December 11, 2012

The Sixties for Italians and Jews

From my new Taki Magazine column:
To continue examining the 60s through an ethnic lens, let’s look at two Ellis Island immigrant groups, Italian Americans and Jewish Americans.

Read the whole thing there.


Anonymous said...

Off topic but an iSteve topic:

"Epigenetics May Be a Critical Factor Contributing to Homosexuality, Study Suggests"

A reasonable sounding theory and testable.

John Shade said...

Frank Zappa undercuts Sailer's claim that Italian Americans didn't contribute to 60s pop music. Zappa influenced important European bands such as the Beatles, Can, and Jethro Tull. He wrote music that is still well loved in a variety of genres, from rock (Joe's Garage and Sheik Yerbutti), the blues, and doo-wop, to proto-rap (Trouble Every Day) and classical (Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Yellow Shark).

Anonymous said...

Interesting observation. No doubt true as to it's effect on Jewish confidence. Another factor at the time was there was a lot of war on the TV in 67. Not just the Six Day war, but escalation in Vietnam, Biafra... by 68 Northern Ireland in full.

All of a sudden everyone had TV, many color, and what was on the news was war. Vietnam... I personally remember Biafra as having more of a 50s-70s demarcation effect, perhaps it was just my age. Biafra took long enough that even school kids could understand and follow it, there was a lot of church group involvement "on the side of the angles", and then the people a lot of folks were calling the good guys... pretty much all got killed. It was the first long-lasting struggle that I'd followed that came to a convincing ending, one that didn't tie into a morality play.

In 67 the world could seem a pretty nasty place to nice safe American kids.

An interesting thing about the Six Day war is that in some sense that whole conflict hasn't yet really ended.

Anonymous said...

The 60s came as an uncongenial surprise to [Italian-Americans], for whom events had been trending well. That Italy and America had gone to war in December 1941 occasioned remarkably few hard feelings in the US.

FDR arrested over two thousand Italian-Americans, including some holding US citizenship, based solely on their ancestry. Many were shipped to the same concentration camps set up to hold Japanese-Americans and had their assets seized by the Justice Department's Office of the Alien Property Custodian or by the Treasury Department.

Many, many, other Italian-Americans were forcibly relocated, had their assets seized by the government, were fired from their jobs, or were barred from working in a variety of fields. Victims received neither compensation nor even rudimentary due process of law. Many Italian-American families were bankrupted by the Roosevelt Administration.

Many Italian-Americans "fourteen years of age or older" were also required, under the Alien Registration Act of 1940 (also called the Smith Act) to be fingerprinted, to register with authorities every three months and when they moved, and to carry government-issued registration documents at all times. As the war progressed, new rules were added: they were not to travel within sight of the coast or San Francisco Bay, not to travel outside a five mile radius without permission, not to own (most) radios, and to obey a dawn-to-dusk curfew. Violators were summarily jailed for months at a time.

Among the victims of FDR's policies were the elderly parents of baseball star Joe DiMaggio. The government seized their fishing boat (without compensation), barred them from traveling within sight of the coast or San Francisco Bay, barred them from traveling outside a five-mile radius, ordered that they (re-)register with the police every three months to be fingerprinted and questioned, and required them to carry registration cards at all times. DiMaggio himself served as a sergeant in the US Army Air Force (predecessor to the Air Force) and despite his service, nearly had his restaurant seized because it was on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf.

Steve Sailer said...

Thanks, John Shade. It's interesting reading up on Zappa. Italian-Americans certainly would have, by far, the best claim on him (his father, a defense industry scientist, was born in Sicily, and young Frank would speak Italian with his grandparents), but I didn't realize that until now. Wikipedia says:

"His own heterogeneous ethnic background, and the diverse social and cultural mix in and around greater Los Angeles ..."

Well, he went to Antelope Valley HS in the high desert with Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart), which sounds like a couple of smart, artistic lads brought together out in the middle of nowhere by Cold War aerospace, which I can identify with.

I'd seen Zappa more in lists of Arab-Americans than Italian-Americans.

In fact, I didn't realize "Frank Zappa" was his birth name. When I saw Zappa in Paris in 1980, my friend, who was a huge Zappa fan, speculated that "Frank Zappa" was a stage name, an Americanized comic book Zap Pow version of "Franz Kafka." (We didn't have Wikipedia back then to look up the ethnic background of everybody, which Wikipedia is remarkably diligent about providing.) But, of course, Zappa is Italian (shortened?). And you can't get much more Italian American than "Frank" (other than maybe Joe).

So, it sounds like Zappa kind of downplayed the fact that he was predominantly Italian, maybe because he didn't have a traditional Little Italy upbringing, maybe because Italian-Americans seemed out of fasion in the electric guitar age of the 1960s.

Anonymous said...

"In truth, losing is generally depressing, while winning is stimulating. Thus, the great black triumph of 1964’s Civil Rights Act was quickly followed by black rioting."

