Watching The Sopranos may not be the best way to get the measure of Italian-American culture but it was the starting point. It got me thinking about the other Italians I’ve had contact with.
It seems both they, and actual real Italian-Americans consider themselves Italian, even many, many generations later. At this point I find myself thinking about a somewhat inelegant quote from Tyler Durden.
It seems many of them cease to be Italian and become Americans with Italian roots. That was rather the point of US immigration policy in the past, I thought.
Personally I hold citizenship in both my home countries and so feel quite justified in calling myself both. Speaking the language and retaining significant family ties helps as well, culturally, but over the course of several generations that becomes somewhat tenuous. First generation, obviously, second too (depending on circumstances), but by the time we’re getting into third and fourth do they really have any appreciation for where their family lived long ago?
This isn’t supposed to be a criticism of embracing cultural/ancestral roots, or a slight against Italian-Americans. It’s more a commentary on human nature and the way we tend to dive into nostalgia and familiarity when faced with new and strange circumstances.
That and it reminds me of this Mitchell and Webb sketch: