Slurs of 'The Family'
Long Island Newsday, March 19, 2003
used by permission

Diane Werts quite correctly chastises "The Family" for reinforcing "silly stereotypes" ["It's Worth a Million Not to Watch This," Part II, March 4]. But that doesn't begin to describe the level of anti-Italian intolerance perpetuated by this so-called reality show.

As primetime television programs go, "The Family" is the most vituperatively offensive, artlessly conceived example of ethnic slander to slither onto the small screen since "The Sopranos." Never have so many been so cavalierly defamed for so puerile a purpose. Indeed, this latest boob-tube entry is as vulgar a display of Italophobia as HBO's vile melodrama.

One wonders if ABC-TV and its sponsors would so cheerfully welcome a similar reality show about a rowdy, uncouth Irish clan from Woodside. Can we imagine the producers even contemplating a gefilte-fish-out-of-water program involving a family of Williamsburg Hasidic Jews, complete with Glatt Kosher cuisine, vying for sudden wealth in a sun-splashed mansion of opulence?

Anti-Italian bigotry, however, has found a new home at ABC. The network should consult John Milton, who wrote: Italy is "the seat of civilization and the happy domicile of every species of erudition."

Rosario A. Iaconis

Editor's note: The writer is director of the Italic Institute of America.



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