A Bad Experience..

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CuzinVinny
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2006/12/20 14:12:30 (permalink)

A Bad Experience..

The worst experience I ever had at a pizza joint was one where I didn't try the pizza, but was put off by something else.. the undignifiable Italian-American Mafia stereotype.
This was last year in Providence, RI where I attended Johnson & Wales University. I noticed a sign posted where there was renovation going on, and I took it as a good omen when I saw it was to become yet another Italian-American Restaurant/Pizzeria. It even had the colorful name "Cousin Vinny's Pizza Joint", where their motto was "If you like my meatballs, you'll love my sausage!" To be honest, I actually found this amusing at first. By the time the place was up and running, I naturally checked it out, and to my dismay they had just about every running Italian-American joke and stereotype to be used as a gimmick.
The walls were like those at Applebee's, covered from head to toe in posters, mainly from mob movies, Scarface, Goodfellas and The Godfather. (In order to give it some "authenticity"!!?) Don't get me wrong, I love these movies as much as anybody. The menu items were simple and few, as they had just opened for business. A Chicken Parm sandwich was featured as a Bada-Bing (an obvious reference to The Sopranos, a show I've never watched), a sausage as a "Bada-Boom". To make matters worse, the bar had a big-screen television that kept playing The Godfather, and below it was a fish tank with a Ken doll wearing cement shoes. Naturally, there was a sign posted which read "Sleeping wit' da fishes".
Never before had I been so insulted!!!!! To mock my heritage for the sake of running a "family business". I was so disgusted I refused to order and stormed right out of the place, never to return. To this day, you would never catch me in such a place. Any restaurant that glorifies the Mob is not "worth it's button" in my book. Regardless of how their food may taste, I would sooner die than to be caught schmoozing with any of my friends in a place that objectifies all Italian-Americans as violent mobsters.
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    saps
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 14:34:21 (permalink)
    Oddly enough, this is one of the few stereotypes that is promoted by members of the very class that it offends. I know scads of Italians who go out of their way to perpetuate and even embrace this stereotype through their mannerisms and behavior.

    Being Italian, however, it doesn't really offend me. I find the kind of places that you describe laughable. I'm more embarrassed for the people that put up a place like that than I am offended.
    #2
    Scorereader
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 14:49:30 (permalink)
    My close friends (basically, family - since we grew up next door to each other) are very active in the Order of Sons of Italy, and they would agree 100% with you CuzinVinny.
    #3
    Tony Bad
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 14:55:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by saps

    Oddly enough, this is one of the few stereotypes that is promoted by members of the very class that it offends. I know scads of Italians who go out of their way to perpetuate and even embrace this stereotype through their mannerisms and behavior.

    Being Italian, however, it doesn't really offend me. I find the kind of places that you describe laughable. I'm more embarrassed for the people that put up a place like that than I am offended.


    I agree 100%...I know many well educated people that I grew up with around NY who like to put on their Brooklyn tough guy accent when they are around someone they feel will be impressed by such nonsense.
    #4
    Rick F.
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 15:16:06 (permalink)
    Similarly, it's a lot of fun to act the "iggerunt redneck," but God help the non-Southerner who tries to fake it!
    #5
    Pat T Hat
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 15:38:47 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by saps

    Oddly enough, this is one of the few stereotypes that is promoted by members of the very class that it offends. I know scads of Italians who go out of their way to perpetuate and even embrace this stereotype through their mannerisms and behavior.


    So this would be what...A perfect example of "if the cement shoe fits"? " />Ohhh I did NOT ! Sorry I couldn't help myself!

    Your more than welcome to refer to me in any potatoe eatin' mick jokes you have on the shelf I'm also available for hillbilly and Kentucky not to mention carnie and bald guy!
    #6
    CuzinVinny
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 16:34:42 (permalink)
    It's true, the number one folks in America who make such ethnic jokes are the people who often fall victim to a lot of them. Humor is a wonderful thing to possess, as it makes many situations less difficult. Almost every Negro, Asian, Hispanic, European or otherwise have undeniable quirks about themselves that many find amusing. Some would take offense, though the majority of these people nowadays can laugh about it, as if they were "honored" like at a roast.
    I have absolutely no problem with any of this.. I make many jokes about my heritage because I find them just as funny as others. The problem I DO have is promotion of such jokes where EVERYBODY is objectified. I'm sure it's a growing concern for people who talk about "the future generation". We would hope that in the generations to follow that nobody will make class distinctions that would harm or target a specific order of people. For anybody to be typecast in any such way is at most hurtful. It merely shows the examples being set as bearing the symbol for everybody it entails, classifying them as a separate host of living creatures.
    #7
    BT
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 16:54:36 (permalink)
    Fugheddaboudit!
    #8
    wanderingjew
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 17:08:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by CuzinVinny

