Table of Contents
The Bordighera Poetry Prize
(Wise Women's Web)
& OPINIONS TO THE EDITOR: CLICK or
Luigi Bonaffini |
Annotico | ChuckCasanta |
Dona DeSanctis & Jack Mabley|
F. Dattilo | Maria
Cocco | Helen Barolini & Gaetana
"What Would Your Dead Italian Immigrant
Father Say to The World According to Tony Soprano?"
by Daniela Gioseffi
I say hurray for your bold and principled stance on this issue.
I myself have written something about "The Sopranos"--
but I certainly hope that no one would consider my essay an attempt
to "gain attention" from an article analyzing the show,
nor do I wish to "patronize writers and actors involved with
it." You're right, though, that the whole Soprano "thing"
is an extraordinary and disturbing phenomenon, at least from an
Italian-American perspective and, one would hope, from other points
of view as well.
I wish you the best.
Sandra M(ortola) Gilbert
Keep it up. I support you all the way. Here is the message I sent
to Mayor Bloomberg of New York City:
Mayor, I was extremely disappointed by your decision to invite
members of "The Sopranos" cast to march with you in
the Columbus Day parade [2002.] To say that they are your friends
is no excuse. You must have known, like everyone else in this
town and in this country, that members of that show were dis-invited
last year as well, because that show defames and denigrates Italian
Americans. Yet, knowing that, you decided to invite, without consulting
the organizers of the parade, some cast members of a show which
has been condemned by every Italian American organization in the
country. That shows, at the very least, a gross and insulting
insensitivity to the Italian American community.
Pr. Luigi Bonaffini
Brooklyn College of the City University of NY
Your Editorial was SUPERB!!!
May I have permission to make it one of my "Annotico Reports",
with full complimentary credits to you as an accomplished author.
I will do a follow up on the Web Site !!!
Richard Annotico of the Annotico Reports
I read your article in the NY Times Chat Room, 2001, now
on your website
Your passionate condemnation puts into words what many of us feel
but don't have the time to write concerning The Sopranos. You
may not be aware that Congressman Alfred E. Santangelo (Democrat,
NY), one of the pioneer Italian American members of Congress in
the 1950s and 60s, was a leader in the fight to stop discrimination
against Italian Americans. A State Senator and US Congressman
from 1948 to 1962, he started Americans of Italian Descent, and
published a newspaper The Challenge for many years. His
story is told in The Biography of Congressman Alfred E. Santangelo
and The Rise of Italian Americans in Politics. (On sale
at Barnes and Noble bookstores nationwide) Congressman Santangelo
successfully fought "The Untouchables" television show,
forcing the producers to sharply restrict the use of Italian American
names as gangsters. He was instrumental in the naming of the Verazzano
Bridge after the great Italian explorer, and helped gain the appointment
of the first Italian American member of the US Cabinet, Anthony
Columnist, Chicago Daily Herald
September 20, 2002
"The Sopranos. Bums. Bigots. Buffoons and Bimbos. A Boring
Bust. " This succinct critique of the new "The Sopranos"
series on cable comes from Manny Alfano of Bloomfield, N.J.
Alfano is a bit prejudiced, because he is a crusader against defamation
of Americans of Italian descent. But he's right on as far as this
viewer is concerned. Last season we got tired of this gangster
soap opera that demeans Italian-Americans. We dutifully tuned
in last Sunday to see if the new season is better. It was worse.
I defer to Manny Alfano's opinion. No more wasted hour on Sunday
nights. (Or we'll waste it on some other program.)
Copyright (C) 2002, Jack Mabley Daily Herald,
Herald: Suburban Chicago's Information Source http://www.dailyherald.com/oped/col_mabley.asp]
Dear Mr. Mabley:
[I have just read] your column which ran today that takes to task
"The Sopranos" not only for its denigration of Italian
Americans but also for its presentation of sex, violence, profanity,
and crime as "entertainment."
True, "Tthe Sopranos" is not the first to appeal to
the baser instincts of human nature to make a buck. What amazes
us here at the Sons of Italy is the enthusiastic endorsement this
series is enjoying from television critics, radio talk shows,
and even some circles of academia. [Currently at least five universities
are offering courses on "The Sopranos"!] The Sons of
Italy, the largest and oldest national organization for men and
women of Italian heritage, is dismayed and appalled by the manner
in which this country has embraced a program that is the television
equivalent of a peep show. I thought you might like to see the
kind of research we are doing that we hope will serve as an antidote
to what the US entertainment industry is doing to the reputation
of an estimated 26 million Americans of Italian descent - the
nation's fifth largest ethnic group....
Thank you again, Mr. Mabley. Your powerful voice is much appreciated.
