Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fuggedaboutit!

A suburban Chicago school class of twelve year olds was set to stage a play called "Fuggedaboutit - A Little Mobster Comedy" until an Italian-American mother got so offended she tried to get court order to prevent the play from being performed.

Apparently when the mom - let's call her Carmella - read a copy of the play her son brought home she was outraged by the negative portrayal of Italian-Americans and contacted the Sons of Italy who backed her civil-rights lawsuit claiming the play, written by a teacher (who was not Italian), promoted "hurtful stereotypes in its portrayal of mobsters who look like characters from 'The Sopranos.'" Hee hee.

As an Italian-American I have gotten used to the various stereotypes: gold chains, hairy backs, tight pants, greasy hair, fat grandmas who spend all day making homemade pasta and tomato sauce, mob connections, names that end in a vowel, etc.

I have to say, I can name various cousins and family members who fit all or some of the sterotypes, so do I have a right to be offended?? But, back to the play which was about the opening of an Italian restaurant, and two mobsters who appear to be up to no good. In the end, you find that the mobster are actually buying surplus food for orphans.

But Carmella wasn't happy even though they ended up being good guys; she was offended the mobsters talked about "whacking" people. She said,
"They are trying to pawn off on us that even though somebody may be a gangster and spend their life stealing and murdering and taking from society, he's going to reform by giving tuna for tots. The moral of this play is just as offensive as the play."

I don't know, I kind of like thinking even mobsters have a heart for kids. In the end a judge ruled that the play can go on.

So what do you think - did Carmella go too far in filing a lawsuit about this? Many nationalities have various stereotypes - does yours? If so, are you bothered by TV shows and movies playing to these stereotypes? I'm trying to think what other nationalities get portrayed besides Italian...I guess gays with "Will and Grace."

It really doesn't bother me and I can't see getting so upset that you'd file a lawsuit over it...thoughts?

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