The Soprano's Glorification Throughout time social issues have plagued every society. In our Modern times many social problems can be seen personified through our television sets. The most recent of these television programs to showcase these problems is through the life of Tony Soprano, in HBO's The Soprano's. David Simon brings an interesting perspective when exploring the criminal side of the American Dream, in his book Tony Soprano's America. In addition, argues The Soprano's is a metaphor for the ills of our contemporary American Life showing how we are all disillusioned, alienated, and alone. In the book, Simon explains how The Soprano's is the microcosm of America where we glorify Tony as a liar, a cheater and a bigot, but nonetheless love him.
Family dysfunction is the first of the social problems personified in the book. How is it that in today's society the average couple that is married between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four has a seventy-five percent divorce rate.
Though in the book, Tony and his wife Carmella are still currently married, Tony is unfaithful. Which is worse divorce or unfaithfulness? Simon explains that divorce is worse due to the fact that once divorced a person has a higher chance to repeat the same action again in their next marriage. Moreover, children of divorced parents are taught indirectly that divorce is normal and they are more likely to be in a divorce relationship later on in life themselves and they are usually neglected for a period due to their parent being preoccupied with their own problems. Other factors sometimes interfere with couples being able to divorce; examples of this are through their religious faith, Catholics especially. The Soprano's being immune to the dysfunction of divorce was stated when Simon wrote, "The Soprano's are immune to this particular dysfunction because, being Catholics, they can't divorce like most other Americans. They may kill their lovers, but they won't divorce their spouses." The Soprano's face many problems on a daily basis due to the fact that Tony and Carmella have not divorced.
Drugs in America have become an immense social problem. This is personified in the Soprano's though Jackie Apri Jr., he started as a nice clean outstanding boy and started a downward spiral, after drug use, into robbing his own business associates and other violent act until Tony has to have him killed. We see the same downward spiral with one of Tony's other business associates, Christopher Moltisanti. Drug abuse in the America workplace has become increasingly common, lost work has cost American businesses an estimated 246 billion dollar over the past year. Think of what could be done with this money, if we could put this money to good use? Poverty would be considerably lower, drugs may not be as much of a social problem or even we could develop more health research, finding a cure for AIDS. Drug in America don't just hurt us in an economic spectrum, they also have a direct link to the violent crime on our streets. Drug abuse and crime have a direct correlation, over the past several years studies have been conducted on the weekends by the Department of justice in major American cities show that 60 to 90 percent of the people arrested for felony crimes test positive for illegal drugs. In addition, addicts that are criminals commit a tremendous amount of crime. In California, for example, in 2001, a mere 6 percent of the criminals that were addicts accounted for more that 60 percent of all violent felonies.
The Soprano's are just one example of how the media have come to glorify social problems in the media. Tony Soprano, "He is, in short, a symbolic embodiment of one of the central contradictions of American life, that good and evil can coexist in the entity, that having a perverse code of morality is acceptable, as long as you are a success at pursuing the American Dream." This quotation is true but truly sad, it is personified in this book that as long as one is perusing our, so called, American dream it does not matter what they do to obtain. This is something that we, as American must not stand for or let sway our own moral code. The media should not have the power to persuade us from what we feel is right, creating a new demented social norm. The media's job must not be to persuade but inform us of the issues that are a problem. An example of the media, bringing to light and glorifying a problem is in recent movies like Traffic and Blow showing fourth that the war on drugs this century was lost even before it begun. Simon made this known when he wrote, "Ironically, a number of members of Congress confessed that they did not realize that we were losing the war on drugs until they saw Traffic!" Another problem that the book states, is the fact that only ten media communication companies monopolize over 97 percent of the media. With these very few companies controlling such a vast amount, who is the one regulating what is published and what is not. "Today, the mass media not only keeps us informed of what's going on in the world but also shapes our perceptions of the world." We, as Americans, are allowing ourselves to fall into the trap this media socialization that we will not have a choice of what our morals or social norms due to the fact that we are letting the media tell us what they are. One of the earlier examples of how media has influenced social problems, "Ã¢ÂÂ¦after the movie The Deer Hunter premiered in 1979, at least twenty-five people in the United States committed suicide by imitating the movie's Russian roulette scenes." Tony Soprano's, by David Simon, has an interesting perspective on the social problems in America. He makes many valid points and arguments about many social problems in America and backs them up with examples not just from the television show The Soprano's but with other media sources and statistical information. We feel that in many arguments that he is correct but disagree with his thoughts on the role of media in our society. He makes the point, that Tony's emergence as a hero represents an opportunity for Americans to take a realist look at themselves and to make changes to better social life in America.