Prominence of the Mob in the 21st Century and the Sopranos

From the very beginning of the show, the series chronicles the changing nature and decline of the mob that came to prominence in America (NY and NJ primarily) in the 20th century. Tony says in the pilot episode his feeling of being at the end of an era. Federal prosecution via RICO and lack of adherence to the code of silence (we see several rats throughout the series' run) show how effective law enforcement is at infiltrating and bringing down mob figures.

Assimilation and urbanization of Italians in America has thinned their need and pool of new mob talent. In the show, they all live in the suburbs of Newark. Newark serving only as a location of economic opportunity BUT their influence and force as fixtures IN the city is all but gone.

The economy, changing rapidly now and changing how the mob operates, but also at the time of the show (Patsy trying to shakedown a corporate coffee chain and Tony selling the building he rents to poultry merchants) represents the traditional 20th century strongholds of the mob evaporating.

Being in NJ myself and seeing the change in how the public perceives the mob, the show mirrored reality.

Even now in 2018, the mob has changed greatly from how it was in say 2004.

So with this in mind, there are some inconsistencies in how the mob and its figures are portrayed in the show. An example is how some are treated as household names, somewhat celebrity status. Tony and Junior are mobbed by reporters after jail and court appearances. Phil has Nancy Sinatra sing at his becoming the boss party. Several news clips discussing even peripheral mob figures (e.g. "class of 2004") like Tony B., Angelo etc. This isn't consistent with how the mob was actually covered at the time and much of that type of news coverage stopped in the 90s after Gotti (arguably the last celebrity don). The real NJ family operated outside of pop culture.

I can see if DC wanted to use creative license to portray the mob in the 1970s/80s style way in the show's universe of pop culture BUT he does this AND conveys (realistically) the mob's decline and change in pop culture's psyche. Especially after 9/11 where the mob was able to flourish somewhat with federal law enforcement's shifting priorities BUT they did so with lower visibility. Without the same political influence they once had in the mid 20-century into the late 1980s, they couldn't afford to be as visible and flagrant with their activities.


I love this forum by the way and would love to get some good conversations going.

Re: Prominence of the Mob in the 21st Century and the Sopranos

Speaking of coming in at the end, that's kind of how it is here at the forum.:-) So not sure how vigorous the discussions will be, but at least one new person signs up a week, though most never post. And I'm sure other old timers (like me) still stop by occasionally but also rarely post. For years, I just stop by every day or two just to moderate and keep things running smoothly. But hopefully someone will engage on this very thoughtful post and other topics of interest to you. I certainly enjoyed reading this one.

BTW, welcome to The Chase Lounge.:-)
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"
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