"Mafia AUs" are offensive and racist as fuck.
Mafia is a legitimate problem in Italy, and a serious one at that, and not an imaginary vague organised crime setting for people to write their stories in.
How would you feel if (mostly non-Americans) started writing, IDK, School…
I understand how you could be angry at the fact that they commonly use the word mafia to describe such fics, but… that’s the word for a group of organised criminals. It’s called a mafia. Just because the term was originally almost exclusively used to mean the Sicily mafia (who then moved out to Italy and, yes, the USA), does not prevent other people from using a word for what that word means. Saying you can’t call an organized crime gang a mafia because there’s a group known as The Mafia is like saying “You can’t call your child Jimmy, there was a child molester named Jimmy Saville!! It’s offensive to his victims!!!”
*butts in for a moment* (actually the moment got long. Sorry, if I start talking I can’t shut up. I really just want to straighten out a couple things here.)
Okay, so, the situation is a bit more complicated than that. And the reason why as an Italian you get angry about that is more about the general romanticization of the mafia and the actual misuse of the term.
See, the thing is that just the fact that mafia is generally used to indicate organized crime is already… argh, I think it’s called metonymy? Anyway, it’s an inaccurate one. It’s very specific and it’s a very bad idea to use it to be all-inclusive. But but basically while I do realize that since the Italian mafia was the first organized criminal group of that kind to be imported into the US and so from that point all of the organized crime around is named mafia and that’s how language works, it’s still… errrr, saying hurtful isn’t really stretching it. The thing is that when you use that term you’re referring (in Italy) to four different criminal organizations which are all active and prospering, are a complete killer for our economy and especially for the regions they’re based in, have caused the deaths of an endless number of people and are a literal plague/cancer as far as Italy is concerned. And the problem isn’t that in the US the mafia has become a synonym for organized crime, the problem is that it’s been highly romanticized for years - no thanks to the media, obviously, and when it’s not romanticized, it gets criticized.
I mean: I think The Godfather (well, let’s add the second one too) is a great movie. It also has absolutely nothing to do with actual mafia, because I can guarantee you that none of the four mafias mentioned above work like it works in that movie and sure as hell a mafia boss isn’t Marlon Brando. But if you look at most media depictions of this supposed mafia, it’s almost all like Godfather, where okay, they’re criminals, and they do bad things, but they do them with style, and you can identify with them up to a certain point, and the thing is that it’s not even that movie’s fault as I don’t think it glorified Italian organized crime per se or that it was the intent, it’s that everything that happened after went that way and exaggerated it, and now if you think about mafia you think about well-dressed men speaking with an Italian accent doing illicit crime traffic but that’s it. And like, mafia in Italy isn’t just organized crime, it’s an actual cancer to society that affects everyone, not just the criminals (look up what the pizzo is for one - I never saw any American movie or piece of media where mafia members forced someone to pay it to say just one thing - except for The Sopranos). Meanwhile said Sopranos which actually does not romanticize the mob/mafia at all and is imo a very good depiction of how second-generation Italians would behave/live and which is as stated above the only show I ever saw where they depicted all the bad things about the mafia/mob, including paying the pizzo, got criticized to hell and back because it made italian-americans look bad and it wasn’t an accurate depiction of how things go in that area and so on, when it’s actually a pretty damn accurate depiction of how the mafia more or less works and when I could definitely see second-generation Italians doing everything the characters in there did. And that is not the idea of mafia that gets promoted by American media in general (I don’t mean that Sopranos doesn’t get praised, but it doesn’t get praised universally for its depiction of mob life which is what I’m fishing at). When it gets promoted, it’s the Godfather-licensed one. Or the Al Capone-thirties-guys with the fedora and nice suits-imagery. And a lot more people consume US media rather than Italian one, so it’s a lot more likely that someone not-italian would have seen Godfather rather than I cento passi (first Italian movie about our mafia that came to mind). Or that a foreigner will know about Al Capone but would have no clue of who Totò Riina is.
