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Articles by: Robert Viscusi

  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • '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 have a long history of taking offense and of consuming big meals. Maybe it’s time they started to laugh at themselves and to eat less.
  • When the Risorgimento finally succeeded in joining the many parts of Italy into a single nation, Massimo D’Azeglio remarked, “We have made Italy, now we must make Italians.”