Godfather Alert!


#41

Bob, what you are saying about the Mafia WAS portrayed in those films, the “family” did evolve into an entity that abandoned all the original motivations of insuring Justice for their people and placing family above all other priorities.

I have never understood the criticism that the Godfather movies or the Sopranos for that matter “glorified” the Mafia, I have seen movies that did this (Goodfellas for instance) but the Godfather portrayed the absolute corruption that emanates from absolute power very well I thought.

Michael turned on EVERYONE by the end of Godfather 2 and he was only the second generation leader of the “family”, those choices made for money above the Principles that were once proudly touted had the same corrosive effect that was warned about in the movies themselves, they were shown to be prophecies not victories.

All of Vito’s children were murdered or emotional basket cases with no friends or loyal kin and his grandchildren were basket cases as well, his empire survived financially but was bankrupt of everything that he valued at the start. I fail to see how this is “glorifying” anything but the reality that all forms of monarchy that are headed by man are destined for desecration of everything that matters.

These movies did not end with a cheer, they ended with souls turned to charcoal as fear of losing became the only motivating force and unearned wealth poisoned the hearts of all the family members who were “kept”.

But, they were still far more Righteous than the California State Legislature or the United States Supreme Court; that ain’t saying much but I am not being hyperbolic.


#42

RET,

I think you made most excellent points up there. I think what you wrote is a very astute summation
of how and why GF I ,II, and III ended the way they did. I am going to print what you wrote and tape
it to the cover of my copy of The Godfather. (I need reminding too 'cause I have to work at not
liking the charming old evil Vito … … lol … I never claimed my fallen corrupted human nature was
immune to being attracted to the “beautiful side of evil” … ~ shudder ~ )


In my thinking I can harmonize what you wrote with at least the spirit of what BobJam and I have
written, in that what you wrote would be an even stronger (than what we wrote) reason why
Godfather viewers would never romanticize or idealize (to any extent whatsoever) or in any way sympathize
or empathize with Vito or Michael or any of the other characters who made a free will choice to become part of
the Vito Corelone murder-whoring-gambling-hard drugs crime family.

There is, imo, never a legitimate reason to sympathize of empathize any with Satan or Satan’s
sons like Vito and Michael, who certainly would (like Vito and Michael) have his good reasons why
"under the circumstances and in light of all things considered I just felt like I had to do what I did."
(ie, rebel against God in Heaven).

Here is some more reality:
Warning: Graphic language, violence, and some nudity.
Real Life Sopranos Documentary on the Real New Jersey Crime Family - YouTube
A real “eye-opener” ↑

:diamonds:


#43

I never watched a single minute of The Sopranos.


#44

[quote=“RET423, post:41, topic:45343”]
Bob, what you are saying about the Mafia WAS portrayed in those films, the “family” did evolve into an entity that abandoned all the original motivations of insuring Justice for their people and placing family above all other priorities.

I have never understood the criticism that the Godfather movies or the Sopranos for that matter “glorified” the Mafia, I have seen movies that did this (Goodfellas for instance) but the Godfather portrayed the absolute corruption that emanates from absolute power very well I thought.

Michael turned on EVERYONE by the end of Godfather 2 and he was only the second generation leader of the “family”, those choices made for money above the Principles that were once proudly touted had the same corrosive effect that was warned about in the movies themselves, they were shown to be prophecies not victories.

All of Vito’s children were murdered or emotional basket cases with no friends or loyal kin and his grandchildren were basket cases as well, his empire survived financially but was bankrupt of everything that he valued at the start. I fail to see how this is “glorifying” anything but the reality that all forms of monarchy that are headed by man are destined for desecration of everything that matters.

These movies did not end with a cheer, they ended with souls turned to charcoal as fear of losing became the only motivating force and unearned wealth poisoned the hearts of all the family members who were “kept”.

But, they were still far more Righteous than the California State Legislature or the United States Supreme Court; that ain’t saying much but I am not being hyperbolic.
[/quote]I agree that in the END the portrayal was that they all got what was coming to them, but it’s not the end that I have a problem with . . . it’s what leads up to it. It’s that portrayal of the evolution that “glorifies” them.

