you get right down to it, "organized crime" refers to
groups of criminals who weren't well-organized enough
to become governments themselves. But the fact that they
don't have to pretend they're the Good Guys means they
are free to look, talk, and dress COOL, and cool is what
it's all about.
crime figures are part of almost every nation's
popular culture, and often in a romantic sense. Since
to be more honest than their partners in government, to
their predatory motives on their well-tailored sleeves,
they also achieve a sort of ironic Robin Hood folk-hero
accorded to more "legitimate" public officials.
Mafias are cool, but some are cooler than others. And
a Mafia that's REALLY cool to one person might not be
very cool at all to another. Therefore, THIS IS NOT A
CONTEST. THERE WILL BE NO WINNER SELECTED. The title "Which
is the Coolest Mafia?" is merely intended to stimulate
thought and discussion. I've given you three main contenders
(the Dagos, Nips, and Russkis), plus a smattering of smaller,
yet still enjoyable, Mafias. I'm not sure I have a favorite
Mafia, and if I did, I sure as fuck wouldn't tell YOU.
decide which is coolest, and leave me out of it.
Maybe your favorite Mafia isn't mentioned here at all.
You may have noticed that I've listed no Irish Mafia
here, no Jamaican Posses, no Chinese Triads, no Cali
Cartel. If you like those Mafias, I'm fucking ecstatic
for you, bud. I don't happen to think any of them are
particularly cool, at least compared to the ones I've
chosen here with my highly developed sense for what's
cool and what isn't.
does the Mafia get any cooler than this? This is
almost the default Mafia right here. It's the only
Mafia where you can simply say "the" Mafia, and people
know which Mafia you mean. It's the Cadillac of Mafias.
It's hard to go wrong with this Mafia. It's a safe
Mafia to choose. This Mafia is so cool, you almost
want to pick another Mafia just so this Mafia doesn't
get a swelled head.
Major props (and a medium-sized shout-out) go to this
Mafia for its tendency to give its members highly
colorful nicknames. Peep the picturesque sobriquets
accorded these big-league mobsters: Vincent "The Chin"
Gigante, Benny "Eggs" Mangano, Tony "Roach" Rampino,
Gaeton "Horsehead" Scafidi, Peter "Pete the Crumb"
Caprio, Carmine "The Snake" Persico, John "No Nose"
DiFronzo, William "Potatoes" Daddano, Ronnie "Balloon
Head" DeAngelis, and Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano.
If coolness were measured by cool names alone, this
Mafia would already be the coolest, and we could just
end the article right here!
Cosa Nostra means "our thing" in Italian, and
this loveable "Family" of goons and goombahs, of leg-breakers
and cement-shoe makers, of "made men" and wiseguys,
has made their thing our thing for so
many years, we sometimes forget to thank them. The
Italian-American mobster is imprinted into popular
American mythology via The Godfather, Goodfellas,
The Sopranos, and even the Budweiser "How Ya Doin'?"
one considers their sexy oaths of silence, their entertaining
synonyms for "to kill" such as "to whack," "to ice,"
"to clip," and "to tune up," their impeccable-though-greasy
fashion sense, their savagely terrifying reign of
bloodlust both in Sicily and America, and their somber
dedication to the Holy Roman Church, one could do
a whole lot worse than to choose this Mafia as the
Oicho-Kabu, a Japanese card game similar
to Blackjack, the highest score you can receive
before going "bust" is 19. In Japanese, the word
"Yakuza" is actually three numerals--ya (8), ku
(9), and za (3)--which add up to 20, meaning a worthless
card hand. The Yakuza are Japanese society's worthless
ones: the misfits, paupers, and criminals with no
hope of ever fitting in, who join a "family" of
other worthless ones and proceed to TATTOO THEIR
ENTIRE LITTLE YELLOW BODIES as a stark emblem of
cats are hardcore. When a Yakuza member has disobeyed
or displeased his Kumicho (the Yakuza's equivalent
of an Italian Don), he is required to slice off
one of his fingertips and send it to Kumicho
as an apology. He is commanded to do this every
time he offends him. Jerking off becomes really
difficult after a few offenses.
