OPINIONS


Now That's Italian! by Lisa Gabriele      



Practically every week, another Italian-American organization seems to protest The Sopranos, charging that the show defames the cultural character of Italian-Americans everywhere. An alliance of seven such organizations sent a scathing letter to HBO, whining about the ubiquitous achievements of a few good wops; we built famous statues, established large corporations, achieved medical breakthroughs — and, I'd argue, made the world's greatest television show.


    

The creator of The Sopranos, David Chase (né DeCaesare), should get a big award, or at least have a banquet held in his honor. Instead he gets statistics like this thrown at his face: "Three out of four Americans believe that Italian-Americans are associated with organized crime." This is not a travesty of television and all its horrific power. This is a travesty of the American educational system that would graduate the morons who believe this kind of crap. The Italian critics, however, the knuckle-headed goombahs who take these statistics far too seriously, should be grateful The Sopranos exists. This show's done something that me and my Gina girlfriends once thought impossible. It has made us want to fuck Italians again, thereby allowing us to go forth and fruitfully multiply.


    

Normally, I'm not attracted to Italian men. Not because I am a bigot, but because the Italian guys I grew up with were gentle and whiny, poncey and overly mothered. They were not mysterious to me. Hence, I'm into venal WASPs. Then along comes Tony Soprano, and I have to rethink this stupid-assed, totally bigoted policy of mine.


    

God, James Gandolfini. I'd watch him host a cooking show. Tony is the kind of Italian man I forgot existed. He's conflicted and deep, sullen and insane. He has that measure of self-awareness once only relegated to Woody Allen's tortured protagonists. And okay, so he kills people, but it is his job, for crying out loud, and frankly, he's not so happy about it either! This is what renders criticism of his character moot. And hilarious. Yes, Everybody Loves Raymond, but Nobody's Supposed to Love Tony. He is a mob boss, not a barber.


    

But unlike the comic mob stereotype in so many movies, Tony Soprano is infinitely interesting. Gandolfini plays him like a heavy-set James Dean, and I haven't seen this kind of Protestant work ethic in Italians since the heyday of The Godfather. Like Michael Corleone before him, Tony Soprano is a WASP in wop's clothing. That is why he's been thoroughly embraced by the mainstream, Anglo culture. They're eating him up; washing him down with cheap Chianti. He's nothing like the vain, Italian fops I grew up with — guys more like Jackie, Jr., Tony's daughter's worthless boyfriend, who was whacked in last night's season finale. My own dad was just this nice guy who grew great beans and wore black socks with sandals. He was kind and religious. Now I believe that if he had given my mother's ass an affectionate smack now and then they'd still be together. And my brothers, though wonderful fathers and hard-working men, both agree, with a sigh, that their wives call the shots at home. Not so in the Soprano household.


    

Carmela is a strong, intelligent woman, but she gives in to Tony's rage as often as he gives in to hers, because they understand where this stuff comes from. Their marriage is a meeting of two people who know their anger is as intractable as blood. Your basic assimilated ethnic Italian would like to pretend they've released all that messy, unbridled hate. They've learned to "communicate effectively." They know how to "actively listen." Snore. Wake me when the papers are served.


    

In fact, I'll admit that I get shivers when Tony's angry with a lady friend. When he tells Gloria, this season's mistress, played by Annabella Sciorra, "I didn't just meet you, I've known you my whole life" — in other words, she's his mom, all over again, deceptively packaged in sexy lingerie — I nearly fainted with agita. This sentence is key to what makes Tony different from the Italian men I knew growing up. Tony's mother hated him. It's a rare familial tic, as far as Italian mothers go. No wonder Tony doesn't eat much pussy. I'm going by an early episode here, when he tormented his Uncle Junior for going down on a girl. That ribbing gave me the impression that the last time Tony's face was that close to a pussy, he was being woefully spat out of it. And in no hurry to revisit the scene of the crime.


    

I know what all this sounds like; I'm saying that it's great to see an Italian guy who is an amoral bully, a damaged pig, because his momma didn't worship his every bowel moment. I'm not saying it's great, I'm just saying that it's new. Tony Soprano was badly mothered, and this is why women like me want to mother him more.