I think they rioted because of the realization that victory proved to be hollow. Poverty still remained and real success wasn't gonna come with marching and legislation.

Prof. Woland said...

Frank Zappa used to play in a band at my sister-in-law's high school dances in San Bernardino.

Anonymous said...

'Zappa influenced important European bands such as the Beatles, Can, and Jethro Tull.'

But he didn't make it as an Italian-American but as a freak.

Anonymous said...

Zappa was a rock version of Robert Crumb. I never liked either.

Steve Sailer said...

Joe DiMaggio was the top athlete in America at the beginning of WWII, but his father, a San Francisco fisherman, was grounded by the government to prevent him from teaming up with Mussolini's invasion fleet or something.

Auntie Analogue said...

You've got to be kidding. In the Sixties Americans Jews were culturally and politically massively influential.

Never heard of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Susan Sontag, Gloria Steinem, Bob Dylan (not so much the assimilationist, more the Civil Rights advocate and socio-cultural revolutionary), Stephen Jay Gould, Barbra Streisand, Alan King, Joan Rivers, Herbert Marcuse, Saul Alinsky, Albert Shanker, Woody Allen, Devid Steinberg, Leonard Cohen, Daniel Ellsberg, Leslie Gelb (helmed the project that assembled and wrote the Pentagon Papers), Arthur Goldberg (JFK SCOTUS appointee, UN ambassador), Leonard Bernstein, Betty Friedan, Phil Ochs, Lou Reed, Todd Gitlin, Allen Ginsberg, Al Goldstein, Simon & Garfunkel? - just to name a few, mind you.

Dave Van Ronk said (not that his testimony is needed to know this) that 50% of the folk singers and songwriters of the 50's & 60's were Jews - and those singers and songwriters had a huge and lasting Left-radical influence on Sixties youth (on baby boomers).

Anonymous said...

Re the Alien Registration Act: the UK had something similar during WWII. After they fled Nazi Germany, members of the German Jewish Warburg family had to register as enemy aliens in Britain.

alexis said...

When I was little, my uncle and his buddy would let me listen to all those early Mothers records on Verve. I remember that Crusin with Reuben and the Jets, his send up of California Pachuco culture.
Some of his and Beefheart's stuff is crap, and some of it is pure genius. When I've discussed what I thought was authentically Californian music, Peaches en Regalia and the Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar Some More solo have always come to mind.

Anonymous said...

The preachy and trouble-making TV shows of the 1970s are another part of this Jewish journey. The sons and grandsons of the 1930s garment district political agitators got to use "MASH", "All In The Family", "One Day At A Time", "Quincy" etc to get things off their chests that had been building up since the Hollywood blacklist and the Red Scare.

Anonymous said...

In pop music, the 60s unleashed anarchic new energies that left Italian Americans, with their ancient bel canto tradition, largely stumped until the 1970s.

Ronnie James Dio!

Hunsdon said...

Man, I was sure that the fourth comment was from Nick Diaz, broadening his resentments to build a Romance Revolution.

To remain on point, the behavior of the government in times of war is one of the reasons I am mostly opposed to war.

Hunsdon said...

Steve, this is OT, but as I fell asleep I thought of it, and I just had to share my precious little snowflake thought.

America is not a propositional nation, America is a prepositional nation. "To ourselves and our posterity."

Anonymous said...

If anyone had a lot of time on their hands, then it would be very interesting to do a ton of research on just exactly which Italians were hounded by the FDR gubmint.

I have a theory about these things - a theory which can never seem to make it past Komment Kontrol - but it's very similar to the "Which Chrysler Dealerships were Closed?" controversy.

And my theory goes a very, very long way towards explaining the Obama administration's support for the islamist Muslim brotherhood movements in Egypt and Syria.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't clear from your essay why exactly the 1970s were the Jewish decade, at least in terms of prominent Jews in the public eye. It would be good to see a few examples.

Here's mine: Carl Sagan. Spielberg. Others?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Sorry, your article made no sense. Again, you left out the Frankfurt School, its impact on education. The REBELLION of the 60s was hatched IN THE FREAKIN' Universities! In the Universities where the Frankfurt School was influencing academics. A quote from Wikipedia on the Beatnik generation:

The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, and Allen Ginsberg in an even wilder way, in the late Forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking... Who is Allen Ginsberg? Jewish. He was an academic.

Or here is a description of the beginnings of the Weathermen:

During the factional struggle National Office leaders such as Bernardine Dohrn and Mike Klonsky began announcing their emerging perspectives, and Klonsky published a document titled "Toward a Revolutionary Youth Movement" (RYM).

Or is the most damning evidence of communist influence in the 50s that lead into the 60s:

Klonsky and Walter Lowenfels were defendants in a trial in the mid-1950s of nine Philadelphia members of the Communist Party. They were convicted in 1954 of violating the Smith Act, which outlawed “teaching or advocating the overthrow of the American government by force.”[1] He served over a year at the federal penitentiary at Allenwood, Pennsylvania, before the Justice Department withdrew charges in 1958.

