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Home > Media

Psychoreality

27 August 2004

Yesterday it was revealed that would-be Viagra-killer Phil Spector has hired the one-time attorney of convicted (and now, thankfully, dead) psychopathic mafia boss John Gotti. We wish him well.

In the meantime we double-damn Gotti himself to a thousand infinities in hell for having spawned such a vile litter of moron brats and helped shape a culture which seems to think there's something laudable about putting the fuckers on telly. We are speaking of course of America's newest smash-hit reality TV show, 'Growing up Gotti', in which the killer's brass-necked daughter has become the country's best-loved superrich single-parent poster-girl.

It's basically the Osbournes all over again. Lots and lots of carefully-chosen, partially-scripted footage of spoilt white morons getting on each other's nerves. Plus the special thrill of endless references to the Gotti claim to fame, as Victoria, with a glint in her eye, 'jokes' about having various people bumped
off.

But of course Victoria Gotti wasn't chosen to star in a programme all about herself and her family just because her father had lots and lots of people killed. No, it was also because she's already carved out a significant career as a crime novelist and society gossip columnist, based solely on the fact that her father had lots and lots of people killed. But you're right, she probably would have got to the top anyway. She is after all, a talented lady. And bright enough to see through the lies of the universally-acclaimed TV series, The Sopranos. 'I just find it offensive,' she told press this week. 'Forget the mob stuff, it's the way the women walk around cracking gum and talking abouT trivial nonsense. Italian women are stunning and cultured, and they're smart.' It's the Italian-Americans you've got to watch out for.

Which brings us to the admirable work being carried out at the moment by The Smoking Gun and Ganglandnews sites, courtesy of whom you can currently enjoy a much nearer-the-knuckle insight into Gotti family values. Starting last week, as an antidote to 'Growing Up Gotti', they're streaming a series of extracts from footage of Victoria visiting her father the vicious murderer in prison. It's kind of like Reality TV, but without the TV.

In the first clip the Dapper Don loses it when a conversation about Victoria's then 10-year-old son John's future career runs away from him. Gotti wants Johnto be a lawyer. John wants to play basketball or baseball, and he has the temerity to say so. Gotti explains how it is: 'To be a good basketball player or a good baseball player, you gotta be a good liar, a good low life... You gotta take steroids - YOU MUST TAKE STEROIDS - and anyone who takes steroids is a garbage pail.' To which the boy responds, 'Alright then, I'll be a cook.' And that's enough to get Gotti's goat.

Faced with such appalling sass, he's off on one. The rest of the clip is taken up with his illiterate rambling threats to a 10-year-old. All 'ass-kicking' and being 'seriouser than cancer'. With Victoria alongside promising to do her bit. A treat. The second clip, a haunting vignette in which Victoria takes advice from her father on social etiquette, features the immortal line, 'Being a nigger is [an] embarrassment, being John Gotti's grandson is an honour.'

In the end it's all rather sad. Somehow disappointing. Probably too many exciting films have ruined it for us. We expect too much now. Where is the wit, for example? Where is the irrepressible charm? Where's the opera soundtrack and the garlic cut so fine that it liquefies in the pan? Where are the lovable rogues of TV and film? Why, in this ugly security-camera reality, with his barely literate abuse and witless, heartless menace, this guy comes across like a freakin' psychopath. Oh wait. He *is* a psychopath. Brilliant. Give his daughter a cheque immediately!

There will be more Gotti prison footage placed on the Smoking Gun site every Monday morning for the rest of the summer. Meanwhile, thanks to whopping ratings, 'Growing Up Gotti' has just had another seven episodes commissioned.

Fuck it.

Crime pays.


We're off to pitch Channel Five with 'Maxine: the Video Diaries of a Child-Killer's Moll'.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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