Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Classless Simon & Schuster Pimps Out Victoria Gotti
Within the last 30 years, at least, the journalistic standards and integrity of the once great publishing houses, like Simon & Schuster, have caved in for the quick buck to satisfy their profit-driven corporate parents; and how sad. So this week, instead of insightful biographies of the quintessential American characters and causes of our time, Simon & Schuster chose another crass tell-all, utterly insignificant fictional account of Victoria Gotti, [purported to be non-fictional] writing up her experiences as the daughter of the lowlife Mafia boss John Gotti in, This Family of Mine.
Our media culture has for a few years offered her up as cause célèbre (at least in the NY region, here in California average Joe's do not know who she is) and making her dad, John Gotti, out to be something larger than life when he was nothing more than an evil, two-bit thug. And this woman, who rarely worked a full-time job while bottled up in a 6 million dollar foreclosed mansion for two years on Long Island, is, I admit, a morbid fascination to me, albeit for about 15 seconds. Something that piques my interest is how she had the intestinal fortitude to live her life in such evilness and dysfunction, enabling her own fucked-up world without wanting to just escape.
Simon & Schuster thinks her story should sell. Forget standards of good taste and substance, this amounts to be just another example of our contemptuous mass media advancing the stories of the unearned and morbid trash even in the face of slight curiousity. Do they think because she is a celebrity in the NY region or to the New York Post that she is someone of substance to enlighten us to the ways of the mob?
Gotti and her ilk (family and associates) are nothing but reprehensible, gaudy, lying, uneducated, cash-hungry malcontents [the real reason she wrote this book] (to put it mildly)who flippantly play the "victim." Further, you would think Simon & Schuster would demand Gotti, whom they represent and represents them - to prove-up those alleged facts she represents in her story. Isn't it also true that S&S has a fact-checking department in order to avoid libel lawsuits? Yet, here is an example of Ms. Gotti's supposed piece of nonfiction:
“The day before his first foot ball practice, March 18, 1980, [when i was in school football practice NEVER commenced in March] my little brother Frankie, 12, was so excited he couldn't eat or sleep. He took a shower and came running into my room and asked if he could borrow my hair dryer. I, too, was in a rush. He was so impatient that he left the house with wet hair. Later that afternoon, after school, he met a few neighborhood friends and went out to play. He couldn't wait to tell them the news. He'd finally made the team. Coming out of a McDonald's near our house, I saw them on their bicycles. I stopped and said something to him like, "It's late and you know you have to be home for dinner at 5 or Mommy will be pissed." He nodded and took off down the avenue. Mom was in the kitchen, preparing dinner and feeding my baby brother, Peter, then 4 years old. I ran upstairs to quickly change and head back to the kitchen to do my usual chores. I also relieved Mom and finished feeding Peter. The phone rang four times before I was able to pick up the receiver. "Vicki, this is Marie Lucisano -- your brother's had an accident. Don't worry." She went on to add, "He's OK -- I think he just broke his leg." Just as I was frantically tying my shoes, my mother came flying down the stairs sensing something was wrong. "What's going on?" she screamed. "Frankie's been hit by a car. Marie Lucisano called. It happened in front of her house," I said. Before I could even stand up, Mom was running the four or so blocks to the Lucisanos' house on 87th Street. The ambulance was already on the scene and things were far worse than just a broken leg. My brother had borrowed another kid's minibike and was riding in a construction site near the side of the road. But that dreadful day, a drunken driver was speeding down the avenue and struck my brother. The driver dragged him some 200 feet before angry neighbors stopped the car, pounced on his hood, and stopped him from crossing the avenue….” According to the neighbor, the driver, John Favara, then stopped the car. Another neighbor reached in and grabbed his keys, shutting the ignition off and pointed to my brother's near-lifeless body under the front wheels. My brother's blood seemed to leave a trail down the entire block, leading up to the now-parked car. Favara jumped from the car and started yelling, "What the f- - - was he doing in the street?" According to the neighbor, "The driver of the car was angry, not remorseful." Ted Friedman later told me the guy was belligerent -- a real a- -hole until he realized the kid trapped under his wheels was John Gotti's son. Favara then appeared to be "dazed and confused," according to eyewitnesses.”
The official police and FBI reports at the time, and the vast stories written about this incident since the 1980’s have all been consistent up until now. How Simon & Schuster allowed this interpretation to be published unfettered in the face of obvious mistruths by Ms. Gotti, with the record clearly establishing this as a huge lie - really begs the question whether some goon held a gun to the publishers head for Victoria to write whatever she felt necessary to massage the script. The actual truth of this tragedy is simply this: a overly enthusiastic young kid darting haphardly into a busy street, and being hit accidentally by a neighbor, John Favara. John Favara was not drunk nor “unremorseful” – actually what occurred for a few months was just the opposite, he begged forgiveness from the Gotti family up until the “Dapper Don’s” ultimate retribution. of course it is a sad story, but also sad that Mr. Favara's kid(s) grew up without a father, or a place to memorialize his life, unlike young Frankie.
I am not sure which is more lurid. Victoria Gotti doing whatever it takes to obtain cash the easy way, while trying to maintain this patheic, self-serving public persona, or Simon Schuster closing the book on good taste and journalistic integrity simply to get another "mob" book in the bookstores, while eschewing from their obligation to sell us truthfulness in the nonfiction aisle at Barnes & Noble.