After 1958, Klonsky lived in California, where he ran a bookstore near UCLA and where he remained active in organizing workers in the film industry.
(All quotes from Wikipedia.)

You are missing the essence of it. The Weathermen got their moniker from a Bob Dylan song. Dylan being Jewish.

Or what about Norman Lear, the Jewish producer of "All in the Family" which was nothing but a mockery of WASPS and their culture? Who led the Civil Rights movement of the Blacks in the 60s? The Jews. You are missing a lot of stuff.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

From Wikipedia:

"Since the 1990s, the term "cultural Marxism" has been widely used by cultural conservatives. Many conservatives have argued that "Cultural Marxists" and the Frankfurt School helped spark the counterculture social movements of the 1960s as part of a continuing plan of transferring Marxist subversion into cultural terms in the form of Freudo-Marxism.

Since the early 1990s, paleoconservatives such as Patrick Buchanan and William S. Lind have argued that "Cultural Marxism" is a dominant strain of thought within the American left, and associate it with a philosophy to destroy Western civilization. Buchanan has asserted that the Frankfurt School commandeered the American mass media, and used this cartel to infect the minds of Americans.[8]

Lind argues that,

"Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious."

Marxism is Jewish Ideology. Political Correctness is Jewish Ideology. Jews are natural Nihilists and so their participation is naturaly caustic. The Caustic character of the 60s shows its Jewish Character!!! End of story. The Weathermen were led by Jews, The Civil Rights was led by Jews, the movie industry was influenced by Jews, the educational establishement was led and influenced by Jews. It's all Jewish! Every single bit. The Sixties was Jewish inspired and led!

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Maybe, you need to read this book:

The Jewish 1960s: An American Sourcebook (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture and Life) Blurb about the book:
"Staub's book reprints seventy-three brief essays that range across the civil rights struggle, the Vietnam peace movement, the campaign for Soviet Jewish rights, the feminist explosion in Jewish life, the sexual revolution and more. . . Consistently, we see how the well-entrenched liberalism of the Jewish community of that time. . . empowered its young activists to follow the path of conscience without fear."--The Reconstructionist

NotMyRealName said...

Joe di Maggio's father never bothered to become a US citizen, so he had nothing to complain of. I'm surprised to find you, Steve, going along with an ethnic group whining about how they were victims, so long as the whiners are white. So how many of the Italians living in America (not Italian-Americans, which implies citizenship) were fascist sympathisers? The overseas wing of the Italian Fascist Party was quite active but is never mentioned in these sob-stories. I understand, although I don't have a source for this, that an Italian restaurant or bar in Manhattan had a picture of Mussolini on the wall until at least the late 50s; and it doesn't sound as though it was run by the sort of people who do irony.

Brazilian said...

The American organized crime of the beginning of the 20th century was mostly made of Jews and Italians, that was the main reason for the 1924 Immigration Act.

josh said...

I think I just discovered something kind of interesting. Google Ngram Holocaust vs. holocaust. A measure of Jewish influence?

Darfur Miller said...

DiMag loved, and lost. Who was it that defined the Sixties as 8/8/62-8/8/74?

agnostic said...

Along with Zappa growing up in California and Dylan growing up in Duluth, two of the four Italian crooners you mentioned are from Appalachian coal country -- Perry Como from Canonsburg, PA (less than 20 miles outside Pittsburgh), and Dean Martin from Steubenville, OH (home also to Jimmy the Greek).

agnostic said...

Italians came back in the later 1970s and especially in the '80s, once the stripped-down sounds of the Sixties began giving way to greater ornamentation. Italians, at least the central and southern ones, are not a minimalist people.

Hard rock and metal opened up a niche for more virtuoso guitarists and singers with an operatic range. And the more emotional mainstream pop called for exuberant singers able to let go.

By that time most of them were part Italian. Still, they made up some of the most iconic figures -- Madonna, Bon Jovi, and Springsteen.

helene edwards said...

Amazing to me that someone could mention the Six Day War and Vietnam in the same breath WRT effect on TV watchers in the States. The images coming back from Vietnam were of body bags and burned or dismembered corpses. But from Egypt, just a bunch of ruined planes that never got off the ground. The Israeli's won a bloodless war (good for them!). While it doubtless did much for Jewish self-esteem, I don't see how it had any impact on the average American viewer.

Anonymous said...


You say that Italians are (or were) "inarticulate". I probably don't understand what you mean here; but I think I disagree.

Cicero, Dante, Machiavelli, Umberto Eco . . . am I missing something here?


Anonymous said...