That’s where the sympathies of the viewers were promoted.

I’m sure old Adolph and Joseph were kind to some small children and animals (not all, but some). Does anybody sit back and view the Nazis and Bolshy’s as deserving sympathy? With the exception perhaps of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I don’t think so.

And it’s a myth, perpetuated by the film, that they place family “above all other priorities.” As I said before, these Wise Guys have paramours. They couldn’t care less about the feelings of their wives or their families.

Vito is portrayed as faithful to his wife. C’mon. Is that an accurate portrayal of a “Don”? Not in my experience. But if reality would have been portrayed there, it would have ruined the whole movie.

And “insuring Justice for their people”? What self-respecting Mafia person gives a hoot about people’s feelings? Again, though, to have portrayed that reality would have ruined the whole movie.

The reality is that there is “corruption” from the get-go, not just when they achieve power. And once again, that portrayal of reality would have ruined the whole movie.

“Principles that were once proudly touted”? In the film, yes. In real life, a resounding NO.

Edit: BTW, take a look at that video that Jack posted. It’s an eye-opener for sure.


#45

`
** I have some miscellaneous thoughts about the charming old devil Vito
and his charming devilish son Michael … lol … and I thought I’d post them
just for fun. I think some folks might find them a tad interesting. **

First I would say that, in a sense, there are no such creatures as Vito and Michael Corleone,
instead there are the very charismatic actors Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. These two men, with
their magnetic personalities captivated audiences as they magically forever imprinted their very
appealing personalities into the very concepts of Vito and Michael Corleone. All this Brando-Pacino
magnetism would have been impossible to convey to the mere reader of the novel and screenplays,
but the magic of the audio-video in living color on the screen did perform actual “magic” in the hearts
and minds of millions of people worldwide.

We can add Robert De Niro (as Vito Corleone in GF II) to the charisma-magic pot. De Niro’s personality
is charismatic-enough to join Brando and Pacino in the Brando-Pacino-De Niro Club Of Very Magnetic
Male Personalities.

When some people (perhaps most) say “I like the character of Vito Corleone” they are really saying they
were drawn to the personalities of Marlon Brando in The Godfather and Robert De Niro in The Godfather II.
My view is that it’d be impossible for anyone to separate the text-characters in the novel and screenplay,
from the real life actors that appeared in the 3 films. In the minds of untold millions of viewers of the 3
Godfather films, Vito Corleone is Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro and Michael Corleone is Al Pacino
and the personalities of these 3 actors will be forever imprinted upon the minds of the Godfather watchers
as well as imprinted upon the text characters in the novel and screenplays.

**My main point in this section: **
The point is these 3 Hollywood actors pumped tons of their own charm, charisma, magnetism, appeal,
personality, smoothness, suaveness, glamor, romance, enchantment, pleasantness, and pleasing aura into the
characters Vito and Michael Corleone. All this made it almost humanly impossible NOT to like the characters of
Vito and Michael Corleone and find them delightfully charming.

If 3 totally uncharismatic male Hollywood actors had (somehow) been cast as Vito and Michael, then I would in all
probability not be writing this post because the first Godfather would have been a great big flop, and there would
most likely never have been a GF II and III.


I have the impression that The Godfather series is, in the popular culture, considered a “guy flick.” That means
that a significant number of males in America, with their testosterone in high gear, consider the characters of
Vito and Michael to be admirable because they see them as powerful males who are glamorous, wealthy, and
who can get things done.

I remember watching the highly popular “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The main male character
in the movie Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) kept talking positively about The Godfather being a guy flick and about how all the
guys knew what “going to the mattresses” meant. The Godfather’s characters were presented in the movie as being
the kind of males one ought to admire and emulate because they would fight for what they wanted.