Dona De Sanctis, Ph.D, at The Sons of Italy
My name is Lou Faiel-Dattilo and I live in Austin Texas. I took
the liberty of forwarding your superb essay about "The Sopranos"
to Terry Gross, in care of NPR's "Fresh Air". I did
this in light of today's re-run of her interviews with Soprano's
actors from a couple of years ago. I was sure you would not mind
and I'd love to hear her interview you. I prefaced it with this
I have been a dedicated fan of your program for many years. I
have always admired your fairness, insight and incomparable interviewing
skill. I just heard the interviews with "The Sopranos"
actors on NPR, Friday 13, 02.
May I prevail upon you to read this article with your characteristic
open mind and intelligence. This program came at a most terrible
time for me. Just last Tuesday a co-worker who I liked very much
told me that the stereotypes promoted by the Sopranos were richly
justified, that Italian-Americans deserved it, that we alone are
responsible for the many gangsters and Mafiosi amongst us , that
we (Italians) had to clean up our own act and that he was tired
of all the "whining" that Italian-Americans do with
regard to this show.
In light of this, I trust that anybody can see that "The
Sopranos" is not the benign phenomenon that the producers
and actors connected with that show would lead the public to believe.
I am a fifty four year old Italian-American gentleman who has
spent his entire adult life in public service, a civil rights
supporter and activist, and an AIDS activist practically from
the time the syndrome was first identified. My grandparents came
to this country and lived impeccably honest lives of hard work
and effort as did my parents and this is the thanks we get.
After my coworker told me this I went home with tears of rage
and hurt in my eyes and I lit candles before my grandparents pictures
on my altar and thanked them for giving me this good life and
for passing on their honesty and integrity. The hurt still lingers.
Quote from Newsday
to the Annotico Report from Pat Gabriel and IAOV,Manny
Alfano, Founder from Newsday columnist, Marie Cocco,
...you can love "The Sopranos" and still
loathe the way legitimate gripes about Italian - American stereotyping
are dismissed. They're cast aside by everyone associated with
the smash HBO show. By its legions of Italian - American fans
- some of whom log on to HBO's chat rooms to wax nostalgic about
such topics as those bygone Sunday dinners. They are disregarded
by the mainstream media, which scoff at complaints about ubiquitous
portrayals of Italian- Americans as scheming gangsters and serial
"Overblown" and "unjustified," sniffed The
New York Times. "An old chestnut (or should I say castagna
vecchia)," declared The Wall Street Journal. If you do not
believe it is still acceptable to malign Italian-Americans, try
to imagine critics for such publications casting aside, with open
contempt, the concerns of other ethnic groups. Bet you can't.
Yet when the National Italian - American Foundation polled teenagers
two years ago about images of ethnic groups in the entertainment
media, the stereotypes the youth associated with Italian-Americans
were worse than those conjured up for any others - except Arab-Americans.
"Crime bosses, gang members, restaurant workers," the
teenagers said they expected as roles for Italian - American characters.
Among Italian - American teens, about half said they agreed this
image of their ethnic heritage is accurate. Nearly a third said
they were proud of it.
"Realistically, we're not going to change programming,"
said John B. Salamone, executive director of the foundation. "If
they canceled that program because of Italian-Americans, we'd
probably have more enemies," Salamone said of "The Sopranos."
(C) 2002 by Newsday
columnist, Marie Cocco, 09/17/2002
Barolini, American Book Award winning author of The Dream
Book; Italian American Women's Writings, and Umbertina, Chiaroscuro,
More Italian Hours--a triptych of Italian-America culture
evolving through the 20th century."
I was finally able to access your piece and found it strong and
forceful. You mention several authors as alternative views to
the gangster theme and this put me in mind of a recent piece about
I/A literature that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor
on April 15, 2002.
Also, I think the strong argument you make against stereotyping
Italian Americans gets muddled when you bring in Italians like
Enrico Fermi, Toscanini, Mazzei and Grazia Deledda.
from all of us for taking a stand!
I have long been an admirer of your poetry and have purchased
most of your books.I first read your editorial in the Forum One
Voice website and I send you BRAVAS on all you said. Your eloquence,
sincerity and insights are matched only by the pain we all experience
24/7 seeing ourselves reduced to clowns, dupes, gluttons, murderers,
and thugs. Not a night goes by on TV, or an attendance at some
film that some gangster, or hoodlum, or miscreant is not given
an Italian name in drama or comedy. You make reference to Robert
Viscusi. I know him well. My husband and he taught at the same
college. I get the monthly newsletter from his IAWA and generally
find his comments well stated and to the point. This month however
I was utterlly dismayed to find a capitulation to the persecution
we all experience with "The Sopranos." I would like
to think I have misread him, but I doubt it.
send more letters re. the editorial click to IAEditors@vanguard.com
to: "What Would Your Dead Italian
Immigrant Father Say to The World According to Tony Soprano?"
by Daniela Gioseffi
Read a Full Letter
Response from Aldo Tambellini to Daniela's Editorial
letters and quotations Copyright © 2002 by their authors.
All rights reserved.