This is perhaps the most ridiculous myth of all. While the closed, secretive that fostered the development of secret criminal societies such as the became commonplace with the and Spanish rule during the sixteenth century, and though banditry in the countryside increased over time, the Mafia as organized crime (not just a Sicilian word having other meanings) did not exist until late in the eighteenth century at the very earliest. Only fantasists believe that it originated during the , a revolt organized by the nobility, in 1282. Phenomena such as widespread and professional incompetence, and the overuse of have helped it along by discouraging transparency at every level of the economy. Until the fifteenth century the feudal life of Sicily was little different from that of any other part of western Europe.
Hartmere and Intrabartolo begin their story, quite unconventionally, with the nonreality of a dream. Why not get the plot started instead? Why start by playing with notions of reality? There are several reasons. First, they are following Stephen Sondheim’s Ten Minute Rule, that they can employ any device, any convention, any rule-breaking, as long as it happens within the first ten minutes, to establish for the audience the rules for the evening. They use fantasy sequences three times in the show, and here they establish that device. This scene also tells the audience that this story will be a mix of very funny and very dramatic moments. But also, it’s a very efficient way of getting us inside Peter’s head, seeing his hopes, dreams, fears, questions, confusion, and his relationships with adults, with his peers, and with his religion. The creators understand dreams, the way the unconscious mind takes elements of our waking lives and reconnects them in unexpected (though not random) ways. Things don’t make logical sense because the conscious mind isn’t involved, but the dream still reveals the concerns, worries, and insecurities that get pushed back out of the way in our waking lives. So all of the information we pick up in this very funny opening scene is important in understanding the story ahead.
Categories – Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
Takemia's analysis is echoed by Fred Schodt, who has made extensive studies of manga (1983, 1996). He speculated that yaoi permits girls to experiment with love and lovemaking devoid of the usual anatomical encumbrances, "baggage" was the term he used: no breasts, no female plumbing, and especially no fear of pregnancy and babies (Schodt, personal communication, February 17, 2001). Schodt's explanation can be extended. Is it possible that in yaoi young Japanese females seek symbolic escape from the social roles to which they are assigned? Romantic relationships without obligations, without encumbrances, without the usual problems is a dimension of meaning that yaoi artists and fans appear to accept intuitively when they characterize M/M as a superior form of love. This is a fantasy which was created by females who wish to dream, at least for a little while, of a life different from the one society seems prepared to give them.