A truly excellent half-hour musing on the American gangster film, including an all-to-brief foray into the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone. The main focus is the idea that Leone’s Once Upon A Time In America killed the traditional American gangster film by stripping the genre of its romance to expose instead the inhuman brutality, misogyny, and underlying sociopathy of organized crime.

For readers of this blog, something that goes completely unmentioned is one interesting ethnographic aspect of Once Upon A Time In America that makes it virtually unique among gangster films.

Can you guess? Come on, guess. I know that you can.

Another aspect of gangster films which has started to rub me the wrong way, and this goes for a huge amount of 20th century American culture in general, is the constant focus on immigrants and their “oppression” by real Americans.

Immigrants, especially those of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, are always portrayed in popular American culture as “more American than actual Americans.”

Now why might this be? It’s almost as if the entire purpose of this culture is to demonize the actual founding stock of America, the actual real Americans, who were not “immigrants,” but pioneers.

I noticed it first in freshmen year English Literature class, in which almost every novel assigned was about immigrants and how “oppressed” they were by real Americans. A Hazard of New Fortunes by William Dean Howells, Jane Addams’ Twenty Years At Hull House, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair – it was so obvious that the professor wanted to promote socialism and preach to us American kids about how “racist” we were for not immediately rolling out the red carpet for every potato-eater, chicken-swinger, and greaseball that stepped off the boat.

Even in Godfather II, we’re supposed to feel really bad for the Godfather that he had to spend some months in quarantine so he wouldn’t infect Americans with his godawful Old Country diseases.

No matter the reason he had to flee to America to find a better life was because his country was controlled by psychopathic child-murderers. No, instead, we’re supposed to cheer as he brings the pathology of his shithole country to America.

But hey aren’t those Puritans so stuffy? White Anglo-Saxon Protestants and their exclusive golf clubs, am I right? Not to mention Southern plantation slave masters!

No one asks – if we are so awful, why don’t you go back to where you came from?

Oh, right, it’s because your countries are shitholes and your cultures are shithole cultures. We’re supposed to get rid of our precious Second Amendment rights because blacks in Chicago keep shooting each other, yet we’re also supposed to open the borders to Mexican drug cartels who literally decapitate little girls and post the snuff films on Youtube?

They have to go back. All of them.