    The worst experience I ever had at a pizza joint was one where I didn't try the pizza, but was put off by something else.. the undignifiable Italian-American Mafia stereotype.
    This was last year in Providence, RI where I attended Johnson & Wales University. I noticed a sign posted where there was renovation going on, and I took it as a good omen when I saw it was to become yet another Italian-American Restaurant/Pizzeria. It even had the colorful name "Cousin Vinny's Pizza Joint", where their motto was "If you like my meatballs, you'll love my sausage!" To be honest, I actually found this amusing at first. By the time the place was up and running, I naturally checked it out, and to my dismay they had just about every running Italian-American joke and stereotype to be used as a gimmick.
    The walls were like those at Applebee's, covered from head to toe in posters, mainly from mob movies, Scarface, Goodfellas and The Godfather. (In order to give it some "authenticity"!!?) Don't get me wrong, I love these movies as much as anybody. The menu items were simple and few, as they had just opened for business. A Chicken Parm sandwich was featured as a Bada-Bing (an obvious reference to The Sopranos, a show I've never watched), a sausage as a "Bada-Boom". To make matters worse, the bar had a big-screen television that kept playing The Godfather, and below it was a fish tank with a Ken doll wearing cement shoes. Naturally, there was a sign posted which read "Sleeping wit' da fishes".
    Never before had I been so insulted!!!!! To mock my heritage for the sake of running a "family business". I was so disgusted I refused to order and stormed right out of the place, never to return. To this day, you would never catch me in such a place. Any restaurant that glorifies the Mob is not "worth it's button" in my book. Regardless of how their food may taste, I would sooner die than to be caught schmoozing with any of my friends in a place that objectifies all Italian-Americans as violent mobsters.


    I'm originally from Long Island NY where the "old Italian stereotype" is basically dead and gone. You might find a few old timers over the age of say 80 that still have it, but other than that your'e going to see alot of benign Ray Romano clones. I live in Rhode Island now, the stereotype sadly still exists and those of Italian American heritage for some bizarre reason are proud of this. No wonder why no one here believes I'm from Long Island, despite my obviously thick Long Island accent. Everyone here thinks that you can't be from NY if you don't sound like Tony Soprano. Well, truth of the matter is, the only people I've ever heard who sound like Tony Soprano or Joe Pesci, are right here in Rhode Island.
    #9
    wanderingjew
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 17:09:52 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rick F.

    Similarly, it's a lot of fun to act the "iggerunt redneck," but God help the non-Southerner who tries to fake it!


    Really????!!!!
    Larry the Cable Guy from NEBRASKA seems to be doing a very convincing job!! " />
    #10
    Rick F.
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 17:20:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew
    Really????!!!!
    Larry the Cable Guy from NEBRASKA seems to be doing a very convincing job!! " />
    Who he? Just, as some comic strip character used to say, "Lemme at 'im, just lemme at 'im!"
    #11
    NYNM
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/20 17:33:18 (permalink)
    Well it seems to me the restaurant was trying to make a joke, a bad joke. Were the owners Italian?
    I remember a group called Italian AntiDefamation League (I Think) that had been working to correct stereotypes. That was like 10-15 yrs ago, before The Sopranos revived the stereotypes. I think Geraldine Ferrarro (remember HER?) was a member...
    #12
    Jimeats
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/21 13:22:01 (permalink)
    We had a place that tryed that approach when they first opened. But it was a short lived experiance. The principles of the establishment were of eastern european extraction and were "politely" spoken to about how some people could become easily offended. They were convinced to change but they didn't last anyway. The pizza was terrible so I'm told. Chow Jim
    #13
    Theedge
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/21 14:04:07 (permalink)
    CuzinVinny you should watch the Sopranos. There are several episodes in which your concerns are addressed by the physiatrist’s husband, or ex-husband or significant other, whatever the heck he is. I’m just glad they didn’t “wack” him.

