How does the media's seeming love affair with the mafia, as an entertainment topic, glamorize organized crime in the eyes of the American public?

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This a great question. You are right. There are so many illicit things that the media glamorizes that you have to wonder what effect all of this is having on our society. The hit HBO show, "Sopranos," is  a good example. If I had to guess, it has several social...

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This a great question. You are right. There are so many illicit things that the media glamorizes that you have to wonder what effect all of this is having on our society. The hit HBO show, "Sopranos," is  a good example. If I had to guess, it has several social effects.

First, as you say, the media shows usually only the glamorous sides of organized crime. This gives the impression that it is acceptable to seek after organized crimes, as long as you get away with it. It also may tempt people to go into this route.

Second, by glamorizing crime, it makes people confused by blurring line of morality and what is acceptable and unacceptable. It makes all things relative, which can be dangerous.

Third, glamorizing crime also makes law enforcement and things like this look foolish. In the end, the media does harm by inaccurately portraying crime.

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Organized crime is also influenced by the entertaining mystique of mafia movies. There are no greater fans of Hollywood's glorified romantic mobsters than members of the modern syndicates. This is because the mob as we know it is long past its prime.
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I think that it is an oversimplifcation to say that shows like The Sopranos really glamorize organized crime.  After all, that show depicted the mobsters undergoing a great deal of suffering connected to the fact that they were members of an organized crime family.  There was not a single character in The Sopranos who emerged from the series emotionally or physically unscathed.

However, if we go with the idea that the media do glamorize the mafia, we can say that they do not play up the violence and the pain as much as they should.  They do not show how much people who are in organized crime are hurt and they do not show how many of those people never get to the level of the Tony Sopranos who get a lot of the glitz and the money along with the pain.

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Using HBO's popular series, The Sopranos, as an example, many of the characters lived a life of luxury that the average person would love to share. Money, travel, drugs, alcohol, fine food, women, expensive cars and boats, and valuable personal belongings were just a few of the things that Tony and his cohorts enjoyed. They seemed to flaunt their unlawful conduct at every turn with only minimal worry about repercussions. Combining this with the seemingly honorable way in which Tony dealt with both of his families--the criminal one and the one at home--makes this lifestyle one that many people would be willing to chance with the possible rewards at stake. The murders and violence Tony and his gang perpetrated seemed so simple: There were rarely witnesses or people willing to come forward to implicate them, and when there were, Tony either rubbed them out or bought their silence. Power and riches are tantalizing to many people, and The Sopranos made it seem so easy. 

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