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Sicily and its stereotypes

Last posted May 17, 2010 at 09:17AM EDT. Added May 14, 2010 at 11:42AM EDT
16 posts from 9 users

Hi guys, since this is a kind of inernational forum I was wondering: what opinion do you people in the world have of sicily?
I mean, what’s the first association (if there is any) with it? spaghetti? mafia? taormina?

I’m doing some personal researches on this topic and, btw, I’m Sicilian! :)

cheers

May 14, 2010 at 11:42AM EDT
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Mafia, I would say.

May 14, 2010 at 05:24PM EDT
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Mafia, definitely. Except with me I associate it with fruity drinks, due to the vast amount of such drinks that are named ‘Sicilian [fill-in-the-blank].’

May 14, 2010 at 05:26PM EDT

Mafia.
And neglect of trash pickups.
Neglect of trash pickups because of the mafia, lol.

May 14, 2010 at 05:45PM EDT
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Even as a European I feel my knowledge of Sicily is muted. I rarely hear news stories about Sicily and if I do they’re 99% of the time Mafia related.

I think Sicily didn’t get a great deal when it unified with the Italy, your two cultures pretty much got lumped together from an international standpoint.

Besides all that, my only other references point of Sicilian culture would be the fact that Sicily was a major cultural hue back in the medieval ages with the Normans and Arabs fighting it out for control of the Island.

May 14, 2010 at 05:58PM EDT
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Oh, Sicily? I don’t know much about its culture but I do know that Sicily is the birthplace of the Mafia.

May 14, 2010 at 06:29PM EDT
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I usually think of Sicilians as Italians, since they are so close, and so similar, even the culture is exactly the same.

May 14, 2010 at 07:12PM EDT

One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think of Sicily is lotsa Spaghetti.

May 14, 2010 at 07:14PM EDT
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May 14, 2010 at 08:19PM EDT

I just know not to mess with a Sicilian when death is on the line.

May 14, 2010 at 09:18PM EDT
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“Mafia.
And neglect of trash pickups.
Neglect of trash pickups because of the mafia, lol.”

That’s hilarious! :)

And: “I just know not to mess with a Sicilian when death is on the line”…ehehe, I was grown up with shiploads of tv programmes that taught people this akward concept.

Thanks guys for your inputs.
I find it truly stimulating to collect opinions from people all around the world.
According to this general statistics I would say that MAFIA is the first immediate association between Sicily and your knowledge of it.
Well, no alarms and no surprises -as Thom Yorke would sing -, unfortunately history changed what The Celt wrote – brilliantly . Mafia has overwhelmed a deeprooted culture that originates from Greeks, Latins,Normands, Arabs and that’s still evident in our architecture.
I’m not defending this land just because I live here, I’m a disenchated citizen that wants to quit Sicily and Italy as soon as she can, but I find it sad that stereotypes, no matter where we are, always win.

May 15, 2010 at 07:47AM EDT
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Goddamn Cosa Nostra, they had to go ruin it for everyone.

Man, I think Scilly really has to do more to promote it’s culture around the world, possibly through the tourist board or something. I mean in reality Sicily is really Europe’s cultural melting pot, but you just never see that promoted. Like, I used to get CNN and often you’d see whole countries promoting themselves: Greece, Crete, Montenegro, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, they have ad campaigns that gave you a glimpse of the culture while encouraging you to holiday there.

I mean to be brutally honest, as a European I have some pre-conceived notions about pretty much all the other European cultures; French, German, English, Italian, Turkish, Greek etc, etc. Like I have certain expectations of how they’d be like, as I’m sure they’d have expectations of how I would be as an Irish guy. But If I actually met a Sicilian in real life, I’d no have no expectations of them, it’d be a blank slate because I never hear anything about them.

May 15, 2010 at 08:32AM EDT
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Well, I can precise my mind about what I said earlier and Mafia.
I took Italian as my third language learning in college. I’ve learnt, in total, through 6 years of Italian, from language structure to history. I chose it, at that time because I thought, and I still think, that it is a prettier language than the others that were available for me (that is, among Spanish and German); more joyful, closer to singing than talking.

During the history studies, we mainly learnt about the Napoleon influence on the lands, the revolt against the Church. We also learnt about the big gap between rich North Italy and poor South Italy, even today. When we stumbled upon Sicily, as far as I remember, we learnt about their food speciality (not pasta, but it was about bread I think) and the conditions resulting of Mafia’s birth as a mutual assistance system between people. The text we had to study on was about a man who got shot while trying to reach a bus. I don’t remember the book’s title (I think it was from the 1950s) but the reference on Mafia was obvious enough.
We also had a video about an affair that took place in the US, where 3-4 Italian guys got arrested and tried.

I don’t know if it is much of a stereotype but yeah, it helped it being stuck in my mind, I guess.

Last edited May 15, 2010 at 09:31AM EDT
May 15, 2010 at 09:30AM EDT
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The Celt, what you wrote is illuminating. You focused on and hit the problem: we don’t promote anything of our country and as a result what people know of us is a bunch of stereotypes and of course Mafia stuff.
That’s pretty sad. I mean, indifference is far worse than pre-conceived opinions (even negative opinions).
What about me promoting my own island here? :) posting pictures and traditional dishes wouldn’t be a bad idea, would it? ;)

Tomberry, you’re French, arent’you? Nice exchange, I’m doing specular studies on French at college at the moment for those same reasons. French is a prettier language than the others that were available to me, and, btw…j’adore la musicalité du Français!

May 16, 2010 at 06:29AM EDT
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You guessed well, but I don’t share your view on my native tongue.
Well, while we are at it, do you know some Italian Internet memes ?

I wrote an article about Massimo d’Alema and his shopped photos and there are also 2 possible italian ones in submission. That would be great to have a review from someone who is on the spot.

May 16, 2010 at 09:08AM EDT
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Nice idea.
I’m trying to collect ideas and materials to share Italian internet memes with you.
After work I’ll post something.
D’Alema? Uh, his fu-fu dance is an evergreen meme here.
Also Berlusconi would be a perfet subject.

I’ll let you know.

May 17, 2010 at 09:17AM EDT
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Skeletor-sm

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