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  • Op-Eds
    Joey Skee(January 20, 2010)
    A social scientist’s take on guidos, prominenti, and intellectual inquiry.
  • 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.
  • The "Guido/Goomba/Cugine" is a very distinctive-looking, working-class East Coast Italian-American. The whole lifestyle may seem shallow or strange to some, but “authentic” Italian-American life does not have to revolve around formal language, Renaissance art or the opera. This is indeed a subculture that is very complex and needs exploration—not shunning and shame. There can be civil discussions about all these differences, but there should never be any mean-spirited debates on which is right or wrong.