Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Some years ago, I pointed out how insulted Sicilians felt when some British football supporters whose team was about to play Palermo donned T-shirts emblazoned with what were supposed to be humorous "Mafia" slogans.  This kind of insult - and it is an insult to all decent Sicilians - has never really gone away but I had hoped that it was happening less often and that this blog, in a small way, might have contributed to changing people's perception of Sicily abroad.

Therefore I was sad to read this evening that Fabrizio Ferrandelli, a Member of Parliament and vice-president of the Sicilian Antimafia Commission, found himself faced with this kind of tasteless "joke" whilst on holiday in Copenhagen. Dining out last night, he and his wife were upset and angry to see a "pizza mafioso" - the fools in the restaurant cannot even get their grammar right, because it should be "mafiosa"- and a "pizza Al Capone".

To the restaurateurs concerned and anyone else who thinks that this is funny I would like to say the following:

1.  There is nothing funny about the Mafia and there never has been.
2.  Many Sicilians, and other Italians, have died fighting the organisation and others continue to risk their lives doing so every day.
3.  Sicilians who come up against this type of "humour" will be not only justifiably angry but also genuinely hurt and I will be angry and hurt on their behalf. 
4.  Here is a short history lesson for you.


The ungrammatical pizza seems to have disappeared from the restaurant's menu now but the "Al Capone" is still there.
Thanks to Alex for drawing my attention to the story on twitter.


Lee said...

It's seems to be a common thread throughout...the glamorization of criminals.

Some are made out as if they were celebrities of the first degree.

Why the evil should be celebrated so, when the good so often go unnoticed, unrewarded and forgotten....

LindyLouMac said...

Well said.

Jenny Woolf said...

When I went to Sicily a few years ago I was disturbed at how alive the Mafia is. I agree, it's not funny. Most people who do not know, though, probably associate it with films and TV shows, do you think?

Jenny Woolf said...

PS I meant to add (before I pressed the post button) that joking about serious things like this can really pull one up. On a lesser but still noticeable scale, there was a surprisingly tasteless cartoon about speech impediments in the Guardian yesterday.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I totally agree, Lee. Thank you, LindyLouMac. Hi, Jenny. People probably do associate it with "The Sopranos", etc., yes. I really don't think it can be joked about publicly in this way. Apart from anything else, it's a racist stereotype.

Moggsy said...

I think the origin of this idea and how it is seen is Hollywood. They set it in stone as an idea, especially of the 1920s (prohibition that really gave organised crime it's big boost in te US) and spread that around, at least the english speaking world.

Recently an alleged Mafia boss was found running a Travel Agents in the UK.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Moggsy. Yes, Hollywood has a lot to answer for. I read about the arrest in the UK- scary!

Moggsy said...

I don't know that he was doing anything actually bad anymore, apart from running the travel agents 6_^

I think he might have 'retired' and been found guilty of something not illegal outside Italy in his absence after he moved to the UK.

Maybe an easy target?


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