Re: Executioner’s Song

#11
Avellino wrote:Tony rails at Vito Jr. for going about in pity for himself, which is by now a familiar trope, and has a group of "tough love" fundamentalists haul the boy off to a paramilitary school in Utah. Wasn’t this the same kind of solution he tried to impose on AJ in “Army of One”? It’s Tony’s worst regression: the Gary Cooper, strong-and-silent “old school” way of dealing with grief. Like everything else with the old school, it no longer works. It’s not about the money, it’s about traumatized sons. Shooting Hesh or repaying him won’t salve Tony Soprano’s psychological wounds. At this point, I doubt anything can save the North Jersey boss.


I disagree with this. I think Tony was right. AJ would have been very well served by the military school, if only it had been imposed on him a couple of years earlier, before he was irretrievably made a hostage to his father's idea of what it means to be a man and how to "earn" a living and before life as a modern, wealthy suburban teenager in schools with almost as many counselors and school psychologists as teachers provided him with an Oprah Winfrey paradigm of manhood. He did not find the happy medium. The cracks through which he fell were so wide that the mere prospect of military school brought out his latent anxiety disorder.

I dare say, the single most important factor in a boy becoming a "good man" his having a good man as a father or other primary male role model. And that in a nutshell is AJ's problem. I credit Tony with recognizing, albeit too late, that he did not have the credibility to be that role model for AJ. He wanted him to grow up with respect for authority, a work ethic, a sense of discipline, yet the example he set was one of flouting the law and stealing from others.

He wanted to impose on AJ a different set of male role models. And had AJ not passed out that day, I've no doubt he would be a lot closer to the man Tony wanted him to be than he is now.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Executioner’s Song

#12
Avellino wrote: Between Katrina and Abu Ghraib there’s not much cause for boosterism in the US today. Besides, isn’t patriotism the last refuge of a scoundrel?


Dead wrong on both counts.

Funny how when opponents to traditional mores and values require a representative figure to attack, they seem to prefer choosing a cartoon figure from pop culture like Bunker, when in reality, people like myself and others I have known are nothing like that.

Tony Soprano has a limited pallette of words to articulate what he thinks about society, so he has to choose recognizable pop culture figures to make his point.

And really, I don't see what kind of complaint Chase could have with the way society has turned out. He's done pretty well for himself in America, hasn't he? This country has provided him with opportunities for him to pad his prodigious bank account, hasn't it? It smacks of ingratitude, in my estimation, when people who have become very successful turn on their country and its values. I can't help but think it's just a form of pandering to a particular ideological belief, just like the one featured in a major subplot from the first half of the season.

Today, we could use more parents that would make their kid walk 11 miles home if they screwed up.

Actually, the term "mangia cazzo" in my neighborhood was directed at anyone who was an annoyance. It's never intended to be taken literally.

Re: Executioner’s Song

#13
MangiaCazzo wrote:Dead wrong on both counts.


or do you mean, in your opinion?
[font="Book Antiqua"][SIZE="3"][color="DarkSlateBlue"]I didn’t want to show crime pays, I didn’t want to show crime doesn’t pay...David Chase on the ending[/color][/SIZE][/font]

Re: No Panic Attack Since Being Shot

#14
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:By gambling so much money on sports, he may subconsciously be seeking a whimsical, convenient way of repudiating his fortune and, derivatively, his way of life. Will certainly have to see if the behavior continues to get a real feel for it as well as what might come out about it in the Melfi sessions.


Fly - I thought of starting a new thread on your quote about the "Melfi sessions" and what it lead me to consider, but it probably fits in this discussion as well. Why is it that Tony has not had a panic attack since being shot by Junior? He hasn't been seeing Melfi regularly so we can't attribute the lack of attacks to continued treatment.

I suspect that something inside Tony has been resolved...the impetus for the panic attacks now no longer exists in him. But what has been resolved? He still gets depressed. He still has money pressure. He still worries about his immediate family, their lives and futures. He is still subject to criminal prosecution and all of the uncertainty of life (and death) as a mob boss.

While all of these negative stimuli still plainly exist, that pressure which may no longer exist (and which we can't see) is that Tony may have already made a choice with regard to getting out of the life. If he is at last finally at peace with a decision on which direction he wants his life to take (although he has not yet articulated it to anyone else) then the reason for Tony's panic attacks may no longer exist.

Re: Executioner’s Song

#15
MangiaCazzo wrote:Dead wrong on both counts.


“Dead wrong”: the aggressive language you use in your posts would have a therapist like Melfi listening with rapt attention, especially during your initial sessions.

MangiaCazzo wrote:Funny how when opponents to traditional mores and values require a representative figure to attack, they seem to prefer choosing a cartoon figure from pop culture like Bunker, when in reality, people like myself and others I have known are nothing like that.


