While ostensibly repudiating "The Sopranos" and its ilk, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. manages to reinforce the big lie that David Chase's odious program perpetuates ["Behind the Mystery of the Sopranos," Opinion, September 24].
Contrary to Hollywood's demonology, organized crime is not an Italian construct. Murder, Incorporated holds the dubious distinction of introducing such hierarchical urban malevolence to these shores. Among its members were Meyer Lansky, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Abraham "Kid Twist" Reles, and Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. According to Rich Cohen, author of "Tough Jews: Father, Sons and Gangster Dreams": "The first major American drug dealer was probably Arnold Rothstein."
Were it not for the nasty bit of schadenfreude engendered by "The Sopranos," society might well realize the America is, in many respects, an Italian enterprise. From the explorations of Columbus, Caboto, and Vespucci to the atomic science of Enrico Fermi to the blood, sweat, and tears of millions of hard-working, law-abiding professionals, entrepreneurs, and laborers, that fine Italian hand has shaped the destiny of a nation.
Rosario A. Iaconis
Italic Institute of America
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