What we get angry about is not that people call organized crime mafia per se, it’s that it’s seen somehow as something romantic or exotic and not really worse than any other crime organization (and since that term is inclusive, even the actual italian mafias are seen like that), which is why people end up writing romantic fanfic about it calling it mafia AU. A real mafia AU is nothing you want to write romantic fanfic about. And actually just calling all organized crime mafia is reductive and kind of not accurate. Like, if you call the yakuza or the organizacija mafia because it’s organized crime it’s already a misconception since the yakuza and the organizacja are not cosa nostra and viceversa - lumping all of these into one big pot of organized crime at best isn’t accurate and at worst is hurtful. (Like, here when you talk about yakuza you say it’s a mafia-like criminal organization, you don’t call it mafia and end it there.) Obviously I can’t tell you not to call all organized crime mafia since it’s the way language went and it would be dumb to ask to change it, but I can point out that it’s a misconception and definitely inaccurate.
Also, the Jimmy Saville comparison in this case isn’t exactly working, because Jimmy Saville is one person, not an entire situation. Like, saying you’re writing a mafia AU is the exact same thing as saying you’re writing a Mexican drug cartel AU, which is not romantic at all and I don’t see romanticized in American media with good reason. Let’s say the Mexicans were the first people to introduce drug commerce in the US, so every drug-selling organization is named cartel and people start writing cartel!AU because at some point it stops being just about the Mexican one and becomes a widely-used term, while in Mexico it still goes on the way it always did. Is that offensive? You bet, because the drug cartel is not romantic and it would indeed be offensive. Now, I’ve never once in my life seen a cartel!AU, and good thing that, and I’m 100% sure it’s because since Mexico is right next to the US and people actually feel the consequences of its existence even in the US, no one thinks it’s a romantic thing and so no one writes fic about it. So it’s fine to do it with Italian mafia just because real mafia is a thing that’s just in Italy? It’s exactly the same thing, so it would be nice if we weren’t told to just suck it up and deal with it. Thanks for the attention
*saunters back downwards*
ty for clearing all that up for me, seriously uwu
the way i read what op wrote made it sound to me that they(sorry if I’m midgendering you, op) didnt like the fact people were using the word mafia to mean anything but the Italian Mafia(s?)Also I’m sorry if it sounded like I was telling Italians to “suck it up”, that really wasnt my intention
Don’t worry beethreefour, the problem we’re talking about is really much bigger. We aren’t really angry at you. I have lately seen A LOT of people actually not knowing that mafia was still a thing? Or that it wasn’t really a bad thing? that’s what media makes it looks like. And it’s fucking annoying. We are mostly angry at disinformation. I get that it’s not your fault and we definitely not hold it against anyone, but… ok, just to be clear to anyone reading this discussion: Mafia (camorra, ‘ndrangheta, cosa nostra and la sacra corona unita) are some of the most terrible and dangerous organizations in the world. At the moment Cosa nostra is relatively silent, the two biggest mafias we have at the moment are ‘ndrangheta and Camorra. ‘Ndrangheta they are both at the top of world cocaine traffick, along with columbia drug cartels (and to a minor extent mafia Shqiptare), with whom many ‘ndrangheta families are associated. (they basically feed the entire europe and lately has been found out that they are responsible also for a lot of drug in USA as well). Camorra is co-working with nigerian organized crime for sex traffic and human slavery, mostly nigerian prostitutes (page 232). There’s an entire area of italy where people is dropping dead at 3 times the rate of everywhere else for cancer because the Casalesi Clan (camorra) dug industrial waste everywhere. We have at the moment several clan wars that are counting deaths upon deaths. (faida di Scampia and faida di Pianura). And I could continue, there’s an entire area of sexualized crimes and violence against women (in their own families!) but I do not have the time to get data on that (we talked about it here quickly) so I’ll leave that to some one else.
I’m sorry but I can’t find anything romantic in having any fictional ship trafficking nigerian prostitutes and killing hundreds of innocent people and claiming to have “honor” as “hollywood” mafia does.