"A leading figure in this tidal shift away from professionalism was Bob Dylan. But coming from Duluth (of all places) with his obsession with folk (i.e., goy) songs and the “old, weird America,” he was easier for Jews to praise than to imitate. When Dylan published an autobiography a few years ago that didn’t devote much space to his ethnicity, it started to sink in that Dylan may have been almost as much of an American assimilationist as Louis B. Mayer."

His 'inimitatableness' was actually very Jewish. Jewishness is a kind of dualism. Intensely tribal and intensely individualistic. Indeed, even amongst the various tribes, the Jewish tribe was, at once, the most wandering/nomadic/universalist and the most tribal/exclusive/distinct.
Jews were never one thing as opposed to the other. They managed to be both. Jews are not only two-faced but two-minded and two-hearted. (And also, two-dicked. No people have been so sexually exclusive and sexually adventurous as the same time. Even today, Jews are the main ideologues of race--especially in Israel--and of porn, mostly in America.)
So, calling Dylan an assimilationist is misleading. He was an absorptionist who absorbed all sorts of things around him but made them distinctly his own. Unlike most folk singers who were content to carry on with the tradition, Dylan 'radically' upended it and brewed his own stew. Chagall did the same thing with Russian culture and life. You can see much of Russianness in his paintings but through a very Jewish sensibility. Same goes for Kafka and Norman Mailer.

Jewish intellectuals like Hannah Arendt and Susan Sontag did the same with German influences. You can see this in Zelig, a movie about the paradoxical nature of Jewishness. Zelig is, at once, the least Jewish and most Jewish but precisely because he's least Jewish. He's adaptable and absorbable--if there be such word--of everything, and so, he's the most unJewish Jew. But this ability to adapt and transform is so amazingly distinct and unique that he's also the most Jewish Jew. And we can't help notice that no matter how much he become 'something other'--negro or nazi--, he still remains a Jew.

That is why Woody Allen and Dylan are great heroes to Jews. They thoroughly absorbed all aspects of American culture but their final product was distinctly and unmistakably Jewish in their eccentricities, oddities, wit, brilliance, personalities, and much else. Dylan turned old weird America into new weird America and on his own terms. Jews don't need to imitate Dylan since they have the power to do their own weird crazy thing: Larry David, Howard Stern, Steven Spielberg, and etc. It's the goyim who think of imitating something. Even Brill Building people like Carole King did something more than imitate others. They made the influences their own.
And earlier, Gershwin fused elements of classical and Jazz.
Jews are more into the process than the product. Even if most Jews didn't imitate what Dylan did, they've been doing their own thing in the same spirit. It's like Spielberg took Disneyisms, Fordism, Leanisms, and Kurosawaisms, and out of all that created his own unique Spielbergism. An assimilationist? Yes and no. Spielberg's movies are the mainstream of America, but look beneath the surface and they're very Jewish works with Jewish sensibility.

Dylan was never trying to be one of us. He was taking stuff from us and making it his own and selling it back to us. Dylan's music is not the straight mirror that clearly reflects our history and culture. It is a warped and crooked mirror that distorts our history and culture through his uniquely Jewish personality and attitudes. As such, they can be offensive and/or fascinating.

Anonymous said...

You can learn something about Dylan from Kael and Mamet. All three are very American and very Jewish. And their outsider-ness even among Jews makes them, oddly enough, more Jewish. If what distinguishes a Jew is his outsiderness, then Dylan, Kael, and Mamet could be seen as double outsiders for cultural, geographical, and/or ideological reasons. Same goes for Ayn Rand, the most radically pro-American Jew but the most radically personalitied Jew.

Anonymous said...

Real life Zelig. So anti-Jewish but so distinctly Jewish in his anti-Jewishness. Same was true of Marx and Trotsky.

dirk said...

"So, it sounds like Zappa kind of downplayed the fact that he was predominantly Italian, maybe because he didn't have a traditional Little Italy upbringing, maybe because Italian-Americans seemed out of fashion in the electric guitar age of the 1960s."

I think this cuts to the heart of it. The 60's was about the electric guitar and all those Italian crooners became obsolete overnight because of the guitar. Makes me think of the Zappa song: "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama."

dirk said...

Zappa was always the outsider hippie, the anti-hippie hippie. His "We're Only in it for the Money" (1968) album was a scathing satire of the Summer of Love. He didn't use drugs and didn't like those who did. He mocked the flower children, the stoners, the acid, the pseudo-Eastern philosophy, the Jesus freaks, and the Love-Ins.

