George Guida. Spectacles of Themselves: Essays in Italian American Popular Culture and Literature

By Muccini, Francesca | Italica, Summer 2018 | Go to article overview

George Guida. Spectacles of Themselves: Essays in Italian American Popular Culture and Literature


Muccini, Francesca, Italica


George Guida. Spectacles of Themselves: Essays in Italian American Popular Culture and Literature. New York: Bordighera Press, 2015.

Spectacles of Themselves e una raccolta di saggi dello scrittore e poeta George Guida che offre una visione e interpretazione originali della cultura pop italo americana. Gli scritti, ventuno in totale, intendono dimostrare come gli italiani e gli italo americani abbiano arricchito il panorama culturale e letterario americano, "[...] the Italian and the Italian American gift for spectacle and appreciation of spectacle have enriched American popular culture and literature" (xiv).

Partendo da questa premessa, l'autore, nella sua silloge, passa in rassegna diversi temi e personaggi rilevanti di cui verranno qui presi in considerazione solo alcuni. Tra questi vi e Louis Prima, attore, cantante e trombettista con grandi doti di intrattenitore, definito da Guida un "Multicultural Pageant" (3) per la sua capacita di mescolare nelle sue canzoni la lingua italiana e sicula, insieme alle sonorita di New Orleans, dello swing, jive, rhythm'n'blues che conquistarono l'interesse e l'entusiasmo di un pubblico vasto. Prima e stato uno dei piU acclamati protagonisti di quella Swing Era che degli Stati Uniti rappresenta ancora oggi il topos di maggiore valenza simbolica. Nel contributo intitolato "Prospero's Mook", Guida esplora l'uso del 'dialetto' italo americano nei film di Martin Scorsese. Secondo l'autore, il successo del vernacolo italo americano nella cinematografia di Scorsese deriva dal fatto che esso e un segno distintivo, un potente mezzo di espressione che permette ai personaggi di riconnettersi alle loro origini, culturali e comportamentali: "Dialect serves as a marker of ethnicity" (33) "[...] a language of traditional behavioral codes" (36). Scorsese e definito da Guida come il Prospero shakespeariano, che crea, come in una magia, e usa i dialetti per creare "tight little islands" (42).

Nel brevissimo articolo "Cunnilingus and Psychoteraphy Brought Us To This", l'autore analizza alcuni personaggi dei film americani sulla mafia. Nei film e serie televisive americani i mafiosi, di discendenza italiana, diventano oggetto di umorismo, di commedia e di derisione: "Through Mafia parody, Italian Americans continue to be identified and to identify themselves with cold-blooded criminals, but criminals who are ridiculous--less than human and less powerful than before" (51-52)--interferendo e complicando il processo di integrazione degli italo americani negli Stati Uniti. Guida auspica che i registi ed artisti italo americani riescano finalmente a correggere o a eliminare insulsi stereotipi che continuano ad esistere nell'immaginario americano. …

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