Why the Mafia and organized crime are not as “cool” as we think

It may have been more than 40 years back, and yet every child and teenager in the street has heard of the Godfather trilogy. Such is its influence. Marlon Brando’s evergreen performance is remembered till today. It led to a wave of mafia pop culture globally.

Movies have often resulted in a cultural wave. In this case, it was Brando and the Godfather theme that started the trend, with directors like Martin Scorsese following suit and creating movies such as Goodfellas, Casino and Taxi Driver. Such movies have made the mafia culture look “cool”.

If you imagine what organized crime is like, you would picture a few men dressed in designer Armani suits, smoking cigars and speaking in a refined accent and tone. They would drive in stylish convertibles and dine at fancy restaurants. Occasionally, they would pick a jibe with rival gangs and beat up people. In short, they seem like badasses.

Reality begs to differ. Organized crime is nothing like what you picture it to be. It is dangerous, affects everyone in society and causes collateral damage of large magnitudes. People who voluntarily join gangs or fall victim to them under unfortunate circumstances don’t really have a way out. Once you start dealing with dangerous people, that becomes your entire life.

Not to consider the disastrous consequences this has to the wider society. Consequences not just in terms of lives lost, but families affected physically and mentally. We have seen this happen not just in Sicily but in countries like Colombia, Brazil and Central America.

It is about time we realize the reality of organized crime. Such organizations deal with illegal drugs, trafficking and crime, and there is nothing sexy about those. It has affected nations and economies, and continues to do so. We all have a shared responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t spread further.

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