Saturday, July 29, 2017

Laughing at Anthony Scaramucci, Guido, Bieganski, Sambo, Shylock

The latest performer in Cirque du Trump is Anthony Scaramucci. 

He is funny. 

We laugh at him. 

Scaramucci impersonations are all over late night comedians' shows. 

My favorites are Stephen Colbert's impersonation, and Seth Meyers'. I laugh out loud. 

My laughter is guilty. 

I know that these impersonations are not just about the Trump trainwreck, but about stereotypes of Italians, specifically, the Guido stereotype. 

I live in New Jersey. Recently a webpage produced a funny photo meant to sum up each state. For New Jersey, the webpage used the "Guido" photo, below. 

What's a Guido? An Italian American male. He shows emotions. His diction is shaded with Jersey or New Yawk. He loves good food. He wears a pinkie ring and cares a bit more about his appearance than a WASP male is supposed to. He sports hair gel, or a colorful tie. He talks about food and his mother. He is hairy, and he wants to look good, so he may tweeze his eyebrows. 

He is just a few degrees of separation away from a Mafia kingpin, and he sprinkles his speech with comments like, "I know a guy. He can fix it for you." Or, "I know a guy. Do you like your kneecaps?" 

Mostly, he is not a WASP, and for that reason he is funny. 

When we, when I, laugh at impersonations of Scaramucci, we are laughing at ethnic minstrelsy. Just like when we laughed at Bing Crosby in black face. 

Deal with it. I know a guy. 

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Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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