I keep a running list of “Rant” ideas. Right now it’s about half filled with GeekStuff ideas, if only because I haven’t the time to write all the much these days… I find that if I don’t have anything acting like a stone in my shoe on the mornings that I do get a chance to type up some stuff, I just go to the list and that usually gets me going on a topic for a while. Well, last night, one of my Rantings made prime-time HBO, before I had a change to publish it! See, about two weeks ago, I was walking into a local Shop Rite and something poked my brain that got me started thinking about the Slave Trade Retribution thing… and I had a pseudo-epiphany. And then I forgot it! My ChiChi can tell ya that much – she’s often a sounding board for Rant ideas – but what I never told her that a few days later I remembered what it was, and I flung it into the To Do list. Suffice to say that my tirade on non-engineers making software took precedence, and now my idea has been out’d. Tony Soprano did it.
And know what? He probably did it better than I could have here. Something about that Mob attitude that tends to drive certain points home… see, this weeks episode centered around a movement by Native Americans to suppress celebrating Columbus Day. The Italian’s… well, we consider Columbus Day to be a celebration of Italians, much like the Irish take St. Patrick’s Day. The parade in NYC could be just as much an Italian Pride parade as it is a Columbus Day parade. The Native Americans’ point was that Columbus abused their ancestors, threw them off their land, used germ warfare (in the form gifts of Small Pox infested blankets) and other such atrocities. Obviously, Tony, his family, and his Family were pissed off about such things and tried to get the protests suppressed.
The Rant came out while Tony, Silvio, Christopher, and Beansie (if you’ve never seen the show, that must sound so bizarre) were on their way back to Jersey, after seeing an Indian Chief that owns a CT based casino. The Chief had been tapped as a possible person to help with the protests; even though he was ineffective for Tony, he still expected a favor in return for reaching out to his people. Silvio, being a Complete Italian, was still going on about it, about how to stop the protests – Tony finally tells him to shut the hell. He asks Silvio if he ever suffered, for being Italian. He says his grandparents did – Tony reminds him that that was decades ago, and did he ever suffer for being Italian? Silvio says something about being Calabrese – from a city in Italy – and Tony finally unloads: “What do you have? I’ll tell you what you have. You got yourself a good life – and is it because your from Calabria? No. You got a good family. You own one of the most successful nude bars in northern Jersey. You got a wife that’s a piece of ass, just like she was when you married her. And why? Is it because your from Calabria? No! You got those things because you’re smart and you’re a hard worker! Who gives a fuck where you’re from?”
[Note – I’m currently being crowded into the corner of my seat by a large coughing, and thereby germy, obnoxious woman that had to sit next to me and use her ham hock arms to keep elbowing me while she reads her book. And here’s me typing one handed now because she’s too fuckin big to fit in a one person spot! And she’s too lazy to move to an empty row of seats that just opened up – guess we know why she’s large, neh?]
And the man is right. The latest trends for this stuff in America have grown to bother me. Why? Well there’s two problems as I see them. First off, we see to care a great deal about blame. And that’s something that I don’t understand. We, as humans, have never learned from our mistakes in history – the whole of history mostly proves that we tend to repeat the events of history itself… so why is there so much interest in the blame? Punishment? Never stopped people from doing wrong or being stupid before. So, to me, it’s pretty mystical. Americans are obsessed with blame; the Japanese are better in this regard – fix the problem, forget the blame. No one gets blamed; the fix is more important – Americans could learn from them. So here we are in 2002, trying to blame people for things that happened in 1492 or 1750 or 1962 – What the hell is that? We got more than enough things in today’s day and age to try to fix… and more than enough people to blame. In my mind, if the people that caused the problem and the people that were effected by it are both dead – or at least two generations ago – then get the hell over it. Native American’s keep getting recognized b the government and given land – I got no particular beef with that, but when do you know that enough is enough? That I can’t say – I wasn’t born to see the crimes, but neither were they so how can it keep going?
The other problem I see is one of national pride. This is something I suffer from myself, to some degree. People are American second. My family has been in this country for three and four generations now. Does that make me Italian? Italo-American? It makes me American. Plain and simple. I’m officially having an Issue with these cultural labels we have these days. Native American? You live in America – you’re American. African-American? You live in America – you’re American. Czech-Russian-Ukraine-American? You live in America – you’re American. It’s that simple. You should be American first, with whatever else you want as your heritage second. If you want that “Italian” label, go back to Italy, or wherever you came from. Pretty simple solution. We take so much pride in telling people where we’re from that we forget where we are – and which is more important? The past is good, but the present is vital.
Thanks for outting this, mi piasno Antonio – from one American to another.