Here's the lyrics for:
Who Needs the Peace Corps? (1968)

What's there to live for?
Who needs the peace corps?
Think I'll just DROP OUT
I'll go to Frisco
Buy a wig & sleep
On Owsley's floor
Walked past the wig store
Danced at the Fillmore
I'm completely stoned
I'm hippy & I'm trippy
I'm a gypsy on my own
I'll stay a week & get the crabs &
Take a bus back home
I'm really just a phony
But forgive me
'Cause I'm stoned
Every town must have a place
Where phony hippies meet
Psychedelic dungeons
Popping up every street

And here are some of the lyrics to Trouble Every Day (1965), which is about the Watts Riot:

Well, I seen the fires burnin'
And the local people turnin'
On the merchants and the shops
Who used to sell their brooms and mops
And every other household item
Watched the mob just turn and bite 'em
And they say it served 'em right
Because a few of them are white,
And it's the same across the nation
Black and white discrimination
Yellin' "You can't understand me!"
'N all that other jazz they hand me
In the papers and TV and
All that mass stupidity
That seems to grow more every day
Each time you hear some nitwit say
He wants to go and do you in
Because the color of your skin
Just don't appeal to him
(No matter if it's black or white)
Because he's out for blood tonight

Whiskey said...

Steve -- My take is that American Jews post 1960's simply deeply assimilated (as did Poles, Germans, Hungarians) into America. And became practically indistinguishable from the Irish-Irish (my mother's family, O'Neils and O'Donnells, one ancestor coming here speaking only Gaelic), and the Scots-Irish (my father's Protestant Northern Ireland people).

The melting pot for these groups DID work. Italians on the other hand remain still notably Italian, and are often laughed at as Jersey Shore "Guidos" and pseudo tough guys. It is notable that TV/Movies now portray the old Mafia as deficient, with the new mobs as fearsome villains brutal Russian, Eastern European, Muslim, etc. mobs (Taken 1-5, basically, oh you know the sequels are coming till Liam Neeson is using a walker).

There was/is a rear-guard of the old Catholic "order based" guys like Frank Miller, who layer on Catholic guilt, desire for order against chaos, and a feeling of betrayal of the old order giving in (to the chaos). Daredevil, the Punisher (the very Italian-American Frank Castiglone aka Frank Castle) and so on.

Whiskey said...

Re Wheeler --

I find it hard see any Cultural Marxism or nihilism in say, Bibi Netanyahu, or Ehud Barak. Former Paratroopers both, the latter a key participant in the covert assassination of the Red Prince behind the Munich Massacre, those are hardly "nihilist" guys. They don't even belong on the same planet as say, a Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David.

Which makes the point. You can't distinguish a Larry David, or Seinfeld, or Louise-Dreyfuss, from a Kennedy, or an Obama, or a Jessie Jackson Jr, or a Megan McCain for that matter. They're all the same, in essential world view (straight White men BAD, others GOOD) or desire (the Colors of Benneton basically) or philosophy (post-Christian PC/Multi-culti utopia).

A guy like "Django Unchained" Tarantino, very Italian in background, is the same. A giant White Guy snuff film basically, celebrating Blackness, is made by the nerdiest of film nerds, who happens to be Italian. Meanwhile a guy like Woody Allen oh-so-desperately wants to be a rich old money WASP guy banging hot young WASP girls. Heck Allen's films are filled with odes to his true love: old money and pseudo aristocracy.

Jews can be divided into two camps: fairly virtuous, military veteran, Zionist leaders who face physical danger in trying to maintain a Jewish state against those intent on wiping them all out; and deeply assimilated Larry Davids or Lena Dunham's who face enormous peer pressure in a mutated mixture of Puritan conformity and Cavalier aristocracy that is the modern West from Stockholm to San Diego.

Whiskey said...

And last add, I'd say there is a deep and unbridgeable chasm between those Jews in Israel who face military action, physical danger, people really trying their best to kill them, and those in the US who are indistinguishable from say, Chris Matthews.

If you are embedded in the new Western Aristocracy, you went to the same few elite schools, had parents who levered you in there due to their own position, socialize with fellow global elites who could be Obama, or Jarrett, or Jessie Jackson Jr, or the son of a Nigerian Transport Minister, you feel the same hate and disconnect to your people as they do, feel closer to the global elites of different colors and races and religions and backgrounds than your own people, live life of ultra comfort, no risk, no danger, no FEAR, and cannot understand anyone who does.

And you feel contempt for all who are not of your class and station in life, basically a hereditary aristocracy/oligarchy.

If you are an Israeli, your nation might be filled with corruption and loss of ideals from the Zionist era, but you are reminded daily of people wanting to kill you for who you are, and that there is no bargaining with them. That they will kill your and your family without remorse or compunction. And that you can see who is brave and has faced physical danger, and who has not, clearly, even if you don't agree with them politically. You know only physical bravery and martial prowess will keep you safe, and nothing else will. You feel disconnected and angry at a global elite who you have nothing in common with.

Anonymous said...

"I find it hard see any Cultural Marxism or nihilism in say, Bibi Netanyahu, or Ehud Barak."

If Israel ceased to exist and if Netanhayu settled in the US, he would be a liberal Jew out of Jewish interest.
And it would be smart.

