17 Jun

The American Gangster-Sex, Money and Power The Mob and the Men The love affair with gangsters has been around since the silent era. Ever since Edward G. Robinson, Cagney and Bogart entered their lives. Then onto Brando, Pacino, Pesi and DiNiro. They have brought the power of the mob to our theaters and living rooms.

 Real-time gangsters such as Capone, Lansky, Siegel, Costello, Luciano, Anastasia, Gambino, and Gotti fueled the gangster genre for the cinema. Why is that we have had a love affair with these men and why do we hold them in such high admiration? The answer is quite simple. Their power came from a total disregard for the law, the rules, and discipline.

 Gangsters did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and never asked permission. This is one reason women were so attracted to the gangster. In the movie, Scarface Tony says to Manny. “In this country first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women.” That’s how it worked a hundred years ago and that’s how it works today.

 The gangster had everything a woman wanted, money and power. They didn’t want a relationship or romance, they wanted the nightlife, the lavish dinners, hotel suites, jewels, and being seen with these powerful men. They made women feel alive, important and a power that they could never experience without a gangster.

 Gangsters carried on many affairs while the wife stayed home and took care of the house and kids. As depicted in the hit movie Goodfellas. Ray Liotta did a voice-over throughout the movie and explained that as a wiseguy they set aside Friday night for the girlfriends. Henry Hill had an apartment for his girlfriend, which he funded, so he could spend a few nights each week with her. 

Stories have circulated saying that during the Capone era they would have orgies in Capone’s hotel suites that lasted for days. A wiseguy could have almost any woman he wanted. Why, because a women’s fascination with the bad boy has gone on since the beginning of time. Women love the bad guy, the risk-taker, the man who would go the extra mile even in the face of danger or death.

 The movie Goodfellas explains this too. In this scene, Henry protects the honor of his girlfriend, Karen, by beating up her across the street neighbor to a bloody mess for abusing her and then points a .38 revolver at his brothers. Henry then hands the gun to Karen and asks her to hide it.

 Karen’s voice-over says “I know there are women out there like my best friends who would have got out of there the minute their boyfriend gave them a gun to hide, but I have to admit the truth. It turned me on.” We see it every day. Gorgeous women with dirty bikers who may be criminals, the power lifter, MMA fighter, and wrestler are constantly surrounded, my hot babes. 

Ahh yes. The love affair with the bad boys continues. Let us now look at the real-life gangster. Al Capone, dubbed a philanthropist because he gave so much money to the poor. In the town of Cicero, Chicago, Capone had a standing order to bring coal to all the poor people so they would not be cold during their brutal winters.

 Al was a millionaire at 26 and was one of the most successful and loved gangsters of that time. Meyer Lansky, the last of the Jewish gangsters, was a highly intelligent criminal and responsible for putting the gaming together in a city we now know as Las Vegas. He read books on math and science. Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel was quoted as saying “That Meyer. Can you believe it? He’s a member of the book of the month club.” 

Lansky, known as the chairman of the board and as he was once referring to the mob he said,” We’re bigger than U.S. Steel.” Meyer Lansky was one of the few gangsters of that time to die of natural causes. John Gotti,  known as the Teflon Don, The Dapper Don, and The Last Godfather. The newspapers gave him the name the Teflon Don because the prosecutors could never make charges stick. The Dapper Don came along because of his exquisite attire and grooming. His silver-gray hair was always neat and in place, and he shined in his Brioni custom-made suits. 

John Gotti wasn’t just any gangster, he was a star, and the people of his hometown of Ozone Park, Queens, New York City loved him. Along with many others across the country, they envied him for his cool and slick manner. Even in court, you would never see him sweat. John Gotti was truly a man’s man. 

However, in the end, it was mostly the same. Except for Lansky and a few others of that era, all the gangsters died either in prison or by assassination. Their money and power-filled lives ended usually much younger than most average men. Was it worth it, the sex, money, and power? No one knows. The truth is buried forever.      

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