‘Do-gooder’ be­comes ul­ti­mate put-down

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS - – New York Times

ROME – The Ital­ian lan­guage does not want for col­or­ful in­sults. But th­ese days, it seems, one of the big­gest put-downs of all is to call some­one a do-gooder.

And on the lips of Mat­teo Salvini, the leader of the anti-immigrant League Party and Italy’s most pow­er­ful politi­cian, the word “buon­ista,” or do-gooder, is a danger­ous weapon.

“The Euro­pean dream is be­ing buried by the bu­reau­crats, the do-good­ers and the bankers who are gov­ern­ing Europe for too much time,” Salvini said last week.

The pro­lif­er­a­tion of the un­likely slur has be­come a pro­found marker of the top­sy­turvy state of pol­i­tics in Italy, where be­ing too good is bad, ex­per­tise is dis­qual­i­fy­ing and hard eco­nomic data is sub­ject to dadaist anal­y­sis.

Crit­ics say the “throw the elite bums out” ethos of the pop­ulists has led to a govern­ment staffed with hap­less am­a­teurs who wear their in­ex­pe­ri­ence as a badge.

“It’s like they are from an­other planet,” said Ro­mano Prodi, a for­mer prime min­is­ter of Italy, for­mer Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent and a clas­sic tar­get of the do-gooder slight. “They are Mar­tians.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.