If you're a minority, favor liberalism to mellow out the power of the majority.
If you're party of the majority, favor nationalism to maximize the power of your own people.

Netanhayu has always been rightwing for Israel. He never suggested that white gentiles in America should act like Jews act in Israel. His message to us has been 'support rightwing Jews in Israel', but he has never said he would support rightwing whites in America.

In a way, Jews are being hypocritical, but in another way, not really. They're just being smart. If someone wears coat in winter, is he being hypocritical if he doesn't wear it in summer?
No, he wears a coat in winter because it's cold, and he takes it off in summer because it's warm. Only an idiot would consistently wear a coat all year around.
Jews are simply adapting to whatever the political climate happens to be.

When most Americans were white, Jews used white ethnics against wasp power concentrated in the GOP, and it seemed like liberalism had won the day in 64. Jews, white ethnics, blacks, and liberal wasps overwhelmingly voted for LBJ. But when all hell broke loose, many white ethnics went to the GOP, and the Democrats also lost white southerners.
So, a new strategy was needed and now we have Obama supported by growing masses of non-whites.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we didn't hear so much from Italians because they simply quietly assimilated. (What have we heard from Danish-Americans or German-Americans at this time, or now)? Maybe they just learned English, their children or grandchildren married spouses that may not have been ethnically Italian and they just settled somewhere in the burbs.

And what's wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

How about Italianisms vs Yiddishisms.

I wonder why 'pezzanovante' and 'figlio di putana' never became households words like 'shmuck' and 'putz'. My favorite yiddism, 'gonif mamzer', never caught on either.

Anonymous said...

Great name for a pizza joint:


Anonymous said...

Japanese movie comes between Jews.

Anonymous said...

Read the blog heading:


Rotfl. Never laughed so hard. Now, this is one whacked-out Jew.

Anonymous said...

"Jews are simply adapting to whatever the political climate happens to be".

This is not the basis of Jewish hypocrisy.

It is the fact that when OTHER PEOPLES do the same thing they call it "racism" instead of just being smart.

Anonymous said...

"It is the fact that when OTHER PEOPLES do the same thing they call it 'racism' instead of just being smart."

That's part of 'switching the coat'.
In summer Jews take off the coat and insist goy must wear it. In winter, Jews wear the coat and insist goy must stand in the cold.
Makes the Jew stronger, makes the goy weaker. To make your side stronger, it helps to make the other side weaker. So, I say it's smart.

It's like we say it's okay for us and our allies to have nukes but not our enemies. Hypocrisy is power by other means.

Anonymous said...

Re: Italian-Americans during WW II.

The Roosevelt Administration relied on ethnicity as a proxy for political beliefs. During the war, nearly 600,000 Italian-Americans were subjected to curfews, travel restrictions, registration requirements, forced relocation, and other civil rights violations. There was little or no individualized fact-finding before or after the government raided homes (without a warrant), seized property (without compensation or judicial order), or issued blanket exclusion orders.

From “Injustice Ignored: The Internment of Italian - Americans during World War II” in the Pace International Law Review:

“A typical indication that a certain area was designated as a 'restricted zone' was a sign resembling the following:

The United States Government requires all aliens of German, Italian, or Japanese nationality to vacate this area.' [footnote]88

[…] Frequently, those who were hardest hit by the relocation orders were elderly grandparents who would have to move out of their homes. [fn]92 In fact, 'Joe Aiello, a United States resident for fifty-six years but still an Italian citizen, was forced to leave his home in a wheelchair, and Placido Abono was moved out on a stretcher at the age of 97.' [fn] 93

In total, establishment of the restricted zone along the Cali­fornia coast subjected some 10,000 Italian Americans to evacua­tion by February 24, 1942. [fn]94 Rosina Trovato, a classified enemy alien, was one of those evacuees who could not believe what was happening to her. Sadly, she received her notice to evacuate on the very day that she learned that her son had gone down with the U.S.S. Arizona in Pearl Harbor. [fn]95

Naturalized citizens were also among those subject to the restrictions. Nino Guttadauro, the business manager of a fish­erman's association in San Francisco, was forced to leave the area and find a job in Reno. [fn] 96 Seventy-year-old Ettore Patrizi, editor-publisher of the West's major Italian language newspa­per, L'ltalia, had been a naturalized citizen since 1898. [fn]97 He was hospitalized when he received the exclusion order and was given permission to delay his departure only until he was re­leased from the hospital. [fn]98 Sylvester Andriano, an attorney and former member of the City's Police Commission and Board of Supervisors, also received exclusion orders.”[fn]99

(emphasis added)

Canadian Observer said...

I saw the 86 year old Tony Bennett a few months ago at a casino in Buffalo, New York. It was a fun show!

ben tillman said...

Along with Zappa growing up in California and Dylan growing up in Duluth, two of the four Italian crooners you mentioned are from Appalachian coal country....

Zappa's a Baltimore native and didn't leave for CA until he was 12.

ben tillman said...

