obama first to put their arm around the other? Does it matter, I hear you shout. No, but it's interesting," he wrote. Perhaps during July's G8 meeting in Italy, Berlusconi will do something outrageous enough to distract us from the fact that we're about to sink into depression and lose all of our jobs.