The Godfather 40th Anniversary
Letter to Newsday (Long Island),
March 23, 2012
Rafer Gutmán managed to extol the 40th anniversary of The Godfather without using the words Italian or Italian American. In the final analysis, the movie and the entire genre could not have worked without the Italian subculture and its caricatures. I don't care how many tissues Brando stuffed in his mouth.
What The Godfather did to the Italian American image in this country I would not wish on any other group. Some may call it art but it is ultimately propaganda, more akin to Birth of a Nation than The Maltese Falcon. It has become a form of parody and ridicule, not to mention a touchstone for three generations of impressionable Italian Americans. No less an authority than Robert MacNeil (The Story of English) notes that criminal slang words "now come with Italian accents, and this has more to do with the power of the media not the Mafia." That is what
The Godfather launched.
Perhaps Newsday could perform a service to its readers by putting this "work of art" to a more rigorous critique.
Italic Institute of America
Floral Park, NY