ITALY: Ass No.1

In 1926 Founder Benito Mussolini of the Royal Italian Academy was indirectly rebuked with the contemptuous words: "A thoroughbred horse cannot share a stable with asses!" when he invited Poet-Prince Gabriele d'Annunzio to become an Academician. In the eleven years since then Gabriele and Benito have drawn somewhat closer, d'Annunzio telegraphing to Il Duce when the Dictator was resisting Sanctions: "DO NOT SOIL YOURSELF AT THE FOUL-SMELLING SEWER IN GENEVA STOP REMAIN IMMOVABLE IN CONTROL OF YOUR PLACID HILARITY." Last week d'Annunzio agreed happily to become Ass No. 1, succeeding the late great President of the Academy,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!