I think RET’s summation of why the 3 Godfather stories ended up as they did, is an super excellent right-on-target
summation, but sadly I do not think millions interpret the films that way. I think millions, perhaps tens of millions
worldwide, never even think seriously about the truth of RET’s summation. I think, rather, they isolate the charismatic
characters of Vito and Michael and view them as somewhat heroic powerful males who fought hard to get what they
wanted.

** I Think The Mob Liked The Godfather movies. **
I remember reading some articles and hearing some news reports that said the actual mobsters went to see The Godfather
and liked it because they interpreted it as Hollywood presenting them in a way they wanted to be presented, which was as
I described above: powerful men, wealthy, glamorous, and hard fighters for what they wanted, etc.

The point is that the actual mobsters did not interpret The Godfather in a negative light at all, they were proud and glad to
be presented like that.

… Give me a minute to go googling for maybe a tidbit of evidence to support what I remember reading and hearing about.
Be right back ,

, moments pass ,

The Godfather epic, encompassing the original trilogy and the additional footage Coppola incorporated later, is by now thoroughly integrated into American life, and the first film had the largest impact. Unlike any film before it, its depiction of Italians who immigrated to the United States in the first half of the twentieth century is perhaps attributable to the director, himself an Italian-American, presenting his own understanding of their experience.

Setting aside the stereotypes of the criminal element and the simple peasant, the films explain through their action the uneven integration of a particular population into a new milieu.

Ironically, The Godfather increased Hollywood’s unsavory depictions of immigrant Italians in the aftermath of the film and was a recruiting tool for organized crime.[151]

Still, the story is of a piece with all immigrant experience as much as it is rooted in the specific circumstances of the Corleones, a family of privilege who live outside the law, are not robbed of their universality

yet assume a heroic aspect that is at once admirable and repellent.

Released in a period of intense national cynicism and self-criticism, the American film struck a chord about the dual identities inherent in a nation of immigrants.[152]

The concept of a mafia “Godfather” was an invention of Mario Puzo’s and the film’s effect was to add the fictional nomenclature to the language. Similarly,

Don Vito Corleone’s unforgettable “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”—voted the second most memorable line in cinema history in AFI’s 100 Years…

100 Movie Quotes by the American Film Institute—[highlight[was adopted by actual gangsters.[153]

In the French novel Le Père Goriot, Honoré de Balzac wrote of Vautrin telling Eugene: “In that case I will make you an offer that no one would decline.”[154]

According to Anthony Fiato, Patriarca crime family members Paulie Intiso and Nicky Giso modeled their speech on Brando’s portrayal.[155] Intiso would frequently swear and use poor grammar; but after the movie came out, he started to articulate and philosophize more.[155]

On the other hand, Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, the former underboss in the Gambino crime family,[156] “left the movie stunned … I mean I floated out of the theater. Maybe it was fiction, but for me, then, that was our life. It was incredible. I remember talking to a multitude of guys, made guys, who felt exactly the same way.”

An indication of the continuing influence of The Godfather and its sequels can be gleaned from the many references to it which have appeared in every medium of popular culture in the decades since the film’s initial release. [highlight[That these homages, quotations, visual references, satires, and parodies continue to pop up even now shows clearly the film’s enduring impact.

The Godfather - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I think its safe to say, sadly, that America and the world, did not interpret The Godfather I, II, III correctly as did RET in his excellent summation, rather
they saw what they wanted to see and ignored the rest (not surprising, that’s typical of fallen human nature.)


Oh I also found a quote from You’ve Got Mail:

In You’ve Got Mail, Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks) quotes The Godfather, positing:
“The Godfather is the I-ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should
I pack for my summer vacation? ‘Leave the gun, take the cannoli’. What day of the week is it? ‘Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday’.”

The Godfather - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edit: I just remembered. I read an article on the impact of the movie Scarface on the young hoods in the neighborhood who
went to see the film. They took Scarface as their hero and started acting and talking like him. They totally ignored how their
hero ended up, which was they turned him into hamburger meat by passing an endless number of pieces of hot lead through
his body. The ending scenes looked like a butcher’s shop, but the young punks did not choose to see that, even though they
did see it with their eyes. They saw only what they wanted to see, and that was Scarface as a tough guy, glamorous, successful,
wealthy, powerful, a fighter, and an all round heroic guy. Much of America and much of the world saw The Godfather movies
that way too, in my opinion. They simply chose not to see it the correct way RET summed it up. Not all, but I think millions
worldwide chose to see all 3 Godfather films that way. /sad to be sure!