    

Dr. Melfi would know precisely what I'm talking about. It's the thing that makes her cross and uncross her legs during their psychiatric sessions. She should be the positive role model the critics crave: a first-generation, educated, professional Italian woman, with an ex-husband who is a respectable intellectual dullard. But man, can you ever tell the doctor wants Tony to give it to her from behind, him holding a fistful of her hair, because she ain't getting it like that at home. Which is why it was so devastating to see her get raped by a stranger in the parking garage of her office building: her fantasy of having Tony "take" her was played out in reality, only hurting and humiliating her for real. The result was a genuine moral dilemma. Tony, the bully, not only makes her hot, he can protect and avenge her. But if she did that — ask Tony to step in and squash her rapist "like a bug" — she'd be no better than he is, and the people around Tony have a lot invested in always being better people than Tony.


    

Including the show's critics, it would seem.


    

In their knee-jerk defensiveness, the critics seem not to recognize that the beauty of The Sopranos is that it doesn't assume there is a clear line between "good" and "bad" Italians, passion and fury, sex and violence. Those gray areas aren't the problem with the show, they're what the show is about. In any non-mob-based TV show, Italian-Americans are the "good ones." They're wacky, kind and warm. The aforementioned Ray Romano comes to mind, as does the King of Queens living on the other side of the East River. (Even Baretta was a good guy, though on screen only, it would currently appear.) But in many ways TV Italians are sanitized and bleached into boring ethnics.


    

On The Sopranos, everything's messier and darker and tastier. Jennifer Melfi's passionate Italian woman (her "Inner Gina") struggles under that moral yuppie guise. She passes for a WASP. She did good.


    

Tony, well, he didn't do so good. He's an overweight, murderous adulterer. But it's this voracious appetite for food, blood and sex that makes women like me wet for him. Ours is a culture that places a premium on skinny stoics, the redeemed, the psychoanalyzed, the Anglicized, the recovered. Your moral purity is measured by your lack of vices and addictions. The juxtaposition of Tony and Jennifer compels the hell out of me because they are polar opposites of the same culture. Jennifer denies herself everything. Tony, nothing.


    

Italian-American critics don't want to see this side of their culture, to admit that guys like Tony Soprano exist. And I think that WASPs love to hate him, not because he's a filthy ethnic, but because he combines decadent Mediterranean laze with the fervency of a Wall Street viper. A white guy. Tony Soprano carries himself the way Anglo-Saxon men do, walking the earth like they built it with their own hands, instead of having hired guys like my brothers to do all the dirty work.


    

WASPs have no shame, so I'm saying, why should us Italians? Why are we all the time coming down on our paisans? Without Christopher Columbus, there'd be no David Chase. Without David Chase, there'd be no Tony Soprano. Without Tony Soprano, there'd be no Italian guy allowed within ten feet of my pussy. Now, fact is, I'm looking for my own Tony, to make little Tonys with. But he's gotta do like Uncle Junior, or, I swear, there's gonna be a war.

 




©2001 Lisa Gabriele and Nerve.com, Inc.

Commentarium (45 Comments)

May 22 01 - 4:28pm
CS

Makes me wish I were Italian... I love it when chicks talk dirty!

May 22 01 - 7:06pm

Whoa! Heavy stuff.

May 24 01 - 6:25pm
lw

GOd how right you are James Gandolfini is sooooo sexy!!

May 29 01 - 6:40pm
J.M.

Yeah, well. You forgot to mention that overweight, hairy, gluttonous Italian men look especially hot naked--like the fathers some gay men always wished they "had."

May 30 01 - 11:40am
GA

Dearest wife, I read this and couldn#t help thinking you will appreciate it.
Love, your one and only G.

May 30 01 - 11:54pm
IV

Wow, it's amazing how much the accompanying pix looks like one from my web site, www.Sopranoland.com

Jun 01 01 - 11:02pm
MCT

Hell Yeah !!!

Jun 11 01 - 4:25pm
FM

Interesting reading although I don't think you will agree with it.

