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  • Art & Culture
    Joey Skee(November 18, 2010)
    Introductory comments to the Calandra Institute’s November 5th symposium “Hybrid Moments: Independent Music in Italian America.”
  • I am not sure why mimicking the guido style is any better or worse than folks in a previous generation trying to be like James Dean or the pre-Godfather Marlon Brando. It is one generation’s rebellion against the previous generation. And it was the disobedience and unruly behavior, now “forgotten”, that helped to make Sinatra an icon for a particular generation. This rebellion is needed to move toward establishment of identity as a new group that is independent from the previous generation. It is outrageous that anyone should claim a specific topic is forbidden ground for interchange. It is in the reasoned discussions about such topics as guido culture that can help us as a community reach a consensus.
  • Why has MTV produced a youth culture reality show that showcases Guido and Italian identity? Guido offers a symbol that specifically identifies the brand; Italian ethnicity makes the brand more salient. Guido combines a commodified youth party culture with a style that has street culture roots. [...] Guido is a struggle for recognition and respect by an age fraction that privileges consumption rather than formal education, reflecting class differences in an ethnic culture that continues to evolve in metropolitan New York City and throughout the Northeast. [...] Youth may turn more to ethnicity to authenticate their cool and preserve privileged insider status as in Hip Hop. However, this is denied by a vocal anti-defamation position that reduces Guido to a category of ethnic prejudice. It is my view that this slights a vernacular Italian American culture that ironically is better defined as a challenge to generalizations and stereotypes that underpin historic ethnic slurs.
  • Op-Eds
    Robert Viscusi(January 20, 2010)
    'Guido' is a phenomenon that demands attention. If Italian American social advance were as real, as secure, and as substantial as many Italian Americans believe it to be (I am among these believers), then it would seem not only not harmful, but indeed positively beneficial and necessary, to examine, to discuss, and to reflect upon the power of such a new word. As to the youths of Jersey Shore, they are playing grotesques, like all minstrel-show caricatures. They are amusing—indeed, more so than most clowns with sad eyes. They have clearly found their moment and clearly touched a nerve. To the term Italian American, which has carried so many strings of dollar bills and ropes of sausage, they have added a new chain of fetishes – a tanning bed, a tube of gel, an old summer thong bearing the legend “I Love the Situation.”
  • Italian Americans should put an end to their obsession with their image in the television media. Television, in general, tends to caricature reality; it likes showing things that are over the top. This is not about Italian Americans—it is about the media, it's about "reality show." The controversy about MTV's Jersey Shore and the Calandra Institute's colloquium on the "Guido lifestyle" should not be resolved by censorship. It is only through dialogue that you are going to better understand these complex issues of ethnic identity and the media, and further the discussion. Censoring dialogue is always a dangerous act. It reveals a kind of ethnic nationalism that is only about pride and doesn’t allow for any kind of questioning or dissent.
  • What is this guido thing? Is it pure caricature put on us by the outside world, or do we have an active part in it? Is it lifestyle or demeaning stereotype? A (former guido) brother who now teaches environmental engineering, and a (longtime anti-guido) sister who is now an actress, writer and filmmaker, look back.

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