:diamonds:


#46

Jack: I can’t remember who, but some violent criminal used to watch “Scarface” over and over again as a youngster and admired “Tony Montana”.


#47

I think millions of viewers around the world admired Bonny And Clyde and were either boldly or secretly “pulling for them.”

After all, based upon what I have read, millions of women are/were convinced that Warren Beatty was/is a very handsome
charismatic man, and its safe to say that most men did not, at the time, consider Faye Dunaway to be a dog … lol …

I think the truth is millions of people “pull for the crooks and killers” and enjoy it when they win over law enforcement
especially if they are “played” by highly charismatic male and female actors.

I think everybody pulled for Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw in Sam Peckinpah’s The Gettaway.
Steve McQueen as Carter “Doc” McCoy
Ali MacGraw as Carol McCoy (wife)

They were pure magic together.

Steve McQueen and the beautiful Ail Macgraw

:diamonds:


#48

As far as the depiction of the early founders of organized crime and their motivations is concerned I cannot speak from direct experience because I was not living in New York in the early 1900’s, I can say that all the evidence points to a wholly corrupt political class and police department as well the oppression of several migrant groups including the Italians.

I will however say this to the suggestion that these “Families” were never like the characters in the movies, if they were not then it would be the first example of a massive acquisition of power achieved by “nobody’s” that WERE NOT like these characters if that is true.

Nothing from business, to politics to crime can be successfully envisioned, organized, established and conquered by idiots, idiots can follow and skate awhile on the foundation that they inherit but short sighted ignoramuses do NOT found dominant enterprises.

The Mafia had a long run of profound influence in New York and Nevada, to some degree Chicago as well although the Chicago version was littered with far more flamboyant idiots that came and went pretty fast. It takes a lot more than ruthless brute force to accomplish such a sustained run and the idea that a bunch of douchebags who would “kill their own mother for a profit” could accomplish this seems preposterous to me.

Every man I have ever met that ground his way to the top of anything has been a sound judge of others priorities and able to motivate by incentive, every single one has been able to see the long game and convince others to embrace an agenda geared toward a long term goal, every single one has embraced some philosophy that they believed would deliver their goals to them if they were diligent, every one has been ruthless when the circumstances demanded it.

I do not “sympathize” with these men as these men need no “sympathy”, the ones who use these traits for something good leave the world a better place and the ones who use these traits for evil leave only destruction in their wake, the ones who fall in the middle leave not much of anything.

It is not “sympathy” that makes me say that the Mafia was an improvement over the political and legal class of New York in the early 1900’s, it is the knowledge that a wholly corrupt political class will not be brought under control without force of some kind and that void of genuine Justice always creates a vacuum that WILL be filled by something.

I fail to see the Stalin and Hitler reference about liking animals and children Bob, who has attempted to redeem any Gangster? Of course both of these were men of vision who understood how to motivate others toward their chosen agenda. So were our Founders of the United States and the Apostles in the Bible, i would have thought that was obvious.

I find it impossible to believe that any poor migrant could rise to the top of a powerful empire above violent, wealthy power brokers without gaining the support of the people in the neighborhoods. These people would have been terrified of the current power class and the idea that they would refuse to cooperate with them under threat of death to stop the rising immigrant newcomer while the rising immigrant newcomer was every bit the unprincipled, selfish bastard that the current power brokers were is ridiculous.

Almost everything starts with at least some good motives even if they are covering up bad ones, the image you are painting of the Mafia Founders Bob would be the equivalent of the Crips or the Bloods somehow gaining nationwide influence over politics and enterprise today. That is what self absorbed, brute force with no Principles looks like and they have NO influence anywhere except those who find themselves at the end of their guns.