Jun 12 01 - 6:26pm
HRS

I have had many wet dreams about Tony. He is an awesome character - one that has so many sides - you have to love, lust and hate him all at the same time. All of the same things that make for great sex.

Jun 12 01 - 11:38pm
NJD

You make a point - but the average Sopranos-watching American doesn't have the wit to see the depth of character and thus the show merely reinforces America's stereotype of Italians. Where would the world be without Italians?

Jun 14 01 - 12:36pm
ja

I so agree. The men featured in the Sopranos are positively dreamy. Decisiveness, loyalty and strength are things I could use a bit more of in the men life. Passion is no stranger to these men. Personally I've always lusted after the Italian men. Even my grandmother understands. My 89 year old grandmother once told me that even though she is Jewish she would be aok with me ending up with an italian man. They're strong, passionite, appreciate food, and have colorful families. Something any one with a lust for life can understand.

Jun 19 01 - 12:34am
JGG

There _is_ a Tony Soprano erotic "wet dream" over at Clean Sheets that
was linked from Salon a while back -- I re-read it every now and then just to get my
Tony-motor going. http://www.cleansheets.com/articles/indigo_04.25.01.shtml

Jun 18 01 - 6:23pm
IN

Oyez,Oyez, sister you are so right. I am Scottish, never been out with an Italian man - but Tony Soprano - he makes me melt. I would love to taste his spaghetti balls any time......mama mia!

Jun 19 01 - 1:53pm
TC

While I understand the appeal of Mafia stories and think the Sopranos is a very entertaining show, I'd love to see Italian Americans portrayed as something other than violent, racist, women hating thugs (and why always from the East Coast?). Not because as an Italian American I want to become sanitized, but because I think David Chase's character's do not in any way reflect the reality of most of our lives.

And Italian American lives can be very entertaining and compelling for viewers without always reverting to the old stereotypes. Besides, if you want modern gangster tales, the old Italian mafia is not the group to look to any more.

Jun 19 01 - 7:25pm
PF

Tony Soprano would tell this whiney literary bitch to shut the fuck up and go make dinner.

Three cheers for women who openly embrace the violent, racist, abusive, moody, balding, overweight, adulterous husband!

Jun 19 01 - 8:50pm
AP

As an Italian-American myself, I too have become obsessed with the Sopranos, and dissappointed in the Italian-American associations who have criticized HBO and David Chase for their portrayal of Italians. What people forget is this is television and drama is what get people to watch. I grew up with Gina's and Jackie Jr.'s as well, and the appealing part of the Sopranos is the personal conflict Tony goes through with his lifestyle. Unlike you, and many other women, I do not find Tony sexually appealing, but I do find Gloria hard to get enough of.

Jun 21 01 - 1:06am
CS

If Jews can joke about the Holocaust, then we Italians can certainly deal with the depiction of ourselves as sexy killers. But what's with the author projecting her "WASP" stereotype on Tony. What the hell are you talking about? Perhaps the author's family is ATYPICAL Italian-American. When I talk with Italian family and friends about the show -- the intense family conflicts (esp. Mother-son, wife-husband, husband-mistress) are viewed as realistic and also FUNNY! Less ethnic individuals (WASPy) tend to be chilled or freaked about by the violence and conflict.

Jun 27 01 - 12:10am
sh

"our" men?

why are essentializing nationalist fantasies still cool at a vaguely liberal culture rag?

Jun 27 01 - 11:22am
lmg

essentializing? Yeesh. I never even heard of that word...
must be wasp.

Jul 05 01 - 11:30am
DD

I loved your article, both witty and fruitful. I love The Sapranos even more - because it's drama - it's entertainment...afterall, isn't that what HBO is all about?

Jul 05 01 - 8:53pm
VAR

Omy GOD. I'm scared of you Lisa, but I think I want to suck on your lips for many moments. Italian men are individualistic, as in they are all so different. This stereotyping is COMPLETE bullshit...I'm all of these things and none.

