Sopranos Final Season

The Italian-American Male's Dirty Little Secret
Talking television.
April 17 2007 10:45 AM

Sopranos Final Season

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Dear J.B.,

Please call me Stretch. Nobody ever called me Stretch.

(Reader, I am 5-foot-8.)

Your anecdote about Mario Puzo demonstrates nicely my point that if Italian males conform to any stereotype, it isn't the ruthless donwhose acquaintance we've met via David Chase, Francis Coppola, and Martin Scorsese. Rather, it's the neurotic mama's boy whose acquaintance we've met via Woody Allen and Spalding Gray. Let's get to work immediately on a screenplay that dares to tell the truth about Italian-Americans. We'll call it NebbishyFellas.

I take your point about the upside to being the boss, which is that you make more money. But consider the possibility that bosses make more money to compensate them for having less fun. Certainly not to an extent that would justify the present state of economic inequality in this country's winner-take-all economy, of course, and certainly not compared with the folks at the bottom of the hierarchy like poor Tracee, the pole dancer at the Bada Bing who was beaten to death by Ralphie Cifaretto merely because she insulted Ralphie in front of the guys. (Tracee was bearing Ralphie's child at the time.) None of the capos who hang out back of the pork store seems to be hurting for cash. They may not have swimming pools like Tony, but they've got all the booze and broads and osso buco that a guy could possibly want. Yes, on balance I think I'd much rather be Silvio Dante than Tony Soprano, especially if I could have the hair (and most especially, of course, if I could take time out between seasons to tour with the E Street Band, led by the One True Boss).

Speaking of Silvio, can you explain to me who that guy was in Sunday night's episode who was dining with Silvio when he got iced? What was that all about?

Unambitiously,
Stretch

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.