Yakuza arose in the early 1600s as a reaction to
the Hun-like pillaging of Japanese towns by restless,
unemployed Samurai. The Yakuza were townsmen who
provided protection...at a price, of course.
than perhaps any other Mafia, the Yakuza are folk
heroes within their home country. They have traditionally
been patriotic to the point of bald fascism. They
seem to operate smoothly with Japan's government
and business sectors. Their strength ballooned in
Japan's post-WWII social morass when forced rationing
by American occupational troops gave birth to a
giant black market. Although their membership peaked
in the early 1960s, Japan, with less than half of
America's population, still hosts more than three
times as many organized crime members as the US.
Some say that the Yakuza are as powerful as the
Italians, if not more so.
A REAL cool Mafia, but they're really short.
once summarized the difference between La Cosa Nostra
and the Russian Mafiya: Piss off an Italian,
and he'll kill you. Piss off a Russian, and he'll
kill you and your entire family. The Red Mafia is
known for its heavy-handed shakedown tactics and
its brutal torture/
mutilation murders of those who've crossed them
or refused to pay tribute.
latter-day Russian mafioso grew out of the traditional
hardcore Russian felon, or vor, who tattooed
his kneecaps to show he'd bow to
no man, who loyally followed a Thieves' Code which,
if broken, prescribed death for the offender.
communism engendered a huge black market upon which
the Red Mafia parasitically blossomed. Organized
crime feasted upon the dying Soviet Union's economy
like ants on a piece of birthday cake. Aided by
official corruption, the Russian Mafiya is
thought by many to have become the world's richest
and most powerful organized crime group, currently
operating in fifty countries. It has been estimated
by Moscow's police chief that 95% of his own officers
receive Russian Mafia bribes. Others have stated
that roughly four of every five businesses in Moscow
are forced to pay between ten and twenty percent
of their income to the Mafiya. Some estimate
that a full quarter of Russia's Gross National Product
is gobbled up by the Mafiya's illegal activities.
Mafiya's leader, Semion Mogilevich, has a
degree in economics and has steered his minions
toward lucrative schemes such as high-tech computer
hacking and credit-card fraud. There are loud murmurs
that the Red Mafia also traffics in all those stray
biological, chemical, and NUCLEAR weapons left scattered
about after the East Bloc fell apart.
in all, it's a pretty cool fucking Mafia!
peckerwood drug-runners and extortionists who, from
1968 to 1978, whacked more than FIVE TIMES as many
victims as La Cosa Nostra did during the same period,
bodies throughout Dixie's forests and swamps. Legendary
Tennessee Sheriff Buford "Walking Tall" Pusser dedicated
his life to fighting the Dixie Mafia. Certain anti-government
theorists claim that Bill Clinton was somehow entangled
Eme" (pronounced "EM-may"), which stands for the letter
"M" in Spanish, is primarily a drug cartel which controls
Mexican street gangs and wields power in prisons throughout
the Southwest. Actor James Edward Olmos was once threatened
by the Mexican Mafia after what they felt was an unflattering
portrayal of La Eme in the film American Me.
Like La Cosa Nostra, you have to kill someone before
you can join. Like the Yakuza, they tend to be short.
flock of "alienated" Colorado Goth kids, two of
whom in 1998 smoked over a dozen high-school classmates
in a violent eruption of anti-jock rage, giving
hope to nerds and misfits everywhere.
votta Mafia dis is!
Primarily the brainchild of Meyer Lansky,
the silently powerful Jewish Mafia (aka Kosher Mafia)
should be commended for being able to keep itself
out of the news better than the Eye-talians do.
In addition to Daddy Lansky, the Kosher Mafia boasted
other famous shtarke gangsters such as Benjamin
"Bugsy" Siegel (pictured at right), Dutch Schultz,
and Mickey Cohen. Bugsy Siegel was a murderous psychopath
credited with founding Las Vegas and spawning a
silly Warren Beatty movie. Jewish mafioso Arnold
Rothstein fixed the 1919 World Series, resulting
in the infamous Black Sox Scandal. Note: Some
anti-Semites also refer to the modern Russian Mafia,
since its ranks are said to be largely
composed of Russian Jews, as the "Jewish Mafia."
moniker given to a core group of Elvis "The King"
Presley's friends and confidants from 1956 until his
death in 1977.
musical combo composed of now-dead
super-chub walleyed rapper Notorious B.I.G. and oversexed
minx Li'l Kim, among
writers blame their lack of success on this group.
try getting ahead in the fashion industry without
Just TRY it.