Friday, October 01, 2004

Racconto dello Squalo

Besides last night's debate, there is one other pressing issue I would like to bring to our readers: The opening of DreamWorks SKG's star-studded Shark Tale in theaters near you and complaints about the film's stereotyping of the sharks (who are the villains) as mobbed-up Italians. To wit, the predators bear names like Luca and Gino and use phrases such as "ma'donn" and "capeesh."

So what's the big deal? After all, it's just one of those animated cartoons for kids, so who cares? Well that is exactly what bothers Lawrence Auriana, president of the Columbus Citizens Foundation. In a statement regarding the movie, Auriana insists that Shark Tale "introduces young minds to the idea that people with Italian names--like millions of Americans across the country--are gangsters. Shark Tale creates in its audiences an association between gangsters and Italian-Americans that will become imprinted in the developing minds of children…. In part because of DreamWorks’s portrayal of gangsters in Shark Tale, in both the movie and the related books now available across the country, thousands of Italian-American boys and girls will feel a similar pain."

Auriana's organization (which performs important charitable works across America) has asked Steven Spielberg and his company to remove "Italian names from characters," eliminate Italian-related phrases and slang, and even remove "physical gestures and customs found in Italian and Italian-American culture."

I'm guessing this is an offer Spielberg can refuse. Still, some of this is understandable. After all, kids say and think the darndest things. But shouldn't Auriana and others be more alarmed by other atrocities committed against the Italian-American people? What about that abbondanza of evil known as the Olive Garden? What about Joey?

Besides that, if the movie takes place entirely underwater, who will the fish be sleeping with if they can no longer be sleeping with the fishes?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You say Racconto dello Squalo, I say Favola degli Squali, let's call the whole thing off.

I was once asked to take a market-survey questionaire at the local mall here (I guess were Middle American to the nth) about Olive Garden. It was when they were trying to push themselves as purveyors of authentic cuisine. ("I got back from Italy and couldn't find the tastes of Tuscany... until I went to the Olive Garden!" or the like.) I just laughed at it. I finally told the poor, non-plussed survey ladies: hey, I like the Olive Garden fine for what it is. But it ain't the food you find in Italy. That really didn't fit in on any of the check boxes. And it was apparently insufficient to stop the marketing juggernaut...

Guglielmo degli Gallesi
(Bill Walsh)