I think this cuts to the heart of it. The 60's was about the electric guitar and all those Italian crooners became obsolete overnight because of the guitar.

Italian guitarists in the 1960's? There's John Cipollina of Quicksilver -- who else?

Anonymous said...

A simple 60s theory: universal education beyond puberty and co-ed higher-education created a protected bubble, naturally hostile to the existing order, that amplified radicals. Why study hard when you can impress the girls with direct action? "Hey, baby, when I take over it can all be yours!". If governments had been able to assert physical authority they could probably have easily countered this, but television, women with the vote, and the needs of Cold War propaganda made blatent displays of any force unthinkable and counter-productive. Thus the power of the demonstration. (Except in Latin America, where they established the civilized protcol of a weekly riot on campus, but with rioting students being fair game off campus...)

One way to think about 60s causes is to think about what ended the 60s. I saw a book somewhere that I can, alas, no longer remember, that claimed that in the US it was the Ohio National Guard opening fire at Kent State and, in Berkeley, the Alameda County Sheriff's office finally being legally unleashed from the restrictions placed by the Berkeley city governement fellow travellers. The sheriffs apparently had a long history of putting down longshoremans strikes in Oakland and simply walked down the street in lines abreast firing shotguns filled with rocksalt. The bubble was no longer protected, things could get dangerous. The end of the draft and the Vietnam wind-down were also underway, so why bother with the risky stuff?

Auntie Analogue said...

"The 60's was about the electric guitar and all those Italian crooners became obsolete overnight because of the guitar."

There was that long-running TV show guitar theme picked, from behind a blazing antique map of the Ponderosa, by Al Caiola.

DanJ said...

"In pop music, the 60s unleashed anarchic new energies that left Italian Americans, with their ancient bel canto tradition, largely stumped until the 1970s."

You can't blame them for being stumped. For the first time in history, singing in a beautiful voice went out of fashion. Nobody could have seen that coming.

Probably the standards of singing will return to normal, one day, and future generations will laugh and shake their heads in disbelief when they listen to our popular music.

Anonymous said...

"You can't blame them for being stumped. For the first time in history, singing in a beautiful voice went out of fashion. Nobody could have seen that coming."

Wrong. While 60s had unlikely stars like Dylan, Jagger, and the like--though Jagger could sound beautiful in stuff like Lady Jane and Ruby Tuesday and Dandelion--, the fact is 60s had tons of beautiful singing. But what was special was it had beauty and personality.
Four Tops, Supremes, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and Beach Boys--'God Only Knows' is not beautiful?--, Van Morrison, Byrdrs, Mamas and Papas, The Band, Stephen Stills, Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, Simon and Garfunkster, Procol Harum, Dusty Springfield,and etc.

The problem with Italian acts of 40s and 50s was it got too generic and schmaltzy.

If anything, the return to standards with Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and the dreadful American Idol was the real shit. It got all generic once again.

(Now, 70s... that whole punk thing was ugly, ugly, and ugly.. Indeed willfully ugly, which is why I can't stand most of it. And heavy metal was an ugly cartoon of hard rock.)

This is beautiful:

Anonymous said...

"A simple 60s theory: universal education beyond puberty and co-ed higher-education created a protected bubble, naturally hostile to the existing order, that amplified radicals. Why study hard when you can impress the girls with direct action?"

That's part of it, but why did so many non-radical youths partake of counterculture or elements of it?
Maybe order begats disorder and disorder begats order.
After the disorder of 30s and 40s and early 50s with Depression, WWII, Cold War, and Korean War, most people wanted order. And so we got the orderly Eisenhower 50s. Kids who grew up in the 50s and early 60s saw order all around them. They took it for granted. It got boring. And so, they were partial to promise of new stuff.
So, 60s wasn't so much a rush to embrace disorder out of love of disorder but out of taking order for granted.
If you got nothing to eat, your main goal is to procure steady meals. But if you got enough to eat, your main goal is to eat stuff that are exciting.
And the logic of capitalism is to make people want more and more new stuff. And so, capitalism embraced the new fun and exciting stuff of 60s culture. Since media too is part of capitalism, it too focused on new sensationalist stories, and what better than 'new generation' and hippies and counterculture.
Reporting something is like advertising something.

But once the disorder got too much with riots, anti-war protests, and campus ruckus, people sought order in the 70s and 80s.

Also, 60s were exciting because America it was really a new cultural frontier. Prior to the 50s, America had changed ALOT but more gradually and more as an outgrowth of what had gone before. Even as America became less Anglo-American, most ethnics were becoming waspy and even Negroes were saying they wanna be respectable like white folks.
But 60s was really different. Young people challenged the old. Negro Ali said, "I'm the greatest". He was uppity x 100.

Anonymous said...

60s were when America lost its virginity. Just as you can't lose virginity twice, we can't have 60s again. Its effect linger and spread, but that kind of decade is not possible again.

