Hollywood gangsters VS The hoodlums next door

Posted by Posted by Jay Abstract On 12:18 AM

--Posted by: Jay Abstract

I've always been the type to over-analyze everything. I spent years in my own head figuring things out before I ever dared to open my mouth (or in this case, get my fingers going) to speak of the things I began to notice, the connections I began to make between things that no one else seemed to, just the very way I looked at the same situation as everyone but saw different results.

It is these years of being trapped in my own head that provided me with the ability to use patterns in human beings' judgement and decision making to make connections between completely unrelated subjects and use them to analyze our race as a whole.

For years, I had a gambling problem. I was constantly going from broke to having $5,000 the next day or vice versa. Everyone was always against the initial idea of me going to the casino. They'd have their reasons, friends they knew who had a similar problem, comparisons to how my life would be had I not been gambling, the usual drivel anyone who's ever called a Face Card a "Monkey" is used to hearing. And when I lost, "I told you so's" abounded. Some happy I lost, some upset, but all proud they were right.

A funny thing happens when you win, though... It shuts them up. When you take risks in life, you end up in 1 of 2 categories: "Moron" or "Genius". The same exact action can bring on completely different reactions, based on the outcome. Put simply, success validates decisions.

And it is in this concept that I relate to the common gangster.

I remember a night about 5 years ago I was watching TV over a friend's house with his family. Flipping through the channels, we came to The Sopranos, a show I had heard so much about but never got the chance to watch, and we sat for 60 minutes or so as these successful Italian men managed to rise from the gutter to rags and riches through brute force and violence. Gun pressed to his rival's head, my friends mother watched on with glee and excitement, anticipating Tony's next move. When it was over, she sighed, disappointed she'd have to wait until next week to see the outcome.

A little bit later in the evening 'The Wire' came on. In one of the first scenes we watched, 2 hapless gangsters ran up to a parked car and opened fire on the men inside, running off into the night.

"Animals..." she said, disgusted, and walked out of the room.

I couldn't help but wonder why Tony was such a draw to her and the 2 gangsters in the night were "Animals". At first I attributed it to race.. She was Italian, and sure, people do happen to root for and side with those they can relate to most. But I believe it goes deeper than that. Tony's violence is validated because we are taken into his world to see he has built an empire, maintained a family, and been a complete success in his life. The hapless gangsters, as far as we know, are committing violence just for the sake of it.

Historically, gangs have risen out of poor communities, acting as a force of justice that was denied to them by an upper ruling class. Outpowered and outnumbered, their only chance of survival was uniting to form their own alliances for support they were denied by those who had power over them. Alone they were voiceless, but there is always power in numbers. Force was used over finesse, and these groups began to obtain their goals by way of violence and intimidation.

Somewhere along the line things changed, and while the roots of the cause is somewhat noble (Men coming together to overcome their abusers), most now see these groups are nothing more than murderous opportunists.

But then why do we speak so lowly of the Crip & Blood gang on the other side of the city while proudly proclaiming the greatness of Martin Scorcese? Why do we idolize Pacino, Pesci & Deniro for their roles in the true stories of men far worse than those in our own neighborhood?

Because they are succesful.

The End justifies the means when success is involved. Human beings have an intense need to succeed. We all want to succeed in different ways, but success itself in any form is extremely attractive.

We should ask ourselves, is it OK to let success validate such actions? Are the Hank Hills and George Jungs really better human beings than the Jaamal Williams and Leroy Watkins, to the point that one is despised and the other is idolized for the exact same action?

Or are we hypocrites?

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  1. Forge Said,

    nice site. i'll be coming here more often. i wonder why there is no discussion?

    Posted on November 1, 2009 at 8:58 PM

  2. Jay Abstract Said,

    Thank you Forge. I try my hardest to bring unique material and put lots of time in to make it as thought-provoking and beneficial to the readers as possible. I'm hoping discussion will pick up- This is only the 6th day the site has been up! Viewing rates have been increasing steadily over those 6 days so hopefully the discussion will follow suit!

    Thanks again and I look forward to having you as a reader

    Posted on November 2, 2009 at 7:20 AM


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