The real Outfit is on trial now, down at the Federal building on Dearborn. Four men, including Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, are charged with 18 murders; the fifth defendant, former Chicago police officer Anthony Doyle, is included in the indictment because he (allegedly) protected the four from police scrutiny. In their opening remarks, the prosecution told the jury to put The Godfather and The Sopranos out of their minds--these men weren't entertainers, they weren't glamorous, they were murderers.
Most of the victims were involved in the Outfit--a hitman and hitwoman were murdered, another high-ranking Outfit member killed when he was going to turn state's evidence, and so on. It's hard not to think of it as made-for-TV melodrama.
These are frightening people to cross--so much so that a journalist I know refused to go to Eagle River, Wisconsin, where part of the extended Chicago Family vacations, to investigate an alleged murder of a bartender there who allegedly mocked a senior Family member. Glenn had interviewed and written extensively about many scary people; this was the only assignment he ever turned down, but he has a son in frail health and couldn't afford to risk turning him into an orphan without medical insurance.
So why do we glamorize the Mob so much? Why do we love all those movies like Pulp Fiction and the Godfather that celebrate slaughter? Any hunches?
by Sara Paretsky