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.

5 thoughts on “Tough Life in the Thug Life

  1. I always found the title of The Godfather to be a bit ironic. I mean considering the fact that a godfather is supposed to be used for spiritiual guidance and the films and book are about the mafia. I can see what you mean when you say that Johnny is being immature by relying on his godfather to get him out of fixes. But his immaturity probably just makes Vito want to help him more.

  2. I see what you’re saying. I do have godparents, an aunt and an uncle, but in reality their roles in my life are pretty much the same as all of my other aunts and uncles. I am pretty close with my aunt but I feel like that would have happened anyway even if she wasn’t my godmother.

    Maybe, though, our godparents have another role that they haven’t had the opportunity to fulfill yet–say, maybe on our wedding day or other important events in our lives. Just a thought.

  3. I do not have godparents, but I always wanted them, especially after Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when his godfather Sirius saves him. However, I agree with you and Ben. Having another set of parents will not make the world any easier to deal with and does not give you justification to do bad things. I think the mafia is placing too much blame on the parent’s and godparent’s role in child rearing for the individual’s bad choice, when the individual is the one who should be blamed.

  4. Alaina, I like this post. Haha. I can definitely understand how the role of God-parents has seemed to change over the years . I think that it is always nice to have the extra “parents” so to speak. As it turns out my goparents are my aunt Eileen and my “uncle Tree.” So, we have a simillar situation playing out! haha But, my uncle Tree is not my uncle so much as he is one of my father’s good friends and business associates.
    I have been very close to both of these people all my life which has been nice. But I think you’re right when you say that the Italians are being babies. (That’s too funny) I think you’re right because naturally… difficulty is entirely relative. To assert that the world is too hard for everybody to go through with just one set of parents… is plain silly.
    But it has a nice sound to it doesn’t it?
    I liked this post, it brought fond memories of my Godparents to mind. thanks

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