March/April Issue

Tuesday
Jun252013

Rogue Attraction

From Scott Hoezee

The sudden death of the actor James Gandolfini at the age of 51 reminded lots of people of those years watching "The Sopranos" and the main dramatic allure of the show in watching a mafia chieftan deal with panic attacks and fears of being emasculated by his mother.   Make no mistake: "The Sopranos" was violent (brutally so at times), incredibly profane, and set in a world that was arguably something of a moral inversion--a world where up was down, where killing was "just business."   Yet I knew people who are pretty sensitive toward all such things who neverthless devoured the show episode after episode.

And somewhere along the way many viewers--including those of good moral fiber--found themselves liking Tony Soprano.   You didn't want to see anything bad happen to him.   Goodness knows by most any moral reckoning and calculus he deserved to have something bad happen to him--it would only be just for a man who murdered as many colleagues and rivals as Tony did.   Yet you ended up rooting for the guy and were deeply interested in his character, his motivation, his love and devotion for his family.

Why is that?

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