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The Birth of a Godfather

Letter to the Editor, Vanity Fair, May, 2009

In his zeal to venerate The Godfather, Mark Seal ignores the source of the film's enduring appeal. It's the bigotry, stupid. This sordid crime story spawned a billion-dollar industry dedicated to the proposition that all Italians are either mafiosi or in some way connected to the Mob. FBI statistics indicate only 0.00782 percent of Italian-Americans have any criminal associations, yet a national Zogby poll reveals that 74 percent of Americans believe most Italians have ties to the Mob. Though al-Qaeda slaughtered some 3,000 people on 9/11, Hollywood eschews anti-Arab stereotypes but revels in such Godfather-inspired fare as The Sopranos, Casino, GoodFellas, Married to the Mob and Analyze This. In 2004, DreamWorks Animation even introduced anti-Italian bigotry to children via Shark Tale, a cartoon movie featuring Robert De Niro as a murderous piscine Godfather named Don Lino. Truth be told, The Godfather has been as toxic to Italian-Americans as The Birth of a Nation was to African-Americans.

Rosario A. Iaconis,
Vice-Chairman,
The Italic Institute of America, Floral Park, New York

 
 

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