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  • The Director of “Pane Amaro” (Bitter Bread), an acclaimed doumentary about the life and history of early Italian immigrats in the U.S., talks about whether sweeping dirt under the rug is the way to deal with undesirable facts. His film touched upon several diffucult topics, including he lynching of thirty-nine Italian immigrants across the United States between 1886 and 1916. “Occasionally you do find some people who, when faced with difficult, uneasy subjects, react by closing their eyes; they prefer not to know about them and even try to prevent you from talking about them. They use a metaphor, you know, they say that we shouldn’t ‘wash our dirty laundry in public’. And I think it doesn’t advance the conversation. I do believe that we need to explore difficult issues such as this."
  • There is nothing new in certain segments of the community trying to impose their views of what it means to be Italian American on others. This controversy reminds me of recent tensions around the celebration of Columbus Day. On the one hand, identifying with the discoverer of their adopted land was an ideal strategy to gain full inclusion into mainstream America. But on the other hand, in today’s era of multiculturalism with a rhetoric that celebrates cultural diversity, the “discovery” of America by Columbus is equated with the beginnings of the demise of native peoples and their cultures. And there are already many Italian Americans who do not celebrate Columbus Day because of what Columbus has come to represent. It seems to me that this desire to squelch any consideration of the so-called “Guido culture” is a similar attempt by some to impose a uniform identity on a diverse group.
  • 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.”
  • Op-Eds
    Joey Skee(January 20, 2010)
    A social scientist’s take on guidos, prominenti, and intellectual inquiry.
  • “The Italian-Americans are so far removed in time, space and attitude from their heritage that they could safely drop the hyphenate form. They are Americans, period, [although] somewhat confused and confusing ethnic pride.” VESPERS by Ed McBain (AKA Salvatore Albert Lombino)
  • On Wednesday, October 28th 2009, the Commissione Giovani New York (CGNY) will host the first ever Young Italian Music Festival at the chic Hudson Terrace. The concert, from 8-10pm, will feature Italy’s current pop stars, as well as local Italian American performers. The evening will rejuvenate the idea of what Italian music is and the direction in which it is heading.

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