Organized Crime and Media Glamorization

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Criminology SOC 2336
August 6, 2008

Organized Crime and Media Glamorization
The media has played a huge role in this "glamorization" or organized crime. The various organized criminal "families” particularly that of the Italian-American "Mafia", which for some reason most Americans solely associate with the term "organized crime", are organized differently. More so, they are able to engage in criminal enterprises far more advanced than the inner-city youth gangs. True, films like The Godfather show it as a romanticized concept, emphasizing honor, respect, and loyalty. To a degree, depending on what time period you look at in the history or organized crime, this is either relatively accurate, or simply wrong in varying degrees. Ironically enough, while films like Goodfellas try to show the seemingly glamorous side of the "Mafia" and the true, dark underside of living day-to-day in a life of crime, most people simply romanticize the mob further because of it. Americans tend to romanticize organized crime, particularly the Italian-American "Mafia", or "Cosa Nostra" dating back to the Prohibition period of the late 1920's-early 1930's. This ultimately led the way for criminals to congregate into sporadic bootlegging gangs, supplying the American public with illicit alcohol. This, I believe, allowed these criminals to achieve an air of legitimacy. They were not looked down upon by the general American public, rather they were viewed almost like celebrities...hell, some of them even MINGLED with well-known celebrities of that day. Speakeasies turned into fancy nightclubs, the "gangsters" were seen as almost modern day Robin Hoods. Prohibition also gave rise to the dominance of Italian-Americans in organized criminal activity, starting the public romanticism of the "Cosa Nostra". The Irish and Jewish elasticity that once dominated organized crime in the United States began to engage in legitimate enterprises that were rapidly being made available to them....
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