When I was a kid, most of the Italian men I knew worked as longshoremen or in construction. They were out of their houses at 6 in the morning, and they came home bone-tired by 7 PM. They ate their dinner at a kitchen table surrounded by their family and most of the time, after a backbreaking day, they were so tired that they could barely bring themselves to speak 10 words before they went to bed.
Most Italian men I knew in those days spoke softly and, no matter how poor or uneducated they may have been, they carried themselves with a quiet dignity.
It's that same quiet, simple dignity that so many Hispanic immigrants have today. A dignity that Donald Trump, the man who wants to banish hardworking immigrants from this country, will never have.
It's a dignity that Italians have maintained for generations.
Italians like DiMaggio, Berra, Rizutto, Marciano, Joe Perella, Dr. Rock Positano, Richie Russo, Ron Travisano, Frank DiGiacomo – I can name a million of them – have always had and will always have . . . that soft, quiet, modest demeanor and style.
When I was 16 the Italians I grew up with on Avenue U in Brooklyn, whose names were Malore, Pepe, Cardinali, Rispoli, Saracino, Bruno, and Brancaccio, would never raise their voices. We had a word for the few Italians who were loud and crude. They were "gavones," the Italian word for an uncouth, boorish, ill-mannered person.
Even Frank Costello, who headed up the Mafia in the 1940s and '50s and owned New York City's mayors and judges, never raised his raspy voice. He lived on Central Park West at the swanky Majestic apartments and spent his life searching for respectability. Of course, he never achieved it.
And then along came Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci as the White House communications director.
Scaramucci is a total gavone. He's loud, he's brash, and he uses the vilest, most disgusting language imaginable.
He's a schmuck.
I'm surprised he even lasted 11 days.
Now I know I'm overreacting, and he's been gone for weeks, but Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci's presence in the national spotlight – even for a short time – tarnished the image of those of us who are quietly proud of our Italian heritage.
My anger at this vulgarian still consumes me.
Let me first state that I'm not one of those "professional Italians." You know, those well-meaning, sensitive Italians who wouldn't go see a brilliant movie like The Godfather or watch a great television show like "The Sopranos" because they felt it "defamed" all Italians and linked them to the Mafia.
Like most Italians, I'm well aware that the Mafia, which has been in the United States since around 1920, is 99 percent Italian.
Actually, if the Mafia, even though it's a criminal organization, had started today, they would be under pressure from the federal government to be more diverse.
And since we are now so politically correct as a nation, the Mafia would be brought up on charges of not having enough gays, blacks, Hispanics, and women in their organization.
The thought of the head of one of the Mafia families desperately searching for a transgender Mafia member makes me laugh.
The reality is that 99.9 percent of Italians are law-abiding people who have made and are making great contributions to art, science, business, law, and medicine. The children and grandchildren of unwanted immigrants have fought in wars and died for this, their adopted country.
The Mafia tag was shrugged off many years ago.
But now we have to deal with Scaramucci, who, with his stupid tough-guy talk, is a disgrace to the millions of Italians who are a great part of this great country.
At first Scaramucci puzzled me. Where did he come from?
Did he come from a tough Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn or the Bronx?
Turns out he comes from Port Washington on Long Island. I didn't even know they had Italians in Port Washington.
Then I decided to check his education.
I thought "The Mooch" probably went to some tough, scrappy school. Maybe he worked nights and went to a City College to earn his degree.
Nope, wrong again. Anthony Scaramucci went to Tufts and Harvard Law.
Then it hit me. Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci is a fake – a total fake. He is playing his gavone version of Joe Pesci in the movie Goodfellas. He's been doing this act as Tony "The Mooch," the ultimate Italian gavone, for years. It worked, and some simpletons in the financial arena bought into it. He's made millions.
He's been doing an act and Donald Trump fell for it.
But then again, Donald Trump has been doing an act for years and, sadly, the United States of America fell for it.
Maybe Trump's lame, creepy excuses for the Nazi stormtroopers in Charlottesville, Virginia, will wake up even his most ardent supporters, and they'll finally realize that they were taken in by a lying political hustler.
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