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America’s Obsession with Gang Pop Culture


I’ll be the first to admit it, I love a good mobster film. “The Untouchables” is one of my favorite movies and I’m currently obsessed with “Narcos"on Netflix. But I know I’m not the only one falling more deep into the spiral of gang and cartel culture. It almost feels like America as a whole has a special place in its heart for gang culture. AMC’S “Mob Week” racks up viewers by the millions and Netflix’s “Narcos” has gained immense popularity. “Narcos” has garnered so much popularity that the famous online streaming service is planning on offering on the broadcasting network, Univision. Let's also not forget about the the hit show "Mob Wives." This show revolves around the life of the families of mobsters and the lavish lifestyle they led prior to having their main source of income, a mobster, incarcerated. Shows like these makes us almost forget about all the negatvity surrounding mobs and focus on the "pros." Those pros are mainly living a fantastical lifestyle full of money and thrill, a lifestly immoirtallized by Hollywood's productions. 

Perhaps one of the reasons why we are so obsessed with the gangster life portrayed in in popular media is because it is a lifestyle so outreach for most of us. Gangsters don’t live by the rules and they follow no social code. We get pulled into these dangerous lifestyles that appear thrilling and unconventional. Ron Kuby, a lawyer who defended the mobster John Gotti, has said that mobs can appear so appealing on T.V. because “outlaws are dangerous and a little scary -- but not too scary. They're not going to hurt you if you mind your manners.[1]" America’s obsession with gang pop culture can also be argued has something to do with the America’s intrigue with violence. Furthermore, one of the biggest negativities I see with gang pop culture is the heightened sense of masculinity. Men are forced into these boxes of strength and courage, while women fit in the box of victims and weak. However doesn’t fit in the box is killed by the mob, as is the case in many movies were gay males are killed by their own cousins. This should ecourage to be critical of what we watch. It is perfectly to love a good gangster film (I know I do), but also try to be analytical of it is going on and really think about the dynamics in the movie. 

The debate for this hot topic can go on and on but honestly, at the most basic level, I think we can all agree that Jennifer Lawrence looked great in “America Hustle.”

images coutsey of giphy.com


Mariana is a fourth year student UCLA majoring in International Development Studies and minoring in Urban and Regional Studies. She loves anything and everything with glitter on it. On her free time she enjoys eating acai bowls with her pet bunny, Lenord
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