Posts Tagged ‘Jersey Shore’

Must Seethe TV

Posted in General on July 30th, 2011 by Eugene Finerman – 2 Comments

‘Jersey Shore’ — Buongiorno FLORENCE!               

The cast of “Jersey Shore” will be fist-pumping their brains out in Florence, Italy for Season 40 because the capital of Tuscany is the youngest, coolest city in the Boot.

Yes, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Botticelli would have made great tattoo artists.  The incongruity is not merely cultural, the dismaying contrast between the Italian Renaissance and the Jersey Dark Ages.  It is also ethnic.  Whether you consider the Jersey cast as Sicilians or simians, they are not northern Italians.  With apologies to Athens and Constantinople, Snooki, Pauly D and the gutteral rest are Greecy.

Would you take Tony Soprano’s word on the subject?  The New Jersey entrepreneur wondered why his fellow Sicilians celebrated Columbus Day.  After all, Columbus was Genoese and “Those guys always looked down on us.”  Actually, the snobbery was only for the last seven centuries or so; but the chasm between the two halves of the peninsula is as old as history.  It was literally alienation–two different nations.

The ancestors of Tony Soprano and Snooki would have thought of themselves as Greeks (if I may use the Latin misnomer for the Hellenes). Sicily and Southern Italy were part of the Hellenistic world. Naples originally was Neopolis, and Athens lost the Peloponnesian War because of its disastrous campaign in Sicily.

This Hellenic identification continued in the Middle Ages. The Byzantines held Sicily until the Arabs invaded in 827; and the Greeks and Sicilians put up such a tenacious resistance that the Moslem conquest of the island took more than a century. Indeed, afterwards, the Moslems were too exhausted to effectively threaten the Italian mainland.

Southern Italy remained Byzantine until the 11th century, when a less heralded but equally profitable Norman invasion conquered the region. Even then, the Byzantines maintained their covert ties to the Sicilians and Southern Italians. In the 13th century, Constantinople could no longer reconquer its lost lands but it could help determine who would rule them. A French dynasty in Southern Italy seemed more hostile than its Aragonese rival. Demonstrating a genius for conspiracy that our CIA would envy, in 1282 the Byzantines helped organize an uprising against the French that we know as “The Sicilian Vespers.” The French were driven out, and the Aragonese moved in.  As late as the 18th century, in isolated areas of Southern Italy the populace spoke a dialect of Greek. So Southern Italy and Sicily could be regarded as Western Greece. However, my Greek friends do seem to be good losers about Palermo and Naples. (Constantinople is another matter!)

So, historical accuracy would recommend that the cast of “Jersey Shore” go to Hellas.  Since Athens has enough problems, I’d invite the gang to Crete.  Wouldn’t it be appropriate, “When in Crete, do as the Cretins do.”

p.s.  Speaking of Florence, let’s not forget the historic significance of this day: