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  • Italians live for their coffee, the sheer number of bars in Italy only shows how serious the locals are with regards to their coffee. But one can easily forget that coffee beans are neither grown nor harvested in any part of Italy. The more appropriate statement is, the best coffee is roasted and blended in Italy.
  • Indigenous languages suppressed by a foreign imposed lingua franca have shown profound capacity to reinvigorate themselves. If the ‘dead national languages’ of Norway and Ireland can be revived; almost certainly the marginalized languages of Sicily and southern Italy can displace the Piedmontese imposed Tuscan lingua franca. Indeed, the displacement may already be in process. But, there is no reason to believe southern-Italian Americans will ever again hear the sounds of their historic mother tongues and know the history and culture embedded in those languages. They will continue to have their history and culture defined by mass-media and the American Tuscan-esque literati and teachers.
  • Most Italian-Italians, the ones from Italy, that is, always seem to be curious as to how we Italian-Americans are perceived by others in America. With all the news they’ve heard of Italian stereotypes in America, like the ones put forward in “The Godfather,” “The Sopranos,” “Mafia Wars,” and “The Jersey Shore,” I understand what they expect.
  • Editors’ Note: We do not doubt that the media can and have had a dilatory effect on how certain members of society may look upon others. We also realize that Italian Americans may indeed be the last punching bag for ethnic bigots in various venues. We also understand the outrage that some have expressed toward the MTV show “Jersey Shore.” What we do not understand is the truculent, vituperous, and visceral bile that has spewed forth from some people and local organizations against this program. In our opinion, two objections have proven to be thoughtful and well reasoned, regardless of whether one may agree or disagree with the reasoning offered. The first was the December program of Italics, the Italian American Magazine (now available at http://www.cuny.tv/series/italics/index.lasso), in which Andre DiMino, president of UNICO National, spoke quite eloquently to the issue at hand, underscoring what he saw as the major problems with this and other mediatic representations of Italian Americans. The second appears below, the Press Release that the National Italian American Foundation recently sent out to various news organizations and associations. We have decided to share it with our readers of i-Italy.org, precisely because of its temperate tone and acknowledgement that Italian America indeed is more pluralistic than others might think.
  • Op-Eds
    Fred Gardaphe(February 09, 2010)
    If you believe that the “Jersey Shore” show of MTV is really gangsters without guns, then you should do something about it. But since when have we become afraid of our youth? Since when has the public behavior of seven 20-something kids been something to pay attention to? This shows that kids don’t really know what it means to be Italian American outside of their family; it also shows that we probably don’t know our kids as well as we think we do. ... So don’t blame MTV; we have failed ourselves. We may think we have created Italian America, but we have yet to create Italian Americans.
  • 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.

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