I use characters like Archie Bunker because Tony Soprano spends so much spare time watching second run sitcoms like “All in the Family.” The language of the tube makes up much of Tony’s mental discourse. TV nostalgia informs his world view. Lord knows, he lives for the History Channel. What I find fascinating is how you associate yourself with Tony in his Gary Cooper vein, jettisoning though T's cultural nostalgia. Could it be that you yourself, the son of immigrants, are conflicted between residual Italian cultural mores such as honour, shame, and collective virtue, and the manic individualism of American culture. Your struggle, I conjecture, is not unlike Tony Soprano’s.

MangiaCazzo wrote:And really, I don't see what kind of complaint Chase could have with the way society has turned out. He's done pretty well for himself in America, hasn't he? This country has provided him with opportunities for him to pad his prodigious bank account, hasn't it? It smacks of ingratitude ...


One doesn’t need to be a New York Times cultural critic to see that "The Sopranos" has been a seething six-season long indictment of American materialism. David Chase has said so himself during numerous interviews. You’re equating material success with the pursuit of happiness. What “The Sopranos” demonstrates week after week is that the twain never meets.

MangiaCazzo wrote:Today, we could use more parents that would make their kid walk 11 miles home if they screwed up.


I can only speak for myself here, but this just sounds cruel to me. That in the midst of his dementia Junior still holds this memory in his addled brain suggests to me that the event was seminal, traumatic, and coarsening. It toughened him up, no doubt; it also made it easier for him to become a thug.

MangiaCazzo wrote:Actually, the term "mangia cazzo" in my neighborhood was directed at anyone who was an annoyance. It's never intended to be taken literally.


Mangia cazzo, cocksucker: a term of derision from the old neighbourhood. This is your nom de guerre? I suspect the term was used on kids like Little Vito to toughen them up. In hyper-masculine cultures like those of the Mediterranean, insults like these are commonplace. So too are Oedipal attachments to mama. Put it all together and you produce a culture of virility comprised of bullying mama’s boys. Maybe that’s why David Chase felt the need to enter therapy.
"Écrasez l'Infâme" -- Voltaire

Re: Executioner’s Song

#16
Avellino wrote:Between Katrina and Abu Ghraib there’s not much cause for boosterism in the US today. Besides, isn’t patriotism the last refuge of a scoundrel?
You're entitled to your opinion. However, I must concur with Mangia's strong disagreement. In your responses, you reduce both Mangia and the U.S. to stereotypes. Up in Halifax, Canada, the view you have of America comes from television, not from living here, now, on these streets. The problem with that, it has always been the news media's intent to focus on the negative. I liken it to the inevitable traffic jam that occurs on the highway whenever there's a traffic accident and people slow down to a crawl to assess the damage from afar. Good news gets glossed over or overlooked entirely. Without getting into a protracted political debate, I'll end by saying, there's a lot more to this country than Katrina and Abu Ghraib if one made the effort to look for it with an open mind. Ciao.

Re: Executioner’s Song

#17
sopranology wrote:You're entitled to your opinion. However, I must concur with Mangia's strong disagreement. In your responses, you reduce both Mangia and the U.S. to stereotypes.


Well, if the results of the mid-term congressional elections are a kind of “opinion” poll, one could conclude from the exercise that Americans themselves are less than Bullish on Bush and his frat boy politics. The election was a statement of American opinion – a rather loud one, at that. The vote/opinion was made in America, not Canada.

The dysfunction of the Soprano’s family is a cipher for the malaise of America in the post-911 world. Even Tony made a go at profiting from the destruction in New Orleans. He’s even used the phrase “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie,” to put down a capo (Paulie, I believe). In addition, gloomy news from the Iraq War buzzes in the background during “Sopranos Home Movies,” and in “Chasing it” the viewer sees the “W.” locked arm-in-arm with a Saudi sheik in a mutual seduction of greed. Bob Dylan once wrote, “Money doesn’t talk, it screams.” How prescient were the words of the poet.

Re: Executioner’s Song

#19
How can one discuss a show like the Sopranos, laced as it is with creator David Chase’s critique of American society, without referring to his critique in the various threads? I’m all for civil discourse (a scant resource on 24-hour cable news) but censorship on a bulletin board is an affront to the first amendment. I think what Detective Hunt is referring to in this instance -- and I don’t want to put words in his mouth -- is our responsibility to be agreeably disagreeable with each other. Of course, The US doesn’t have a Bill of Responsibilities. Perhaps that’s the problem. Voltaire used to say, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That’s pretty libertarian; it’s also altruistic. Altruism -- you don’t see much of that in Tony Soprano’s world.
"Écrasez l'Infâme" -- Voltaire

Re: Executioner’s Song

#20
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote: Speaking of which, MangiaCazza, your excellent reply would have been even better if you would have left out both uses of the term "nonsense", an unduly inflammatory way to express disagreement.:icon_wink:

.


I found avellino's remarks inflammatory and this is how I respond to those that think it's acceptable to trash traditional American values.

Part of this retrograde post-mod culture is the unwillingness to declare what is right or wrong. When Americans lose this ability, we're in deep trouble.
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