Friday, May 05, 2006

Father Greeley is No Sopranos Fan

Father Andrew M. Greeley, an author and a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, is no fan of The Sopranos. In fact, he plainly stated as much in his column today on, the newspaper's online site.

According to the good Father, today's column on The Sopranos was inspired by an editorial in The New York Times. However, he failed to mention that the editorial ran on March 19–fully six weeks ago–when The Sopranos' season started.

Anyway, Father Greeley's thesis in his column is that The Sopranos glorifies violence (which it does) and is essentially The Godfather with cursing.

Father Greeley is a good writer. But I don't agree with him on this one. Much of what he says about the show is true (that it is violent and glorifies criminals). However, many of those things are what attracts people to the show.

Where he goes off track, I think, is here:

Moreover, it stereotypes Italian Americans, bigotry which many Americans seem to enjoy. The Soprano family, it is implied, is a typical Italian American with high regard for the virtue of their wives and daughters and no hesitation about wanton murder.

The Sopranos does not stereotype all Italians. If anything, it stereotypes Mafiosi. And I do not think it depicts a "typical Italian-American" family. It depicts an Italian-American Mafia family. Maybe not a typical one, but it comes pretty close.

And then there's this:

Yeah, well, just imagine a similar series about African-American or Jewish criminals. Fuhgeddaboudit!

The good Father comes pretty close here to perpetuating stereotypes of his own. I'm getting pretty sick of having to read "Fuhgeddaboudit!" in nearly every article about Italian-Americans. As an Italian-American myself, I have ample opportunity to mingle with IAs, and not one of them has ever uttered that word. I think it's time we exorcised this word from the lexicon once and for all. I find that word more offensive than all the episodes of The Sopranos combined.

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