Nobody’s laughing now

When Beppe Grillo was beyond the political pale, few took him seriously. Now he is poised to subvert Italy’s political establishment. Yet Grillo is just the latest manifestation of a peculiar Italian form of extreme populism. Like the many anti-establishment movements before it, the M5S wavers between incoherence and a dangerous knack for contagion, which is oddly appealing to a broad range of Italians.