YouTube Gangster

By Guest Columnist Oct 26, 2007

YouTubers have never been shy about the race debate. So it’s no surprise that the back and forth posting that detonates under the site’s trailer for "American Gangster," a Godfather-esque flick starring paragons of masculinity Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe (and directed by Ridley Scott), ultimately takes a screeching turn down bigotry lane–bulldozing over quite a few orange cones of common sense. The film, due out November 2, 2007, is based on the life of Frank Lucas, a drug kingpin who peddled "Blue Magic" (different from the stuff that turns your toilet water azul) heroin through a seventies crime-organization he genially dubbed the Country Boys. Lucas claims to have been able to pull down a million dollars a day. "By four o’clock, we had enough n—-s in the street to make a Tarzan movie," Lucas colorfully told the New Yorker. Now 77 and nostalgic, the former crime-boss claims to to have done so much business on Harlem streets that the New York transit authority had to reroute buses. "Someone like Lucky Luciano ( who controlled INTERNATIONAL heroin trafficking) is staying bellow someone who’s dealing on one street. I ‘m saying it’s going to be gangster fiction because there’s no way for this guy to be above La Cosa Nostra. Fugged about it, [sic]" says a user calling himself Charles Lucky Luciano, scribing in the site’s typically alien (not even close enough to be bad) grammar about the point in the trailer when Detective Richie Robbins (Crowe)–declares Lucas (Washington) "above the Mafia." Multiple racial slurs, arguments, and a few LOL’s ensue. Reading pages and pages of the squabble, like the movie "Faces of Death," turns the stomach while fascinating. The fact that among America’s ethnic battles who has had the most notorious and successful criminal (see low-life) is an object of contention seems the domestic culture clash at its most absurd. Perhaps Jules 81190 makes the best point,"why is everybody so upset about the mafia line? You arent in the mafia- you have no reason to be offended by that line. And if you are in the mafia (which you arent) then what the hell are u doin on youtube? Go kill someone, bitch" [sic] Rend Smith is a freelance writer who has been employed by the Antioch Review, the Dayton City Paper, and the Hill Rag. He has won several awards and two grants in connection with his work.