    Personally I’m sick to death of pride in a person’s heritage. All of my aunt’s & uncles think we’re all so special because of our German heritage. If they want to be proud of something they should try not being such a royal pain in my a**, try being pleasant, do something nice for someone.
    #14
    CajunKing
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/21 14:36:03 (permalink)
    I referenced "sleeping wit da fishes" on another thread and got blasted by tiramasu so

    #15
    CuzinVinny
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/21 23:10:06 (permalink)
    It isn't even so much that we are stereotyped by our mannerisms, such as our accents and innumerous hand-gestures but in so many other respects as well. Just about every minority the world over has a minor trait that some pick up on and make a spectical of.. I need not mention these so as not to offend anyone. Everyone knows that such assumptions are made based on fact, but I have seen so many more stereotypes directed especially at Jews and Italians, whether they consider them offensive or not. An Italian-American is always considered a mobster by the general public, just as every Jew is a doctor, lawyer or television/movie producer. Christ, a guy in Rhode Island can't go into a restaurant without seeing a bunch of "wiseguys" (really just wannabes) encourage this kind of behavior. Italians, like all ethnic groups are proud of who they are, yet they are shamed at some of the things their people have done. Perpetuating an old stereotype, in my opinion just creates so much more of the same unfortunate imagery to the public.
    #16
    CuzinVinny
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/21 23:23:27 (permalink)
    And if any of you find this hard to believe, just browse in your local bookstore. Pick up a copy of Henry Hill's "The Wiseguy Cookbook" and see what I mean. Here's a real-life mobster telling his stories of operating within the Lucchese crime family (shown in "Goodfellas") before entering the Federal Witness Relocation Program. All the while he's bragging about being a big-shot gangster and using his "family's" recipes to shine up his own public image.
    It's true what they say.. people today have absolutely no shame.
    #17
    tacchino
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/21 23:40:22 (permalink)
    Vinny:
    It is not just Rhode Island, this kind of stuff goes on with some Italian American "red sauce" places in New Jersey. I find it pretty ironic, given the fact that the whole "Sopranos" schtick actually takes place in New Jersey, as opposed to New York, so you would think that the Jersey crowd would be more sensitive to perpetuation of this stereotype, but fuggedaboutit...I've seen too many wanna be Goodfella types there that make Tony Soprano look like the Prince of Wales in comparison.
    #18
    Rick F.
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 00:24:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Theedge

    Personally I’m sick to death of pride in a person’s heritage.
    Hmmm. Proud or ashamed, one's heritage is a fact. If we're honest, each of us has things both worthy of both pride and shame in his heritage, be it continental, national, regional, local, or familial.

    What annoys me is the assumption that one's heritage is somehow superior to that of someone else. Sure, be proud of your own--but honor that of others. As I said, heritage is simply a fact, like having brown eyes.

    I kind of like the old motto, "Jane Doe: [region] by birth, [state] by the grace of God."

    'Nuff said,
    #19
    CuzinVinny
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 12:01:27 (permalink)
    I am not insinuating superiority of my own heritage, as I try not to make any class distinctions between nationality, race, religion, color or creed. What bothers me is that none of these groups are safe when it comes to their judgement. As Americans, I believe the vast majority have abused and completely obliterated the idea our founding fathers have based this country's foundation upon. Again, the same is not to be spoken of every single person, as many of us try to live in harmony with one another. For every one person to observe equal rights and treatment of others is another to abuse these same principles.
    #20
    1bbqboy
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 12:16:51 (permalink)
    Having grown up in KC, where Bars, Pizza Parlors , Record Stores etc. Blowed up real good, I'm not so sure it was a stereotype.
    #21
    Adjudicator
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 12:19:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rick F.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Theedge

    Personally I’m sick to death of pride in a person’s heritage.
    Hmmm. Proud or ashamed, one's heritage is a fact. If we're honest, each of us has things both worthy of both pride and shame in his heritage, be it continental, national, regional, local, or familial.

    What annoys me is the assumption that one's heritage is somehow superior to that of someone else. Sure, be proud of your own--but honor that of others. As I said, heritage is simply a fact, like having brown eyes.

    I kind of like the old motto, "Jane Doe: [region] by birth, [state] by the grace of God."
    'Nuff said,


    You really mean THIS, right?

    "Jane Doe: American by birth, SOUTHERN by the grace of God."

    #22
    wanderingjew
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 12:53:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by tacchino

    Vinny:
    It is not just Rhode Island, this kind of stuff goes on with some Italian American "red sauce" places in New Jersey. I find it pretty ironic, given the fact that the whole "Sopranos" schtick actually takes place in New Jersey, as opposed to New York, so you would think that the Jersey crowd would be more sensitive to perpetuation of this stereotype, but fuggedaboutit...I've seen too many wanna be Goodfella types there that make Tony Soprano look like the Prince of Wales in comparison.


    That's odd, I have plenty of friends in New Jersey and it seems that more Italians fit the "Jewish Stereotype" in that area more than anything else. In fact one of my excoworkers in Seattle was Italian and from New Jersey and truth of the matter is I couldn't tell him apart from the rest of the Seattle Natives. I asked him if he lost his accent, he replied that since he was from central Jersey they really didn't have accents, which in his case was true, he didn't sound any different than any of the local Seattlites. And most Italian Americans from North Jersey sound like....well....me!
    #23
    Rick F.
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 14:21:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Adjudicator


    You really mean THIS, right?

