The Fundamentals

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” – Vito Corleone / Michael Corleone

This quote is the most popular quote of all The Godfather quotes.  It epitomizes what the mafia is all about: discrete illegitimacy.  “An offer he can’t refuse” basically means, “I told the guy, he can accept the offer or he’ll die.” Death is a very serious threat.  Thus, the mafia know no one is likely to refuse an unfortunate option over death.

he mafia hide the reality of what they’re doing in terms that make their actions sound less violent.  Thus this quote perfectly masks the reality, while subtly conveying the meesage.  Antoher example of their subtle violence deals with informing someone that they killed someone.  For example, when an enemy informs the people of a death, instead of saying “hey we led this person.” – the mafia say, “This guy sleeps with fishes.” The message is subtle but understood.

The mystique of the mafia is likely why I love learning about them so much.  They’re not exactly a secret society like the Illuminati or the Knights’ Templar, but they provide onlookers with enough information to follow and enough information missing to keep us guessing.  For some odd reason, I have so much respect for the societal exploiters.  Although their morals are questionable, their tactics are very intelligent.  Intelligence knows no morals; thus, it is fair to appreciate the ingenuity of immoral people without necessarily agreeing with their choices.  That’s exactly how I feel about the mafia and Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.  Their morals are questionable but their intelligence is admirable.  The subtleness of the mafia’s “making offers people can’t refuse” highly exemplifies what the mafia is all about.

So next time, instead of completely condoning organized crime, I hope my blogs have encouraged readers to appreciate the intelligence of the mafia and understand where they are coming from.

Tough Life in the Thug Life

“Italians have a little joke, that the world is so hard a man must have two fathers to look after him, and that’s why they have godfathers.”
– Mario Puzo, The Godfather

This quote comes from the novel.

The concept of godparents arose in the early fifth century.  Initially, natural birth parents filled in this role of sponsor during the baptism of a child.  However, St. Augustine allowed exceptions to be made and by 813, it was decreed that biological parents could not be a child’s godparent.  Godparents were to give the child spiritual guidance, beyond baptismal sponsoring.  Obviously, Italians take this relationship seriously in different ways.

Because Vito is Johnny Fontane’s godfather, it is very difficult for Vito to refuse to help Johnny, even if Vito disapproves of Johnny’s behavior.  The world is too tough for Johnny and that’s why he needs Vito.  But Johnny clearly exploits this relationship.

In a literal sense of the quote, I think the Italians are being babies.  I have godparents and they barely play a role in my life.  My godparents are my mom’s sister (my aunt) and her brother-in-law (my uncle.)  The only meaning that this relationship has in my life is that they will act as my parents if anything happens to my mom and dad.  Maybe this is because I do not practice Catholicism as hardcore as I should be to have my godparents be more meaningful in my life apart from the fact that they are my relatives. (I do attend mass every Sunday and pray daily, but there’s more that I could do.)

Anyway, I think those in the mafia make their lives difficult because they are basically relying on the flaws of law enforcement to keep them from living behind bars, so a second father might be useful for extra guidance, protection, and resources.


“Leave the gun, take the canoli.” – Clemenza.
This is my absolute FAVORITE quote from The Godfather Part I. This is after they kill Pauli while he is peeing. What a way to go.
As morbid as this scene is, this line reminds us all about how little mafia members value human life. They see it as “business.” How horrible is that?! How would you like to be killed to prove a point to an enemy. I think they sign up for that risk in the beginning, but does that make it right? Their whole life is immoral so I gyesss ito only makes sense that they’re immoral and belittle a death.
Anyway, the importance of taking a canoli and leaving the gun shows how serious the mafia is about not wanting to get caught. The public knows they did it, but everyone plays dumb. Is that moral, is that just? I feel like the system of government is never as black and white as it appears to be. I think what they do is justified, but I would never put myself in their positions.