Jul 07 01 - 10:06am
jt

No one loves a swarthy dangerous sexy killer more than me.
NO ONE. But a swarth dangerous sexy killer who wont go south? Fuhgeddabahtit!

Jul 07 01 - 3:34pm
DD

Since you are a Sopranos' Junkie, I thought you would appreciate this assessment of Italian men as portrayed on that show. I found it both funny and thought provoking. Tell me what you think. I have been almost seduced to want to sign up for HBO for the fall season and join the multitude of addicts, however, I need to start from scratch which means getting the videos of the first 3 seasons and catch up.

Jul 07 01 - 3:40pm
DD

Lisa, having been married to an Italian man for 36 years, (I lost him 4 years ago and miss him terribly) I found your article very funny and thought provoking. I have never watched the Sopranos as I do not subscribe to HBO, however, after reading your critique, you have seduced me enough to want to buy the videos of the first 3 seasons, catch up and join the many junkies in the fall season!

Jul 09 01 - 7:05pm
SL

I was involved in the first season of "The Sopranos" and I can assure you that Jim Gandolfini is every bit as sexy as Tony Soprano is. Women practically threw themselves at him on set. Demure, Waspy girls flirted and lusted after him openly. Once, after I remaked to him that focus groups showed positive response for his character from women, he said sarcastically "Great, women love Tony, and I can't even get a date."
Yeah, right.

Jul 10 01 - 1:34pm
Vn

This is becoming a slightly more middle-brow People Magazine.

Aug 03 01 - 4:19am
cdf

Wow, couldn't agree more. At my office, everyone was going on and on about what a crime it is to bradcast that show. I saw it as the most refreshing TV since Queer as Folk -- the Brit version (though I think they both came out about the same time).
Like your reviewer I am a proud wop, who has never dated a wop. My brother is a classic "mammone" -- sure he has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, but he goes crying to Mamma whenever there's any trouble and Mamma makes it all better.

But unlike your reviewer, I know of a couple of Italian men who have an animal scent about them, laugh too loudly, look you in the eyes, scan your whole body unrepentedly and screw anything that walks -- hide your frigging cat when they're around.

Its good to be ALIVE and I agree, James Gandolfini is to die.

Proud to be wop! I sing soprano!

Sep 03 01 - 3:20pm
CJM

Ciao Lisa, As an Italian-Canadian male it is a relief and pleasure to read a woman's point of view that actually makes some sense about "The Sopranos". I cannot comment on the sexy factor of the men in the series but I do think, like you, that part of the appeal to the mainstream is that characters talk and walk like the way many WASPS wish they could. Nor do I believe the characters are an insult to my love of Italy and general 'italianess'. Again you are right when you say that if there are fools who believe that the vast majortiy of Italians are in the mob it is the fault of the fools and education and not television.Anyway, what are these people doing...T.V. watching is often like reading comics and then claiming the comics tell you something'real' about life?!Not that "The Sopranos" are comics.The show is far more sophistcated and more intelligent than that.
I also think the talk between husband and wife(Tony and Carmela) is well done and shows these people are not afraid to reveal their real anger,tenderness, and confusion. How so Italian!!
Anyway,glad to hear you get wet watching the show as well. A nice combo. A gal with a head and sizzle in her pussy. Cheers. Carmine.

Sep 19 01 - 1:23pm
JPG

Right on the Money! Best review I've read about this terrific show.

