Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Question: Why is the stereotyping of Italian-Americans still acceptable?
I was watching this episode of "Fairly Odd-Parents" the other day that had a Jetsons parody -- basically, "what if the Jetsons were Italian?" And you had people talking like gangsters, threatening to do violence on other people for no reason, intimidation, etc. To be clear: the cartoon was not parodying gangsters. It was parodying Italians.
If this was a parody of another nationality, you might have had the episode pulled. But why is it acceptable with Italians?
Or take Super Mario Bros. Mario is an Italian stereotype. And when they have him talk, he talks in a stereotypical Italian accent. Fine. I'm not asking for it to be pulled. I'm just asking that you take a minute and picture a similar character based on some other group of people.
I know. Super Mario is a beloved cultural icon, a part of the fabric of our childhoods. Just like Memin Pinguin is to Mexico?
To me, it's the same blindness, the same offensiveness. And the fact that people will no doubt defend the icon of Super Mario to the death on this and other blogs/boards points to the fact that we all have our cultural blind spots.
It's like when you need to write an organized crime story, just plop in an Italian gangster. Call him "Boss Ronzoni," have him fight Batman, and call it a day. Never mind how many different nationalities are into organized crime these days. "Boss Ronzoni," "Boss Cannoli," "Boss Rigatoni." "Boss Falcone." Take your pick.
Hey, at least Marvel back the old school used to have a little fun with it. Instead of The Mafia, they had...The Maggia!
You want to turn me off to reading a story about Gotham City? Start peppering it with lame-ass cliché Italian gangsters. Please see how much I don't care.
And that's nothing compared to how one of the titans of science fiction decided to be cute on the phone and say to me, in an Italian accent: "that's a bigga pizza pie!" 'Cause you know, he noted that my last name was Italian. I'm sure he thought and still thinks he's the most liberal guy on this or any other planet.
Oh, and before I forget:I hate this fucking film.