Quirks aside, there’s a lot to love about this part of Upstate New York. . . .Joe then ticks off a long list of things that all to many of us take for granted. He then concludes,
Sure, the winters are bitterly cold and snowy, the economy is moribund and the politicians too often are inept. But despite all of the bad, there’s a quality of life here that can’t be denied.Great editorial! . . I could not agree more . . . but the comments about the dropped vowels nagged at the back of my mind for some reason . . . I read them again . . .
I just wish more of you would realize it. The negative attitude is a big turn-off to newcomers, and it damages the area’s future.
I always snicker when servers at the area’s excellent Italian-American restaurants drop the endings of the names of key ingredients, as if there’s a phonetic butcher wielding a razor-sharp cleaver in the kitchen."Snicker?" Since when is Joe Kieta an expert on Italian pronunciation? He would be right if he were speaking Bolognese, Roman, or Milanese Italian . . . but dropped final vowels are perfectly acceptable when speaking Neopolitan, Foggian or Barese Italian. Dropped vowels are normal in the Mezzogiorno, the formerly poor part of Italy where most Utica Italian-American families originated -- as normal as the drawl in the southern USA speech. Snickering at dropped vowels in Italy would be construed as a put down, reflective of class differences between the north and south.Prosciutto ham morphs into “prishoot.” Did the “-to” get sliced into the trash?
Snickering at dropped vowels in Utica is construed the same way ... reflective of a long simmering class schism between Utica and New Hartford (not to mention ethnic bias) that seems to be taking far too long to go away. Was the snickering a put down?
In the end, I'm giving Mr. Kieta the benefit of the doubt. His remark about snickering is probably the result of local cultural illiteracy, intended in jest as a way to fit in. After all, he told us that he is from Cleveland, via California (so what would he know about local sensitivities) and is of Polish and Sicilian ancestry (so what would he know about Italian?)(nudge nudge wink wink).
Joe, your main point is well taken . . . Hopefully the other remarks were truly well intended, and not an indication that you have adopted the attitude of some of the people you work with. That attitude is the root of much of the negativity you complain of.