Just before the F.B.I. rounded up 127 alleged Mafia members last week, federal agents swept into Rao’s and relieved the legendary restaurant’s walls of a photograph of one Joey Cupcakes. It is alleged that pursuant to that incident, other patrons made discreet visits to Rao’s to repossess similarly placed pictures of themselves. This would mean that wise guys are the only people in the country who do not yearn to disseminate their images to as wide an audience as possible. And this set us thinking about how hard it is to run a business nowadays without a significant online presence.
It’s not just the Internet age that seems to be working against the mob. They’re also up against Mr. Bloomberg, who does garbage collection like nobody else. Plus, the neighborhood Italian restaurant has been displaced by five-star establishments. Imagine Michael Corleone planning to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey in Maialino. They’d end up fighting over the Bucatini all’Amatriciana. If they could even get a reservation.
The success of the Mafia in popular culture is the biggest blow of all. It’s hard to function as Joey Cupcakes when you come into the world surrounded by images of Joey Cupcakes. You become “Joey Cupcakes.” It must be wholly disorienting, when you have to break a guy’s legs, to find yourself “breaking a guy’s legs.” It must make a guy want to start his own Facebook page-Like this?-or even talk his heart out to the feds, just to feel like an authentic hood.
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