Idiots do not conquer anything, people do not get behind entities that they believe will serve them no good purpose; it just does not happen. When these stories are told it would be history revision and bad entertainment to try and remove the wisdom of foresight and efforts to appear altruistic from the Founders of the Mafia, it was these qualities that enabled them to gain the support needed to rise above the current “kings”.


#49

[quote=“ClassicalTeacher, post:40, topic:45343”]
Hitler admired Mussolini
[/quote]So did Sir Winston Churchill at one time:

If I had been an Italian, I am sure I would have been with you [Mussolini] from the beginning to the end of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism.

Your movement [Fascism] has abroad rendered a service to the whole world…Italy has shown that there is a way to combat subversive forces.

Italy [under Mussolini] has demonstrated that the great mass of the people, when it is well led, appreciates and is ready to defend the honor and stability of civil society. It [Fascism] provides the necessary antidote to the Russian virus. Henceforth no nation will be able to imagine that it is deprived of a last means of protection against malignant tumors, and every Socialist leader in each country ought to feel more confident in resisting rash and leveling doctrines.

It would be a dangerous folly for the British people to underrate the enduring position in world history which Mussolini will hold; or the amazing qualities of courage, comprehension, self-control and perseverance which he exemplifies.

Heresy? Many Churchill bashers present these quotes as proof that Churchill was a fascist and had no regard for human rights.

IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT ALMOST ALL CHURCHILL BASHERS ARE EITHER MARXISTS OR SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF MARXIST FUNDED ORGANIZATIONS. There’s a reason for that, and I hope it will become evident at the end of this post.

You cannot condemn Churchill simply and without qualification, just as you cannot praise him simply and without qualification. You must consider CONTEXT, and I’ll deal with that shortly,

These quotes, BTW, were his PUBLIC views in the 30’s when he was “in the wilderness” (i.e. NOT in any position in the government). I emphasize “public” because there was a reason for him broadcasting those statements TO the public . . and I’ll come back to that later.

For now, suffice it to say that he soon changed that view, and did a complete 180. Churchill called Mussolini every name in the book: ”whipped jackal” . . . "organ grinder’s monkey” . . . "absurd imposter.” In 1944, after Mussolini executed his son-in-law, former Italian foreign minister Count Galeazzo Ciano, Churchill said in a broadcast:

The successful campaign in Sicily brought about the fall of Mussolini and the heartfelt repudiation by the Italian people of the Fascist creed. Mussolini indeed escaped, to eat the bread of affliction at Hitler’s table, to shoot his son-in-law, and help the Germans wreak vengeance upon the Italian masses whom he had professed to love.

  • Churchill By Himself, 365

That’s Mussolini to the right of Hitler, and Ciano on the far right. On the far left is British PM Chamberlain and next to him is French Premier Daladier. This was taken at the 1938 Munich Conference.

Now let’s consider some of the historical context when Churchill made the statement favorable to Mussolini. Two things, the second being most significant.

First, a part of the first quote above that is often left out:

Different countries have different ways of doing the same thing . . .
What Churchill meant here is that fascism wasn’t something that the British, or Churchill himself, would want to adopt for their OWN form of government.

If Fascism did not encroach upon British interests there was no reason in his eyes not to praise its perceived economic efficiency.

Mussolini made a big deal out of how he and fascism would fight Communism. Anything that was anti-communist, Churchill liked . . . except Hitler of course.

Also left out of that quote is:

But in England we have not yet had to face this danger in the same deadly form…But that we shall succeed in grappling with Communism and choking the life out of it – of that I am absolutely sure.
Which further makes that point.

If Italy could act as a buffer to Bolshevism (the word used to refer to Communism in the 30’s), fine. And that leads me to my second point.

Churchill was a hot head anti-Bolshevist his entire life . . . “Bolshevism is not a policy, it is a disease . . . it is not a creed, it is a pestilence”. He was also a pragmatist. Therefore, he saw Mussolini’s fascism as a buffer against Communism in Europe. (BTW, notice the references to Communism, some slightly disguised, others outright, in those statements . . . “bestial appetites and passions of Leninism”, “necessary antidote to the Russian virus”, etc.)

