Barbarella Fokos 10:30 a.m., July 30
- Community Blog
- American Gypsies
Stereotypes, says who?
Recently the show "American Gypsies" has taken a lot of hits from the media. I've read quite a few reviews that accuse the show of depicting the Gypsie nation in "offensive stereotypes"...like wearing scarves or belly dancing. Or practicing traditional rituals such as animal sacrifice, i.e slaughtering a pig for a wedding (that by the way, they ate as well). Um, who is to say these depictions are offensive? Too whom? Personally, I adore belly dancing and colorful scarves. And just who is making theses accusations? Other Gypsies? Negative. They seem to love the show as much as I do. Are these accusations made by armchair intellectuals, bleeding heart liberals, ostensibly progressive middle-aged white people?...Yup. Oops, here I go again stereotyping... But gosh, folks, sometimes people get stereotyped for a significant reason. Could it be by lamentably common behaviors practiced over and over again--ad infinitum, ad nauseum--by a certain religious, ethnic, or political group of people? And gosh darn, what to do about the poor misguided souls that haplessly continue on perpetuating these stereotypes only because they are "unaware" and need to be pontificated to by some well-meaning white person just trying to help. Like: "I know belly dancing is part of your culture, but don't you think it's a form of degradation to women?" Oh VEY. "Go away and shut up" is all I want to say to these sanctimonious types. Folks, I've read hundreds of comments, and for the most part, the comments made by Gypsies rigorously defend the show, saying it is a deadly accurate depiction of your typical, traditional Gypsie Family. Many "enlightened" Gaji ( non-gypsy) reviewers find the matriach, Tina, impossibly rude and obnoxious. Really? I think she is nothing less than hysterical. In one scene, where she catches her 'ol man being friendly with a young Gajii girl, she charges up to the girl like a bull dog ready to take a bite of delicious looking calf and says with wagging finger perilously close to her face: "NO, no no no. In Roma (gypsy) culture you must never talk to gypsy man. Only talk to me. Ya hear. From now on, only talk to me." Then, dramatic pause, deep breath, then: "If you. expect to live!' It was so over the top, I bust out laughing. But ofcourse, humorless dour types took major offense, calling her "incorrigibly abusive." The Gypsy family in question, is the Jones Family. They are portrayed as being in the top hierarchy of Gypsy families on the East Coast. These people are so off the grid, so outrageous, I find them positively captivating. They emphasize over and over again how they are "outcasts of society" and only have each other to lean on. Which is kinda true. Gypsies come from boheme, (bohemian) which means "living outside of society." But instead of thinking this a black mark, a scarlet letter, they are proud, very proud to be outcasts. Their galvanizing belief is Family is Everyting. I can relate; growing up in a crazy allbeit lovable family of Irish Catholics, I get it. Yeah. We fight a lot but we also forgive a lot and have fun being funny...Oops, stereotyping again... The most abrasive thing extrapolated from you busy-body progressive reviewers was this: by complaining about the negative light these Gypsies are being portrayed in, what are you trying to say? You are assuming that these are, in fact, real live negative Gypsy stereotypes. Too bad the Jones family nor most Gyspies dont' agree with you. Let's try and be logical about this...Allow me to describe the Joneses family with the following adjectives: Irreverent, funny, wild, opinionated, intractable, tough. Now are these adjectives usually associated with people that could be easily maniuplated, unwillingly, into negative stereotypes? Do you really think they are being paid extra to act obonixious? Says who? What you may think is obnoxious, other people think funny and the Jones family think normal. I don't believe the director, Ralph Macchio, could have possibly manipulated this wonderful family into behaving especially awful in order to please the avaricious gladiator-type viewers. In another episode, the big ultimate Gypsy Wedding, the cops come on the scene to break up a fight that was getting bigger by the moment. But they managed to successfully calm folks down and the wedding proceeded as usual. Tina's reaction was typically cheeky. She said: "In all Gypsy weddings, expect trouble. It's not a real Gypsie Wedding if there's no trouble." The grooms family paid a doury of seventeen-thousand to bring the bried into their home. The bride herself remarked: "I know what the Gaje think: that we are crazy, and I'm being bought and sold like cattle." Bingo. She's right.That is precisely how many appalled--by-their-backward-ways Gaji think.,. But she adds: " We don't really care what the Gaje think; in our culture it's a sign of respect, and it's a tradition that will never go away 'cause we love it. I love it." Is it really our place to tell her she's wrong, that she's been so brainwashed she can't see her own erroneous thinking? She looked pretty happy to me. And might I add: a lot happier than the humorless, grim, nosy do-gooders trying to tell her how she should feel. And what about all the touching scenes? Some are so off-put by Tina, even if she unexpectedly does something kind or loving, since it doesn't fall into their own little neat box of Tina being "a complete idiot" "total bitch" her gestures are conspicuously ignored. Like when she took a helicopter all over Miami to bless the town before her son's wedding. She threw red "friendship" flowers and yellow "peace" flowers and let loose two beautiful doves looking very serene ensconced in her gentle palms