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  • Mussolini and the Water Sprinkler November 14, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback

    mussolini and the water sprinkler

    There are few things in life sweeter than self important people being made to look silly. The picture above is one of this blogger’s favourite. The subject is, of course, Benito Mussolini, in the mid, late 1930s.* A group of Fascist dignitaries are prancing up some steps at the Foro Italico: but not all is well in paradise. Mussolini looks to his side with a look of world-weary irritation. The man behind him seems to be expecting a reaction, perhaps even an explosion from il Duce. So what is the cause of distress? If you look at the uniforms you will see that several have been splashed. In fact, seconds before the photograph was taken a rogue water sprinkler exploded into life and drenched the Fascist dignitaries. Mussolini’s expression translated into words would be something like: ‘you had just one job!,’ and you can be absolutely sure that someone lost their job over this incident. The great problem with the Fascist revolution was, in Mussolini’s own words, ‘it’s not impossible to govern the Italians, it is useless’. The Italians may not be a freedom-loving people, but no one tells them what to do. Mussolini is flanked by his daughter, Edda (with flowers in her hand). Edda, Mussolini’s only exceptional child, had poise and she walks through this particular ordeal with typical, admirable sang-froid.

    Other pictures of dictators looking foolish: drbeachcombing AT gmail DOT com

    *No date is given for this picture at source, but it was taken at the Foro Italico which was inaugurated in 1932 and it cannot have been taken after July 1943 when Mussolini was no longer welcome in Rome: Mussolini rarely appeared after 1940 in these kind of march-bys. Mussolini is ‘old’ in the picture. The other individuals in the photograph don’t help. Edda Mussolini looks older than she would have been 1932-1943 (22-32): it was perhaps just an unfortunate shot of her. The only other figure Beach recognizes is Emilio de Bono (obit 1944) in the background. If Beach knew Fascist Italy better he would certainly be able to identify the two other gerarchi: one behind Mussolini, the other behind the Duce to his left.