He made those statements to the public because he wanted Mussolini to consider Britain a “friend”, and thereby become an ally.

But when he began to see Hitler’s rise and pragmatically saw it as a more immediate threat than Communism, and also when he saw that Il Duce aligned himself with Germany (the “Pact of Steel”), he saw that not only was it no longer possible to keep Mussolini even neutral (as he did with Franco), but the Communist threat was no longer the greatest priority. (Which of course is why he aligned himself with Uncle Joe . . . Stalin was instrumental in stopping Hitler. Perhaps a pact with the Devil, but pragmatism that worked nonetheless.)

(Mussolini bet on the wrong horse . . . just as Churchill’s gamble that Mussolini would remain neutral if carefully nursed by British diplomacy failed.)

By 1935 his visceral anti-Communism was relegated to the background in the face of the mounting danger from Nazi Germany

His behavior throughout is compatible with a view that supports human rights, for he saw communism as infringing human rights, and fascism as a defense against communism. When fascism came to infringe human rights, he rejected it.

BTW, CT, Reagan used the “trains running on time” thing:

Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal. It was Mussolini’s success in Italy, with his government-directed economy, that led the early New Dealers to say “But Mussolini keeps the trains running on time.”

  • Ronald Regan

OK . . . I apologize to the board for drifting so far from the topic, but the Churchill/Mussolini connection prompted this rant. In so far as the GF film mentioned Mussolini, I might be tenuously on topic.


#50

Jack: I love Steve McQueen and loved him especially in “The Great Escape” and “Bullit”, but I can’t stand Ali McGraw. I never saw “The Getaway”. She may have been very beautiful, but she was a terrible actress.

But, you are correct. I don’t know why people cheer for the “bad guys”. Maybe it’s because there is a hidden (maybe not so hidden) desire in us to do bad things or to live life on the edge–if only we could. And so, we experience an “excitement” in seeing people like “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid” and other movies where the bad guys get away. And, I also think that it is part of the liberal culture that has taken over America over the last decades.


#51

Fascism is an economic theory, it is designed to mitigate the lack of incentive for excellence that is inherent in Communism.

Fascism allows private ownership of the productive sector while reserving the authority to micromanage the productive sector by government, the economic philosophy of the modern day Democrat Party in other words.


#52

Fascinating, Bobjam! I think a lot of politicians back then viewed Mussolini and Hitler as Churchill did in the beginning. Unfortunately, Chamberlain was the one who made a public spectacle of himself with that piece of paper he waved around. His name has forever been sullied by that act no matter what good he accomplished. (I thought he looked a lot like Boris Karloff, btw.) Anyway, I am enjoying learning more about Churchill.


#53

You know, RET, I never could understand the difference between fascism and communism and why Hitler hated communism so much. I would think that with his mindset, he would have embraced it. I researched it sometime ago (fascism) but never was able to find an understandable explanation. Thanks!


#54

Americans “cheer for the bad guy” because we’ve always cheered for the underdog. It’s in our blood.

What I find gruesome and disturbing, however, is that we, as a society, will make hero’s out the likes of Bonny and Clyde, and Jesse James. Heck, even Branson, MO, idolizes The Baldknobbers (the original show that started it all), and has a golf course named, “Murder Rock.” <–The place where the Baldknobbers hid to rob, steal, and kill passersby.

As for The Godfather, I couldn’t stand the first movie, so didn’t bother w/the rest. Bored me to tears. When I do think of it, all I can think is ‘Marlon Brando must’ve taught Darth Vader to say, “I am your father.”’


#55

Once again RET, you nailed it. Well said indeed!


#56

Got to thinking about highly respected works of literature that deal with complex and far from exemplary characters in a way that promotes empathy for those characters. One could say that they glamorize evil.