If you invent a ‘criminal AU’ where the organization is fictional and you get to invent their crimes you might MAYBE invent something decent and that’s a thing. but if you call it “mafia” there are real people who suffered from mafia crime, real people who died, there are real girls out there sold and forced to prostitute themselves, real people who are dying right now because of the bullshit mafia sell or the industrial waste mafia dig in front of people’s gardens. Those are the implication of a ‘mafia au’. They are the same of a ‘south american cartel au’, they are the same of a ‘yakuza au’ or a “triad au” even if you call all those other criminal organizations ‘mafia’.
(In a totally unrelated thing it’s fun you cite ‘naming people after a pedophile’ thing, we in Rome we had in the 30es a guy who was accused of pedophilia (in the end it wasn’t even him but probably a british priest who escaped justice returning in his home country) whose name became a noun for ‘pedophile’ and people with that surname had to change their names for the implication because saying ‘he’s a girolimoni’ is basically saying ‘he’s a pedophile’. Again with name implying definitely not funny things. No one would ever (even now) name their children Girolimoni here.
but it really has nothing to do with the situation. just a weird tangential not fun fact to the discussion.Also this ‘you would never name your kid that way’ thing doesn’t hold because there are instances where you’d certainly avoid names for their implications and crimes. Just because “Jimmy” is too common to actually put a stop to it, I’m sure almost every person knows a ‘Jimmy’ they think of when they hear the name, before thinking of Jimmy Saville. But think “Adolf”. How many people have a friend called ‘Adolf’ they think of, before thinking Adolf Hitler? People will tell you to not name your kid adolf. There’s a play and a movie about that. And talking about less ‘evils’, I mean, here even “Silvio” became a ‘nono’ after the 20 years of Berlusconi government. But if it was a much more common name I’m sure it wouldn’t be. If you say “Silvio” here you mean just HIM.)
But these are just factoids that matter not, the gist of it is that mafia kills and enslave real people. that’s it. And I can’t believe that in a website where people treat “excusing fictional villain of their fictional deeds” as the ultimate crime can excuse real life villain with real life disgusting crimes just as that. It’s something I can’t wrap my head around AT ALL.
Again, this is not against you beethreefour, you’ve been like really great hearing us out, and for that I thank you. It’s just an attitude I’ve seen a lot.
BETWEEN TWO POINTS: a Clara/Journey fanmix | The soldier, the teacher, the universe.
i. between two points (ft. swan) - the glitch mob
ii. hours - fka twigs
iii. new theory (RAC remix) - washed out
iv. rest your head - bat for lashes
v. wandering star - portishead
vi. red planet - alvvays
vii. little bit (autoerotique remix) - lykke li
viii. strong - london grammar
ix. stripped (depeche mode cover) - shiny toy guns
x. night sky - chvrches
xi. we own the sky - m83
adam and the ants: I will have sex with anybody
the b-52's: I will spit in your face and laugh
duran duran: I am a vain piece of shit
depeche mode: I blend into walls
eurythmics: do you know how many shades of eyshadow I own? like at least a dozen
falco: I don't even speak german
inxs: I am wearing a bandanna and drinking cheap beer
japan: I'm special. so special
joy division: not even a new wave band also go fuck yourself
kate bush: I am an artsy piece of shit
new order: I never knew my true parents I was raised by a drum machine
the police: I hate myself I hate myself I hate myself
roxy music: the leather underpants I'm wearing are really chafing me
talking heads: what
u2: I appreciate the finer things in life and love getting my ass kicked
ub40: I think I'm an incredibly diverse and tolerant person
"If a female writer had produced such an almighty mess, you can bet she’d be despised by now."
Why do dirty hippies act like John Lennon was a saint
He physically abused both his wives, emotionally abused his son, was openly homophobic and antisemetic, was controlling and misogynist, he literally made yoko ono write a list of all the men she’d been with and shamed her for it, was openly racist, wrote a song called “woman is the n-word of the world” (except actually used the slur) and never actually did any activist work, just posed with whatever groups and signs were counter-culture for the media, stated that the idea of disabled people touching him made him sick, used to pretend to be intellectually disabled on stage as a joke, and probably tons more shit that was never documented
Stop worshipping john lennon. The Beatles are mediocre and he was a horrifying human being