The highly sensitive, over-reactionary Italian-American organizations are up in arms over William Shatner's (yes, that William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain Kirk) new Web-only cartoon series, "The Gavones."
It seems that "The Gavones" is a mob family from New Jersey recently moved out to Hollywood to make movies. Sound familiar?
Naturally, since the protagonists are Italian-American, the orgs are against it – for all their usual reasons. However, I've seen the pilot episode and I don't find anything offensive about it. It's not terribly funny and deals in cliches, but it's not terribly offensive. Other episodes apparently have been "coming soon" since last May. But the pilot is not terribly offensive.
But UNICO, for instance, thinks it's "incredibly offensive" and that Shatner should apologize to IAs for it. Shatner should apologize for "The Gavones," but not for it being offensive, for it being boring.
In a press release UNICO National President Andre DiMino said Shatner is a coward.
"It appears that the damage stereotyping causes has been lost on Shatner, who for many years was stereotyped and typecast as Captain Kirk, blocking him from many roles in Hollywood," DiMino said. "Instead, Captain Kirk has cowardly gone, where many have gone before him - launching a cheap broadside on the Italian-American community via the stereotype of the mob. I wish I could flip open my own Communicator and have Scotty beam Kirk to an alternative universe where we wouldn't have to hear from this very tacky overexposed persona."Fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. And apparently DiMino thinks this cartoon is offensive. And if he would have left it at that his argument might carry some weight.
But the problem with UNICO President DiMino's criticism of Shatner – and others' as well – is that they are not content with just calling him out for what they consider his bias against IAs. They have to throw in their little digs against his character as well. Their argument would carry more weight and I would take their criticism more seriously if they didn't act like eight-year-olds in their press release.
For example, DiMino has this to say about Shatner:
"The sad reality is that there are not many Italians in powerful positions in Hollywood, and the stereotypical ethnic-bashing cartoon that Shatner is championing underscores that," DiMino said. "Even for Shatner, who embarrasses himself routinely as a classless pitchman and an anything-for-a-buck shill, this is a new low."Shather "embarrasses himself" and is a "classless pitchman." Apparently an actor who makes a commercial is a "classless pitchman."
DiMino should know about being "classless," as this press release shows. And if that wasn't enough, DiMino makes sure to point out at the beginning of the press release that Shatner is Canadian. As if that has any bearing on the situation whatsoever.
As I said, "The Gavones" doesn't offend me. It doesn't entertain me either. What offends me are the national IA orgs that claim to speak for all IAs and embarrass themselves – and by extension all IAs – with their "classless" press releases and their ineffectual outrage.