Nov 12 01 - 1:09am
acq

Uffa...it is strange how every American interpretation of the "Italian male" never quite seems to get it. Italian males are male first, then Italian, and even then there are Northern Italian males, Southern Italian males,and the Italian males of the Islands, Sicily and Corsica,all three "types" if I may that horrid word, for it implies stereotypes and thus limits the freedom of individuality, all three types have sometimes gross and sometimes subtle differences in attitudes, beliefs, customs and mores that are truly regionally dependent. This is true of the Italian woman as well. There is no true Homogeneity in the Italian Character. There are some things that are shared,like love for beauty, a certain sense of self irony,of parody, a cynical attitude towards our government and general distrust/disregard of authority, but not much more. This is all the result of being for so long a country of princes and principalities...why Italy did not become one nation, unified under one rule but by the end of the 19th century.
It saddens me that one never sees an Italian male or female on American tv as seen through the eyes of an Italian. I am sorry, but for me, anyone born on American shores who just has a smattering of dialect and a confused notion of Italian cultures and regional traditions doesn't count. That person is an Italian-American, someone who thereofere has no true idea of what it means to be an Italian. Why it is like a mule trying to wear a horse's harness. What is portrayed in the Sopranos is just another glorified hoodlum...yup, he is tormented, he is honest and true to self while being dishonest,which is very refreshing and I suppose appealing sexually. I am sick of people who aren't able to acknowledge the darkness within, but that darkness, that conflict, is not a characteristic of all Italian men or of all Italian mafiosi, which is why I suppose some of the "groups" you mention are so perturbed. I suppose they don't wish to have another stereotypical Italian image to say, redefine. Personally, I don't think that "Raymond" is much better as a "poster boy". DO you know how annoying it is to hear over and over again that "Italian men are all but pinchers and moma's boys?" I suppose that any intelligent person realizes that the characters in the show are not emblematic of all Italians, but based on my oh, inherent cynicism, I have noticed how easy it is for humans to make assumptions like that, how easy it is for people to generalize from one person of a certain nationality to others of the same....so, I can understand some of the concerns of the "groups" even while I laugh at some of the rhetoric.
One more thing, I agree, the sexiest male on the planet is one who is true to himself, who is unafraid to acknoweldge one's hungers and desires and fears,not conventional in the least ( I suppose that is the Heathcliff ideal), but a true man is one who is a master of his self rather than mastered by it, who knows when to break the rules and does so with great gusto, and knows when to play by the rules and does so with great skill.

Jan 10 02 - 12:42am
EWM

I do think it's safe to say that I am not Italian at all, but the Sopranos makes me wish I was. Where Ray Romano seems to be afraid to open his mouth to say anything that isn't a pathetic attempt to be funny, Tony Soprano is utterly strong willed and self assured. That couldn't be sexier! Seeing as how I am a girl who knows what I want, I love nothing more than a man who is willing to butt heads with whoever stands in the way of what he desires. True, this will most assuredly cause conflict, but it is so damn irresistable. I am, needless to say, obsessed with James Gandolfini and The Sopranos. I only wish I could be one of those little mistresses he tosses around and rigorously fucks when everyone else is so quick to stab him in the back. I don't know how Doctor Melfi remains so professional. Italians should not be offended by The Sopranos they should be offended by akward guys like Ray Romano. Like the article said, anyone who believes that all Italians are mobsters is just an idiot. However, those Italians who refuse to admit that there are some of their eithnic group involved in organized crime are just as moronic. Cheers to the article and The Sopranos! May there be many, many more seasons to come so that a little WASP girl like me can fantasize about agressive, troubled Italian men like Tony Soprano!

Jan 26 02 - 1:17am
lmt

Jackie is (was) Tony's SISTER's boyfriend.

May 27 02 - 7:21am
JQ

Italians, get the hell out of America!

Jun 17 02 - 5:26pm
KS

Hey Lisa - you've come a long way, baby, from our days at Belle River High! I've never watched the Sopranos but still thought your article was clever.

Jun 20 02 - 11:22am
JC

Buon giorno

My fellow paisan. Please take a look at my web site www.yocapeesh.com

Jun 23 02 - 11:07am
UP

What a brilliant piece of writing! Witty, perceptive and I dare say authentic. As a South African of Italian origin (we're all over the place)I so understand what she writes. I hope to read more Lisa Gabriele.

Jul 08 02 - 12:57pm
DW

I have always been hot for Italian American men. I am totally turned off by blonde men-I suppose they remind me of my brothers. I get very turned on by dark Italians, especially if they are extremely masculine. I don't want a mama's boy, I want a strong, sexy Italian guy who won't let me boss him around and will grab me by the hair and give it to me with all that hot blooded passion Italian's have. Just my 2 cents from a blonde Scandanavian girl.

