Gomorrah: Dangers of a Fictional Italy
New York Times, February 25, 2015
Re "Italy's criminally great TV show" (Opinion, Jan. 28): Beppe Severgnini is correct in noting that "Gomorrah," an Italian TV series about a fictional Neapolitan crime family, might well "turn into bad publicity for Naples and Italy, just as the young government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is trying so hard to restore confidence among foreigners." But Mr. Severgnini is mistaken if he truly believes viewers are sophisticated enough to understand that "Gomorrah" does not represent "all of Italy."
Over the last two decades, Rome has made great strides in combating the Sicilian Mafia, the Camorra, the 'Ndrangheta and Sacra Corona Unita. Indeed, Italy boasts Europe's toughest anti-mob statutes. Yet the seed of Aeneas is perennially depicted in the media as the locus of loutish evil. Thanks to popular culture, both the hoi polloi and the intelligentsia have embraced the big lie that Italians and Italian-Americans are congenital criminal Neanderthals. Such anti-Italian intolerance blinds society to the mass-murdering Mexican and Colombian cartels, Israeli organized crime, Russia's Organizatsiya, the Japanese Yakuza and France's Corsican and Milieu networks.
That said, the success of "Gomorrah" will enable Stefano Sollima to join the ranks of Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Chazz Palminteri and David Chase, all of whom have profited handsomely by romanticizing Mafia terrorists.
Rosario A. Iaconis, Floral Park, N.Y.