DanJ said...

@ Anonymous 2.36

Those are great examples and I stand corrected. Still, Dylan and Mick Jagger shows that in the sixties it became possible to be a superstar even with a poor singing voice. Punk and much of heavy metal was ugly on purpose and will be laughed at in the near future.

Whitney Houston and Celine Dion has done huge damage. Blessed with a great vocal range, they started the trend that you must also show your entire range and power in every single song, every single time. In this they differ from the crooners of yesteryear, who had a great sense for when to keep it low-key and when to let go.

Anonymous said...

"Still, Dylan and Mick Jagger shows that in the sixties it became possible to be a superstar even with a poor singing voice."

But Dylan's songs were so personal and strange that they needed his voice.

There's no need for a song as dark and morbid as Baby Blue to be sung pretty. Andy Williams or Tom Jones might have sung it 'nicer' but then the whole meaning of the song would have been lost. (This is why so many Dylan songs covered by Baez are insufferable. She removed all the fiber and roughage.)
Dylan's was presenting a certain truth as he felt it.
It's like you can't use a handsome actor for every role. Imagine Clint Eastwood or Redford as Ratso in Midnight Cowboy. Imagine Tom Cruise as Tommy in Goodfellas.
'Truth' isn't always pretty, and Dylan, as an artist, was trying his vision of life.

Anonymous said...

Jagger's voice wasn't pretty but it wasn't poor. His performances for Satisfaction, Get Off of my cloud, wild horses, gimme shelter, and tumbling dice were truly inspired.
I can't imagine anyone doing them better.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Photos from the 1860s.

Were the Romantics and Pre-Raphaelites the proto-hippies and decadents?

Didn't Paul Johnson say Wagner was like a rock star?
Nietzsche was the mad guru.

Weren't Coleridge and Blake into drugs and/or hallucinations?

Adventurous elites were into that stuff, but then came the rise of mass culture that flattened everything out and made aristocratism unfashionable.

In a way, the 1960s was partly a mass revival of elitist-aristocratic form of decadent rebellion of 1860s. In the 1860s, only a few could enjoy that sort of thing. By 1960s, many people could go to college and have the means to indulge not just in pop culture but pop culture with aristocratic flavor. With color and flamboyance.

The Stones didn't just take from American popular culture but dandified it. They dressed like aristo-bohemians. Jim Morrison didn't just rock. He wrote songs as epic romantic Nietzchean poems. Pink Floyd was like modern Coleridge.

Hippies were different from 50s greasers. It's like they wanted their own gardens. Leary and others experimented in a secluded mansion. Beatles got artsy. Dylan was Shakespeare in the alley. Velvet Underground documented the life of rich decadents around Warhol--who were like the rich decadents of La Dolce Vita.

Most people see 60s as egalitarian but much of the appeal was that pop culture could take on an aristocratic or high flavor. That was the appeal of movies like the Graduate and Blow Up. They were about youth culture but also art films.

Or a pop song like Ruby Tuesday that was pop but also refined and poetic.

It's the vampires in Interview with a Vampire. Rebels but also dandies. Like Brian Jones.

Anonymous said...

The dandy rockers.

Anonymous said...

That may have the appeal of the British Invasion. British accents and manners added an element of class to American pop culture.

Even Lennon and McCartney who didn't grow up privileged had something of the refined British class and demeanor to them.
Penny Lane for instance.

Anonymous said...

"That's part of it, but why did so many non-radical youths partake of counterculture or elements of it?"

Sex; stress; the radical's focus on a predefined agenda defined by their parents and often assisted by other adults; and the death of in loco parentis:

"Prior to the 1960s, undergraduates were subject to many restrictions on their private lives. Women were generally subject to curfews as early as 10:00, and dormitories were usually entirely one-sex. ...

The landmark 1961 case Dixon v. Alabama was the beginning of the end for in loco parentis in U.S. higher education."

Without in local parentis, universities could not discipline their under-age students as if the school was a legal "stand-in" for the parents. It turned out, unchecked, the students could run riot over the school. (Reducing the legal age on consent and so on somewhat papered-over this problem, but it didn't make the students any more adult.)

Many young students in the 60s were heavily stressed, in particular in the large state schools. They were usually living away from home for the first time. They had relatively little non-student community support; there was nothing to counter the radicals, who were the ones who were there when they were living their lives, not just in class. The institutions were often new and didn't have "the system" worked out. Student expectations were high, but so were failure rates. Their parents had fought WWII in the military, with extreme government support. Many must have assumed the new universal higher-education would somehow be similar. It wasn't. Many students responded by conforming to the leadership of the radicals, who had a message tailored to them, one which also conveniently included "drugs, sex, rock-and-roll", a message that the radicals had developed in the previous decades but which now came to fruition.

It would be interesting to study the history of in loco parentis and the 60s.