    "Jane Doe: American by birth, SOUTHERN by the grace of God."


    That's as good an illustration as any; that's why I put in the options. I've seen ball caps that specified, purely hypothetically () "Western" and "Californian".

    Actually, I was just trying to lighten things up a bit. I'm from the South and therefore by definition a Southerner, but I'm not one of those bloody-minded professional Southerners! The Civil War is over, the South lost, and I'm glad we did, for many reasons!

    NOW--taking a deep breath!--if I've merely succeeded in muddying the waters and gotten everybody mad, let me know. I may ignore you, but at least I'll know. And thank God for smileys, especially !
    #24
    Adjudicator
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 14:50:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rick F.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Adjudicator


    You really mean THIS, right?

    "Jane Doe: American by birth, SOUTHERN by the grace of God."


    That's as good an illustration as any; that's why I put in the options. I've seen ball caps that specified, purely hypothetically () "Western" and "Californian".

    Actually, I was just trying to lighten things up a bit. I'm from the South and therefore by definition a Southerner, but I'm not one of those bloody-minded professional Southerners! The Civil War is over, the South lost, and I'm glad we did, for many reasons!

    NOW--taking a deep breath!--if I've merely succeeded in muddying the waters and gotten everybody mad, let me know. I may ignore you, but at least I'll know. And thank God for smileys, especially !


    Now now, Rick. I see you are from Natchitoches, LA. Take a Xanax and chill. You are among friends here. The battle is over amongst us US citizens. Hell, look at it this way: What region has the best and most tastiest food ever? It shore ain't from "South" New York City...
    The South rules!
    #25
    Big Sausage
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 14:51:17 (permalink)
    Sorry folks, but I always enjoyed a good Pollock Joke. I personally think there are enough ethnicities to go around so everyone takes a hit along with blonds. Try growing a little thicker skin and learn to enjoy life and have a good laugh once in a while. You'll feel much better.

    Merry Christmas to all
    Did I offend anyone by that ?
    #26
    porkbeaks
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 14:56:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Big Sausage

    Sorry folks, but I always enjoyed a good Pollock Joke.................... Merry Christmas to all
    Did I offend anyone by that ?


    Me, I much prefer a good halibut joke. -pb
    #27
    Pat T Hat
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 14:57:55 (permalink)
    I too was one of millions of those who are Smiley challenged. My affliction is now a thing of the past!
    Hooked on Smiley's Worked for ME!!!
    #28
    ctfrasier
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 15:03:47 (permalink)
    The Italian-American mobster and slack-jawed Southerner seem to be two of the stereotypes that are still widely accepted in our country. Here in Nashville we have an Italian restaurant called Mafiaosa's and a Southern meat-and-three call White Trash Cafe. I haven't eaten at either of the two but have heard good things about the food at both places.

    As some have already said, until certain segments of any population stop perpetuating the stereotypes they will continue to exist. One of my college roommates was of Italian descent and would speak with a Brooklyn accent for three days after watching Goodfellas. Which was funny since he grew up in Tennessee. I have also seen a banker friend, who typically speaks like tv anchormen, develop an incredibly country accent in certain establishments. My girlfriend says my accent comes back the minute I cross the county line when going back to my hometown in the hills. I guess my point is I've seen people of every race and ethnicity act differently among certain groups just to fit in.

    There is one Southern girl who may be the worst offender of all. Has anyone seen the DirectTV commercials with Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke? How does a girl from Texas do such a bad Southern accent?
    #29
    HollyDolly
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    RE: A Bad Experience.. 2006/12/22 15:17:57 (permalink)
    That's something that drove my sister nuts when she moved to the East Coast from Texas to work in television.Poeple would ask what are you? meaning what ethnic group do you belong to.She would sometimes say German our dad's family,or Hungarian,our mom's side.
    She feels we are all people,so who cares what your ethnic background is.By the way Theedge,my dad's family is german,from Bavaria.You wished your relatives wouldn't be a pain in the butt and do nice things for people. I recall my relatives would give money to the Church and to the various missionary orders to help the poor.My second cousin Carlene was a Sister of Charity of Nazareth,Ky.She was a nurse and later died from cancer.Her Aunt Eva,my great aunt was a School Sister of Notre Dame and died at the age of 99 in their retirement home in Elm Grove Wisconsin.

    My great aunt Helen would take groceries to some of their shut in friends who do to age couldn't get around much anymore.
    Not all germans are Nazis.Lord how I get tired of that.
    #30
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