Aug 30 02 - 8:21pm
GPD

This is pure shit and to me as an Italian american who has roots in both southern and northern Italy,it pisses me off all the hate i hear on Italinas.Don't get me wrong i love mob movies and shit but for me someone who's been to italy 3 times ,have family there,and understand the culture better than the average american joe it pisses me off.My grandmother is italian and she doesn't look a bit italian she's been the force behind my love of myheritage and the reason iwon't back down defending what i'm proud of(she is basically the annihaltor of stereotypes and is nothing like the fucking stereotyped italian you see on tv.I'm so sick of stereo types , the mafia now i'd say is blown out of proportion most people don't know shit about it to me I am not associated with that stereotype.One thing i have to say is there are other mafia's there was and only is one cosa nostra but there are many mafia's ranging from latin america,to asia,to the middle east,in fact there was an irish mafia,an african american mob there is a mob in every culture so to me i'd say italians have the smallest mob percentage in the world (in fact alot of the crime in italy is from foreigners residing there I'm not saying italians are blaeless but the scum in italy are usually foreigners coming to ruin a beautiful country ,not all of them but some) but due to the fact that Italians have always been discriminated against (maybe not so much now )there has always been something in the back of the media's mind or the hate that hasn't left since the 1800's when anti italian prejudice was high a few italians were hung all due to prejudices.I know my shit about Italy in fact if you do a search on italians and all they've invented and their accomplishments you'd be surprised.America doesn't want us ("Italians")to be viewed positively the same goes for all the people that are stereotyped.A funny thing is people still don't know who truly invented the telephone it was antonio meucci an italian (his patent ran out and graham fucking bell stole it from him, but worst off i've never seen him mentioned in a text book in my life ).That's one great example out of many many things we've contributed.All my point is I hate people like this girl who think it's cool to try and not be italian and make fun of the culture to try and pretend they're not from Italian heritage and then gravitate to the lowest stereotype of italian culture.You never hear people point out most gangsters in america back then , they weren't just italian they were also Jewish,Irish,African american,and many other cultures "Americans". To me i think the author of that website has a right to like the sopranos but not the right to offend italian americans like me who still actually care.Yes i will admit I enjoy gangster movies and all ,but the sopranos is making fun of italians from ny and nj and to me that's too personal and considering i have blue eyes and light brown hair i never am considered to be "italian looking" but the stupidity of italian americans and other americans is that people think all italians are dark skinned and are this ,and talk and act a certain way or whatever but the truth is I have cousins in italy that speak 3 languages and there looks vary from being fareskinned and light brown hair,to blonde to black hair (my point being,if you trace history back to the romans or even further we're all the same (all the invaders throughout that time intermingled making most people ofeuropean decent who they are so my pointis I really beliee in adam ad eve and the fact that we all come from one source and no i'm not a christain but i am not apposed to it either and there is no 100% truth to any stereotype.And while you either agree with me and or criticize me or hate italians all i have to say is you people need to read books, look up italian culture online before you run yourmouth don't go to some badabing soprano sight i think the problem is people don't want to learn they want to believe lies and be entertained, readabout the italians that were put in prisoncamps in america along with germans during ww2 as well as to add to the fact that my grandma was basically in the warzone of the second world war and was almost killed by laughing american fighter pilots shooting at her while she was rding her bicycle to get to shelter.I want to stop here because i could go on and on and on and really never change your opinion .But just to let you know i'm only 18 I act,look andwalk american,I am no different from anyone else and refuse to be put in the guido stereotype(which pisses me off cause dumb people that call italians that are baically just calling them a common southern Italian gentleman's name for example do we make fun of other cultures and label them by a name are we so stupid as to say hey that guy is acting,or is a "joe" or "curtis" you know how retarded people sound when they say something so stupid,The same goes for guinea (all a guinea is is a fucking coin that the italians were the onlyones willing to accept for I'm not sure if it was the labor on the panama canal but i think so so the other money greedy fucks (unwilling to work for that wage) called us guineas ,and as for wop (without passport How dumb are these words used against italians they require no thinking and just show their anti italian stupidity.To me I hate the fact that people stll to this day use these words but i guess I have to deal all i have to say is I would'nt let you say that to my face without out you never forgetting the mistake you made.In closing all i have to say is americans who think italians are all just fucking pizza ,pasta ,and ,spaghetti ,and mafia are the dumbest assholes known to man.And the reason i curse is because I'm a teenager who enjoys metalmusic among other thing and have been suicidal depressed ,grew up strictly religious, and am justthe average misguided teen who chose to listen and appreciate my culture despite the fact that I'm no perfect person but who is .not because i'm some stereotyped italian american that you see on the fucking sopranos all the italians they portray on the sopranos for the most part are lowlifes and are not your typical italian american they may eat the same foods or use some of the same expressions but don't even make up 25% of italian american population)