[Would like to mention in passing that I am to my great misfortune something of an expert in charismatic evil. I have a Ph.D. in that from the School of Hard Knocks. As a result, I have utter contempt for (the extremely large number of) people who fall for charismatic con artists, and I have said many times that I prefer a diamond in the rough to a smooth, pretty-faced liar any day.

There is an individual who quite deliberately set out to destroy me and largely succeeded. She is the most evil person I have ever known. She is also widely admired and looked up to. (Idiots!) But I always give credit where it is due. Though she cannot bring herself to give me credit for anything at all, I have always given her credit for a number of real achievements and loyalties. But that doesn’t change the fact that she is the most evil person I know, and I detest her.

I also was a teacher for nearly three years in a women’s prison. (No, Jack, I was not an inmate.) Many of my students had done really, really bad things. Nonetheless, some of them were personable and fun to teach. I appreciated that and ran my classroom on a basis of mutual respect. It did not erase my consciousness of the damage some of these gals had done to themselves and other people.]

ok, back to literature. Many great works of literature could be accused of glamorizing evil. But in the end (as in The Godfather), we do not feel the evil was just great and terrific and want to run out and be like those complex characters. Rather, we feel sad that original sin has to be wrestled with anew in each generation. We feel sad that sometimes a dysfunctional social environment provides a petri dish for dysfunctional “solutions” to problems. We do not endorse those “solutions.” But we understand them.

We could start with King David in the Old Testament.

The Brothers Karamazov–Dosteovsky

Faust–Goethe

Lolita

Phantom of the Opera

The Great Gatsby–Fitzgerald

Love in the Ruins–Walker Percy

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde–Stevenson

What Makes Sammy Run–Budd Schulberg

Things Fall Apart–Achebe

Macbeth–Shakespeare

Hamlet–Shakespeare

Julius Caesar–Shakespeare

Wuthering Heights–Bronte

Jane Eyre–Bronte

Gone with the Wind–Mitchell

Crazy Horse–Sandoz

Lorna Doone–Blackmore

These are just off the top of my head.

Ancient Greek tragedy was almost always built around the concept of an attractive character with a “fatal flaw” that eventually causes his fall. Achebe’s Things Fall Apart quite consciously and deliberately (and successfully) placed this classic theme in the setting of a small African village, demonstrating that history repeats itself in unlikely places

The Roman Playwright Publius Terentus Aber (195-159 BC) wrote, “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.” “I am a human, nothing that is human is alien to me.”

omigosh, he was Italian! that tells us something right there! not sure what, but…


#57

and your point is…


#58

Of all the books I have read on your list, I don’t think any of them “glamorized evil.” As a matter of fact, quite the opposite, for they portrayed what becomes of those who do evil, or fall prey to it.

Achebe’s Things Fall Apart quite consciously and deliberately (and successfully) placed this classic theme in the setting of a small African village, demonstrating that history repeats itself in unlikely places.

Unfamiliar w/the book, but it strikes me that ‘history repeats itself’ in ALL places, likely, or not.

The Roman Playwright Publius Terentus Aber (195-159 BC) wrote, “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.” “I am a human, nothing that is human is alien to me.”

omigosh, he was Italian! that tells us something right there! not sure what, but…

What I gathered is that he was admitting that he wasn’t perfect, as no human is.


#59

[quote=“2cent, post:58, topic:45343”]
Of all the books I have read on your list, I don’t think any of them “glamorized evil.” As a matter of fact, quite the opposite, for they portrayed what becomes of those who do evil, or fall prey to it.
[/quote] as does The Godfather. I’m not saying these stories glamorize evil. I am saying that they could conceivably be accused of it because they do allow for some empathy to develop (before the flawed character gets whomped in the end).

What I gathered is that he was admitting that he wasn’t perfect, as no human is.
I think it goes a bit further than that. Most of us are terrified at the possibility of being socially stigmatized by being associated with something or someone evil. We want to believe that an impermeable barrier can be maintained between good and evil. “Terence” was saying, “I do not condone evil, but it is human and I will not pretend that I live in one country, so to speak, and it lives in another country–a foreign country. Evil goes with the territory of being human, rather than with the territory of a particular group.” but yes, that’s basically an extension of “I’m imperfect and therefore cannot totally separate myself from others’ imperfections.”

