It’s very clear which families pasta exec Guido Barilla is not down with: The gay ones. But what exactly does the traditional Italian family he’s so concerned with protecting look like?
Lewis Black tackled that question on last night’s Daily Show. After positing that Italy seems like a haven for gays—“It’s basically nothing but beautiful men in neckerchiefs and fitted suits riding around on Vespas and kissing each other on the cheek.”—he offers a short ethnographic study of the Italian family in film. There’s John Travolta getting smacked at the table in Saturday Night Fever, Robert DeNiro glowering over dinner in Raging Bull, and other violent familial moments in film staring DeNiro and Joe Pesci. And from “real life,” a far more explosive encounter from The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
“That’s the kind of family we need to protect from gays!” Black shouts.
Black goes on to make fun of Barilla for his “50 Shades of Tortellini”-like ads, which are more about attractive Italians seducing each other with pasta than any Catholic family values. And the media gets a share of the rage-comic's ire for all of the “hot water” puns the incident engendered (guilty as charged).
In the end though, Barilla’s bigoted remarks made the world of dried macaroni products a far more accepting place. As Black points out, competitors are now “battling it out to be the world’s gayest pasta.”