Nov 21 02 - 5:46am
jlk

Wow, it is so good to know that I am not alone in thinking that Tony Soprano is hot!!! Ever since I started watching the show he has been one of my favorite fantasies.

Nov 27 02 - 10:03pm

I'm from Jersey. I come from an educated Italian-American family. In the town I grew up in(pop:25,000), in the 50s,there were (we sat around and counted the once)40 italian restaurants/pizzerias-and you couldn't get a bad meal in any one of them. Pizza Hut would have been covered in cobwebs, had it existed then. Most of the Iteys in our town were Sicilian' or Napoletan',many knew each other either from the old country or (retch:we were one of the few families that came down from New York) Newark, their first place of landing. There were many many sweet people among them, but few intellectuals, and there was too high a percentage of goons. I guess that's why I can't fully enjoy The Sopranos. Bad enough we got Bush and Rumsfeld barging around, and soul music has become gangsta rap, now the guys I crossed the street to avoid have their own TV show! I turned tail on family heritage and became a construction worker. Rarely if ever have I heard discussion of The Sopranos at break on a site. NFL,CFL,NHL, baseball, Pamela Anderson's tush, yes. But among my peacenik,environmentalist, artistic mangia-cake friends--oooh boy! Can't even call 'em up when it's on! We used to tell the Irish kids in (usually friendly) arguments: "only two kindsa people in this world; Italians and those that wanna be." Tony Soprano is a great fantasy identification if you've been doing what Mother and Father told you you should do all your life. He kicks ass; orders everybody else around; kills people who bug him; fucks comely little Russian girls; yet he is capable of self doubt, and sees a pretty female shrink, who even wants to bang him. I understand the quality of this show;it's writing, acting, humour(I'm North of the Border now) and atmosphere. But these people are peasants. David Chase is not a peasant. Why can't They come up with other types, equally Italian(we really are talking American Italian here), but with more class? Remember Mario Cuomo? The last mayor of New York(I knew him 40 years ago and I still don't like him but he's smarter than Tony)? Ther is an ad for a "HitMan" video game that I saw. A small dark man in a suit is congratulating a blond kid for killing someone, calls him a "made man". The music in the background? "E Lucevan le Stelle", surely one of the most sensual and gorgeous vehicles for the male voice ever created; passionate, sexual, yet bitter and fatalistic.Hey Chase: see if you can get yer pal Gandolfini to sing it for one of the babes he's doin'.

Nov 28 02 - 9:38pm
JLP

When I mentioned "E lucevan le stelle" in my previous entry I had meant to use it to show that in U.S. pop/Hollywood culture, everything Italian is shoved into a mafia reference: music, food, art, family and sexual life,etc.It's flattering to be thought of as tougher than I am, more impulsive, more aggressive, but it's an attempt to limit me and I sometimes have to make strong efforts to demonstrate the contrary.

Nov 29 02 - 8:09pm
abc

pig...

May 24 03 - 10:56pm
DDP

I just laughed my Italian ass off.
Actually, half my ass. My mother's Irish.

Grazi
Don DiPietro

Aug 23 11 - 5:04pm
rtyecript

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

Sep 07 11 - 7:25am
Cialis Rezeptfrei

B2HHwN I do`t regret that spent a few of minutes for reading. Write more often, surely'll come to read something new...