(I love it when people ponder and debate the “finer points” of an issue! Heck, I didn’t even know that a passing mention of a movie title could cause a small firestorm. But it has raised once again some important perennial questions. As you say, history repeats itself…and figuring it out has to be repeated by each generation too. but at least we can learn from the past.)

I’ve always known there was atavism at the core of my psyche. (c’mon anthropologists, why do we like anthropology?) I usually hate blood and gore but feel that the Godfather’s depth–yes, depth–takes it out of the run of the mill “blood and gore” category. .


#60

[quote=“RET423, post:48, topic:45343”]
As far as the depiction of the early founders of organized crime and their motivations is concerned I cannot speak from direct experience because I was not living in New York in the early 1900’s, I can say that all the evidence points to a wholly corrupt political class and police department as well the oppression of several migrant groups including the Italians.

I will however say this to the suggestion that these “Families” were never like the characters in the movies, if they were not then it would be the first example of a massive acquisition of power achieved by “nobody’s” that WERE NOT like these characters if that is true.

Nothing from business, to politics to crime can be successfully envisioned, organized, established and conquered by idiots, idiots can follow and skate awhile on the foundation that they inherit but short sighted ignoramuses do NOT found dominant enterprises.

The Mafia had a long run of profound influence in New York and Nevada, to some degree Chicago as well although the Chicago version was littered with far more flamboyant idiots that came and went pretty fast. It takes a lot more than ruthless brute force to accomplish such a sustained run and the idea that a bunch of douchebags who would “kill their own mother for a profit” could accomplish this seems preposterous to me.

Every man I have ever met that ground his way to the top of anything has been a sound judge of others priorities and able to motivate by incentive, every single one has been able to see the long game and convince others to embrace an agenda geared toward a long term goal, every single one has embraced some philosophy that they believed would deliver their goals to them if they were diligent, every one has been ruthless when the circumstances demanded it.

I do not “sympathize” with these men as these men need no “sympathy”, the ones who use these traits for something good leave the world a better place and the ones who use these traits for evil leave only destruction in their wake, the ones who fall in the middle leave not much of anything.

It is not “sympathy” that makes me say that the Mafia was an improvement over the political and legal class of New York in the early 1900’s, it is the knowledge that a wholly corrupt political class will not be brought under control without force of some kind and that void of genuine Justice always creates a vacuum that WILL be filled by something.

I fail to see the Stalin and Hitler reference about liking animals and children Bob, who has attempted to redeem any Gangster? Of course both of these were men of vision who understood how to motivate others toward their chosen agenda. So were our Founders of the United States and the Apostles in the Bible, i would have thought that was obvious.

I find it impossible to believe that any poor migrant could rise to the top of a powerful empire above violent, wealthy power brokers without gaining the support of the people in the neighborhoods. These people would have been terrified of the current power class and the idea that they would refuse to cooperate with them under threat of death to stop the rising immigrant newcomer while the rising immigrant newcomer was every bit the unprincipled, selfish bastard that the current power brokers were is ridiculous.

Almost everything starts with at least some good motives even if they are covering up bad ones, the image you are painting of the Mafia Founders Bob would be the equivalent of the Crips or the Bloods somehow gaining nationwide influence over politics and enterprise today. That is what self absorbed, brute force with no Principles looks like and they have NO influence anywhere except those who find themselves at the end of their guns.

Idiots do not conquer anything, people do not get behind entities that they believe will serve them no good purpose; it just does not happen. When these stories are told it would be history revision and bad entertainment to try and remove the wisdom of foresight and efforts to appear altruistic from the Founders of the Mafia, it was these qualities that enabled them to gain the support needed to rise above the current “kings”.
[/quote]Gotta’ get to next week’s blog writing right now (finished this week’s just in time) if I’m to be free on Sunday to watch my NFL games, so hold on.