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  • Op-Eds
    Robert Viscusi(January 13, 2012)
    Roberto Saviano has the eyes of a prophet who has seen Italy plain. Gramsci in jail, Dante in hell. This is the Italy where Popes die mysteriously and there are secret cities under secret cities under the ones on the map. Saviano’s eyes bring this Italy with them.
  • In U.S. House of Representatives – “Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Committee” – hearings on December 15, 2011, very authoritative expert witnesses in sworn testimony stipulated: in a period of less than two days during October 2011, 1.2 billion dollars of customer money “disappeared” from MF Global’s “customary accounts”. No one knows were it went (i.e. who got it). Multi-Billionaire Jon Corzine CEO of MF Global testified: “I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date.” Further, there has yet to be even a hint of criminal charges being brought against anyone. At least half of that money belonged to “small ranchers and farmers” (small business people analogous to the “Gomorrah” film’s “dressmaking company”). Crime does not get more organized and international than this MF Global scam. Frankly, how pathetic does even the most exaggerated “docufiction” movie representations of Camorra gang-sters seem when juxtaposed against real life international ‘Bank-sters’, such as the officers and managers of MF Global. What Camorra gangster could even dream of stealing 1.2 billion dollars with the click of a computer key and not even be suspect of a crime? In this context, Roberto Saviano’s hubris becomes clear. Whatever high moral glorious “muckraking” claims Saviano makes about “Gomorrah”, it’s just another Hollywood violent car chasing, shooting, sadistic crime entertainment film. Southern-Italian Americans should be especially mindful! “Gomorrah” falls solidly in the 200+ year tradition of denigrating dehumanizing representations of their Patria Meridionale. Saviano gives us Neapolitan boys running around in panties mindlessly firing off mega-machineguns...Gimme a break!
  • Along with the various observations that have been made by three of our esteemed colleagues (De Stefano, Gardaphé, Krase), and I must emphasize that I am in agreement as well with other sentiments that they raise, one must indeed recognize the merits of Roberto Saviano’s work these past four-plus years. He has put himself, literally, on the line, and we might readily agree that no “fame” or “wealth,” however significant or insignificant it may be, is worth the risk.
  • Saviano is right. Silence is not the answer; protesting dramatic portrayals of mafiosi is not the answer. Italian Americans have spent more time and money fighting fictional mafiosi than they have fighting real mafiosi in their midst.
  • Op-Eds
    Jerry Krase(December 21, 2011)
    In the second of a series of commentaries by Italian-American intellectuals on Roberto Saviano's recent talk about Mafia at the New York University, sociologist Jerome Krase “agree(s) wholeheartedly with Saviano, that in order to escape from ‘unbearable’ anti-Italian prejudice of which they are victims, those people who label themselves or are labeled by others as ‘Italian Americans’ should ignore the lucrative excesses of the likes of David Chase, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese but instead learn and share the reality rather than the reality shows of Italian and Italian American history.” However, he adds: “Saviano seems not to know the ‘American’ version of the Italian scene. As do others, he expresses an Italocentric view of both Italians and Italian Americans. Unfortunately, Italians are as little interested in the real Italian American experience as Italian Americans are in the real Italy.”
  • NYU. Roberto Saviano - In Italy the best anti-mafia law in the world
    In the first of a series of commentaries by Italian-American intellectuals on Roberto Saviano's recent talk about Mafia at the New York University, George DeStefano holds that Italian American anti-defamationists outraged by Mafia movies and TV shows should adopt the Italian approach, choosing candid and historically-informed discourse rather than ethnic defensiveness.